Reader Question: Am I an Asshole?

The pears that sparked controversy around the world.....

The pears that sparked controversy around the world…..

I know, I know.  I am totally an asshole.  However, this post isn’t about generalities.  I’m writing about a specific situation that I encountered a few days ago, and I really want to know if people think I was being greedy, selfish, or lazy.  First, let me explain what happened…..

First of all, Greg and I have some fruit trees on our property.  We didn’t plant them.  They were just here when we bought out house.  In total, we now have three apple trees and one pear tree.  We don’t get fruit every single year, but when we do, it can be pretty awesome.  We’ve lived here for a total of five years and have only gotten pears one of those years.  That was, of course, until this year.  I hadn’t really noticed until a few days ago.  Then, all of a sudden, I looked out my window and saw a tree full of beautiful, natural pears.

Delicious FREE Food!

Delicious FREE Food!

Since we’re on FALL FINANCIAL LOCKDOWN, I was totally into getting a bunch of pears and forcing my family to eat them.  The only problem was that the location of the tree makes the pears hard to get to.  Our ladder isn’t tall enough to get to most of them and we don’t own any fruit-picking equipment.  And after dragging a ladder out there and giving it an effort, I found five delicious pears within my reach.  The rest were way up high, too high for us to get with a regular ladder.  So, I had a brilliant idea that I would put an ad on craigslist asking to use someone’s ladder and fruit-picking equipment in exchange for a bunch of free fruit.  Here is my word for word post on craigslist (that’s since been taken down):

Free Pears and Apples- NEED TO BORROW LADDER AND FRUIT-PICKING EQUIPMENT

I have a pear tree that is full of almost-ripe delicious pears.  Looking for someone with a tall ladder and fruit picking equipment!  All I ask is half of the pears that we pick.  The pears are organic and have never been sprayed with anything to my knowledge.  Unfortunately, the tree is on a small hill which makes them hard to get to.  But, with the right equipment, it can be done!

I also have a few apple trees (organic). The apples don’t look that great but taste fine. The apples are fairly low and many can be picked without a ladder.  You can pick as many apples as you want (even if you don’t want any pears).

Within five minutes, I received this email response:

Wow some nerve split 50/50 while you sit on ur butt and do nothing! Its ur farm wtf ever quit being lazy and pick em your self. Free is free, NOT free only if I get half of what you picked while you risk your life .

Then, a few hours later I got a series of insulting text messages from a different person.  There were A LOT of text messages from this person so I’ll try to summarize.  Basically, complainer #2 thought that I shouldn’t make people pick things themselves and that FREE items shouldn’t require labor.  They also said that I was lazy and that I shouldn’t grow fruit if I couldn’t be bothered to pick it.  Then they suggested that I hire someone to pick them and pay a living wage.  Oh, and they were “praying for me.”

At that point, I just took the craigslist ad down and asked my Facebook friends if anyone had a ladder I could borrow.  Several people responded that I could borrow their ladder, and we ended up borrowing an extension ladder from my parents.  We were able to get a lot of pears, but there are still hundreds on the tree.

In our case, it doesn’t make sense to buy our own fruit-picking equipment.  We only get pears every few years and probably won’t be living here next time we get them.  I could always rent fruit-picking equipment, I suppose, but I thought I would try craigslist first to see if I could work out an arrangement that benefited everyone.  Apparently, that was a big mistake because it really ticked a few people off.  So. Weird.

Here are the pears we ended up with.....

Here are the pears we ended up with…..

So, readers….what do you think?  Am I an asshole?  Do you think I’m lazy for not picking all of the fruit before giving it away?  Or, do you think my offer was reasonable?  Please share in the comments below…..

 
About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. Totally reasonable! In fact, I would say it’s a good deal. Just bring your equipment and get as much free fruit as you want. SWEET! Don’t worry about those people, they are the assholes.

  2. wow there are some haters out there! it could have been understood you’d be home watching TV while the guy was picking fruits, but if you would have been under catching the fruits and putting them in a basket I think that is a fair deal.

