I got suckered by the oldest trick in the book.
I have an IBM Selectric typewriter that I bought at a Goodwill store for three bucks. The Selectric was the Cadillac of typewriters back in the day; every office with the money to pay for quality typewriters had Selectrics. When I found mine at Goodwill, I thought maybe the price tag was a misprint, but no. They really sold it to me for three bucks. Best Goodwill find ever.
What’s really cool about the Selectric is you can change the font by swapping out the golfball-sized ‘typing element’ in the machine. It’s not possible to buy typing elements in any store that I know of these days, but they’re easy to find on internet sites like ebay and etsy. The Selectric I found came with an element, so I wasn’t really all that concerned about buying more, but it’s not a very good-looking font, so this morning I asked the Google to show me a website that had examples of all the fonts made for Selectrics, because of course there’s a web site for that. After looking at all the fonts that would work on my particular Selectric, I search for the font that was most pleasing to my eye. Turned out there were quite a few typing elements in that style to chose from.
While trying to decide which ebay offer to respond to, I noticed that one seller was offering what looked like about three dozen elements for ten dollars. Maybe someone who was cleaning out dad’s basement and just wanted to get rid of them? A close examination of the accompanying photo revealed several fonts I would be happy with, so I clicked “buy it now,” paid my ten dollars and patted myself on the back for being so lucky.
It wasn’t long before I got an email from the seller: “Please indicate which typing element you want.” What? I checked the offer again: Although the photo showed dozens of elements, the text of the offer said, “IBM Selectric II (1) typing element.” One. He was selling just one. Well, crap.
So I asked for the one I wanted, and for a back-up in case he didn’t have that. And now I wait to find out if he sends me the one I asked for or if he throws a random element in the box and sends it off to me.