Monday, July 11, 2016

Vinnie

I was looking for a place to live in the city, and stumbled across what seemed a fairly decent rental out by Ocean Beach. I called the ad, left a message, and received a text from someone, who I presumed was the owner, asking me when I'd like to see the place. We set a time & date for viewing via text. All seemed in order until the person I was communicating with sent me a smiley face emoji to punctuate our communique. The :) seemed weird to me given that we a) aren't junior high besties & b) are complete strangers. I dunno, it threw me off. I thought I was walking into some sort of creep-o situation & worried that I might wind up in little pieces in a Hefty bag were I to show up at the viewing appointment in two days' time. I called a couple of girlfriends to see if they were available, short notice, to go flat-viewing with me. Of course, no one was free. I began thinking of canceling the appointment, but the house sounded so nice in the advert!

The next day I received a phone call from 'smiley dude', a man called Vinnie. He was all slick voice and charm. He said he wanted to 'get a feel' for me, 'understand my aura' before he showed me the house. He asked me a ton of questions re: financials and the like.  When that was finished, I tried signing off with a 'see you tomorrow at the house' and was met with 'will your husband be joining you?'. I told him it would just be me as my husband will be at work. Vinnie wasn't pleased. 'Oh, no, you see I can't rent to people I haven't met', and then he proceeded to impress upon me the importance of having both of us there. I told him that the hubs could not leave work during the middle of the day. At some point during the ramble-chat it came to pass that Vincent lived and worked in my hometown. 'The owner of the house, an elderly man I'm helping rent the house for, is a regular at my restaurant'. Okay, so it's not your house, was my first thought. 'Why don't you and your husband come into my restaurant tonight, so that I can meet him? I live down the street, and can be there in a couple of minutes...just shoot me a text...' I'm honestly thinking, fuck this shit, but I'm also thinking that I want a shot at the house. On the phone, the guy seemed more hippy-dippy than full-on creep, so I was still committed to viewing the place, even without a buddy for support. What seemed clear is that Vinnie won't consider us as suitable rental candidates if we don't show up at his resto, so I beg my hubs to come out with me. 

'If he doesn't meet us, then there's no reason to go to the viewing,' I tell the hubs. 'And what if the house is great?' The hubs is annoyed, thinks that Vincent is being a 'nosy-parker', but agrees to go. We show up to the restaurant around 7.30, and I call Vinnie as instructed ('just call me and I'll be right there!'). He answers the phone with a perturbed 'What's up?'. I explain that we're out in front of the restaurant. 'Oh, yeah, I just left. Sorry, I'm on kid duty tonight'. He's talking like we missed some sort of window of opportunity. I remind him that he asked us to show up because he said he needed to meet my husband. 'Oh, yeah, yeah, I'm just at the store. I'll be there in 3 minutes.'

Vinnie shows up a few minutes later. Getting out of his car, I can see he's a mass of fake tan & bleached teeth. A hearty handshake and we're suddenly sitting at the bar. He's trying to ply us with cheap chianti, and a menu. We tell him we've already eaten, but he's not giving up. 'How about a nice slice of tiramisu?' The hubs finally relents to having a glass of vino.

After pleasantries are out of the way, Vinnie looks around the mostly empty restaurant, and mentions that it's normally much busier. I remind him it's Monday night, and that's to be expected. 'Oh, no. We're always busy.'  Okay, I think, it's your show. He then mentions that he's just done his business taxes. I detect a note of displeasure in his voice. I'm also wondering why he's telling us this. We finally get down to talking about the house, and he says at some point, 'Yeah, so if you guys wanna pay a few months' rent all at once, say, $10,000, I could talk to the owner, and see if he'll agree to a rent reduction.' We don't really have a response to that, so we make a bit more small talk while the hubs empties his wine glass. I tell Vinnie that I'll see him tomorrow to view the house, and we beat a hasty retreat. In the car ride home, the hubs says, 'I don't care how nice the house may be, I don't want to give any of my money to that guy. Cancel the appointment.' So, I did.

8 comments:

  1. I am with your husband I think. And wonder just how intrusive he would get after you moved in.
    That is just plain weird. Which is sad. Why can't a simple business transaction be simple.
    Am I right in thinking you won't be rushing back to the restaurant either?

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    Replies
    1. No 'dinner for two' at Vinnie's place to be sure!

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  2. That does sound creepy and I think you should report him to the police just in case he has been scamming others. Not cool for a hippie, more con man I think.

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    Replies
    1. I think you're right, Donna. He's a con. I wonder, though, what I might say to the police that would have the right impact. They may just blow me off...

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  3. Yeah, that's way too weird. I wonder if he actually has the legal authority to rent the place.

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  4. I think you had a lucky escape....that little voice in your head was right.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Libby. I think so, too.

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