Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why I Love Craigslist

As many of you may know, Craigslist is a classifieds website where people can post what they want to get rid of and how much they want for it. It is similar to Ebay in that you can find the most random stuff on craigslist. Here is a quick sample of strange items I found with minimal effort:

1. Miniature Cornhole set - $30
2. Wilton chocolate Molds - $5
3. Cow Photograph Holder/Carry Case - $10
4. Dokorder Reel to Reel Tape Player - $75
5. TI-89 Graphing Calculator - $40

That last one was mine. I sold it today for $40. I bought that calculator used for $150 back in 1999 on Ebay. I think I made out pretty well for an 11+ year old electronics device. I wouldn't pay $10 for a 10 year old desktop computer, but the calculator was worth $40 to somebody. I love it, because that gives me that much more money to spend on whatever I want. I think I'll buy an electric guitar.

As cool as it is for me to get money for my old junk, that isn't the reason why I like craigslist. It also doesn't have anything to do with the fact that I can use craigslist for free. I think that the coolest thing about craigslist is that it connects people.

I didn't know the guy I sold the calculator to. In fact, in all my dealings on Craigslist I haven't known the opposite party beforehand and I haven't seen any of them since. Somehow though, for that brief period of time, we connected in a way that Ebay can't provide. In order to get the stuff you buy on Ebay, you pay shipping and handling. To get your stuff on Craigslist, you need to call, text, or email the person and then you meet them at some random location and exchange the goods. This adds a distinctly human element that is not part of any other online service providers method of business.

I'm sure with some people on craigslist, you can mail a check with a prepaid box for return delivery of your good, but the average person doesn't trust that method unless they are working through a third party (like Ebay). Craigslist takes a no hands approach to the actual transaction process, thus minimizing the need for customer support. All of the grunt work has to be done by the two people wanting to exchange goods. I wanted $40, and somebody wanted my Calculator. We arranged a meeting place, met, talked for less than a minute. I gave him my calculator and it's accessories, and he gave me $40. To top it off, we both walked away happy! You don't get that kind of positive interaction with very many other web applications. I love it.

I think that the connecting people part is the greatest aspect of Craigslist. I've met people all around Cincinnati and continue to be amazed at how positive each experience is... mostly. I have had one bad experience with Craigslist. It was a no show. We had arranged to meet to trade phones on a Saturday morning. When it came to meet, there was no answer to the phone, and no return text. Oh well. Apparently she didn't want my phone as badly as I wanted her phone. And life moves on. A couple months later I post my calculator and all is well again in my happily connected world of Craigslist.

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