Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Craigslist: The Usefulness and Presumptiveness that Comes with a Great Creation

I find Craigslist to be a fascinating place. You can pretty much find anything on Craigslist from dates to jobs to obscure personal items for sale. Unlike the classified ad section of a newspaper, you don’t have to wait until the next day for something new to appear. It’s pretty cool how it’s an ever changing landscape of weirdness.

I’ve used it several times to get rid of items I don’t want. For example, per my friend Emily’s suggestion, I decided that Craigslist might be a better option to get rid of my collection of unwanted doors than simply throwing them away. I personally probably wouldn’t want to get free doors off Craigslist but like my mother said, people will take anything if it’s free.

Besides, I figured that there might be someone out there who had a desperate need for some new doors and no budget. Thus, why not give them away? I’ve done this before with an entertainment centre and a large collection of cardboard boxes that I used to move into my house.

My mother is right. People will take anything if it’s free. They will also, however, be quite rude and presumptive.

For example, with the doors, I decided that I didn’t want people picking and choosing the doors. I had a picture of people coming to examine the doors and deciding which ones they did or didn’t want and leaving the left behind. Thus, in my ad on Craigslist, I described the doors as best I could. I’m no door expert. I know there are different sizes but these were pretty standard sized. I had four sliding closet doors, one back door and one outdoor screen door. My ad said, “No picking or choosing- you must take all of the doors.” Also, I stated “You must load and haul away.” Not that I wouldn’t assist with the loading if necessary but well, I figured it didn’t hurt to be clear.

So…after I placed my ad, I began to get emails. The first couple were standard “Do you still have the doors?” emails. Then I began to get “Can I come look at them? I only want the screen door,” emails. Then people started being more specific, asking me to please measure the doors.

Now, I suppose that it would have been nice and smart to measure the doors. However, the lazy part of me felt that if someone was going to get six free doors, they could measure them once they got them home. I did say they were standard sized. Granted, if I didn’t have an inbox full of mail from people who didn’t care if measured the doors, they just wanted them, it would have been different. I could be lazy and so I was.

In the end, I started with the first reasonable email. The guy wanted me to call and leave my address on his voicemail. Unfortunately, while I really, really wanted to lose the doors, I’m also not an idiot and I am not about to leave my address on the voicemail of a complete stranger. So I told him to call me. I gave him four hours. No call. I decided to move down to the next email- I wanted the doors gone and my preference was for someone to get them asap. Well, the second guy told me that he couldn’t the doors until next week but would I deliver?

I moved on. The third time was a charm. I spoke to a nice man who lived 10 minutes away. He agreed to come in the evening. I had to leave work a little early because we were supposed to have nasty storms and I didn’t want the guy to get stuck hauling doors in 45 mph winds. He did arrive as promised, didn’t inspect the doors but just took them. He said that he had a friend who’d moved into a stripped house that had nothing and he wanted to give him the doors. I was happy- this is the exact type of person I wanted to donate my doors to and so I felt not only that I’d helped a new homeowner but, also, I got rid of the blasted things.

It just makes me laugh about the presumption of people though. With my entertainment centre, I measured and took photos of it and I put it up on Craigslist for free. People wanted to know if it would fit in “x” sized room. Well, since I did provide the measurements, surely they could figure it out. I had someone who wanted to know if I’d remove the glass doors for them and then they’d take it. I ignored that one.

I guess my attitude is wrong but I can’t help but think if something’s free then surely you can’t be too picky…right? I mean I suppose if you’re going to come and pick up some doors, you want to make sure you can use them but, well, when someone clearly says “No picking and choosing” in the ad, that generally means NO PICKING OR CHOOSING…right?

With my free boxes, I folded them flat to make them easy to store. I took pictures and put them on my Craigslist ad. I had people ask if I could assemble the boxes before they picked them up. Uh, no….sorry….for one thing, they’re way easier to move if they’re flat and, well, you want 50 free boxes, you can bloody well assemble them yourself.

I’ve had experiences on the other side of Craigslist too. For example, I wanted to build a privacy fence when I first moved in and I was so sick of Dog Whisperer’s noisy beasts, I decided to shut them out. I found a guy on Craigslist who charged a reasonable fee for his hourly rate, would pick up the materials provided I paid and build the fence. I got in touch with him. He seemed decent. I arranged for him to come inspect the garden to see how much fence I’d need. He never showed up. I tried to call. I never heard back from him. Now, it is entirely possible that some nasty fencing accident befell him and he was unable to contact me but, alas, his ad on Craigslist appeared again two weeks later.

I suppose I’m a sucker. I can’t help but think if someone agrees to something, they should follow it through. I know people who buy things on Craigslist and more than one has showed up to a place and no one’s been home or the item wasn’t as promised.

It’s a shame that there are abusers of such a nifty service. I’m still a big fan of Craigslist. It’s a fantastic way for getting rid of crap. My brother in law has used it to trade things- he started out with a ton of junk he got from garage sales and he ended up with a car. Granted, the car didn’t run very well but I thought it as a pretty good trade. My sister didn’t agree since it stood in her driveway for a while but…I was impressed at free car.

Still, in the end, I got rid of my doors. I do have a couple of angry messages from people who really wanted my doors but were too late to get them but I can ignore those. It really does prove the saying, another person’s junk is another person’s treasure. My only rule is that if my junk is your treasure, you come and get it. It’s worked pretty well so far. I did feel a little bad about not measuring the doors but, truth be told, I kind of figured that most doors were the same size. It just goes to show that I’m a door-ignoramus.

Ah well, the only ones I have to deal with now are the ones already in my house, being used. I have a much cleaner garage and I got to help someone.

And it’s all thanks to Craigslist and people who will take anything for free.

Happy Wednesday!

1 comment:

Emily said...

Sorry it was a hassle, but glad the doors are out of your house and glad that they went to someone who really needs them. :-) I'm sure Santa (and Mother Nature) have put you on the 'nice' list for helping someone out and re-cycling along the way!