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Got A Car To Sell?


Because the middle-aged man and woman sitting behind me in a Mar Vista, California café and going through the want ads made it LOUD AND CLEAR they're looking for a used car, and they apparently don't care who knows -- or is forced to be a party to their search:

MAN SHOUTING INTO CELL PHONE: Does it have chrome wheels, do ya know?

He then gave their number several times, first as 310-302..., then as 310-402..., and then his wife corrected him and he finally got it right:


And I know it's right because I checked by calling them on Skype while still sitting there in the cafe. The woman:

Hello? HELLO?!

We hear you lady, and your husband, too, all too clearly. Essentially, this:


As for you -- those of you reading this blog -- if you've got a car to sell, perhaps you should call them. The sooner they buy one, the sooner everybody around them can think an uninterrupted thought!

Posted by aalkon at May 26, 2007 1:20 PM


Next time you need to record the conversation and post it online.

Posted by: David Markland at May 26, 2007 1:41 PM

I actually need legal help on that one. California is a two-party recording state - in terms of needing consent when you're on a phone call: Both parties need to be informed and agree. But, I read the law in the past, and it sounds like I can record something in a public place, when the people have no presumption that their conversation is private, and still be within the law. My question is, can I post other people's voices on the Internet and still be within the law? Is it "news" and do I not need a signed release from the people? And do they need to see that I'm recording them? (Hmm, then again, people don't always know they're on camera when they're in news reports, say, graffiti-ing or something.) Any legal beagles' input would be appreciated.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 26, 2007 1:55 PM

P.S. I just called to ask her if she'd be interested in buying a 1960 Nash Metropolitan convertible. "Really cute, but doesn't run."

"Why would I be interested in buying that?" she asked.

I told her I didn't know, but I hoped she'd get more calls with cars that suited her better!

(Or just more calls!)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 26, 2007 2:12 PM

True on the legal issues. One approach would be to not identify them, and just post the recording. While I know you prefer to call people out, I think in this sort of instance it might make for an even more entertaining post.

Posted by: David Markland at May 26, 2007 4:06 PM

Hello Amy,
While your colorfully embellished and exaggerated excerpts may be amusing to some people, the next time you call me up on my cell phone I'd appreciate your phone number on my call log, rather than "blocked caller i.d." This seems rather cowardly to me. And yes, I'd be interested in your Nash Rambler. My father also drives a Nash, and as a matter of fact, he seems to recognize your picture as the wierd looking girl he went to high school with....hahaha

Posted by: Phyllis Reed at May 26, 2007 8:26 PM

Phyllis, no apology for being loud and rude?

And where's the "embellished" and "exaggerated" in my story?

P.S. If I wanted you to have my number, I'd shout it in a coffee shop like you did. Was your mother with the sailors when she should have been teaching you manners?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 26, 2007 8:41 PM

Thank you Amy,
Thanks to your furtive and mean spirited eavesdropping , and then embellished and exaggerated reporting of an innocent conversation I received a phone call about the perfect car at a great price, whereupon I quickly met with the seller and purchased the great car - this directly from a party who had just read Amy's blog, which included my cell phone number.
This just goes to show that no deed, whether well intended or cruelly meant goes undone.
Unfortunately I'm not able to call Amy and thank her directly (voice to voice, so to speak) because the phone number Amy used to call me on my cell phone came up as "blocked caller I.D." on my phone log, which seems cowardly, as well as unfortunate in this case. So if you read this letter, Amy, a big thank you to you.

Posted by: Phyllis Redfern at May 27, 2007 2:01 AM

Phyllis, I find that extraordinarily hard to believe, as the likelihood that somebody reading my blog (a national audience of about 10,000-15,000 visitors daily) would randomly call you to sell the car you're looking for is very small.

You accuse me of embellishment above. You don't make that clear.