  3. When I read your craiglist offer, I just assumed that you were asking to borrow the equipment, do the picking yourself or together and then share the pears. Did I read it wrong? I definitely didn’t read it like you wanted someone to come in and do all the work. Regardless, there are a lot of crazies out there. Just be glad you didn’t let any of them on your property.

  4. Haha wow. I would have put a very similarly worded ad. People are assholes, not you. Hope they are yummy!

  5. I’m with Matt. When I read your ad, I interpreted that you would help pick the fruit. I actually thought it was a good idea. I’d send my husband over with a ladder for some free pears.

    • I know right?
      Between those negative responses I got about ten people that wanted to come over. But, the negative texts just made me not want to deal with it!

  6. Craigslist is weird for attracting people who feel super-entitled. (One of the reasons we don’t tend to like prospective renters that come from CL.) If you’re still there the next time it fruits, try posting a similar post on Freecycle. Around here the freecyclers are more into sharing pickings etc.

    • Freecycle is a great idea!

      Why do you think that craigslist attracts people who are entitled? I just think it’s so weird. I put my ad in the BARTER section of craigslist. Isn’t that what bartering is? I use your equipment, you get free fruit?

  7. I don’t think *you* were the a-hole. I think the people who sent you those nasty emails and texts were. You offered a great deal!

  8. Haha you are not an asshole. People on Craigslist can just be absolutely ridiculous. Seriously, who would actually take the time to text or message you because they are upset about a fruit tree posting on Craigslist? Unbelievable.

  9. Holly, I think I have some probably unrealistically high standards about “doing the right thing”, and IMHO, these people are the ones being jerks. If we lived in your area, I would happily come over and pick fruit in exchange for what promises to be a good $100-$200 in free fruit, but then again, we understand the concept of working for a living. So many people don’t, and when you suggest they work, they get insulted. After all, why shouldn’t you just pick all of the fruit yourself and then call them over to come and get it for free?

    • I agree. And, don’t some people enjoy picking fruit? There is an apple orchard in my town and people pay to go and pick fruit!

      • Holly, when read Laurie’s comment, her response resonated with me . I never imagined that there probably is a group of people out there who don’t look in the jobs section, just the Barter section for freebies. Hmm, sounds like those folks are tightwads more than frugal, and maybe afraid of breaking out in a sweat. You are right!

  10. Those are so pretty angry people. It sounded to me like your request was reasonable (and a good deal, considering the price of pears around here). Oh well – shrug it off as craziness :)

    And I’m jealous of your fruit trees . . we considered planting some here, but decided against it since we’re hoping to move in a few years.

  11. This is why I never post anything on craigslist. There are some crazy nut jobs there. They took time out of their pathetic lives to respond to an ad which they had no interest in taking.

  12. Perfectly reasonable posting and request. You simply asked for help in exchange for pears.

    Remember, you can’t compete against stupid. Stupidity has no limits.

  13. Uh, I’m an economist, so I think that’s totally normal. People can either figure it’s worth it or not. No emotion necessary. But economists are kind of the assholes of the social science world, so what do I know.

    • I know what you mean, though. If it’s worth it, then come over and pick pears. If not, keep scrolling craigslist! No crazy email necessary!

  14. Umm you aren’t an asshole, the responders are assholes. Haven’t they ever heard of U Picks? They’re very common around here (farm country). The farmer grows the fruit/berries, you come and pick them yourself and PAY for them. This is pretty much exactly the same, except they are paying with labour instead of actual cash.

    Some people just love meddling, don’t let it bug you!

  15. Your offer was completely reasonable! I am shocked that people would act that way about it. Are you supposed to just give all your fruit away for free to strangers? Personally if I was going to give my food away it would be to friends or family members, not random Craigslist folk.

    I think the people insulting you were being the assholes. They were just looking for free fruit and were upset they’d actually have to pick it themselves to get it. Fu**ing A$$holes.

  16. I, like several other readers, read that you simply wanted to borrow the equipment to either do or share in the picking. The only thing I can think is that someone was thinking you had an actual farm and were trying to “hire” people….but that doesn’t even make sense given the add. People are dumb. You’re not an asshole.

