Wanna buy a laptop mate, yours for 300 pounds

So I was walking for the train today because my scooter has a flat tyre. Walking down briskly, listening to a podcast as usual when these guys roll up in a slightly beaten up old style Vauxhall Caliver. The passenger rolls down his window and says, You wanna buy a laptop mate? At first I couldn't fully hear him but once he opened the laptop , a Sony Viao. It all quickly clicked into place.

So the first thing which goes through my mind is not to get too close to the car just in case they happen to have some weapon. But I do stop and lift up my sunglasses. The guy with a very strong Irish accent, almost sounded put on. Says just got it from PC World brand new with recepts, yours for 300 pounds. I look at the driver who seems more concerned about driving off quickly that the deal which was happening. So anyway, being the haggler that I am, I said sounds expensive for a knocked off Laptop, hows 100 pounds? And you know what he seriously considers it. By which I'm already reaching for my sunglasses and walking. These guys follow me down the road, showing off all the features of a standard XP install. Till I say 100 pounds or nothing. They disappear shouting its too low for them and they will easily find someone else in this area (woolwich).

To be fair I shouldn't have said anything, but I wanted to see how desperate they were to get rid of the laptop. It was a nice Sony Viao with motion eye camera and looked to be about a 2.4ghz Pentium 4. But I was never going to buy it. I was also thinking about all the angles of there deal. For example I carry a bag which looks like a laptop bag, so I was wondering if they were really after that. I mean it would make sense why they would ask me rather than any of the other people walking down the crowded street. And there were lots of people walking fast to catch the train to London.

Just thought I'd share this, as I have got older my brush with the blackmarket (why do they call it that?) has become less and less which is a good thing. I've not had this kind of a deal since I was living in Thornton Heath (south central London) funny stuff, eh?

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.