Lessons from Craigslist

As part of my purging ritual that I started this year, I’ve been going through the house getting rid of things we don’t really need. With five people we accumulate a lot of stuff and some of it is just that, stuff. Since I don’t plan on expanding our family of five in the near or distant future, the baby gear was an obvious place to start.

I had heard about Craigslist as a way of selling locally. I gave it a shot and was instantly hooked. I wouldn’t say I’m a veteran, but I’ve learned a few things from my Craigslist experiences. And I’m willing to share these things with you, absolutely free. So here it goes.

  1. Men like to negotiate everything. Even when I listed an asking price as ‘firm’, I could always expect men to come back with a counter offer. In the male mind ‘price is firm’ must translate to ‘see how much lower you can offer me’. And they didn’t just stop at offering less. In some instances they would offer to exchange items (playstation console, autographed baseball, a snow tire).
  2. Don’t make assumptions about people’s intelligence. The whole idea of Craigslist is selling locally that’s why it’s divided into regions and cities. And each listing has the option of clarifying what part of the city you’re located in. But some users don’t seem to grasp this concept. And for those email requests that are bound to come, here are some standard responses you might need: Scarborough is in the East end of town and not near Etobicoke, Barry is more than a ten minute drive from the city, no it is not worth the drive to Acton to sell you my stuff.
  3. You won’t make your foture selling on Craigslist. It’s amazing the items on craigslist and what people want for them. Some people will offer you their previously used item at a discount, plus the tax they paid. No wonder they’re still listed on Craigslist. The quickest best way to get rid of stuff, if money isn’t an issue, is to see if other people are selling the same or a similar item that you’re listing and then sell if for five dollars less. That being said…
  4. People interested in used items are cheap. This doesn’t refer to all people, but I did encounter quite a few. They want next to new quality but since it’s technically a used item, they want to have it for only a few bucks or free. Some things, like clothing, aren’t worth selling on Craigslist, unless they are a specialty item like a wedding dress or Chanel dress (but it has to be a cheap Chanel dress of course). The best items tend to be those with a higher dollar value, like strollers or DVD players.

So that’s my insight, take it for what it’s worth. Don’t get me wrong, Craigslist is a great tool for selling things, better than ebay or a garage sale. But like anything it depends on what you’re selling. Know your product and who’s going to buy it and have fun. And if someone has posted an ad on Craigslist for five dollars less than what you’ve posted it for, that’s probably me. Sorry.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Kris on March 16, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Tell them you are selling the item to raise money for cancer and they will leave you alone on price. I have found firm works and any offer too low I simply say no thanks. Frankly I’d rather give it to a charity then :).


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