    • I know!

      Maybe I just didn’t word my ad right. I definitely don’t have a farm, just some random trees that get fruit every couple of years.

  17. Wow, that’s just nuts. First off, you’re not an asshole, or lazy by any means. If I saw something like that and had the ladder and such my wife would have me out the door in a heartbeat. It just never ceases to amaze me how some people will waste their time and just be absolute haters. What’s the point? Has life really treated you THAT bad that you feel the need to pull stunts like responding like that? That said, CL is full of crazies. We’ve met a few in our time selling stuff on it.

  18. Wow I can’t believe people got mad over that. People are scary.

  19. These keyboard warriors are the assholes. They won’t spend a few hours to get perhaps $100 of fruit, but they will spend the same time roaming cyberspace to spread hate and negativity in the name of defending other people.

    On a lighter note, I love fruit and would pick your trees clean…if I had a ladder…and lived in America.

  20. I think you are neither an asshole nor lazy. I can’t imagine what is going through these people’s heads. You didn’t say you weren’t going to do any of the work, just that you didn’t have the equipment. I think your proposal was a fair one.

  21. No you’re not an *sshole, Holly. You just needed help and there was nothing wrong with that.

  22. If you need help next time, Holly, try TaskRabbit.com or Zaarly.com.

  23. As with commenters that are trolls, there are trolls in real life as well. You just have to take the bad apples (pears?!) with the good ones.

    I wouldn’t let it bother you too much. You’ve had a pretty pent up week (see your last article ;)) so I’d say breathe easy and move forward from their negativity.

    Today is a bright and sunny day so go out take a deep breath and enjoy one of those delicious looking pears.

    The Warrior
    NetWorthWarrior.com

  24. Some nerve huh, not so much. I say getting half the pears is only fair. I think it’s people like the responder to your ad that make it easy for us to lose faith in humanity some times! Nope, you’re not an asshole, you’re awesome!

  25. Holly! It was damn near impossible not to click on that title. I often find myself asking the same question, then I promptly carry on with the business of being a perfect asshole.

    Let it be said that if you are an asshole, Holly, the world certainly needs more assholes. Of course your offer is reasonable and even if someone found it unreasonable, the best course of action might be to scroll down to the next ad. Some of us have far too much time on our hands and far too narrow minds. It is obvious who the assholes are in this case. Have a splashy one!!!

  26. How dare you ask us to comment on what we think of you for free! What an asshole! :)

    Just kidding of course!! I personally feel that you did not ask for anything untoward and that maybe those texters and CL commenters need to get a life!

    I have basically given up on CL and while there are many decent folks using it, the few crazies truly spoil the original intent of Craigslist. Sad but true.

    So to wrap this up…NO…you are not an asshole! Although, if you don’t send me any pears, may have to change my mind :)

    Take care and all the best.

    Lyle

  27. I didn’t know that you felt so entitled! ;) Just kidding. I read the ad the same way. If it is in the bartering section, then that is what it is. This is what happens when you let the general public talk to each other behind computers. People talk trash to others. I would have responded to that individual asking them to meet me and then we could talk it out. If you know what I mean. Sometimes you just have to beat some ass in order to get dumb asses to change their mind.!

  28. Wow. That is flipping crazy. I agree that your ad was pretty clearly stating (in all caps, no less) than you wanted to borrow equipment. Even if someone thinks it’s a raw deal, why go through the trouble of announcing that fact. Does this kind of person also walk into car dealerships and fancy restaurants to bitch out the owners for charging too much?

  29. There are just some odd people on the internet. I sold a pair of Jim’s shoes on Ebay once. It was plainly listed that they were used and there were lots of pictures. Some guy bought them for $5. They were Skechers, so a pretty good deal. Well he left a bad feedback because they were used. I replied in a very nice way reminding him that the listing said they were used, but I would be happy to refund his money if he sent them back. He replied that I was a horrible, pitiful person and he’d rather give them to a homeless person that waste his time on me! OK, someone needs a little therapy.

    That is exciting about your fruit. We have a few trees, but they are pretty young and have only given me one peach so far.

