The bizarro world of buying & selling on Craigslist

by Diana on May 26, 2009 · 4 comments

in Back to Philly

My husband and I decided to take our girls to Disneyland before we move to Philadelphia.  In spite of the economy, we decided to go ahead and splurge.  None of the amusement parks near Philadelphia is like Disneyland, and we have no idea when we’ll get to Florida, though we would love to get there to check out The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at some point after it opens in 2010.

But it’s a small fortune to take a family of four to Disneyland, and we don’t have any of our birthdays coming up in time so that one of us can go in for free in order to save at least a little money.

So, we decided that we would sell some things on Craigslist and that we’d put the proceeds toward our Disneyland trip.  We are also on the prowl for boxes and a couple of other things that we want to buy on Craigslist.

Easier said than done.  Craigslist is unpredictable, to say the least.

Here is a little list of my Craigslist lessons:

*Mostly, the e-mails I send for items I would like to buy go unanswered. Why do people put ads up and then not answer their e-mails?  I don’t get it.  Ditto for the e-mails I send in response to e-mails I get for the ads I’ve placed.  People express avid interest in an item, and then when I respond, then they can’t take a minute to say they’ve found something else or that they’ve lost interest?  I’m not sure what the lesson is, except to not count on anyone to get back to you.

*I placed an ad for these super heavy carved stone lamps I got from my step-father years ago when he first moved in with my mother.  There was a flurry of e-mails, and they all said they were very serious about the stone lamps, but I felt obliged to respond to them in a first come, first served fashion.  But every time I exchanged e-mails with the first woman who had responded, she said she was serious, but then she had more questions, like, “Are the lamps more yellow or more white?  The pictures you sent don’t really show the color too well.”  Suffice it to say, the lamps were yellowish white, and the pictures showed that just fine.  I did my best to answer all her questions, and finally I was able to set up a time for this woman to come all the way down from Ventura to see the stinking lamps.  In the meantime, I had to put two other serious buyers on hold, just because I wanted to stick to my original plan of first come, first served.  Well, to my amazement, the Ventura woman actually stood us up and never bothered to call to cancel her appointment with us.  My husband waited all afternoon for this lady.  Nevermind that we weren’t sure if she was OK, if she got lost on the way to our home, or what.  Finally, I just decided that she was a flake, and I called the next woman on my list. She came right over and was so excited to get the lamps because they went perfectly with her decor.  I had wanted to sell to this woman all along because she was so upbeat and charming in her e-mails, so I’m glad she got the lamps in the end.  My lesson was that next time I’ll go with my gut instead of worrying about first come, first served.  

* I wanted to replace a missing hubcap on my Matrix, and I found a scratched up one for $10 on Craigslist.  Perfect!  I figured that the others are scratched up, so they might as well have a scratched up friend to match.  So, I set up a time to meet the hubcap owner in her town, which was kind of far from mine.  Later in the day, she kindly contacted me to let me know that she had decided to spend the night with a friend in a town closer to mine and that I could pick up the hubcap there.  That was nice, I thought.  And so I headed out the next morning, as agreed, and knocked on her friend’s door at 9:30 a.m.  There was no answer.  I waited a couple of minutes and heard stirring inside the apartment.  A young woman stuck her head out the door, and it was clear I had woken her up.  I apologized and said that I had come for the hubcap.  From inside the apartment, I heard more stirring, and then a sleepy voice that said, “Oh, the Craigslist person.  Right, sorry.  Let me put on some pants.”  So I lingered outside of the apartment, trying to look casual, and then another young woman came out of the apartment in a t-shirt, jeans and flip-flops.  She was carrying some car keys.  I realized that she must have left the hubcap in her car.  As we walked to the car, we chatted, and I thanked her for bringing the hubcap to a town closer to mine.  She said it was no problem and then explained that she and her friend had gone to a birthday party the night before and that it had gotten a little wild.  Then I noticed that there was something red smeared on one of her feet.  I thought of the party and thought, Is that ketchup?  Had they been dancing in ketchup?  But what it really looked like was blood.  I was freaked out but determined to get the bargain hubcap, which I did.   And it looks perfect.  The Craigslist lesson?  Beats me.  Don’t dance in ketchup, I guess.

*Another hubcap story.  I was looking for hubcaps for my Corolla too.  I sent an e-mail to someone in South Pasadena because that is a town very near to my workplace.  Of all crazy things, the person who answered my e-mail was one of the teachers at my school!  This cracked both of us up, of course.  He brought the hubcaps to work, but they didn’t fit my car.  No lesson here, except that you never know who you’re gonna meet on Craigslist.

And that’s it for now.  Through Craigslist we have made a little money towards our Disneyland trip, and we’ve met a few nice people who have made our moving load a little lighter.


1 PlanetSpinz May 31, 2009 at 9:01 am

Craig’s list policy should be first one with the money gets the item

2 Cocoa Fly May 31, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Are you selling a TV by any chance?

3 Diana June 1, 2009 at 7:55 am

Well, I don’t know … you never know what we might start selling now that we have seen what the cost of bubblewrap is. Grrr. I’ll let you know if we do. :-)

4 Cocoa Fly June 1, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Bubble wrap is expensive! Who would’ve known. I’m looking to buy a smaller TV so let me know.

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