Dear Craigslisters (this means you, buyers, sellers, and total pervs),
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Let me begin by saying how much I love craigslist. My name is Angela, and I’m a craigslist addict. I love its simplicity, its durability, its ubiquity, its grass-roots charm. Using craigslist, I was able to furnish my entire 1-bedroom apartment with truly decent furniture for a total of less than $200. In a society that is becoming increasingly a-literate (being able to read but unwilling to do so), craigslist has pretty much revolutionized the process of selling and buying used goods, apartment hunting, job searching, even matchmaking. After checking work and personal email, it’s the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at at night. I. Love. Craigslist.
That being said, the following is a rant that has been bubbling in my brain for a while now. Buckle in and shut up.
Item #1: People are stupid. And they’re usually mean. As the writers of Scrubs so eloquently put it, people are bastard-coated bastards with bastard fillings. You wonder why they’re selling a beautiful brand new sofa for a fraction of the price they paid six months ago? See Item #1. You wonder why they’re flagging your completely harmless ad or can’t seem to distinguish between to, two, and too? See Item #1. You wonder why they spend hours composing rants that maybe three people are going to read and even fewer are going to appreciate? See Item #1. You wonder why they bought that adorable puppy in the first place when they were gonna move to a no-pets apartment in two months? See Item #1. You might remember the sentiment in Item #1 from Every Bumper Sticker Ever Written. But…the upside is that craigslist was developed specifically for stupid people, those who are just too lazy or too dumb to do anything but take the easiest way out of life’s irritations. Be aware that you’ll run into people just like you, who aren’t intelligent or efficient enough to post a friggin newspaper ad or hang signs from streetlights. Would YOU buy from anything from you? I thought not. If you’re gonna use an extremely user-friendly site, start by acknowledging your own user-friendliness and that of others. Much annoyance can be avoided when stupidity is embraced rather than hated and feared.
Item #2: Speaking of stupidity, let’s talk about the USE OF CAPITAL LETTERS. ANYONE WHO HASN’T BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK SINCE THE DAWN OF THE INTERNET KNOWS THAT PRINTING IN ALL CAPITALS IS THE CYBERSPACE EQUIVALENT OF YELLING. Anyone who’s lived knows that being yelled at is exceedingly unpleasant and off-putting. If you really wanna sell that antique table, try not yelling at me. Yes, it’s beautiful. Your kindly-added picture probably shows off its nice details very well (see Item #3). You’re not gonna sell me on it any faster by making me feel like your enthusiastic spit droplets are moistening my face. We're not deaf, we're stupid. As the craigslist posting rules suggest, keep capitals to a minimum. Or, heck, go without them. Really, try it. It feels kinda good.
Item #3: Pictures. Pictures sell the item better than any words you ever say ever will. Unless, of course, you fall under Item #1. Take nice pictures. If they don’t come out nice, take them again. Don’t post them anyway and then apologize for them. This won’t help you. Make sure they appear right side up. When they load sideways, I always feel like I must look like Forrest Gump and Gump Junior when they’re watching TV together. My head starts to tilt, the drooling begins, it’s not pretty. Make them clear, make them right side up. If they come out unclear or upside down, spend the few seconds to retake and reload them. Yes, yes, sometimes the site itself has problems. So delay your posting until the problem is resolved. A bad picture is worse than no picture at all. If you have no digital camera (I’m one of those Neanderthals, myself), say so. Then describe the HELL outta your items. Height, width, depth, color, style, everything that can be said about it, say. Better yet, go to google images, find the closest approximation, and load it. It’s there, believe me. I’m also a google addict.
Item #4: Detailed descriptions are good. Life stories are not. Unless you’re posting a rant. In that case, knock yourself out. Please. (badum-chee!) I don’t need to know what your roommate/spouse/friend/daughter did that forced you to sell this item. I do need to know whether it will fit in my 1-bedroom apartment. If I’m interested enough to contact you, maybe I’ll be interested in your life story too. (Especially if politely listening and attempting to understand will get me a cheaper price!) But save it for second contact, or, better yet, decide it’s possible to sell something without baring your soul to a complete stranger.
Item #5: Be available. Don’t post an ad right before your two-week long trip to Borneo. Don’t respond to my ad with the caveat that you’ll be away for the weekend and won’t actually have time to come look until Tuesday. If you’re gonna post or respond, have enough time.
Item #5: Complaints about the seller, the buyer, their behavior, the price, being unjustly flagged? Please see Item #1. Don’t write a 4-page rant. Unless you’re me.
Item #6: Spelling and punctuation. Yes, frankly, I AM the grammar police. It’s wrought iron, not rod iron. It’s shabby "chic", not "sheik" or "sheek". "It’s" means "it is"; "its" is the possessive you’re looking for. "Your" is possessive; "you’re" means you are. "Unique" means "one-of-a-kind", so nothing can be “very” unique, anymore than a woman can be “very” pregnant. She either is or she isn’t. Chances are good that your curio cabinet is not unique, but instead is rare or unusual. Either correct definition will sell it just as quickly. But I’m not going to be eager to spend my time and money on your “unique armour (it’s armoire, btw), with rod-iron trim”, since you don’t appear intelligent enough to handle a toaster, much less an antique (not anteek). and btw sentences with no punctuation or correctly used capitals are very hard to read like trying to keep water from draining between your fingersespeciallyif youveleft onlyanoccasional space between words like your stillin middleschool orsomething i mean comeon. I’m much more likely to deal with someone who falls a little further away from smack-dab in the middle of Item #1, since, if they can write somewhat legibly, chances are they can also read a clock and maybe even a map.
Item #7. This is craigslist, online classifieds much simpler than ebay. People come here for the easy and cheap (you’d think they’d make prostitutes available—har!). I’m sure your antique king-size Columbian-wood Argentinian-made Europe-imported bedroom set is gorgeous and worth every penny of the $14,500.00 you’re asking. That picture does indeed show entirely beautiful wood grain, and just LOOK at that engraving. Wow. Craigslist is not the place to sell it. Thank you for letting us see what’s out there that we’d absolutely love to have but cannot afford without selling off a few organs or first-borns. Really, we appreciate it. Now go sell it on ebay or push it to celebrities or consignment stores. They can give you what you want and even deserve for it. We’re here for the cheap and easy. $14,500.00 is a bit too much for 99% of craigslisters (and you wouldn’t wanna deal with the other 1% anyway, believe me). This goes for professional dealers too. We look here for the cheap. Don’t push your brand new and therefore more expensive crap on us. The next time I see a craigslist ad that is really just a link to your store, I’m taking hostages. And I'll never shop there, ever. You just lost a customer, buddy. So there.
People are stupid. Craigslist is their warm, embracing mother ship. Please enable my addiction by observing my Seven Simple Items. I’m not bossy, really--I just have better ideas. And lots of gently-used, smoke- and pet- and child-free furniture.