  30. CL is good for some things, but definitely attracts some cray-cray folks. That was a great alternative to post it on FB, and those pears look delicious!

  31. Wow, I guess these people didn’t read your post correctly! You were clearly offering to do the picking yourself. Haha, some people will take any chance they can to yell at others for no reason. Glad you were able to work something else out, those pears look delicious!

  32. It didn’t even once strike me, as I was reading, that you are lazy or that the offer was anything less than a great deal for both parties. What weenies those people are!

    Yeah, yeah, people are generally nice and all that….not sure I agree with that because when they are safely anonymous the real “them” really comes out. Ugh.

    I love the idea of people not buying so many tools and sharing them more often. We often wonder why every home has a lawnmower, rakes, etc. when it would be so much more cost-effective to share!

    • Exactly. We don’t need to have every tool that’s out there, or fruitpicking equipment. I don’t see anything wrong with borrowing, trading, or bartering.

  33. Maybe, I would have worded it differently. For example, “free fruit, bring your own ladder”. I do not see anything wrong with it. There were places, I remember doing the same when I was a kid.

  34. Wow! That’s just nuts! You’re definitely not an asshole. I guess people were just pissed they were mislead by “FREE” because they needed to share equipment and couldn’t have all the pears to themselves? Crazies on Craigslist!

  35. People are so weird and rude! It sounded like a good deal to me!!!

  36. Your deal was perfectly fine. Those people who messages you sounds stupid and weird. Anyways enjoy the pears and have a great weekend

  37. Totally reasonable post, and funniest headline ever! You are getting a ton of comments, Holly! A full time job answering!

  38. Wow! Do people not have better things to do than take the time to send you insulting emails/texts? I mean – really. If they were offended by your offer – fine, whatever. Move on with your day. But to take the time to harass you? They are the jerks, not you. I think your ad seemed reasonable to me.

  39. That’s really funny. When people get that mad about stuff like that, it makes me laugh a little… okay, a lot. I don’t think you did anything wrong.

  40. I don’t see anything wrong with asking someone who has experience with picking fruit in order to get free fruit. I immediately thought after reading the post that those people are jealous. The tree is on your property so you have first dibs to the fruit. I have noticed a big entitlement issue when people use the word free in this country.

  41. Oh man, the nerve of some people! I think your request is totally acceptable and it wouldn’t occur to me to label you as an a$%hole because of it. It sounds like some people were complaining about having to pick fruit in order for it to be free, and yet they call you lazy?! This is one of those situations where humanity disappoints me, but it’s wrong to judge an entire species on a few Craigslist responders. PS: I would love free pears and apples. Do you live near Colorado? :)

  42. You said nothing wrong – perfectly reasonable ad. Don’t feel bad for a second! You could put the ad in another section; give a hot mail address to reach you at instead of your cell phone number or change the wording slightly or call some kind of fruit equipment person/company and make a deal short term or long term bartering deal. There are a lot of people in the world with different opinions on how the world works or should work.

  43. I bet the crazy people who commented about your offer, were super lazy people who were just after getting things for free without working for it; and then when they realized that wouldn´t happen, they started attacking you for ruining their plan to exploit you. Silly people!

  44. Your ad was perfectly appropriate. If someone is not interested in your proposal, they just should not respond. You really have to question the mentality of people that take the time to reply to you in hurtful, negative ways. I had a negative experience myself with Craig’s List a few years ago (not worth going into the details). Needless to say, I haven’t had the nerve to use it since. BTW, I have several peach trees on my property line. I noticed that my neighbor (a woman who does not care to interact with any neighbors) was trying to use her pool net to “scoop” some peaches from over the fence (none of the fruit was hanging over her property)! She wasn’t successful in her attempt, but she did manage to entertain my indoor cats for quite a while. I’m debating whether I should anonymously leave a basket of peaches by her doorstep!

    • LOL! That is a great idea!!!!!

      That’s funny that she was trying to steal your peaches with her pool net. I bet you popped a bag of popcorn and sat back and laughed! Ha!

