Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Craigslist Fail. Or, On Being an Indiscriminate People-Pleaser.

I've been using Craigslist to buy and sell furniture for nearly ten years now, and I feel pretty Craigslist savvy. But last night, we experienced the biggest Craigslist disappointment I've ever had. Have you ever felt the need to apologize for something that wasn't really your fault? It's a weird thing. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Someday I'll find you, my pretty!
First, we borrowed a van and drove nearly an hour to Lebanon to purchase a blurrily-photographed bed that the seller said was in good condition. So far, so good. We drove up to their house and saw the disassembled bed on the front porch, shining like a beacon of Craigslist goodness. But my heart began to sink as I walked toward it. Even from 10 feet away, it was obvious that it was in rough shape. There were deep gouges and scratches all over the footboard. And when the seller began to explain that we'd need to drill new holes in the supports and buy new hardware to "make it work," I was  NOT having it. We have enough projects going on right now!

I hemmed and hawed and chewed  my lip. I ran my fingers over the damage, trying to assess how I could make it look like something other than a scratched mess. I know about stain markers. But dark cherry is very difficult to match. I didn't want to amass a stain marker collection to rival my box of Crayolas. And the messed up supports made warning bells go off in my head. That had not been mentioned in the listing. I wondered if they disassembled the bed before we arrived because it sat unevenly. I knew that if we bought the bed, I would regret it. So I sucked my cheeks in and tried to think of a polite way to tell the seller that I didn't want to buy their bed.

And then her husband snapped, "It's not for sale. Get outta here.

He sounded mad, but I was so relieved. We hightailed it out of there, and Keith was like, "Outlet mall. Outlet mall? Outlet mall!" Somehow, I managed to marry a man who likes shopping even more than I do. So we went to the Lebanon outlet mall, and Keith replaced his broken sunglasses. It was no longer a wasted trip.

But I felt guilty and upset that I hadn't bought the bed. I kept randomly trying to explain myself. Out of nowhere, I was saying things to Keith like, "I just didn't want to have another project, ya know?" and "If I had known it was so damaged, I wouldn't have come out here and wasted their time," and "Do you think he was really mad? Or just trying to use reverse psychology?" I was so upset by the whole exchange. Objectively, I understand that I shouldn't apologize for not buying something that had been misrepresented. But I want everyone to be happy. I feel guilty when I say, "No." It's an interesting thing to realize that I am such a people pleaser. I suppose I learned something about myself last night.

But enough about that. I want to hear some good Craigslist stories. Have you found anything amazing on Craigslist recently? I'll go first: I recently discovered Curating Craigslist, a blog that features the best furniture and home decor items from Nashville's Craigslist. This woman has an amazing eye. Check it out!


  1. Just say NO when the craigslist item is not what was described! Or if you see it and realize it's not going to work for any reason. The real bad craigslist buyers are people who never show up and string sellers along, or vice versa.

    I bought an amazing array of furniture last summer on craigslist. We moved from TN to MI, so that meant new bed frame, dining table and chairs, couch, floor lamps, and bedside table. We said no thanks when we saw one dining room set that was clearly overpriced and was also on a miniature scale! You couldn't tell in photos!

    1. You're so right: Last night I cancelled plans with my best friend to meet a Craigslist buyer who never showed up. I was so frustrated.

      Sounds like you had an amazing haul! But don't you hate it when a listing doesn't give measurements? You need to know how big that dining room table is. You really do.

  2. I was cringing as I read your post. I definitely haven't had an experience like that before. Thanks for mentioning the site! Keep me posted on your next Craigslist find - hopefully you'll have better luck next time!

    1. Thanks! It was pretty bad... but we're hoping that the bed we're going out to see tonight is better. Stay tuned!


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