Friday, January 23, 2009

Buying & Selling

I have a small business buying and selling things, mostly over there on the 'bay. It's more of a hobby and a pasttime (same thing?) than a business, as I seldom net any cash when the books are reconciled. But it's fun, it's an outlet for me, and since I have a love of flea marketing and thrift shopping, it provides for storage in someone else's house rather than mine. I have enough clutter as it is.

Lately, I've used
Craig's List locally in the Knoxville area. It's a classified advertising site which allows one to post all manner of ads for items being bought, sold, traded, or wanted, as well as community and local activities, resumes and job postings, business services, freebies, and personals (no porn or illegal activity, please). Best of all, it's totally free; no listing fees, final value fees, payment processor fees, picture fees, etc., etc., etc.

I have reasonably good luck. Once I sold a vintage 6' tall Chianti bottle (empty) to someone in California. (He said he googled Craigslist: chianti bottle and found my ad.) The man was opening an Italian restaurant and not only paid me my asking price for the bottle, but also $125 to have it professionally packed and shipped from Knoxville to Southern California! Last night I listed a 4' tall oak finished lingerie chest my husband found on the side of the road. It sold for $50 within 1 hour of listing it. I've also purchased a few things at great prices and even traded my living set for someone else's because I needed to downsize.

I'm also noticing that there are lots of folks disguised as buyers who really have other alternatives in mind. For instance, with many of the ads I post, I frequently get multiple responses that say something like, "Saw your ad. If it's still available a week from Friday, please contact me." Invariably, such ads include a signature line that lists several url's for various money-making and network marketing websites. Could it be they want me to click on one of the links, just in case I'm interested? Is this called spam? I usually simply delete them.

Last night, I received a phone call from a fellow who expressed interest in a capaccino machine I am selling. We ended up talking for an hour. Seems he was a long-distance truck driver (like my dh) who's just come off the road only to find his wife of 12 years was apparently "doing better without him." Now 38 and going through an impending divorce, I think he was more interested in having someone to talk to than the coffee pot. I was glad to oblige as I, too, was home alone and it was good to hear another human voice. Whether he was looking to Craig's List as a social networking option or not, I don't know. He could have found that in the personal ads on the same site, but maybe he didn't want to appear so obvious. Haven't heard from him since and he didn't buy the capaccino machine, so in either case, I guess he wasn't interested.

So what's my take on all this? While my ads remain pretty straightforward, I've come to believe there's a lot more buying and selling going on at Craig's List than meets the eye.

1 comment:

Junosmom said...

Could be. Hey, cuz, you can always call me if you want a human voice. BTW, dad said he'll call you soon. He's hoarse still but recovering his voice.