Studio Update But Mostly Notes and Thoughts About Craigslist

The studio is coming along. We attempted to clean the floor, a few different ways, decided it was good enough, poured concrete leveler on it a few times then proceeded to prime and paint.

One wall is not brick so we began repairing the drywall which lead us to check out the brick around the windows. Come to find out, the windows were both installed wrong and lots of cold air was seeping in…which lead us to spray foam in the gaps for insulation after removing the trim, making it look bad and making it another thing to tackle. You find one thing which goes to the next unexpected task.

That’s why it’s taking a little longer than we’d like. But we put primer on the brick walls last night and will be continuing the repair on the drywall portion. Greg is a mudding machine and excels in drywall work.

Everything is bright white and fresh. I’m looking for a large, worn area rug, some kind of storage, a new desk/workstation and considering what to paint the walls that will be appealing for every style of furniture we create. Don’t get me started on the dresser I hoped to have finished by now…a girl can change her mind numerous times…and then that girl can take steps to improve the piece which requires more time. Until I can share more on this project, here are my thoughts on craigslist…something I wrote months ago and wasn’t going to post but what the hey.

As someone who has both sold and bought from craigslist I’ve found many of its “quirks” as an entire source for whatever-and I do mean whatever-you could use and some social tendencies due to human nature that I’d like to reflect upon. Not everyone on there is a serial killer, like I usually get from people who find out where I obtain some items. But seriously, be careful. I don’t check something out without Greg.

Today I’d like to share with you some do’s/don’ts/examples/common courtesy notions you might see or appreciate others doing on the site (a good portion of this based on the Minneapolis area). I have to admit, I wrote this a bit ticked with the amount of rude listers/spammers/emails a few months ago. And it’s long. Very long.

*Sometimes you find an ad that is a blatant sign of someone who does not know what they have and therefore, no idea of the item’s value. This can go both ways-underpricing and overpricing. It’s those underpriced items that we try to pick up and I bet you do too…I say try because the item can get away from you when you live 45 minutes (or more) away and someone closer grabs the piece before you can say Bob’s your uncle then you’re upset, cursing and always think of the thing as “the one that got away”…bitter much, Annie? Yes.

Then you see something-say your average used couch in all its used glory- priced too high. A telltale sign includes listing where it originally came from and you know nothing like that costs that much from that store but they are “kind enough” to knock $50 off. It’s as old and worn as ________. It gets even better when you add to this scenario that it is ruined in some way/requires repair and/or is awful-looking…oh and they respond to people like an unfriendly watchdog when you ask if the price is firm. Been there, done that.

*Another favorite person of mine you might come across on craigslist is the one who saw your ad and wants to quibble over the value. Now I know people want a deal and craigslist is notorious for this. The motto seems to be if you want to get the value of something, go to etsy, maybe ebay, etc.-depending on the item but craigslist, not so much. But offering less than half of what someone wants and telling them it’s overpriced doesn’t equate to you getting the piece in most cases. I’ve actually passed on someone getting my item because their attitude was awful. It’s especially a no-no when the thing just listed and you’re bound to find a buyer that realizes your whatchamacallit is worth something close to what you want. I don’t post something without research and keeping an eye on the price trend on craigslist, etsy and in stores (if possible). It’s worth doing if you rely on craigslist for buying and selling often.

*The person who puts a descriptive word in the title “beautiful blue chair”. It’s a waste. Let us be the judge of that. “Oh, well if it says it’s beautiful, I must see the picture…and oh, good God, that’s hideous.” You’ll never get that time back. (After I wrote this, I found the website craiggers which shows the pictures so that you don’t have to click on descriptions. Nice.)

* I suggest always accepting offers as a lister. Putting ‘firm’, which is perfectly within your rights, kind of turns me off as a potential buyer. You can always have in your mind what you’d like and work with someone but going the distance and putting the word ‘firm’ in your ad makes me cringe.

* Spammers! @#$%&! Especially spammers that send texts. Shame on you!

* People who ask the same questions over and over while the answers are in the ad. Enough said. That’s my biggest peeve. Read the ad, people.

*Vague dimensions. It’s a “medium size dresser.” Worse yet is if you ask someone the actual dimensions, they respond (which can be a miracle in itself) and they give you a new vague response. Speaking of that, it’s funny when someone does list the dimensions and either has them labeled wrong-making one funny looking piece of furniture-or puts feet in place of inches….”oh no, a credenza that’s 18 feet deep will never fit in this room! How do I even get that here?” Cracks me up. But I get what they are saying and by the way, I’d never call people out on things like that. That’d be prick-ish.

*On another note, it doesn’t really bother me when someone asks if something is available-that is kind of the general opening statement getting the conversation ball rolling, declaring “I like your thing, please tell me more about it and if I like what you say, I’ll come to see and most likely purchase it.” Those who go ballistic when someone asks if something is still available are kind of making the statement “I hate people…don’t deal with me” but I do because that’s literally (now literally is a word I can’t stand but still use) my job and I’m a glutton for punishment. In my experience, more people forget to delete an ad and thus asking is the way to go…but I also try to ask another question within the email. (I know, calling, due to spammers, is the way to go these days.)

