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Karma Cleanser 

Will it come back to bite you?

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I recently bought a couch on Craigslist. The person who sold it to me was asking $150 plus a $30 delivery fee.

When I went to see the couch, I offered her $100. She accepted, saying she'd rather get rid of it quickly than wait for someone to pay more. I took this to mean she accepted that I would pay her $100 total.

However, when I came with my boyfriend to help her load it in her truck (we did all the heavy lifting while she stood aside), she asked me for the delivery fee. I didn't have any money on me because I thought everything was paid for. When we'd driven the six blocks to my house and my boyfriend and I unloaded the couch (again, she did almost nothing), I told her I'd mail her a check.

She's e-mailed me to demand the money. But now that I've had some time to reflect on the situation, I think she mislead me and just wants to try to get more money out of me. I put a $15 check in the mail because I think that's fair for spending 20 minutes standing around and then driving six blocks. It seems like there was some miscommunication because we both think we're in the right.

Is this going to come back to bite me the next time I try to sell something online?

-- Broke But Honest

Yours is the second Craigslist-related letter we've received in as many days, which implies that the great hand of karma must be updating its bookmarks. Sadly, we'll have to side with the seller: your time to renegotiate the delivery fee was before the transaction, not after. Make amends by posting something dear to you in the "free stuff" section, or else by just paying the chick her other $15.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

A friend from high school was diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, she is expected to make a full recovery. The day that she told me her bad news, I happened to be watching Oprah and saw a segment on this new DVD, The Secret. I thought its message of hope might cheer her up, so I sent her a copy.

Now, I did not watch the whole DVD first, but apparently it includes a portion saying that if you get sick, it's because your thoughts brought the sickness on yourself. When my friend saw this, she became uncomfortable because she thought I was saying that to her. I didn't mean to imply that at all. Does no good deed go unpunished?

-- Blame It On Oprah

We haven't seen the DVD either, though we have read one of the related texts, The Law of Attraction. Seems the basic message is that good thoughts attract more good thoughts, as do bad. Trying to comfort your sick friend definitely deserves some good karma points, though maybe you should just stick with Hallmark the next time around.

Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.

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