Adventures on Craigslist

From the meet-up group, below is the story I wrote in my first writing session.

I love Craigslist. I can’t emphasize it enough, my love for this online bulletin board. In every city I have lived, and some that I have only passed through, I have used CL as a valuable resource. Some people do not like the inconvenience, or sharing their contact information with strangers. Others fear for their safety. I have faith in humanity and have nothing but good experiences. Most people think I am an anomaly, that only I have good luck. My brother says this is the reason I am able to envision parking spaces and they appear.

In the ten years of using CL, I have found roommates, housing, car share rides, furniture, sold out race entries, bartering opportunities, volunteer opportunities, even interviews and jobs. I only haven’t tried the “missed connections” section. Maybe one day I might give it a try.

My latest experience, I bought a Crate and Barrel desk, $30, perfect for my new home office. The seller is a pregnant woman, eager to make room in her house for the baby. I emailed her expressing interest, but mentioned I did not have a car and would need a cab to pick it up. She coincidentally had the day off, had the car and would drive it over to me, at no cost. Later in the afternoon, she asked if I wanted a desk chair for free. I did not need one, but if she was giving it away, I would be happy to take it. She drove it over in the afternoon.

In the same week, visitors came to my house to buy a one person tent, bike lock, water bottles, bike water bottle cages, bike handlebar bag, and a down vest. Everyone benefits from the exchange. I get rid of items while someone gets the item they are looking for inexpensively. Win-win. You can note the depreciation value of each item, but some items I have sold in the past were free. I value reusing and recycling, not adding to the new retail marketplace. I sell something so I can buy something. I don’t buy anything unless there is cash in the CL piggy bank.

In Vancouver, Canada, I needed transportation to Whistler, (a few hours drive north) for my bike and two large duffle bags. I was planning to take the bus or rent a car, but both options were sold out for days due to a festival. The night before I intended to go to Whistler at midnight, I replied to a car sharing ad, in exchange for gas money. The couple replied at 1 a.m. and picked me up the next afternoon, directly from my friend’s house, drove me directly to the next destination with my bags and bike for $15. It was convenient and considerably less expensive than any other mode of transportation I had researched.

Several years ago, before car shares were popular, I needed a truck to move furniture from a seller’s to my new apartment. I found an ad, where the person who owned a truck was willingly to barter services. The trade was truck use in exchange to take him clothing shopping.

In Philadelphia, I was fundraising for a charity event, and I went into my friend’s closet to sell many of her unused items. I sold all the items and took 50% of the profit for my fundraising. I even sold the dirty old used bike shoes that did not quite fit the buyer, and should have been recycled. Then and there, I knew I could sell anything in life. Long live Craigslist.

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