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Your guide to Craigslist

I’m not really sure how I keep posting every five days, but I don’t plan it out that way.. heh.

Craigslist is such taboo in Texas. I admit, the first time I was meeting someone from Craigslist, I was nervous and prepared to defend myself as best as I can. (Thank you, Phi Kappa Sigma and Delta Gamma Dynamic Defense!) Boston proper is filled with so many colleges and universities, that it is basically a college town without the college-town prices.

Inevitably, these college students have to move and/or sell their items as quickly as possible. Employers are also trying to look for low-cost ways of getting their job postings out there. Hence, the existence of Craigslist.. my new best friend.

Did you know that I found my current job through a Craigslist ad? Many don’t think about checking out their job boards or even associate Craigslist with employment opportunities. It’s almost like thrift shopping (which I love), you have to dig through piles of useless crap to find that beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece.

Another reason I use Craigslist is for finding furniture. Which is what I currently find myself doing any chance I get. In fact, my bed frame and dresser are from Craigslist. Sure, it can be dangerous, but there is a way to do it. By playing it safe, you save a ton of money and can even make a new friend!

Craft the Email

When you see a listing you’re interested in, first introduce yourself briefly and ask if the item is still available. Remember, these people are probably as equally scared of getting murdered as you are, so try to sound like a sane human being in your email. Always ask for more pictures and pictures of any damage. When I see a new set of photos, I take this as, “okay the item exists.. they aren’t trying to scam me after all!” Make sure you can identify that these are original photos. If you don’t see a living area in the background, or if you notice it has been photoshopped, you’re probably going to get screwed if you go any further. So don’t!

Start Low

Always start low. And what I mean by that is if that listing is up for $180, offer them $140. Chances are, they’ll take it right off the bat. They want to get rid of this item, and you really want to buy it. It’s a win-win! So save yourself money and have a backbone during your negotiation. If they’re not willing to go lower, search Craigslist for that same item, and I’m pretty sure there are cheaper options out there. Make paying the highest price your last resort!… unless you’re desperate.

Make Conversation

If you’re going to have to meet these people at some point, try to make some light-hearted conversation (or small talk). Put them and yourself at ease. I mean, you don’t want to give some jerk your money do you? This gives you a chance to assess their personality and make sure they’re not out to get into your pants without your permission.. real talk. Who knows, if you’re new like me, you might meet a new friend who is from Ireland and is willing to help you move the furniture up four flights of stairs and help assemble it for you, too! (But really, this is a true story. He’s very kind and now we’re friends.) This is all from my personal experience, and each time has worked out perfectly fine.

Bring Someone with You

My Dresser

In order to get my dresser, I had to meet someone at a self-storage place. It was kind of weird, as I’ve never heard of having to do that. Naturally, I asked my roommate to go with me and dragged her out to the middle of South End to pick it up. Turns out he was a friendly gay guy from Houston who bonded with me over Tex-Mex and hot weather! My roommate and I walked away with my new-ish dresser and several restaurant recommendations from Mr. Houston. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, find someone to go with you. Let them be a witness and your back up in case anything happens. If you can’t find someone and still feel uncomfortable, don’t go. You can find something else just as easy, but with less nervousness.

Name the Place, if possible

If you’re buying big furniture, you’ll probably have to go to the seller’s house to pick it up or look at it. Go in the middle of the day, if that’s the case. For furniture, there’s really no way to avoid going to the house. So make sure this is an item you really want or need. If it’s something else, see if you can meet in a public place to execute the purchase. Always trust your gut, if you already feel uncomfortable via email, then you’ll probably feel uncomfortable in person. Don’t feel guilty for withdrawing your offer if this is the case, there are tons of people searching for these items and willing to buy them.

Don’t be the Jerk!

If you’re not serious about this purchase, don’t bother the poor soul trying to get rid of it. Don’t be rude, after all they have the right to refuse to sell it to you. Imagine if you were scammed via Craigslist, you’d be pissed! So don’t do the scamming.. after all, that’s bad karma for you. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Bam! (Thank you, grandma!)

Do you have any Craigslist experiences? Feel free to share them below! Are you selling something on Craigslist? I might want to buy!

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