Downsizing by Craigslist

I don’t know about you, but I have posted hundreds of ads on Craigslist to sell my ‘STUFF’. I spend the time to carefully take well lit pictures, (usually from several angles), to help the person browsing decide if the item is of interest and worth their valuable time to set an appointment with me to see it in person. I include the following in each of my ads and I am exceedingly polite when imparting this information:

  • *I make it plain I don’t EXPECT them to purchase, the appointment is only to get a closer look. And I ask that they be so kind as to keep the appointment they set.
  • *I state that if the item is still listed, it is still available as I remove sold items promptly.
  • *I tell them they MUST call me at the phone number I have listed, that any texts will be deleted due to some people using texts to run scams. And I let them know they will need to leave a message so I can call them back as I no longer answer calls from anyone not in my contact list, again due to telemarketers and scammers.
  • *I gently let them know I am not open to bargaining, and I expect to be paid in cash.

You’d think all this information would result in some intelligent conversation when potential buyers call me, right? Nope! You’d be wrong about 60% of the time!

The first question invariably asked is, “Do you still have ### for sale?” or, my favorite… “I’m calling about your ad on Craigslist, do you still have it?” I grit my teeth and smilingly answer, “Yes, I do.” or…. “Which ad are you calling about? I have over 150 items listed.” We then move on to either them asking, “Would you take $$ for it?” or “What else do you have for sale?” I politely state that I am not willing to lower my price, and, or, that “I have too MANY items on Craigslist to list them all, what might you be looking for?” When the caller finally gets down to pertinent questions and setting an appointment to see the item, (if that actually happens), my patience is just about gone and I struggle to sound like a person they are looking forward to meeting. SIGH…

The worst part of all of this? Approximately 40% of the people who do set an appointment are no shows without even a call to cancel! The manners of people in today’s society have gone the way of the dinosaur, they no longer exist.

On the bright side, (lest I completely discourage my readers from attempting to sell items on Craigslist), approximately 90% of those who DO show up end up purchasing my item! And so I persevere, adding posting after posting to my Craigslist account in hopes that my trash is someone else’s treasure.

Now we need to discuss Craigslist TROLLS and what they do to your perfectly acceptable, following the rules postings for absolutely no reason that you are able to discern without consulting the community gurus. The definition of a troll as I understand it is a person that deliberately does something to annoy or cause outrage. So let’s apply that to an anonymous person who is checking out all the stuff for sale on Craigslist. There are millions of Craigslist users and the volume of ‘STUFF’ just boggles the mind!

You will sometimes encounter these unsavory persons while attempting to sell your perfectly legal items in a perfectly civilized fashion. No need to go looking for them, they’ll find YOU! First thing you know, your post has been ‘flagged’ for removal. After the initial shock of having been ‘dissed’, you start scratching your head in search of a reason for the removal of said post. It could be as benign as you didn’t put your item in the right category and it irritated several people who saw it. (It does take more than one flag to remove your post, Craigslist won't tell you HOW many though.) Food for thought for those of us who are paranoid...take great care when choosing the category you are placing your item in, it matters! There are some REALLY picky people out there!

Or, you could have used a word that Craigslist considers on the ‘no-no’ list. Perhaps you used the (oh dear) words ‘gun’ or ‘animal’ or ‘credit card’ somewhere in your post even though you aren’t selling a gun or animal or accepting credit cards. Time to edit and re-post to see if this will fix your problem. Chances are good that a re-write will garner you the results you desire and your post will remain long enough for you to get the views you need to sell your item.

If not… time to admit defeat and go to the community wizards for assistance. You will have to sign up with a whole new membership profile than the one you are posting under to gain access to this group. They will ask you for information about your troubled post, then pick it apart for possible causes that got it flagged. You see, they don’t really KNOW either and are just guessing, but they are expert guessers since they have delved into many of these issues from hundreds of posters. Alas, unless one particular suggestion chimes your bell, you will have to try each of their suggestions until you hit upon the one that allows you to keep your listing posted.

One small tidbit of advice, just in case you have pissed someone off or have run into a crazy person that has it in for you… Never, never, NEVER link anything you have listed with your OTHER listings. You are just asking for trouble! It takes very little effort for someone and all their friends to flag EVERY ONE of your listings when they are linked with that cute little button Craigslist provides at the bottom of every post you are creating. You may think it is a great way to have potential buyers look at your other items, but it is also a disaster waiting to happen if the wrong person decides to flag an item you have for sale.

Another golden nugget I have for you has to do with avoiding scammers. (And yes, Virginia, there are scads of scammers just waiting to pounce!) The best advice I can give you is to post a phone number for reply, set your reply preferences to ‘reply by phone only’ and don’t reply to texts or messages, NO EXCEPTIONS! Trust me, it isn’t worth the risk, nor the time and trouble to reply to those who insist you communicate through either of these methods. Truly interested people WILL call you AND leave a message! The rest are just tire kickers that want to waste your time asking stupid questions that you have already answered in the ad, try to get you to lower your price, or outright set you up for a scam.

A word of caution though, turn your phone off during sleeping hours! The world is full of night owls that don’t keep normal hours and think nothing of texting, calling, and messaging perfect strangers in the wee hours of the morning. And as I told you earlier, I no longer answer the phone unless the caller is in my contact list, so my potential buyers MUST contact me by phone AND leave a message if they hope to reach me. For you doubting Thomases, I still sell lots of items, I simply avoid a lot of aggravation and keep my blood pressure from sending me to the hospital by following this rule.

Go list something and make some money! Be safe, meet in a VERY public place, and enjoy removing some clutter from your life! Yay! Something less to dust or move from here to there and back again!