March 24, 2021 – Craigslist or E-Bay?

Am I the only one that thinks trying to get rid of a bag of raisins on Craigslist is a bad idea? I’ve read so many news articles about people leaving this planet sooner than expected due to a bad Craigslist encounter. Is it worth inviting a stranger to your home and possibly getting assaulted or losing your life over a bag of raisins? I don’t think so. I can think of several ways to put those dried-up grapes to use that don’t involve placing your health and safety at risk. How about making several batches of oatmeal raisin cookies and dropping them off at a resource center? They’d also work out well in some homemade batches of granola. ‘Ants on a log’, anyone? Raisins pair up nicely with peanut butter and celery, too. If none of those options are suitable, how about dropping them off at a food bank or a nearby church? If there isn’t a food bank in the neighborhood, most churches accept food donations. I do have to wonder about some of the people that post items or services on Craigslist. I also wonder if whoever posted the raisins was the same person that posted the ‘used’ chicken bones (several months ago).

Just over 6 months ago (before I started writing my daily blog), I was on Craigslist repeatedly throughout the day, hunting for ‘bargains’. Once I started blogging, I didn’t have the time any longer to continually look up items under the ‘free’ category or peruse the ‘for sale’ category for things my husband and I may or may not possibly need. Of course, once I went through both lists each day (multiple times), I also had to occasionally check under the ‘community’ section. If you haven’t been there before and are in need of entertainment, I guarantee you will find it there. By that, I simply mean that by reading the content alone, you will be entertained! Just today, I read this, “Saw you off hours, looking great in your pink and grey jammies. We could talk about seasonal fun.” Ewwww! I also read, “Come chill what ever is clever.” Double ewwww! There’s also, “To the pretty girl in WinCo yesterday. (Wearing black jeans) Bumped into each other in store, then in line. Felt a slight connection. What did you say to me while leaving check out?” I would love to know what she said, too!

I am telling you, endless entertainment for hours, and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home! That’s one of the ‘perks’ of Craigslist. If anything, that’s probably the main thing that sets it and E-Bay apart. They are both ‘marketplaces’ but vastly different. For a number of reasons, I primarily utilize Craigslist. Craigslist definitely has its advantages when it comes to convenience and having the ability to actually view something with your own eyes and look it over and/or test it prior to purchase. It’s really nice to not only see a photo (with a description provided), but to see an item up-close-and-personal. It’s also extremely convenient to be able to look up an item, contact the seller, and have it home in under an hour. I have purchased and sold many things on Craigslist, everything from awning to bunk beds to fishing gear to vehicles (cars, boats, & motorcycles). One thing that throws me is how I can post something and it’ll sit there for 3 weeks with no interest, and then all-of-a-sudden, 5 different parties are fighting over it.

That’s one of the great things about Craigslist, you can get rid of stuff in a hurry (most of the time). You also get paid immediately (unless you work something else out with the buyer, which I do not recommend). I always put ‘cash only’ whenever I post an ad. Years ago, if you accepted checks in lieu of cash, the chances were in your favor that the check would clear when you went to the bank to cash it. Today? No way, Jose! Check fraud is a very real thing and personally, I don’t want to be a victim of it. Cash is king in my house! If you want my stuff, you’d better bring the Benjamins or don’t bother. Have you ever bought or sold anything on Craigslist? If you have, you’re probably well aware that photos can be deceiving. Far too many times, I have viewed a photo (or two) of an item, driven to the seller’s home (with every intent on making the purchase), and froze in my tracks when I saw the item in person! Furniture items are the biggest culprits. They always seem to photograph better than they actually appear.

