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?
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.
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:
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.
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.
* 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.