How to Succeed at Craigslist – 0$ OBO

Date: 2010-10-15, 2:25PM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

A ‘been-there’ guide for the cash-strapped interior decorator:

There are some great things about shopping in traditional stores: the consistency of selection and pricing; the choice to pay by cash, credit, check, or coupon; that warm sense of security you get approaching the register, confident in a safe transaction.  You know the feeling, you’ve walked those aisles. But especially for broke college kids, getting a good deal trumps all safety standards and concerns about comfort. Enter Craigslist.

Yes, the Craigslist. That seedy bounty of the Internet. That cornucopia of all things cheap and/or stolen. It is the perfect resource for today’s frugal consumer—the ideal alternative when Salvo’s selection turns up too chic.

For the uninitiated, Craigslist is an online classifieds database, started by Craig Newberg in 1995, that now ranks among the top ten most visited sites in America. The model is genius: a unique intersection between commerce and gambling where the rush of eBay meets the creep of ChatRoullete. Where every purchase is weighed against the probability of being swindled, and ‘cash only’ payments sometimes mean organs too. Where men and women, minors and geriatrics come together to buy, sell, defraud, and bamboozle.

My own foray into the mysterious world of Craigslist took me on tour of the Connecticut underground, and exposed me to a teeming economy, sheltered behind the anonymity of Internet pseudonym. First, there was Frank the ‘bike dealer’ in East Haven, whose one-room apartment offered an unusually diverse assortment of Cannondale bicycles for suspiciously low rates. Fearing criminal consequences, I instead turned to Dave, who seemed slightly more legal when we met at 6am on Crown Street. Soon to follow was Liza, a lovely little chain smoker from Branford from whom I bought a thirty-dollar sofa. In introducing the couch to my common room, I suspect I may have also introduced invasive parasites into the larger Davenport community. When all was said and done, however, I emerged with a great bike, a comfortable couch, and both of my kidneys. Not a bad deal.

Takeaway Points:
-A lot of ads will say ‘no emails’…  Nobody likes a paper trail.
-Leather is almost never leather.
-Delivery is pretty much impossible.
-Bedbugs can make a grown man tremble.

  • Location: New Haven, Yale
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
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