4.04.2008

Don't Be a Craigslist Corn Flake

Anyone who's anyone that spends time online is aware of how freaking fantastically awesome Craigslist is. There's no getting around how useful, how easy and just how great the site is. Part of that greatness is the lack of advertising all over the site, the simplicity of its use and the underlying philosophy (Craig, the founder, has no interest in becoming a billionaire or going public or leveraging his amazing traffic flow into clickthru cash).

But the site has its drawbacks. Not that there's much that can be done about them because the drawbacks aren't really on the site, they are in the users.

Every time I've listed something for sale, I will field a few emails and a few phone calls. Almost without fail, the first caller will be into the sale, will get directions and will say they are heading out the door to come right over and see/buy the item. Only something always happens and they never show up. Most of the time they never even bother to call or email or anything. Its as if they've been abducted by aliens.

I had one guy once who said he was on his way over. Never showed and he called back a few hours later with a sob story about a broken car and blah, blah, blah. So we set another appointment for him to come by the next day. The next day came and he blew it off again. And then called a few hours later to apologize and try to set yet another appointment.

Which we did and he blew off again. So when he called a few hours after he said he'd be there, I effectively told him to piss off and go jump in a lake.

But then there are the people who do show up and try to buy the item for a tenth of your listed price.

But not me. If I want to buy something and I make an appointment with the seller to be somewhere, I am there, usually even early. And I don't haggle on prices unless the item is more than a hundred bucks.

If you use Craigslist, do it the right way. Follow through on your appointments, don't flake and don't start your negotiation with an insulting lowball. Your cooperation will be appreciated.

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