Picked up a brilliant bargain on Craigslist, or other small-ads site on the Internet, recently? Did you worry about getting ripped off, stabbed, or abducted when you arranged to meet up and pay? Perhaps the seller telling you to ‘meet behind the last dumpster down that dark alley’ set off a few alarm bells? Worry no longer, Internet shopper, because for your safety Internet Purchase Exchange Locations are here.
Or at least, they are in Bellingham, Massachusetts. It’s a special spot where you can arrange to meet safely, because it’s monitored by the local police to make sure deals are completed with both sides leaving happily, in one piece, and crucially, alive. It’s also a considerably more impressive sounding name than the actual location. Announced via the Bellingham police force’s official Facebook page, the Internet Purchase Exchange Location is really the station’s car park, which happens to be under continuous video surveillance.
“With the increasing popularity of Facebook yard sales and other buying and selling apps BPD has decided to offer the use of our parking lot to conduct such exchanges,” the post says, adding, “Please don’t meet strangers at private residences or in areas that you are unfamiliar with.” An image showing a rather noticeable sign designating the car park as a Purchase Exchange Location has been posted alongside the announcement.
While we may make light of Bellingham PD’s efforts, it’s an extremely good idea, and one which other departments would be wise to implement. Seeing as traveling hundreds, or possibly thousands, of miles to take advantage of Bellingham’s Internet Purchase Exchange Location may be inconvenient for non-locals.
If you don’t live in an area with the foresight to create such a handy location, don’t despair. It’s highly unlikely any police department is going to refuse you use of its car park to make exactly this type of transaction, whether it has the fancy sign up or not. Just make sure to check at the desk when you arrive, after setting up the location with the friendly seller or buyer.