Monday, March 28, 2011

Serious Inquiries Will Include a Pulse

Craigslist. Everyone knows it, many of us brave types use it. I’ve been on it for years and considering that, you’d think the alarming number of idiots in the world really wouldn’t shock me anymore. But I suppose I still hold out hope that we haven’t started to drink butter and watch the crotch punching channel as a society. Sadly though, most of the time, that hope is radically challenged when it comes to craigslist.

I’m not one of those people who makes people jump through hoops for the items I list, I mean in general if I have something you want then it seems reasonable you’ll offer to do a little hoop jumping of your own.  And I suppose we both have something the other wants, right?  You have the cash, I have the goods and when those two wondrous things come together in a glorious exchange the world can be a beautifully simple place.

Problem is we have to get there first.

I added a couple lines to the end of my listings recently, at the suggestion of a friend who is a craigslist platinum elite member at this point; she suggested adding a request for a phone number. I never used to ask for a phone number because, frankly, I really dislike calling strange people from the internet. Email works just fine for me. But her point was that those people would show they were serious and I could weed out the riff-raff that way. Good point. I still communicate by email but now if there’s no number attached in the message. Delete.

So a typical listing will come up looking something like this:

AWESOME piece of furniture that I tell you all about it in the title - $uper freaking cheap ass price - The town you’ll be picking it up in

Awesome furniture includes:
Every single detail about it that I can cram into 5 lines so
A) you don’t get bored & stop reading and
B) you get the full impact of what you’re buying so
C) we don’t waste each other’s time with useless emails

Measurements are:
Always included so you” x know what you’re buying”

Then I always say this word for word:
If it’s still listed then it’s still available, serious inquiries will include a phone number when responding. Cash only. Pick up only.

And sometimes, depending on the item, I’ll also say PRICE IS FIRM.

Finally, you get these lovely pictures (usually 2-3) so you have a pretty clear understanding of what you’re getting before you even get here to pick it up.

Not a big deal right? I mean the most average person on the planet could figure it out. Couldn’t they? I mean, doesn’t it seem reasonable that people would infer the following information from my listings:

1. What you’re buying.
2. If I’ll accept your offer of $15 on a $375 item.
3. The fact that, no, despite your repeated attempts to tell me how new you are to the area, I don’t run a delivery service.
4. That you should include a phone number.  I mean, unless of course you want me to laugh at your email and post about it on my blog.
5. That $10000 money order sounds great so if you'd just go ahead and cash it before you get here I'd be more than happy to alleviate you of the burden of your extra money.  I know its tough being a Nigerian Prince sometimes.

But I still get responses like this one…

“I like to know more about [item link] please reply with your phone number.

No, Dotty with no last name and a subject line that reads “hi” but says nothing about the item I’m selling, thank you. Because it’s so much easier to just delete your sorry excuse for spam, scam, phishing or whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish by me clicking on that link, than to spin my wheels and waste my time writing back to you when I was the one who asked for a phone number first.

Picture me sticking my tongue out at fake Dotty while I don’t reply to her request for that information.  Nee-ner nee-ner!

My all time favorite from last week though was the “guy” (which I apply air quotes to because seriously, its craigslist and who really knows who you’re talking to. Hell I even sign Matt’s name half the time because no one really needs to think that a cute girl lives all by herself. Because I don’t. But I digress…) who told me that he wasn’t feeling very well that day and that he didn’t think he’d be able to make it from his house in the northeast part of Massachusetts until Sunday morning, and that the earlier the better because he had things going on that day.

Um, really? Yeah it was Monday when I got that email, so if you really anticipate being sick all week then I don’t want your infected ass in my house anyway. Plus dude, I'd like to reiterate that I have the item you want to buy but I spend my Sunday mornings either sleeping off my hangover or watching infomercials.  So either be here at 6:30 on Tuesday evening like we discussed in our first email correspondence, or just don’t show up like almost everyone else does. Geesh.