  45. Craigslist is a magnet for cuckoo people to respond to things in ways that totally don’t make sense! Your ad was fine, Holly! The people that negatively responded to you, are the ones with a serious problem :)

  46. Linda Bradshaw says:

    We had a lady in our town who posted that people could come and pick all the ones they wanted. She said there was no need to come knock on the door. You come, you pick, you can have. I went and saw she had a lot that was on the ground all rotted so I took and picked all of them up and put them around her tree for her to clean up her yard because she allowed me to come pick my own.

  47. I would have lost the plot… I think you should sign the number up for several ‘callback’ services for loans, eyetests, insurance etc. ;)

  48. What is wrong with people? The anonymity of the Internet makes people feel like they are holier than thou, you were clearly dealing with some real nuts.

  49. Wow that is crazy! And I love how they criticize you but use text speak to insult you. Excellent. I thought that was totally fine. If people are upset about it, just ignore the damn ad!

  50. You are most certainly not an asshole. In fact, the other people are assholes. If they didn’t want to take the deal then they should have just not emailed!

  51. I don’t see anything wrong with your ad. Those people were just so narrow-minded and they are the assholes.

  52. Honestly, I don’t see what the whole fuss was about? You did say you want to “borrow a ladder and equipment in exchange for fruit”. Not “make someone go up there using their own ladder and equipment to pick it up for you and then get half of it”. Perhaps people have misconstrued what you intended to say. Not sure. Weird, yeah.

  53. Wow! Those people are nuts!

    That’s really cool that you have some fruit trees. Have you done any canning before? Maybe some pear chutney?!?

  54. I think there are a group of people constantly on “attack mode” when it comes to free gigs. I would happily help out for free fruit, but it there are always people who want more.

    If there are many you can’t reach, there are sometimes food bank groups that come and harvest them for charity. They don’t give you a share, but if you’re not eating them, it’s a great way to help out the community.

  55. Your offer was fair and you did nothing wrong.

    A similar thing happened to me recently too by the way (on a similar site to CL). I kept my add up and got what I wanted from someone who felt my offer was fair.

    Some people are just bored / crazy / weird and don’t let one person or a couple of people worry you. If they aren’t interested in your ad they should just move on and let the people who are respond to it.

  56. I think that is totally reasonable and I would have done something similar if I was in your situation. I hope the fruit is delicious!

  57. Do people really have nothing better to do than read Craigslist posts and send out snappy comments? One thing I really hate about the Internet is that everyone feels entitled to be a tough guy, beat their chest, and say whatever crap comes to mind no matter how rude it is.

    The ironic thing about all this is that what you’re asking is exactly what any business proposes. For example, when I go to work and broker a million dollar project, do I get a cut of that million? NO! I get whatever I get paid. The owners get all the profit because it is their company; their assets. Not mine. Similarly your pear tree is yours and you were simply paying an “employee” in pears. There was nothing wrong there.

  58. Holly, you were very much reasonable in putting up that ad in craiglist. There are seriously some people who does not understand internet etiquette. I am happy that you could get so many mouthwatering fresh pears from your tree.

  59. What would be a good way to get revenge on this annoying person? Even just for fun

  60. Wow! Seriously, some people on Craigslist are insane losers! Don’t let the negative AH get to you. Your ad was perfect. I know a lot people (myself included) who would’ve loved the opportunity to receive free organic fruit for a little shared labor.

  61. Don’t let the hate get to you. I had two great experiences in the free Craigslist section. I needed landscaping rocks and two guys were trying to clear some out. We spoke about people helping others out creating positive experiences. Sorry to hear about your bad experience!

  62. LOL…you have the best posts! I don’t think you are being unreasonable at all. It is your tree after all and you are giving away free fruit for the labor. It’s not like you aren’t paying the person. What’s the big deal? People can really be so judgmental. Your only problem would be a lawsuit if the person hurt themselves on your property….which could have been a real possibility! My husband and I answered an ad like that on CL one time…we had to pick grapefruits and oranges using their equipment and we got to keep everything! I would have totally given the owners some if they wanted it. I still have the keepsake pictures of our fruit picking.

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