Craigslist can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what you use it for.Craigslist

It’s a great way to advertise free stuff with “curb alert” notices. You simply post a description of what you have and where folks will find it and wait for the stuff to disappear. We recently did that with a futon we had no more use for. It had a bent bar – not as bad as the sofa bed Elaine slept on in Seinfeld where she torqued her back, but still – it was nothing we were going to get any real money for. The mattress was in decent shape, but had its share of orange soda stains from years of kidly abuse.

So I put up a “curb alert” post in Craigslist with a photo of the futon, our address, and this message: “Please do not call me, email me, or text me with any questions or requests to save this for you. If you want it, get here first. Period.”

Less than 30 minutes later, somebody stopped, threw the mattress off to the side and tossed the frame into the back of his truck. A few minutes after that, a woman came by and snagged the mattress. Done. Gone. Mission accomplished.

We had a mixed experience with an ad after The Albatross was torn down. (see my previous post) Around the perimeter of the pool was a deck and under the deck were stones – bigger than pea gravel, smaller than golf balls. We figured it would save us some work if other people shoveled them up and hauled them away. Up went the Craigslist ad for “FREE STONES!” with our address. We posted pictures of the stones so people would know the size, and a photo of the area so they could gauge the quantity. I’ve lost count, but I know we got over two dozen inquiries about the stones. Who knew it was such a hot commodity?

The first man came prepared: he had a wheelbarrow, a rake, and a shovel. He filled half a dozen good-sized bins.

The next person had no wheelbarrow, no rake, no shovel; only a couple of beach-sized kiddie pails. I can’t imagine going out of my way for a few handfuls of stones just because they were free but hey, he left happy.

The next person wanted to know if they had to rake them up themselves. Huh? This isn’t a gravel pit with a front loader, so yeah, you’ve gotta rake them up yourself. He left stoneless, complaining that it was too much work.

After that, I explained that there weren’t a ton of stones left, but that there were still binfuls to be had if someone wanted to put in a little sweat equity to get them. Only one more person showed up; he got at least half a dozen 5-gallon bucketfuls of stone for his efforts. I took the ad down.

Craigslist is also an effective place to advertise garage sales, because it’s free. It’s especially great because you can list everything – the more detail you put about the items in your sale, the bigger the crowd you’ll draw. Make sure to post on Tuesday or Wednesday before the weekend of your sale; veteran garage sale shoppers put serious effort into planning their routes.

The dark side of Craigslist is that it’s a breeding ground for scammers. One son collects skateboard videos, and some dude in California put up an ad with a list of vhs and dvd skate movies that included some rare ones my son really wanted. The dude insisted on a money order, which seemed reasonable. Problem was, he never sent the videos. And, unbeknownst to me in spite of my years in the banking industry, you can’t put a stop payment on a bank money order. Hard lesson learned.

Speaking of the dark side, I was going to tack an image on to this post for visual appeal. I did a search for “Craigslist” images and yikes – apparently there are lots of people selling on Craigslist who use their bodies as advertising. Trust me, you don’t wanna go there.

One Thought on “Craigslist 101

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Tips for a Successful Garage Sale – Home Solutions of WNY, Inc.

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