Friday, September 30, 2005

Purging via Craigslist

Craigslist, if you're not familiar with it, is a simple yet fabulous web site with classified ads of all sorts. You can buy a TV or a crib, barter for piano lessons or a Harley, find a garage sale or a job, meet a guy or girl, sell a car, rent an apartment, or rant and rave in the discussion groups. It's totally free to post and respond to postings! And they have sites for pretty much all the major US cities, and even some international locations!

When I got my most recent apartment (the one I spent only four months in), I furnished it almost entirely from Craigslist. I found a great eggplant colored couch and loveseat for $400, a perfectly decent dining room table and chair set for $50, and some lovely bookshelves for $20. So when it came time to downsize in preparation for the big move, I decided to put some of my less beloved possessions up for sale on Craigslist. If you ever suspected that most people today are flakes, posting an ad on Craigslist will confirm that suspicion a thousand fold. I posted a 25" TV for $75, and got a ton of responses, but not a single person ever actually came by to hand over cash and pick it up. I put up some old bookshelves for $10 and ended up begging someone to take them. I made $5.

Here at my parents' house, I've posted a TON of things, and have actually sold a desk, a Nordic Track ski machine, a sofa slipcover, a king size headboard and nightstands, an armoir, and a tent. I've also posted many things that did not sell. We became desperate to get rid of them, so I posted them as FREE. Oh, the deluge. As in, 50 emails in 10 minutes, I kid you not. People will pass it by if it's $5, but will trample each other to get it if it's free. For instance, a very nice Sauder entertainment center, easily $200 new. We posted it for $75, had a couple interested people, but no real takers. Tried it for $25, still no dice. Posted it for free, and my gosh, you'd think we were giving away gold. It was gone within an hour! Same with a dart board and darts, router table, and a hand crank washing machine (we used it in our RV a couple times).

Tonight we sold some mirrors to a very nice lady from Hollywood who started up a dance studio where everyone has been practicing without mirrors. It's kind of neat to think these mirrors, which hung in our living room for years and reflected many a Christmas morning, will now reflect dancers practicing their routines. The poor lady was so desperate to have these mirrors, she offered to pay an extra $20 for us to hold them for her (we'd originally said, first come first served). She drove up here after she got off work, and arrived around midnight. In tears. Seems she got pulled over while she was lost...she said she signaled to change lanes, and the cop claims she cut him off. He was apparently one of those disgruntled "peace" officers, who gave her a hard time, searching her bag, etc. She was pretty traumatized by the whole incident. But she seemed determined to fight the ticket. I hope she wins. Otherwise those mirrors weren't such a bargain for her.

As a result of Craigslist, we've made a few bucks while getting rid of some old stuff we don't need anymore, which hopefully the new owners can put to good use. It's a win-win all around. (Well, mostly.) Not many things in life are like that nowadays. Maybe that's why Craigslist is growing by leaps and bounds. People may be flakes, but they know a good thing when they see it, whether it's a free entertainment center, or the free website that helped them find it.

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