*When someone lists something as antique or vintage when they, or someone they got it from, obviously purchased it from a cheap supplier. Greg and I have journeyed 40 minutes away to see a credenza that stated it was solid wood just to see a horrible, not original, laminate top on an antique, beautiful base. We believe things of this nature should be mentioned, if not in the ad, probably in the email or phone conversation we try to do before seeing anything. We have a list of common things we’d like to know before even considering a trip to see the piece.

*Communication is lacking. As in, ok so maybe they responded but then you say “gee, I’d like to come see your thingamabob, how about such and such a day” and then you wait, that day has passed and finally the person gets back to you. On more than one occasion the person has sent a simple response like “ok sure”….when obviously they need to address that that day has gone by. So you try again, if the thing is worthwhile, to get a similar response. It’s at that time I let it go. I’m not the kind of person that will say nothing is worth that much effort because there are things, as someone that makes a living purchasing furniture, THAT important. It’s a case-by-case basis. The point being keep in contact. If you are busy, let the person know. As the seller, I think you should be in control of when people get to see your item (especially when inviting a stranger to your home or place of business) and with that responsibility comes the task of initiating a timeline. How soon do you want it gone?

*People that list their old, crappy, worn out object, noting how it needs to be gone by the end of the day. It only works sometimes and usually with half-decent stuff. I also adore the people that think putting up ‘pending’ will make someone want their thing more…makes you wonder if it’s so. Some of the things I see that say pending make me scratch my head in serious doubt.

*Cosby sweater fabric or an equivalent tacky piece. Not really a point but it’s hilarious times when you come across one and someone has labeled it something luxurious sounding. The title sounds completely appealing until you click on it and see it’s something that makes you gag a lil’ bit.

*This point is catered to Greg, myself and anyone else who might, without any cockiness, know more about an item someone is selling than the seller. Said seller, we find, often responds to your innocent email like an asshole. We’re “wood people,” Greg studied wood and is full of all kinds of knowledge. He is employed as an engineer partially for his knowledge of wood…I know names, eras, design terms…don’t respond with a comment (I’m not making this up) like “had you done research on this particular dresser, you would have the slightest clue that this piece is indeed worth this much.” 99.9% of the time, it’s not.

For 1) it was an antique, painted dresser that we could see from the pictures was falling apart, one drawer front wasn’t even on. We were told it was mahogany but not any particularly special piece. The person wanted some ghastly amount …people don’t consider, well, the average person doesn’t consider, what type of wood it is b/c it has been painted or given a bad stain job or the veneer is atrocious and needs replacing (which could cost a pretty penny to get and difficult to put on)…plus in our experience, people are wrong more than half the time about the type of wood.

*The stories: such as the “I’m selling this because my baby mama ran out on me” or “I’m getting divorced, take this stuff before my ex finds out.” Ha! You can get some really nice things from people moving/moving on or someone that used something for staging.

*Showing up to see something and it smells like cat piss. I’m convinced that nothing should drop the asking price of something more than when you’re going to have to get that smell out of it. Shiver. Gross. True story-I found a dresser close to us, in a store, and the entire place, not just the dresser, smelled like feline urine. The person found out we refinished furniture and tried to become my facebook friend to tell me about all the other things she had. Wha?

*I’m not a spelling snob but people come up with some really creative ways to spell things. Drasser. Furnature. Materess. A simple spellcheck would help you out. People search with correct spellings, most likely, and this can seriously harm your ability to be found.

*Be courteous-if you have trouble being kind and patient, ask yourself do you really want to sell this thing or do you really want this thing FOR-EV-ER? That simple. Yet it seems like others have a really hard time with this judging by their responses.

*If you don’t wish to be contacted by email, state it in a non-rude manner.

*If you provided an email address and know you have placed something up for sale, check your email. CHECK IT FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE. I can’t tell you how many times the ad lists no phone number so I send an email to go a week or weeks without a message. I find that thanks to spammers contacting listers, it’s almost customary to send another email (maybe from another account) so that they know you are honest and have a real interest. I’ve been known to write to a person 3 times and if that doesn’t work, I sadly have to move on.

*Pinterest is great to store items you want to keep an eye on. Just make a board and check back each day or week to see if the thing is still available.

I keep an eye on the trends of craigslist in this state and a few surrounding states so I generally have a good idea what something is worth in craigslistland. Sometimes you just find jerks and sometimes you find complete sweethearts, wishing them all the best life has to offer at the end of your transaction. Not that you’re wishing something horrible on the unkind folks…karma, ladies and gents.

So there ya go, a little ranting, a little opinion/fact about shopping on craigslist. That being said, it might be a totally different scene in your area. Every place has its own quirks but human nature is human nature all over the world.

Do you have any peeves concerning craigslist buyers and sellers?

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