Craigslist: A Rant

July 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

As with all consumerist cultures, there is the secondary one of the used market. It once was eBay that was the big shit, and in recent years, Craigslst has become the newest welcomed local buy/sell/trade marketplace. Unfortunately, when things become popular and have no prerequisites for those to use the service, abuse eventually slides in as the predominant function.

Over the years I’ve used Craigslist quite bit. I’ve bought and sold my fair share of musical instruments, and in the last year or so I’ve noticed a significant decrease in the quality of people I’ve dealt with. In the early years with Craigslist, I could email someone, arrange a price, a location and go. For the most part people were considerably reliable. These days I’m getting emails that make no sense, or are so sparse, I can’t think how to reply. I’ve been offered “300 dlls” for a synthesizer. What is a “dll”? Surely, if this person meant dollars, he would’ve spared himself hitting the extra two keys and simply hit the “shift” and “4” to create a “$”. I even explicitly said, “if by 300 dlls you meant 300 dollars, then sure.” He replied, “yeah, 300 dlls.”

Other fantastic responses are so devoid of content, I don’t even know what to say. I write “looking for offers or trades” regarding a synthesizer and receive an email that says “i’m interested.” Well, so am I. I’m interested in many things, such as britpop, Sylvia Plath, how they get the little ships inside those glass bottles…. I am dealing with social delinquents.

This is not new, people are always lowballing. If you’ve ever been to a garage sale, you’ll note how criminally ripped off people get. “I’ll give you a quarter” they say, as they point at your old Hi-Fi. Lowball offers make me want to keep the damned thing and starve. About 8 months ago I was selling a guitar speaker cabinet and someone offered me about $100. I was so insulted that I replied rather elaborately, that I would rather push the cabinet out the back of a truck and drive back and forth over it, than sell it for $100. I mean, don’t waste my time! Just now I received a similar offer, something worth around 300 bucks and the guy writes “how about 100?” This is the same guy who wrote earlier “i’m interested.” How about I knock you out with the damned thing and feel the sort of satisfaction that only destroying an instrument on somebody’s head could provide, that $100 could not.

There have been positive experiences, and those have been primarily with scruffy middle-aged men, I’ve noticed. The twenty-somethings just dick around and give some ballsy low offers. The middle-aged guys are the ones who actually show up when you’re selling something and they’re the ones who don’t act ridiculous when they’re selling me something.

I honestly think Craigslist needs to institute some sort of membership thing, like eBay, for a degree of accountability.


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