Furthermore, you posted that last one at 2am -- probably the moment that the idea occurred to you. Did the seller, perhaps, give you a test drive at midnight? Because you were still up for buying my Rambler at 8:26 pm, when you posted here earlier. I'm guessing that you attachment to the truth is as loosey-goosey as your "manners."

Furthermore, it is not "eavesdropping" to listen to somebody rudely shouting into a cell phone in a public place. I turned around and looked at you several times, shaking my head, and you saw me...but didn't care that you were bothering me with your conversation. Clearly, you and I were raised differently.

You have yet to apologize for your rudeness -- perhaps because you think you're entitled to pollute a shared space with whatever loud, dull conversation you please.

And what's your real name? Reed or Redfern? I forgot that in the two duplicate posts you left last night that you used different names in each.

Not that I'd expect the truth from you. But, I bet you'll be a little reticent now to be rude like you were to me in a public place. Not because you have good manners, but because somebody else might put your number on their blog after it's shouted out, interrupting their thoughts.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 27, 2007 6:59 AM

P.S. It may be damaging to another person if you post under an assumed name, so please be honest about which is your name, "Phyllis Reed" or "Phyllis Redfern." I mean, if it's in you to be honest.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 27, 2007 7:15 AM

Amy, just so ya know, there are, in Conversation Analysis theory, three kinds of listeners: ratified listeners, bystanders and eavesdroppers. You were a bystander, and it's assumed that all conversations are had as if there were bystanders, which means that people should keep their voices down when there are other people around. Eavesdroppers have to strain to listen.

Phyllis, it must be hard being wrong. "Furtive and mean-spirited eavesdropping"? Give me a break. I hate to break it to you, but your life is not so interesting that people prefer to "eavesdrop" on your conversations than engage in their own conversations. People like you are selfish and boorish. Next time, look for a car at your kitchen table.

Posted by: Brenda at May 27, 2007 7:30 AM

Thanks, Brenda. Exactly the point (the fact that there was no strain to listen -- quite the contrary). I don't turn around and glare at people talking quietly...why would I? She saw me -- she just didn't care. Her need to BUY A CAR RIGHT THEN AND THERE trumped anybody else's desire to read or think or just peacefully eat their breakfast without participating in her dull life.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 27, 2007 7:52 AM

Are you sure Phyllis above is the same person whose phone number is listed, and not just someone yanking your chain?

By the way, I tend to frequent coffee shops in Hollywood, where we get the occasional yapper, but most people are respectful enough not to yell loudly into their phones. But whenever I venture to Culver City, or Palos Verdes, these people seem to be everywhere. What gives?

Posted by: David Markland at May 27, 2007 11:06 PM

Actually, based on what the woman said in her first post, I think the commenter is the woman who was shouting into her phone. What her real name is remains to be seen. I found a woman with the name she's using on the Internet -- age seems right -- and I e-mailed to ask if it's her. Not only does she libel me by saying I'm "embellishing" and that this is "exaggerated reporting" and by accusing me of "furtive and mean-spirited eavesdropping" (how do you furtively eavesdrop when you turn around and give somebody a dirty look a number of times, and then, as she's leaving, tell her thanks for making you listen to all the calls? Oh yeah...I also started reading an article aloud as she was shouting to drown out the noise. Trust me: the lady knew I heard every word, and didn't care -- until I posted her number. I think somebody who called her told her the URL. Had she Googled her number, she would've ended up at my blog -- not landed on my front page, which would've gotten her to my Rambler story first. See:

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 28, 2007 12:11 AM

And regarding your comment about rude people, I was in the Palisades today, at the Starbucks, and I was stunned by the difference between people there and people in Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City. Perhaps it was an anomaly, but I found people to be much more friendly, and much politer. Very little of the outrageously rude cell phone behavior -- people asserting themselves on others in an airspace -- that you experience in Venice/Santa Monica/Culver City.

Anyone want to venture a guess why?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 28, 2007 12:15 AM

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