Craigslist-Bad and Good

jannieApril 12, 2009

I'm trying to clean out my garage. It's been the fibal resting place for things we don't want in the house-a TV, a bookcase, some old suitcases, etc, you catch my drift. One of the things in there was an Ikea desk kit we bought years ago but never put together and used. I advertized it on Craigslist, for free. I got several emails. I called the first one, told her my address and phone and gave her directions to my home to pick it up. She said she would be over between noon and two on Friday. Never showed so at six pm I called the second responder, gave her the same info. She promptly came over and got it. That's the good. The bad- responder number one waited a day, then sent me an email calling me "Not a nice person" for giving the desk to someone else. And I got a very strange email from a third person which was full of nasty sexuaL remarks. I'm scared because all I wanted was to get rid of a piece of furniture, not to receive threatening emails. My two daughters said I was stupid to give out personal information. Now I'm a little scared.

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I have purchased quite a bit on CraigsList, but I only deal locally (my town, and two on either side of me) and I won't sell there.
If something is free, put it out front and list it as a "Curb Alert." You can even be evasive, stating you saw it when you drove past. I know freecycle doesn't want you to list your own things as a "curb alert," but they do accept alerts you might have spotted.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 8:32PM
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Nancy-that's good advice. Next time I have something to give away, I'll drag it to the curb and make a sign saying "free". Or I'll drive it over to a local Goodwill Store where I know they'll accept it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 10:26PM
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I have had people get mad because I didn't hold it. I always put in my email if you don't show at the time stated it goes to the next person. What I usually do is if they are coming at a certain time I will tell them that it is out in front of garage unless it is to big or heavy then I have it in my garage.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 12:46AM
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i have run into a few situatins on craigslist..but all in all it has been worth it selling a few guy tried to scam me..but i'm not stupid.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 11:29AM
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At Christmastime we bought some hot items in bulk and then sold them on Craigslist for way more than we paid. We always met the people at a nearby gas station and then went to run errands after. I did not want anyone to know where we lived!!

It ended up being a good thing because we sold someone a Wii fit balance board for about $140 (when they went for $90 in stores if you could find them). Anyways the guy called me the next day to tell me he had thought he was buying the Wii game system! I said sorry...I advertised what exactly it was and had pics on my craigslist posting. You should have asked questions before you bought it....or maybe noticed the picture on the box when you picked it up from us. I told him I had no way of knowing if he was going to give me back the same new unit or a broken one, etc. So I just was not buying it back.

He was mad and swearing and I received many prank calls on my cell for days after. Thank goodness he did not have our address or home phone number!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 11:22AM
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Recently read of two young women who went to motel rooms to give massages to guys they met on Craigslist. One was killed and the other injured. In the future, if I have something to give away I'll post it as a "curb alert" and let whover gets there first have it! I am not looking to sell anything or make money, just get rid of things other people can (maybe) use.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 1:09PM
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I don't want strangers coming to the house, so tempting as it is, I've never used Craigs.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 11:09PM
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Socks, I think you are right. I'll donate to recognized chareities from now on, like Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul. Or I'll feel free to throw stuff in the trash. If someone wants to take away my trash, fine.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 4:36PM
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I've bought and sold a number of things on Craigslist and think it's great. What I hate most are the flakes: those with whom you spend a lot of back-and-forth time arranging a meeting and then they don't show. Or, as happened to me yesterday, those who show up to look at a rug and then say it is "too small" for their space (although I clearly advertised the rug's size).

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 7:34AM
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My brother always puts his free items in a large box- so large you can't see the items unless you get out and look in. Then he writes "Free Puppies" on the box- he reasons that most people can't resist stopping for a box of puppies by a driveway. He never has to throw anything away or haul it off, so I guess it works.

I have used CL for a couple of years now and it has been very profitable for me selling unwanted items. You have to exercise common sense when using it.
Never be alone if someone is coming to your home to pick up an item. Always have the item outside or in a garage if possible. Never allow them in your home no matter the excuse- ex. kid needs to potty, feeling sick, etc.

When you arrange for someone to pick up an item at your home never give them your address or phone number without asking them for a phone number and then calling them first.

I used to have the people call me when they were on the way and I would watch for them and make it a point to be in my driveway, I always had my camera on my cell phone ready and i would snap a pic of the license plate and send it to my husbands cell phone- it only took a second and if something did happen then we had some positive information.

