Shame on you, John Harlan – Part 4 (of 5)

January 26, 2011

Bad ideas, John Harlan, Lauren, Lloyd

Note: You might want to read part 1, part 2 and part 3 first.

Okay, are you ready for this?

So, lots of time went by and I had kind of forgotten about the whole monitor situation. Then one evening we came home and there was a sticker on the door from FedEx saying that they had a package to deliver that required a signature. I asked Lloyd what it was and he said it was the monitor.


The problem was that we weren’t getting home until after 6, so no one could sign for it. We left a note for the FedEx guy asking if he could deliver it to my work.

The next day – he did!


He brought it to the CDC at noon; I signed for it; he put the big box in the entryway and I went back to the classroom. At naptime I went to go open it up. As I carried it into the kitchen I thought it was a little light, but thought that maybe John Harlan and Lloyd had worked something out and he was only returning some of the parts.

I opened it up and saw this:

It was one of those ‘time stood still’ kind of things because my director was right there and I had been explaining the whole ‘broken-monitor-sold-then-claimed-to-be-cracked-then-returned’ thing and as I’m digging through layers of packing materials – mostly packing materials that we had used to wrap the monitor – I’m realizing that there are NO monitor parts in here.


Then I found this at the bottom of the box:

Yes, people. That is a jug full of water that John Harlan put in the box to give it some weight.

I will pause for a moment to honor first, your sympathetic shock, then, your sympathetic seething.




Yes, John Harlan (johnslcdrepair, johnhis11_computers, xhd3000repairman43560 and computerguru43560 on eBay) mailed back a box full of packing material and water and I signed for it!! I was aghast, and then I was livid. I held up the jug to show my director and I believe I called John Harlan some bad, bad names.

I couldn’t believe it! People really do this?!? I walked around quietly venting to everyone about the situation (quietly, because it was naptime) and then called Lloyd. When I told him about the water, he said, “Did you open the box in front of the FedEx guy?” Well, of course, I didn’t! How was I supposed to know that treachery was afoot? Up until now I had been leading a blissful, non-villain-tainted life! Of course, as soon I signed for the package, PayPal knew that John had “returned the monitor”, so they closed the claim and he got his money back.

I kept venting and Lloyd said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.”

It wasn’t about the loss of money for me at all, it was about JUSTICE and – ok – REVENGE. I wanted to fly to Ohio and ring this guy’s neck doorbell and say, “Hello? Did your mother raise you to be a jerk? If so, she did a bang-up job.” I thought about many awful things to do to get even, but here’s the thing – I’m not a bad person like John Harlan of Sylvania, Ohio, so I only think them, I will not actually do them.

Instead, I’ll… tell you the end of the story tomorrow.

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About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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37 Responses to “Shame on you, John Harlan – Part 4 (of 5)”

  1. Peggy Said on:


    And I hope I can refrain from jumping on a plane to Ohio myself before I get to read the ending…Friday is sooo far away!

    In the meantime, I’ll rest in these words: “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.”


  2. Jill Said on:

    YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!! Who DOES that?!? Wow. Just…wow. I’m with you Lauren, let’s get the pitchforks.

    Btw, Peggy, we should go to bed. It’s kinda late.


  3. Lauren Said on:

    Surely you ladies weren’t staying up for the next installment of SOYJH, were you? 😉


  4. Brad Said on:

    How weird. He’s not anonymous. I would feel bad doing something like that to someone anonymously. But to have them know who I was and do it? Inconceivable.


  5. Mark Said on:

    One count wire fraud.
    One count mail fraud.

    Seriously. Call the FBI office in Lincoln. Schedule an appointment with field agent in the wire/mail fraud unit (go to them, dont’ ask them to come to you.) Take EVERYTHING with you.

    Tell your story and ask if this is something they feel they should look into. If you don’t get satisfaction, ask who the next agency you should speak to would be. Perhaps the Postmaster General?


    • Beth Said on:

      I’m with Mark. This isn’t just someone being a jerk. This is John Harlan doing something illegal.


    • Mark Said on:

      Okay, I had asked Lauren in a private message to pull my earlier comment; but, I’ve changed my mind after re-reading the story and realizing he received is money back from PayPal.

      This is theft. Deceptive theft. Because it occurred across state lines and involved electronic communications and now the use of the US Postal Service, I think a case could be made for mail and wire fraud. Maybe tomorrow’s post will have PayPal and eBay riding to the rescue, refunding the money back to Lloyd and Lauren.