Another perk with Craigslist is how simple it is. You can make the ad as basic as you wish, and once the item sells, there’s no need to mess with PayPal or taxes or shipping and handling. You can simply set the item right outside your front door (as is) and have the person pick it up. I did that the last two times I sold something. I sold a secretary desk and a vanity with a matching stool. Both times, I set the items out by my front door and told the person who was interested, that once he or she had a chance to look it over, to text me back (and we could do a quick cash exchange). Fortunately, in both cases, the individuals that showed up were happy with the items and texted me. I didn’t have to haul the stuff anywhere or even have anyone enter my house. It was super easy and I sure didn’t mind the extra money! I have to say, I have been pretty lucky (but I’m also very careful). I’ve had interactions with Craigslist ‘flakes’ before but they weren’t scary, just annoying. If you’ve never heard of them before, they’re basically people that ‘flake out’ on a purchase.

‘Flakes’ (and phishing scams) are part of the downside of selling items on Craigslist, whereas, E-Bay is essentially ‘flake-free’. I’ve sold my fair share of goods on it as well; however, it’s been a while. It’s so much more involved (and costly) but in many situations, it’s preferable. Why is it preferable? Millions of people utilize E-Bay. Instead of only ‘locals’ as potential buyers or sellers, you are now dealing with a worldwide audience. Maybe someone in your community doesn’t want to purchase your old cellphone, but I bet someone will buy it if you advertise it on E-Bay. I’ve sold everything from a box of Legos to a custom motorcycle utilizing it. Yes, a custom motorcycle! After advertising it on Craigslist and getting nowhere fast, I finally posted it on E-Bay. This was when custom bikes were ‘all the rage’. My husband actually spent about $22,000 (gulp!) building it, but once it was done, he lost interest. Over the years, he has realized that the ‘joy’ wasn’t in having the bike, it was in building the bike. Who would have thought?

It was a beautiful bike, I have to admit. Nearly 9′ long (from front to back), it had a Redneck frame, custom paint job, and a very powerful motor. It definitely turned heads! However, after my husband rode it between 5-10 times, it lost its luster. After about a year, I suggested we sell it, all it was doing was taking up space in the garage. He reluctantly agreed. The transaction didn’t go as smoothly as all of the others on E-Bay, unfortunately. Generally, when a bid is placed and accepted, the buyer is supposed to pay for the item. The yahoo that bought our bike refused, he said he wanted to ‘see it first’. I thought to myself, “Doesn’t he know how E-Bay works? You cannot win an auction and then wait until you get a chance to ‘see it’ before you pony up the money.” He wasn’t willing to budge and we were in a bind financially so we accepted his terms. A few days after the auction closed, he showed up at our door. We escorted him to the garage, where he had an opportunity to inspect the bike closely. He also took it out on the road and tested it. To my relief, he was satisfied with the purchase and after a trip to the bank, we got our money (half of what we invested).

Each marketplace definitely has its pros and cons. I used to love selling on E-Bay, but it was such a production and so involved that I didn’t stick with it for very long. Before an item can even be advertised, you have to take photos, provide a description (including measurements), estimate shipping costs, determine if you want to set a ‘reserve price’, agree to advertising fees, etc. If you actually succeed in selling the item, there are all the matters involving payment as well as shipping and handling. I had so many materials for shipping alone, they nearly filled a room! Between the boxes and the ‘peanuts’ and the bubble wrap, it was ridiculous! I don’t want to have to go to all of that trouble to sell ‘stuff’ any longer. If I cannot net at least $30 on a sale, I don’t waste my time. Because of that, most of the items I no longer want or need end up getting donated. All that to say, sometimes it’s worth making the effort. We can all use a bit of ‘pocket change’ these days.

Since I just purchased a new cell phone, I’m going to give E-Bay a whirl (again). My hope is to sell my (and my husband’s) old phones to help offset the cost of the new one. They are both pristine and come with all of the original boxes and manuals. I don’t know how many people would be interested in a couple of old phones that can only store/run one app at a time, but you never know! I might get lucky and unload them for a few bucks. Every little bit counts. If they don’t sell, I guess they’ll just wind up at the thrift store (along with all of the other stuff I no longer want or need). Before I go, one last thing. B-E-W-A-R-E of the phishing scams on Craigslist. There are so many predators trying to take advantage of gullible people! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Thank you so much for stopping by. I love to write and I enjoy the opportunity to share stories about my life and family or to just make simple random observations. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.

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