Yesterday, I sold a dresser to a nice gentleman via Craigslist. He had just moved to Chicago from Las Vegas, apparently in such a hurry that he abandoned his belongings in the desert. Desperate for new home furnishings, he promptly answered the ad, borrowed a large vehicle, arrived at the agreed time, negotiated politely and brought enough cash to close the deal – a minor miracle in the parched, desolate landscape of Craigslist transactions.
But scoring a good (and desperate) customer is only one half of any Craigslist success story. The seller must provide an accurate description of the product (including measurements), a plausible back story (“we moved and don’t have room for it!”), and most of all, good photos.
I didn’t spend much time styling my dresser for the Craigslist photo shoot, but I did turn on the lights, slide all the crap off the top, and remove (or later crop) the toys and dirty laundry that surrounded it. I wanted to project a certain level of sophistication and, um, cleanliness. Was that so hard?
Anyone who’s ever browsed Craigslist can tell you — YES, apparently it IS that hard.
For example, here is another mom selling her kids’ dresser. As the photo clearly illustrates, there’s plenty of room for ALL your children’s belongings in this thing!
We’ve all seen the haphazardly-snapped photos of furniture in the driveway, the leftovers of a poorly-planned yard sale or the remains of a forgotten storage unit. But some Craigslist backgrounds are truly bizarre, even disturbing. For your convenience, I collected a few of the best here.*
First, let me introduce you to my favorite CL photo faux-pas — furniture on the lawn. Perhaps the light outside is better than in your garage, but a couch in your backyard suggests that those cushions are full of roly-polies** and crickets; soaked to the frame with Bartles & James.
AGAIN with the furniture on the lawn?! Oh, wait…. Sorry, that’s just the living room carpet:
However, nothing says, “Get off my lawn, you damn kids!” like an electric lift chair on the front porch. Comes with complimentary bag of mints and a baseball bat:
Without a human model to demonstrate, I might have mistaken the chair below for a poorly-assembled bike. I’m still not sure how it works, but it clearly causes so much shame that the user’s identity must remain a secret:
And speaking of shameless, this audacious merchant is selling furniture right from his prison cell! Seller accepts PayPal, cigarettes, or cases of Cup-O-Noodles:
Isn’t this “antique medical stool” so charming? We got it from this old country doctor who used to perform exams on a washing machine:
Who knows what used to live on that shelf, but I have a feeling that if I buy it, that cat is going to follow me home:
This was the only photo in an ad for a dining room table. You just have to believe that there’s a dining table under there. (Dining room table not guaranteed):
HEALTH AND BEAUTY:
I’ve never purchased used syringes from strangers on the internet, so I’m not sure if that dollar is there to illustrate the size or the price of the needle:
I’m no doctor, but I would recommend moving Grandma’s bed a few feet further from the fire place. Either that, or turn off the oxygen:
Of course, a urine-soaked bed sheet is a very appropriate backdrop for this toilet seat!
Wheel chair for sale! Perfect for hanging out behind idling buses. Carbon monoxide alarm not included:
This home tanning bed is so powerful, it comes with it’s own high-capacity circuit breaker! Also doubles as a coffin.
These medical devices were developed specifically to treat the injuries of Professional (or very serious amateur) Twister Players:
This laptop comes with 8GB of RAM, a 64-bit Operating System, and a small Python.
Nothing says “glamor” and “nouveau riche“ like a crystal chandelier! On a pegboard.
However, pegboards ARE the perfect place to display your nightmarish collection of taxidermied creatures for sale:
Honey, how many times have I told you not to leave the stuffed hyena on the kitchen counter? Look, he’s splattered with spaghetti sauce again!
If you don’t teach your raccoon about the dangers or nosing around in a hornet’s nest, then who will?
It’s a little known fact that Jesus was born in July, on a glass-topped patio table in the suburbs of Chicago:
I know it looks like a box of rope, but they’re actually selling half-used laundry detergent. Unless the rope IS the laundry detergent! In that case, I’ve been doing it wrong.
Bring along your shovel and Weed Wacker to test drive this gently-used (and apparently quite fertile!) El Camino.
* All these items are available for sale — RIGHT NOW — somewhere in the metro Chicago area.
** A roly-poly is sopod crustacean of the family Armadillidiidae, sometimes called “wood lice” or “pill bugs” or “slaters” in Australia. They were frequent playmates of mine growing up.
that is gold. Glad that you provide aussie translations.
Thanks. The WordPress metrics tell me that I’m popular in Australia. Not sure why, but its best not to mess with success. Do you have Craigslist there?
Another magical romp through the total weirdness of other people! We don’t have Craigslist here, our nearest equivalent would be Gumtree, which has distressingly adequate photos, although some of the descriptions appear to be major works of imaginative fiction writing… I may have to go and browse for a while to see if I can find anything to top yours!
Glad to confirm that you weren’t selling the dresser that we brought over to your house the other day!
Actually, we were selling the blue one to make room for the dresser you gave us! I just started loading the kids’ clothes into it and they fit perfectly. A much, much smaller footprint than Big Blue. Thanks again!