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
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…”