The Claw….(The Ugly side of Ebay)

by Michael Terry

Let’s face it.  There’s no easy way to put this into words….I blew it. – Pure and simple.  My  kids have long since stopped teasing me about this, and to be honest..they don’t mind too much at this point because it has just become a part of their lives…..or at least, their living room….But I digress….

For this story we travel back in time, to our old house,  back in Anaheim.  It was my first experience with eBay.  I was looking for another amusing item for my game room, to accent the collection of Pinball Machines, Video Arcade games, Foosball and the like.  I stumbled across an ad for a Arcade Crane.  It boasted being in great condition, and a steal at $250.00.  I went crazy!  $250.00?!  These things retail for $3,000.00!  So I bid.

And I won!  What a bargain.  I am getting a $3,000.00 piece of equipment for a mere $250.00.  This is great!  The auction closed while I was at work.  An attorney in our office at the time,  Steve Haber, (an eBay  aficionado), happened to walk by when it closed, and replied,  “Great Mike…Good for you”… “What are the shipping terms?….”  I said “Shipping?”…  He laughed.  I felt sort of an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach all of a sudden.  Of course, that question was followed by the ever popular “How big is it?”  and let’s not forget “Where is it being shipped from?”….You know, all those details that make or break the sale of a large item like this one…..  I could see that sparkle in Steve’s eye.  He was trying very hard to keep a straight face, but at the same time I knew that he was stockpiling ammunition that would rival only the Angel’s World Series Signed Bat debacle – a story for another day……

So…..I look at where this sale originates. – Syracuse, New York.  Sigh…  I contact the seller for shipping info, to which he replies …There is only one company that ships this kind of item (Huge, weighs a ton, glass all around the exterior), and the cost is $650.00.  They ship terminal to terminal…. (Which means that it would arrive at a depot at Los Angeles International Airport. – How much does it weigh, I asked.  About 450 lbs he replied.  So much for tossing it in the back of the van.

I hired a ground transportation service.  Another $300.00 to deliver to the house.  A week later, about 9:00 pm at night, here rolls this huge semi down our street.  The guy unloads a cardboard box  that is 7 feet tall.  This box is 4 feet wide.  I immediately took out the tape measure….. and just as I suspected, it was too big for any door in our home. Now I’m going crazy.  So I talk the driver into assisting me in bringing this item through the backyard into the house.  It barely made the gate……there was about ½ inch of give between the fireplace and neighbors fence……Then we had to lift this up on the redwood patio deck, then down a level, then up a level to the sliding glass doors to our back patio…..Too wide for the glass door, so I had to take out both panes, and opened both French doors leading to the living room.   Then we flipped it sideways, and crab-walked it into the living room.  At that moment, we decided that it could not fit into any other room in the house.

My kids got so good at our claw, I started sending them into arcades and restaurants to get stock for our toy…  See, the stuffed animals cost about $2.00 each wholesale, but my kids can win them for $.50 cents each.  So now….we currently are holding about 20 huge Lawn & Leaf bags full of stuffed animals fitting any occasion, from Xmas to Halloween, to the 4th of July, to Valentine’s day.

And that, dear friends, is the story of how we came to possess an arcade claw in our living room.

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