Just because you agree to meet them in a public place does not protect you from harm- we have had incidences in our area with meeting in public and then they cause a distraction and steal purses, wallets, ipods, etc out of the other persons car.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 1:07PM
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I put "good" trash out the night before collection, it seems that people drive around to scout out goodies a day ahead.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 7:17AM
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"Good trash" does disappear quickly. I put out the pieces for an above-ground pool and a wooden bookcase and several broken vacuums the weekend before my usual Monday morning trash pick-ups. All of them "disappeared" before the garbage truck came by.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 8:40AM
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I sell alot of stuff on Craig's List. I never use the e-mail as a contact point. Instead, prospective buyers get my phone number.

It's easy to be a flake and waste people's time via e-mail. It takes more nerve to call people and tell them you'd show when you won't. I ALWAYS get serious purchasers by just leaving my phone number as a contact point.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 8:43PM
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I love craigslist for getting rid of free items that I'd otherwise throw away. An ancient working computer with a 5.25 floppy drive (some teenager had his mom drive him an hour to pick this up!), a used screen door, a nonworking dvd player with a working remote, a rolling office chair that got paint on it (she wanted to reupholster it). It makes me feel really good that someone will use it and keep it out of the landfill. I tell them that I'll leave it on my front porch or on my front yard with their name on it. and if it is not picked up by when they say they will, it will go to the next person. Has always worked well. I am usually not home when they come by.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 6:11PM
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I just read what dd50 said. " I always put in my email if you don't show at the time stated it goes to the next person." I am doing a lot of Freecycling these days. Sometimes the person is a no-show. I just had one this week. I wrote to ask her if she's still coming. Now I have to wait for a reply, and hope that I don't give up on her, offer it to the next person, then hope she doesn't write back saying she wants to come after all.

I think that stating the conditions up front like that is going to save me a lot of trouble. After all, I'm giving them something for free. The least they could do is show up when they say they will.

I think xminion's advice is also good. I have been reluctant to give out my phone number, thinking the anonymity of e-mail is safer, but maybe it's better to talk in person. Once a person talks to you on the phone, they are more likely to carry out their promised actions. You have a more personal connection to each other than you would with e-mail.

What I don't like about dealing with the general public via e-mail is that sometimes a person thinks the anonymity makes it OK to be rude. I have had a few of those, and that always creeps me out.

What I love about giving stuff away is that I don't have to pay money to throw it in the dump, and this other person can put it to good use!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 10:11AM
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I think the phone # vs. e-mail is interesting because often you think of the phone as more personal. But e-mail can be so easily forwarded anywhere and, as mentioned above, people just lose all their inhibitions in e-mail.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 12:15PM
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I agree, I used to think that using e-mail was better, but I'm finding that you eliminate a lot of the flaky people by giving a phone number.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 10:30AM
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Posted by groomingal: "My brother always puts his free items in a large box- so large you can't see the items unless you get out and look in. Then he writes "Free Puppies" on the box- he reasons that most people can't resist stopping for a box of puppies by a driveway."

That method may bring the police or animal rights group to your door. A person may drive by or a neighbor sees it, and thinks there are poor little puppies out in the hot sun/bitter cold and call the city for them to be rescued.

You say the method works, and I believe you, but I can't see someone getting out of their car for a free puppy and then deciding to acquire a broken microwave or size 6 jeans or whatever when they see the other items. You also run the risk of making a crazy person mad if they see that there were never any free puppies in the box and they were being tricked.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:09PM
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When I give or sell something on Freecycle or CL, I have the person meet me at the local grocery store parking lot. I take DH or a friend. I ask for their cell # and call them; I don't give out my #. I have a separate email address for these transations & don't give my primary email.

And I also put things at the curb with a FREE sign - that almost always works!

I didn't know about the 'curb alerts' but will not start doing that, too.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 3:05PM
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Sometimes its really ironic when you just want to help or give something but unfortunately results in a not so good situation such as this. Next time, if you want to give something there are so many institutions whom you can donate them or in your community. Giving your personal information especially on the internet is very risky. So be very careful.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 10:30AM
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It depends on what you're buying and how it's being sold. If someone is selling his used chair or car, it's like any other way of buying person-to-person.

If someone is using it like a store, check closely where those items come from. It could be fine, like the person bought it wholesale and uses Craigslist to make some money. Also just be cautious when you go to a private address to pick up merchandise. Always go with someone else.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 7:49AM
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I'm not understanding how giving thousands of people your address, by posting a "curb alert" is better than giving one person who expressed interest your address.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 3:05PM
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