Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Craigslist Rules: Always Call

Though Craigslist is, in my experience, the best place to scoop up the Mid-Mod goods, you quickly learn that there are a few rules to play by if you really want to score big.

One of the most crucial: Always call!

In the age of email and texting this may seem old-fashioned, but I can't stress its importance enough.

Not all sellers check their messages obsessively as most of us likely do.  I can't count the number of times that I've written a seller only to hear back from them days later because they haven't logged onto their mail.  A good number of them also wait and mull the offer over before replying.  In the mean time, others come pouring in and they can take their pick.

Calling forces the issue.  Few will ignore a ringing telephone and once they've made that personal connection with the buyer, it's much more difficult for them to delay, waffle, or back out.

If the seller doesn't leave a phone number, just send them an email with yours and hope for the best.

I must say, I'm not really one for phoning up random strangers.  It just kind of weirds me out, so I sometimes break the "always call" rule.  Almost invariably, this leads to me getting burned.

Take today for example.  I found a listing for two Overman pod chairs at $15 a pop.

source: midcenturymodernfinds.com

Great deal!  I arranged pickup after work but had the brilliant idea of getting a head start to avoid rush-hour.  Craigslist shows the general location, so all I needed was a reply with the exact street address and I was set.  Surely they'd respond as quickly as they had to my first few messages, right?

You already know how things turned out.  Don't ever make this rookie mistake!  Get on that phone!

19 comments:

  1. Aw, sorry you didn't make connections with the seller as you had hoped. I hate Craigslist disappointments.

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    1. Fortunately it was a white vinyl version, which isn't really my taste, but I could always use a few things to sell on and fund future purchases.

      How's the clearance going? If I were closer I'd be all over it (especially the credenzas, wall units, and West German pottery).

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  2. Off topic: you entered my giveaway (yay! I'm following your blog now, too, by the way) but you need to leave a comment for each so you get four chances! Just don't want you to miss out :)

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    1. Got it! Thanks for following too. Love your blog.

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  3. I saw those today as well. One good thing is that they didn't look like genuine Overmans to me. The bases looked like they were chrome (at least on my phone) and I think all Overman bases would be aluminum. Even the most polished aluminum ain't gonna look like chrome steel! They were probably Ikea knock offs. Still, somebody got a great deal. Wasn't me! And yeah, I'm also still trying to get my head around which "reply" to click when answering a comment.

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    1. That's one of the downsides of Craigslist. It's really tough to make out the details in those crummy little thumbnail pictures.

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  4. i cant tell u how many time i have been disappointed..assuch idont own a big car toget stuff home...u win some and u loose some. sometimes something is just waiting in the corner and thats why u miss the one in front of u

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    1. A vehicle with a lot of storage space helps immensely. I occasionally get to borrow my dad's minivan on the weekends for estate sales/thrifting and love it, although my friends sometimes think I'm a bit strange for being all excited about driving a minivan.

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  5. You are so right!

    I fall into the lazy, well if they want it sold they'll check their email, mindset...but some of that really good REALLY GOOD stuff is listed by a generation that isn't as tied to their computer as I am. From now on, if I want it and there is a number I'm going to call. :) Thanks for this post.

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    1. So true. I hardly use my phone line at all anymore with email, texting, and Facebook. We sometimes forget that there are many people out there who don't even have a cell phone.

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  6. Hey, off subject, but if you haven't found a rug yet, tandy leather in south county has theirs on sale for $119 right now. just wanted to let you know!

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    1. Thanks Hannah! I've made plans to get down there this weekend. Hopefully they've got some good ones left over.

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  7. IF they don't have any that you like, besure to ask if they are getting anymore in at that price, because I know that they do get more once the supply is low if the sale is going on for awhile. But, i got my favorite white and gray one from one of their sales, so I know that its not just cast offs. I have been in in awhile to see their selection.

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    1. Hey Nick,

      What's the best way to get a private msg to you?

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    2. Hey Dave. You can just email me at nschaefer1985@gmail.com

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  8. I sold several pieces of furniture from my mother's estate on Craigslist. There was no phone and no internet service at the house, and it was vacant, plus I work full time, and live across town. I don't have a smart phone, so I took photos and posted them later, requesting the buyers provide a phone number when they contacted me by email. Many buyers will flake out, so I didn't want to make a special trip to the house after work to be stood up. As a single woman, I also preferred to have my brother there with me or be able to move the piece outside for the buyer to see if it was small enough and light weight. Don't assume that you have all of the facts when contacting a random stranger. The buyers were thrilled with what they got - a Heywood Wakefield coffee table, for example, and I gave them my cell number when they had provided a legitimate email and phone number. Some buyers never answered their phones -- the ones who wanted to pick it up "right now."

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    1. That's very true Anon. As an occasional Craigslist seller, I can attest that things on the other side of the transaction can be equally frustrating. Buyers will frequently not show, try to renegotiate after they've already accepted a price and you've passed on other offers, etc.

      I think they the key here is to follow the golden rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Return calls and messages, show up on time, and communicate your intentions clearly. If everyone could do this, Craigslist would be a much happier place.

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  9. That is so true. I feel the same way about buying things I see when i SEE them. I have made too many mistakes when finding things and thinking, "Oh, I'll just come back tomorrow and get it." Its never there tomorrow!

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