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Anatomy Of A Craigslist Ad

We were going to put a porch on our house. Then we decided not to put a porch on our house. But because some of us are so optimistic and forward-looking, when we bought the four windows and door for the house, we also bought the six windows and storm door we would need for the porch.

So for the past two years, the windows and door have been taking up precious space in the Tuff Shed, which I want to turn back into a tiny house.

So I post an ad on craigslist, to the Tulsa site. I wait and I wait. Finally, about two weeks later, a lady responds. “Please call me. I want those windows!”

I call her. She sounds excited. We set up a time for her and her husband to come pick up the windows.

I get excited, too.

Prematurely. The lady sends me another e-mail. “My husband wants to know if you can take those black dividers out of the tops of the windows.”

Uh, no.

“Do they come with screens?”

I think I wrote in the ad that they don’t come with screens. Didn’t I write that they didn’t come with screens?

Okay, I guess not. But there are no screens in the photos I posted.

“I’m sorry, but the windows would look odd having the dividers at the top but not the bottom,” is the woman’s final e-mail.

I look at the four windows on our house. They don’t look odd to me, but then, I am more than a bit odd myself.

I sigh. And go edit the add, making it clear that no, they don’t come with screens, and no, those black divider strips do not come out. And please note, by the way, that four of the windows look different than the other two windows.

The ad expires, and I repost it. Nothing for two weeks. Then, a man e-mails me. He wants them. We arrange a time for him to come get them.

Except that he suddenly realizes that he can’t justify a five-hour round trip to pick them up. For windows that are half the price of what we paid for them – and that price was an outlet discount.

I also state clearly in the ad that we’re willing to negotiate a price based on how far the buyer has to come to pick up the windows.

Thanks, but no thanks, the guy basically says in the end.

Except…the next day: “Could you meet me on the turnpike in McAlester with the windows?”

Okay. First of all, if you’re willing to go all the way to Mac, why the heck can’t you drive another fifty miles to get to our place?

Second of all – “I’m sorry, no. We don’t have a truck. You’d have to pick them up at our place.”

End of that conversation.

Frustrated and getting impatient, I post the exact same ad to north Dallas – except in this ad, I describe how far we are from north Plano, rather than our distance from McAlester.

Two days later, Ron responds to the Tulsa ad. Actually, by the time I check my e-mail he has e-mailed me twice. His phone number is at the bottom of the e-mail, so I call him.

During the conversation, he tells me that he wasn’t sure I’d get back to him.

Wow. Is he saying that people are flaky? Really? I didn’t know.

Maybe everybody else except me and Ron are flaky.

Oh, and you, of course, dear reader. I know that you are not flaky.

Proof that Ron and I are not, either: I did call him – even e-mailed him my real e-mail address after – and he did show up with his wife on the agreed-upon day to pick up the windows and door.

Selling stuff on craigslist when you live in a large metroplex like Dallas is a piece of cake. When you live in the middle of nowhere?

That’s a different story.

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