I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with Craigslist, but I am. I’m apparently so taken with the online marketplace that I write about it on this very blog — quite frequently.
But while I’ve discussed how to be good at Craigslist, what I hate about Craigslist, and how to NOT rent an apartment on Craigslist, there’s one aspect of buying and selling that I have no yet addressed: the art of the Craigslist negotiation.
Fortunately for all of you (right?), I’ve garnered many a cautionary in my many years of buying and selling, and now I’m going to share them with you. Here are a few signs you might not be so good at Craigslist negotiating.
1. You seem to think this is Macy*s.
Listen, I get it. You paid hundreds of dollars for that [insert name of furniture/appliance/etc.]. It hurts your heart — and bank account — to even think about selling it for half what you paid for it. But you know what? You are not a department store. I did not drive to your establishment, park in your sprawling parking complex, and brave a stroll through your perfume department to get to this [furniture/appliance/etc.], whereupon I then bought it brand new out of a box. I found it on a semi-shady, over-grown garage sale website. After you had used it for a couple of years. So, alas, you cannot sell it to me for what you paid for it.
There’s nothing worse than a Craigslist seller who won’t budge on their listing price. This is why I always list at least $10 higher than what I ultimately want to get for the item — that way, I can negotiate without feeling too great of a loss. Any time I encounter a seller who won’t drop at least $10 from their price, I immediately move on. Stop acting offended and remember where we are right now.
2. You think you have Jedi mind control.
There are few things more annoying than a buyer trying to trick you into a low-ball offer. When you email me and just say, “What will you sell this to me for?”, my immediate mental response is to send you a “Let Me Google That For You”-type response where I just re-send you the original ad. Howsabout we start at that number, huh pal?
As I just said, I have no issues with haggling. I encourage it, in fact. But you have to at least make me a real offer. You’re not going to fool me into giving my best and final right off the bat. This ain’t my first rodeo, cowboy.
3. You take the low-ball offer to a subterranean level.
I feel like I should repeat the fact that I am not above bargaining. I expect you to reply to my ad with an offer. What really irks me? An offer that is 50 percent or less than what I listed for.
Come on, guys. Be respectful. If I really didn’t care how much I sold it for, I would just drop it in the free section to be done with it. I make a habit of offering at least 75 percent of whatever it was originally listed for, in expectation that the seller will come back closer to 80-85 percent. The only exception is if something is already priced super low — then I might just offer whatever it’s listed for (because I’m not a psychopath).
There’s nothing more annoying than listing something for $80 and getting an offer for $30. Like, what do you think this is? And stop acting wide-eyed and shocked when I say “no, thanks.”
I feel like I may have exhausted my Craigslist tips at this point, but I’m sure there are more great ideas out there. What are your best buying and selling secrets?
You know how sometimes you just stop believing that something is ever going to happen for you?
Case in point: the last two winters. I don’t know about y’all, but I had quite literally given up hope it was ever going to get hot again. When I woke up to 40-degree weather this morning, that disbelief was reinforced.
That’s how I’ve been feeling about our bedroom. I was just plain ol’ convinced that it was just never going to come together.
Oh, what’s that? You want to hear the saga of our bed? Oh, I just couldn’t possibly regale you with this tale of tragedy and woe…but, sure, let’s do it.
It started on the first day of our move when the movers discovered it was actually impossible to navigate our headboard down our twisty little hallway to the bedroom. This wasn’t a huge shock — the headboard was of the storage variety, so it was pretty bulky. I had secretly been hoping to sell it for a few months because I wanted something more streamlined that would allow us more space to move around the room.
Careful what you wish for, chickadees.
Once we had confirmed that the bed wouldn’t fit, I started a more aggressive campaign to try to sell it.
You guys, if there is one thing I could teach you about Craigslist, it’s this: It is dang-near impossible to sell a bed on that sucker.
I could not sell this bed.
You know what I could do? Almost sell it.
You just have to trust me that I am not exaggerating when I tell you I almost sold the bed four separate times. One potential buyer even came to the apartment, saw the bed, said he want it, left us a $100 deposit, and then went home and changed his mind and asked for 50 percent of the deposit BACK over Paypal. That was a dark day.
When a girl from Craigslist called and offered me peanuts to buy the bed (IF we would deliver it), I readily accepted if only because I NEEDED THIS TO BE OVER.
And I still didn’t really believe it had sold until Joey returned sans bed with cash in hand.
So after all that, the bed was sold. But I still had to wait a couple of weeks to order the new bed. In the meantime, Joey and I have been sleeping on the mattress. On the floor. Like heroin addicts. It’s super glamorous.
About three weeks ago, I finally ordered the new bed. About a week later, it arrived. The clouds parted. Angels sang. Bogey shed a tear or two. We finally had a bed?
Or did we???
I unpacked the side pieces and the platform slats first. No problems. Then I went to unpack the headboard, sliding it out of a long, thin box. As the last corner slipped free from the cardboard…it became instantly apparent that the entire corner was crushed beyond repair.
NO BED FOR YOU!
In the moment of black-out rage that followed my seeing that crushed corner, I can’t even tell you what was said. I’m guessing not anything pleasant.
The only bright side is that Overstock.com actually has a pretty competent customer service department. They quickly forwarded my complaint to the parts department, and two days later I had an email that a new headboard was on its merry way to me. And we just had to toss the old one — they didn’t need it back.
