Craigslist–I’m addicted

It’s all my daughter’s fault. When Katie and Mark were buying their first home last year, she called me, ecstatic about the appliances she’d bought off Craigslist.
In case you’ve been living in a cave, or, like me, you’re tragically unhip (more about that in a future blog), according to Wikipedia, is a centralized network of online urban communities, featuring free classified ads, personals and forums, sorted by various categories. Craigslist operates in around 450 cities, all over the world. And did I mention that the listings are often accompanied by photos? Quel frommage!
By surfing Craigslist Phoenix, Katie managed to completely outfit her kitchen and laundry room with new or near-new, top of the line stainless steel appliances for less than $2,500, which is what her daddy and I had agreed to kick in as our contribution to their new house fund.
Like any innocent, I started out small with Craigslist Raleigh. We were moving into a temporary apartment that did not allow pets, so I had to place our parrot, Lola, with a new family, in a hurry. I posted the Lola ad, and before my computer’s keyboard had cooled off, droves of people were calling and emailing me, begging me to let them adopt Lola. Within a day, Lola had been picked up by a loving new owner, and I was on my way to trouble.
I want to hate Craigslist. After all, I made my living as a newspaper reporter for 14 years, and of late, Craigslist, with its free classified ads, is being blamed for the Total and Complete Demise of American Journalism as we know it. Newspapers have lost billions in classified ad dollars, because Craigslist is giving it away—FREE! According to Wikipedia, Craigslist’s sole source of income is paid job ads in markets like San Francisco, New York, LA, Boston, DC and Seattle, and apartment broker ads in New York. Wikipedia says the company serves over 5 billion page views per month, which makes it the 9th busiest website in the US.
Let’s face it, like many of you, I’m addicted. And this time my online jonesing is a baaad mo-fo. Worse than eBay. Worse than checking my books’ sales ranking on Worse even than Googling my own name to see if anybody’s written anything cool about me lately.
Craigslist is instant gratification. Like when I was outfitting my front porch, I went on and typed in a search for patio furniture. I found a wrought iron end table for $15, and half an hour later, I was unloading it from my car. As a junker, I’ve always checked newspaper ads to see what estate sales were coming up on weekends. Now, with Craigslist, I can check every day of the week, because, since the ads are free, people are posting early and often. Right now, I’m enjoying a $50 antique oriental runner that I found at a moving sale on Craigslist—and down in storage in my basement is a Henredon sofa, loveseat and coffee table for my son’s future apartment—bought at that same sale for $250.
Now I’m pimping Craigslist stuff for friends. Found Shay a leather sofa for her den, and after I told Susie about Craigslist, she found a vintage Raleigh bike for her college-age daughter for $45. She’s also negotiating for Indigo Girls concert tix she found there.
Just as good as the merchandise is the undeniable entertainment offered by listings, which are seemingly unedited and unexpurgated. Katie and I have taken to emailing each other our favorite bizarre-o listings. Like the ad for a full-length mirror, which featured a photo of the mirror’s owner—vamping in said mirror. Or the ad for a haunted barstool, or somebody who wanted to increase the size of his goat herd, in exchange for welding services. Misspellings are a way of life on Craigslist. Witness listings for “rot irn”, “armwar,” and “hugh”—as in “hugh sofa for sale.” Last month, one reader posted just to upbraid Atlanta Craigslist ignoramuses for their shortcomings in spelling, while somebody else posted to let the world know that “Amy in Midtown” was nothing but a poser.
Today I checked the barter classification, and found a cosmetic dentist who is willing to trade dental services for a kitchen re-model, and somebody else who wants to trade his collection of python snakes—eek!!!!—live snakes!!!—for a lawnmower. I’m telling ya, you can’t make this stuff up. There’s gotta be a book in here, somewhere.

5 thoughts on “Craigslist–I’m addicted”

  1. You aren’t alone, that is for sure.

    My daughters 16, and 12 are addicts too.

    I have a feeling many more will be joining you as well.

  2. I’m an addict too! I’m getting married and my future husband and I trying to make our wedding very casual and simple (it is not the first marriage for either of us)had decided to have a Florida beach wedding with only our immediate family present. Of course we procrastinated on a lot of the details and finally last week were stunned when we realized our wedding was only 2 weeks away and we had no one to marry us! I googled, frantically searched wedding websites to no avail and then remembered Craiglist – placed an ad and as of yesterday, we now have a minister to marry us! My mom won’t have a heart attack because I had my heart set on convincing some hippie dude marrying us on the beach.

    Of course months ago when I SHOULD HAVE placed that ad, we were making fun of the ugly couches, spelling errors and looking for a steal on boats on Craigslist… 🙂

  3. have you all seen allurstuff instead?

    it’s also a classifieds site, but with more emphasis on searching, and with a pretty slick google maps integration. (i think it’s the best out there so far)

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