The good news, if we can take some well learned lessons out of all this, is that I have managed to sell a few things because there are actually people out there who use craigslist as a means to buy and sell items that they really truly want in their home or otherwise. A couple cabinets and some lawn furniture is already out the door. I’ll sell some big ticket items too like the paint sprayer that, despite being hopeful I could use it, I know I never will.

But when you respond to the listing I strongly encourage you to omit including a phone number and then definitely ask me to drop it off for you, that you’ll have a check waiting for me when I get there; as my finger hovers ever so gently over the delete button.

“Welcome to Costco, I love you. Welcome to Costco, I love you. Welcome to Costco, I love you. Welcome to Costco, I love you…”


pastrywitch said...

Yeah, craigslist is an interesting and scary place. Much like the Colfax bus...

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I just read your status. I think those are the same people that email me about my items! Hooray! haha

Almost Precious said...

Way too funny, unfortunately it's all too true. I've had mixed results with Craigslist, sold a few items and absolutely nothing but spam regarding other items.
Figure if you're giving it away they seem to be more interested.

Oh and my favorite are the ones that email with requests for MORE photos. Yeah right, give me a moment while I get my camera and set up another photo shoot...if they're really THAT interested, they can come out and look at the dang stuff first hand !!!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Anna you are so speaking my language here, haha. I never send more photos. People who are serious will buy it on the seller's terms & yes, come to see it if they want a better view. I mean I don't email Victoria's Secret and ask them to send me copies of real women wearing that pair of yoga pants, nor do I request Pottery Barn show me the nightstand I like in a different setting. If I want it I go there and buy it. If its gone because I wasted time agonizing over it then it sucks to be me!

Rosebud Collection said...

Jenn, I am sick and tired of anyone telling me .."Oh, you live in Maine, what do you expect"?..I have news for them..I have been here 32 almost 33 years and I have paid my dues..I am sick and tired of someones stupid comment..and I know you feel the same..Please save it for someone that cares..We can feel tired of the weather and sick of it too..So what? Till they walk in our shoes, keep the comments to themselves..As you can see by my comment, I have had a stomach full of winter..I can't keep my darn blog going and of course the darn computer is still giving me grief..Oh Lord, I am just tired of it all..Sorry I haven't been around..but like my last sentence..this computer is driving me son-in-law will be here this weekend and hopefully it will be fixed..The only thing that kept me sane was this computer and to lose this now..Oh Gosh, not a good sign..Sending you love..and I still say..we keep looking up..even though we don't feel like it...haha..Carolyn

#1Nana said...

So, can I just write you a check?

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Carolyn I know just how frustrated you are with this winter but didn't know the computer was still on the fritz, yikes! Well hopefully it can get fixed asap. If you have trouble next year you'll always have a friend to visit in AZ :-)

lmao Jann! Yup, that's pretty much how it goes :-)

Karen said...

Nobody posts to CL in our little town, but my daughter in CA has sold lots of stuff using CL and has bought a lot of stuff too. She gets irritated with the people but hasn't had any real problems. Fun post!

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Everything you've said here is why I hesitate to list anything on CL. At least with my Etsy shop, the person buys it, or they don't. No haggling, no waiting for someone that never shows up. You are braver than I!

It was a funny post, however; thanks for the laughs!!

Love, Mum

Maine-y-ac said...

Great post! There are some really strange people out there. I needed a good laugh this morning so thanks for providing it!

joan said...

Ha! You are making me laugh.
The last time we sold on Craigslist we received a $10,000 (?) deal too. I don't remember the exact amount or how they worded it.
Good luck and hope everything is going well.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Yeah Karen, no matter what you put in there sometimes craigslist is just a test on patience with the human race lol

Happy to provide the laugh Mum! It takes management but when something does sell (like this morning) then everyone wins!

Strange people is an understatement Sue :-)

Thanks Joan! Yup, I think I've gotten 3 of those so far and also just random responses. Like this past week I listed a portable charcoal grill and received the email response "The Beatles first album!" Um, what? lol