Things I’ve Learned from Craigslist

I’ve been perusing Craigslist for the several months. In my head, I have a list of things I’m interested in. While I’ve only found one thing so far that I absolutely had to have (some day I’ll get to work on that project and you’ll get pictures), I have learned an awful lot from scrolling through the site.

  • I have very strong feelings about tables. They are not allowed to be round or oval; 90* angles only please (in my house, that is – you can decorate however you want to). Absolutely no glass tops whatsoever. This goes for anything that might be a table. Coffee table, end table, dining table, night stand… you get the point. I despise glass tops. [Editor’s note: that would be glass-only tops. Occasionally, a glass protective top covering a wood top is acceptable.]
  • People have absolutely no idea what it is they own. They use phrases that they think will get the most people looking at it, like Ikea or vintage or Victorian, or midcentury modern. They don’t know what those terms mean, and they very rarely apply to the item being sold.
  • Along with that, people have no idea how to sell or even price their items. Pictures are a must. Not “pictures will be posted later today,” not “email me for pictures or more information.” Just include every single possible detail that a buyer might want. This would save so much headache (and we all know that Craigslist experiences can be headaches).
  • People are stupid. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s true. In the “antiques” section, a good 50% of the post titles start with the word antique. Um… duh. Please be more descriptive. Also, “I must be crazy” or “miscellaneous household goods” are not at all interesting to me. Additionally, the following two words should never go together: vintage Ikea. Enough said.
  • However, the word unique or strange will attract me. It’s like a car crash. You know that it’s going to be bad, but you just can’t drag yourself away.
  • Cute means nothing. Absolutely nothing. Neither does retro, really. People just throw those about willy-nilly.
  • I have to really, really, really like/want/need something to drive more than 10 minutes to buy it. It has to be absolutely perfect, and a bargain too. There are plenty of cities in the metro area that I would have to look up on a map to find out where they are – it’s unlikely that I’ll buy something from Craigslist if I’ve never been to that particular suburb before. Likewise, unless it is a piece of furniture that will complete my life and allow me to die absolutely fulfilled (it’s hard to imagine a piece of furniture providing that kind of satisfaction), I will not be driving to northeast Minneapolis to get it. I did that once, and let me just say, I hate driving in northeast.
  • There are lots of really desperate people out there. This is what I have to conclude when I see someone selling a used vase for $3. There are tons of things on Craigslist that I would never go to the hassle of posting and trying to sell; maybe I’d do a curb alert: free!, but more likely it would go into the Goodwill donations pile. I suppose other people might put those on a garage sale pile they have in the garage, but we don’t have one of those.

I use Bloglines for my Craigslist RSS feeds, and I hate it. But, since it’s much more annoying to put those (and the Flickr groups I subscribe to) in with the rest of my feeds in Google Reader, I use it. For some reason, Bloglines has this “limit” of 200 posts for any one feed (and if you subscribe to a Craigslist feed like “furniture by owner” and don’t check it over the weekend, you will have exceeded several times over), which means that once you hit that max, it doesn’t grab anything else from that feed, so you effectively lose out. I’m really glad I don’t watch any blogs that way (though I can’t think of any blogs that would have 200 posts in a weekend).

I’m sure this was a totally random post, and perhaps a bit disjointed. It was written over the course of several months, however, which surely explains it all. I’m trying to clear out my drafts, and you’ll understand why at the end of this week (or maybe early next week).

One Reply to “Things I’ve Learned from Craigslist”

  1. You are right that people don’t know what they have. The term I’m checking is “Wicker” and they use wicker to describe bamboo, canning, rush seat, and even twig. They are all different! Outdoor wicker is really resin, not wicker at all, so don’t say outdoor and suggest it needs a coat of paint. It might need a coat of paint but it should be INDOORS. As you can see, the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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