Job For Rent

#42 Real Estate Man

Brian Dickens Barrabee
2 min readJul 13, 2020


Photo by Maurice Williams on Unsplash

What would you do if you ran an advertisement for a 1 bedroom apartment and someone called and said they wanted it, sight unseen, but thought it was a job? The scenario is so bizarre that it’s hard to follow, hey?

The Internet changed the way people advertised housing. Craig’s List was the pioneer in 1995. It was the first successful online market place that brought buyer and seller together for all types of commerce from sex to housing and most everything in between. Since then online commerce has expanded dramatically. Names like Amazon, Ebay, Zillow, Trulia and on and on……

Before that, to rent an apartment, to buy or sell a property Real Estate Man and most everyone else relied on the print media.

Real Estate Man’s story:

I had an inexpensive apartment for rent in the up-and-coming neighborhood of the Art Museum in Center City, Philadelohia. I placed an add in the main Philadelphia newspaper ,The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Art Museum: Large 1 Bedroom, Living room, Seperate eat in Kitchen, Lots of closet space, hardwood floors: heat, electricity included: $450 per month: 215–496–0184

I usually double checks the ads placed in the paper the afternoon prior (before deadline). Occasionally there’s an incorrect price or fact and it’s good to get the error straightened out right away. Upon arriving in the office that day the phone rang before I could even begin my routine of examining the paper for accuracy.

ME: “Hello?”

Caller: “I want the job!”

Me (confused): “What job?”

Caller: “The one in the paper this morning!”

Me (continuing to be confused): “ What does the job ad say?”

Caller: “It pays $450 per month, has 1 bedroom, living room, separate kitchen, lots of closets, includes heat and electricity!”

Having purchased the morning paper, I scuffled to find the ad to which the caller was referring; thinking that the caller was either sadly mistaken or — crazy? His description sounded a lot like the 1 bedroom apartment in the Art Museum!

There it was; the real estate ad for the apartment misplaced under the employment section. The caller was right — -to a degree.

Real Estate Man (confusion now turning to curiosity): “What do you think is involved with this job?”

Caller (resolutely): “I don’t know but I want it!”

Over the years, I’ve occasionally kicked this interchange around in my mind. I’m convinced the caller was serious about wanting the job that really was an apartment. Sometimes I wish I’d invited the guy into the office and interviewed him.

Maybe I’ll look him up, he’s probably in Washington DC now.



Brian Dickens Barrabee

Very much involved with the world and likes nothing better than writing about its absurdities. Award winning author who guarantees a laugh or two a story.