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craigslist flake factor

paul wheaton

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20972

I'm beginning to suspect that integrity is something only for chumps.

I decided to lighten my load a bit and get rid of some bigger things I don't need. So I posted ads on craigslist.

What a hassle.

People call and say they are on their way. And they don't show up.

People want me to hold it for them for two days, but never show.

I tried buying a freezer last fall. I bought five. Because the first four flaked out.

Now I feel like I'm a bit rude when I tell people "contact me before you are coming out and I'll tell you if I still have it." I feel okay with telling somebody that I'll hold it for an hour.

I guess I like the idea that if somebody says "I'll be there at six to buy it" they show up at six and buy it.

I think craigslist isn't the problem, so much as the people and our overall society.

After all, you can advertise in other places.

Craigslist helps me get my ad in front of heaps of people really fast. The problem is: people in general think it is okay to blow off a commitment with a stranger. I suspect that they call somebody and say "hold it for me" and then call somebody else and say the same thing .... they might do this five times and then go get the last item and think nothing of the previous four people - each of which may be turning away other offers because they are holding the item.

I think craigslist just helps us get a clearer snapshot of society.

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Mark Spritzler

Joined: Feb 05, 2001
Posts: 17276

Hmm, I haven't had that issue. I have sold a few things including a huge Jacuzzi, an entertainment center, and some other stuff I got rid of when I made my Home Theater. While I would get emails from people who would say they are interested, then not hear again from them after I replied. All the poeple that said they would come by, actually did.

Now, I wouldn't hold something for someone at all, I'd just say, if you want it, then you need to come over now, if they can't, schedule a time when you would be home anyway, so if they don't show, you still get some stiuff done. I might have mispelled sopme stuff because my cat Dagny decided to stand right in front of the monitor as I was typing this.


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Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 33124

Mark Spritzler wrote:Hmm, I haven't had that issue.

Me neither. The only thing I sold was an apartment though. I think that is a big item so people feel more involved.

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Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
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Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11778

I sold up a lot of stuff before I came back to Australia, and I had mixed experiences. Some people were extremely involved - contacting me instantly with a handful of suggested times to come around, then following up with a phone call, then arriving at my place 10 minutes before they said they would. Others were complete no-shows, even after 2 or 3 emails expressing interest and arranging times for collection.

I got to the point where I would tell the first person that I would hold it for them until 7pm of the following day, then go to the next person. I would then tell the 2nd person that contacted me that I had a tentative buyer but I would contact them if the deal fell through.

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