The new headboard arrived on Thursday. That pretty much ends the story (except a little anecdote about the UPS guy dropping it over our fence to crash-land on our patio table…because CLEARLY these things are so durable…the headboard was fine, fortunately)(for the UPS man)(and his life), and this weekend I was finally able to set up the bed and our bedroom at large.
So now, to reward you for sticking with our bed odyssey all this while, I present you with photos of the finished product:
And for a little pizzazz, I added these beauties:
Obviously the bedspread is still a bit wrinkled from being packed (and a couple of our pillows warped when we tried to wash them), but it’s still lightyears ahead of where we were last week. (AKA, on the floor.)
So it just goes to show, you should never give up the dream.
What did y’all accomplish this weekend?
UGH THIS POST ALREADY SOUNDS WHINY IN MY HEAD BUT I JUST NEED TO PURGE THE BAD THOUGHTS AND THEN MOVE ON.
Current least favorite things:
1. Brokers who hide their posts in the no-fee real estate section on Craigslist. YOUR DECEPTION WILL NOT GO UNNOTICED. And the fact that you started our relationship with a lie makes me instantly dislike and not want to work with you.
2. Pretend spring days that turn into frigid winter ones. WHAT DID I JUST SAY ABOUT DECEPTION? You cannot give me a 45-degree Sunday and then just follow it up with a 6-degree Tuesday. That’s a jerk move. Get outta here.
3. Allergies masquerading as colds. AM I SICK OR NOT? Make up your mind, cold and flu symptoms. Either the Claritin should start kicking in or we should just call this what it is.
4. Paper cuts. I mean, I hate these all the time, but my hands are currently covered in them from packing. Just saying. It’s annoying.
Blah. Emotional purge: done. Carry on.
No matter how old I get, these three things will probably always be a mystery to me:
1. Why it is so difficult to roll over a 401k
2. People who are mean to dogs.
3. Stores that won’t sell you something off the mannequin.
I hate the skirt I’m wearing today. I hate it every time I wear it.
It’s not that it’s just ill-fitting — this skirt is the definition of frumpy. I originally purchased it from a thrift store for BEANS. It was at least two sizes too big, but it was from Banana Republic, and I figured even with tailoring (it’s an A-line skirt — HOW HARD COULD THAT BE?) it would still be significantly cheaper than buying it retail.
Spoiler alert: Even tailoring has done nothing to alleviate the frump-factor of this skirt. It has these pockets, which I would normally love, but that stick out like a pair of book-size bat ears, giving my hips the appearance of being as wide as the day is long. (Note the weird pocket bulge on the right side of the above photo. I do not make this up.) Not exactly flattering.
In general, I have no problem getting rid of clothing that does not actively improve my life. You guys know this.
So why would I keep (and regularly wear) a skirt I feel like I’m in my own personal blood feud with? I like the challenge.
I’ve had an ironically torrid love affair with modest skirts in the last couple of years. Midi skirts? Those are my jam. And all of my pencil skirts run at least a couple of inches below my knees.
What I love about these skirts is that they are undeniably ladylike AND they force me to be more thoughtful about the rest of my outfit. I’m a firm believer that successful fashion is all about the give-and-take: shorter hemlines are ALWAYS paired with full-length sleeves and a lower neckline looks gauche with too much leg showing. Modest skirts require more effort to also look chic.
Which brings me back to the skirt in question. I’m telling you guys, I’ve tried my DANGDEST to get that thing to look fashionable. Sometimes, I think I’m close. A cute pair of nude heels and a fitted sweater will almost get us there. It ALMOST works because the skirt is so huge it makes my waist look tinier I GUESS? But the fact is, I’m constantly reaffirming in my head that I don’t look like a bag lady when I’m wearing it.
That is not the desirable effect of any fashion choice.
Am I the only person who has a piece of clothing with which I have this relationship? What would YOU do to make this skirt work? Or should I just accept that it IS ill-fitting and throw in the (frumpy, lumpy) towel?
You ARE our only hope.
I’ll admit, sometimes I bite off more than I can chew.
Unfortunately, I’m not always so good at admitting it in the moment.
Case in point: I’m cutting back on caffeine. And I am not handling it…well.
My reasons are manyfold, but the gist is that I realized I am drinking way too much. But despite the large quantities I would ingest on the daily, I also realized that I had stopped feeling much of a reaction unless I literally drank a gallon of coffee. (I assume…I swear I have not attempted this.)
So, I decided to quit for a while in hopes that when I start drinking it again, it will only take a few sips to perk me up.
Sounds like a fool-proof plan, RIGHT?
Ahem. My brain would like to disagree.
Thursday was my first day going cold-turkey, and it started (and ended) with a splitting headache. Like, I went to bed at 9:30 because it was so bad. The rest of the weekend wasn’t as horrible (I actually got plenty of sleep almost every night, which helped), but yesterday I was a bit of a crankypants in the afternoon. I rallied after eating lunch, but I can see now that I was totally obnoxious to my husband.
Day five of no caffeine is going better. I feel tired, but the headaches have subsided. I THINK I will get through this, you guys.
Has anyone else gone off caffeine cold-turkey? What helped? Does anyone else hate the phrase “cold-turkey”?