      There is another issue. In a previous post, you shared a message from John Harlan offered to send you (electronically) information that could serve as the basis for an insurance/reimbursement claim with the post office. That’s sounds suspiciously like conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, scheming to get money from the post office for undocumented, unprovable damages.

      Seward is a small town. I’ll bet you could go down to the post office and have a nice conversation with the postmaster there and she what he/she thinks about all this. Could be a useful person to have available if the FBI takes an interest in this case.

      This guy deserves to spend a little time in the custody of Uncle Sam; or at least have the fear of God put into him through a personal visit from a couple of special agents.


      • Karla Said on:

        Does this involve the US Postal System if FedEx and UPS were the shippers? I’m not trying to be a smart aleck, I’m honestly curious.

        BTW, I think Mark should go with you to the office in Lincoln.


        • Mark Said on:

          Sorry. I misread UPS (United Parcel Service) as USPS (United States Postal Service). So mail fraud may be out, but conspiracy to commit insurance fraud may not be. Rather than talking to the local Postmaster, a person could contact the legal department a UPS and provide the content of John’s message to Lloyd, the photographs and some of the other evidence pointing to a suspicion that the monitor was not broken or damaged in transit from Seward to Ohio.

          The downside is that UPS is not owned by the government; so a conspiracy to commit fraud is against a private corporation and not a government agency. UPS may laugh at the whole thing.


    • Mark Said on:

      BTW, my corporate law textbook has this definition for FRAUD:

      “Any intentional deception another in reliance upon the deception to part with some property or money. Fraud may involve false representation of fact (the PACKAGE damaged in transit, but the MONITOR was not -- or not so badly that it could not be repaired); false allegations (the monitor WAS NOT damaged at all and John reported falsely that it was); omission, especially fiduciary; or concealment of something that should have been disclosed (John damaged the monitor himself, but was laying the blame at the feet of UPS).”

      The fact that he used this particular strategy to close the dispute and receive a refund without returning the monitor to Lloyd is theft. He stole the monitor. He also violated a binding contract involving eBay.

      Another strategy would be to haul his little behind into civil court and sue him for violating that contract. You could demand both compensatory damages (the original agreed upon purchase price plus shipping costs and any legal fees), plus punitive damages (to discourage him from doing it again to someone else). To defend himself, he would have to produce hard evidence (photos, or the monitor) proving that the monitor was damaged and return the original monitor to Lloyd (BTW, I hope you have the serial number for that unit written down somewhere).


  6. Kristi Said on:

    Oooh, this is wrong on so many levels! You’re gonna stick it to that nasty John Harlan, right? I can’t wait to hear how Lloyd is going to take care of it.


  7. Rae Said on:

    Curioustiy -- is this the same box that you used to mail the monitor? If it is, I thought that it was supposed to have been all but destroyed in the first shipping… Let’s hope the guy wasn’t that dumb, or maybe we should hope that he WAS.


  8. Quiana Said on:

    I actually gasped when I saw the bottle of water.

    What a terrible thing to do! I can’t believe someone would do that.

    I don’t know why, but I am shocked on a regular basis by bad behavior. I never get used to it.

    Go get ’em!


  9. Curt Said on:

    Earmuffs children. Wow, what a bleeping bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!!! Sorry I had to say it. He is lucky we (The LloydandLaren Family) don’t partake in the traditional mafia business approach. Otherwise we’d be making a trip to Ohio.


  10. Karla Said on:

    With all the intrique in this story, I’m starting to think the only thing missing is a letter to the editor written by Lloyd.


  11. Mark Said on:

    HEY!! Make sure you save that water jug!! If it’s a store brand milk jug, and the brand is available in Ohio but not Nebraska, you’ve got a piece of evidence showing that Mr. Harlan put it in the box.


  12. christina Said on:

    Maybe we should find out who John Harlan’s mother is and tell her how dishonest her son is…..for shame John Harlan (johnslcdrepair and computerguru43560 on eBay)


  13. CousinSam Said on:

    Thank God for John Harlan. This is the most interesting thing to “happen” to me or anyone I’ve ever met. This saved us from TV dinners toasty warm and Art Shot Saturday. Downside Brad can only get one lesson planned in a 15 hour snow day because of all this excitement.


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