Thursday, January 16, 2014

Problem Craigslist buyers

I've written a lot of blog pieces over the last few years. Of the numerous ramblings I've penned, one of the most popular pieces is, "The trouble with some Craigslist buyers." The topic was about my occasional experiences with rude, obnoxious or just plain annoying Craigslist buyers. The story seemed to really hit home with a lot of folks, resulting in one of the most read pieces on my blog. Recently, I received a reader comment from Kai. She read my earlier blog piece and wrote in to pass along a story of her own. Her comments were timely. I just experienced an encounter with a CL buyer who really pushed my buttons! I'll share that story in a minute. Below is Kai's story. I think we all can identify with it...

"I know your story is from a while back, but I just had to comment. A friend asked me and my boyfriend to help her sell a ton of golf clubs and golf shoes. (She use to own a store.) We agreed  to help and hauled all her golf stuff over to our house. To make it easier, we decided to store all the equipment store in our backyard shed. We then posted everything on Craigslist. A few days later, a guy said he was interested in looking at the equipment. We had hundreds of clubs and tons of shoes in the guy's size, so instead of meeting him someplace, we decided to have him just come to our house. Since it was all in my shed anyway, I thought it would be no issue, right? 

When the buyer showed up, my boyfriend began pulling the golf equipment out of the shed. Even though we laid out all the clubs on the table, the moment my boyfriend turned his back, the guy sneaks right into our shed! Luckily I was upstairs watching with my friend. (We had gone inside after the guy made obnoxious comments about how women aren't useful at all!)

Once I saw him go into our shed, I came back outside to keep an eye on him. (I acted like I was just bringing water out to my boyfriend.) I looked at the guy with my best, "Not to be rude but....get the H@#L out of our shed!" Just to make sure he got my message, I then told him, "There's nothing in there Sir.... it's all out here." He slinked back out and I immediately locked the shed behind him! The guy ended up trying to low ball us on some of the equipment. We sold him a few things, but after that experience it didn't matter how much I had to load in my car! I decided I'll always meet buyers at the local Starbucks or some other public place. (It took a long time to sell all the golf stuff. In fact, just to get the stuff off our hands, we ended up selling the shoes to a guy for way too cheap. Our friend told us to just keep any money we made.)

Also...on the meeting in public thing? I can't stand when people want to meet at Walmart or other crowded places. Why there?  I usually tell them to meet me at a fast food joint near the Walmart. At least there are not near as crazy and crowded as a Walmart! lol!"

Thanks for sharing the story Kai! Sounds familiar right? I have to admit, I've been known to peer into a shed on occasion. But I would never just waltz in without at least asking permission first. You wouldn't just walk into a person's house, right? The same same applies to a shed....the guy should have at least asked permission!

Which brings me to my recent obnoxious Craigslist encounter. After posting a Tonka truck for sale on CL, I received an e-mail from a buyer who asked to meet at a "mutual agreeable" location. My normal routine is to ask the buyer what direction they're coming from? Once they tell me, I give them an easy to find location for our meet-up. In this guy's case, I chose a local Dunkin Donuts on the state highway. I've used the location for numerous other CL meet-ups with no problems. Buyer always spot the bright orange colors of a Dunkin Donuts building. But just to make sure, I even e-mailed the guy the actual street address in case he wanted to do GPS or Google maps. (You know, like normal people would think to do?) I even described the large super market located directly across the street from the Dunkin Donuts as an additional landmark. Lot's of helpful information, right? Ummm, maybe not helpful enough for this buyer.

We agreed to meet at 11:00 AM on Sunday morning. Since I live only five minutes away from Dunkin, I told my Tonka buyer to call me once he got there. Finally at about 11:30, I received the call that every CL seller hates....the buyer was lost! This was now turning into a whole lot of work for a ten dollar Tonka sale!

I've been in this "Marco Polo" situation in the past with CL buyers. They're befuddled, confused and have no idea where they are! When I get this call for help I turn into On-Star, asking the driver to look out their car window and describe what's around them...a store...a gas station? Once they name a familiar landmark, I can usually get them back on track. For those truly lost sheep, I'll instruct them to pull over to the nearest parking lot and I will drive to them. While it's more time consuming for me, it's easier then repeating driving instructions over and over again!

After questioning my Tonka buyer, I learned he drove right past the Dunkin Donuts and was now four miles further up the highway! Since he managed to recall seeing the Ford car dealership (adjacent to the Dunkin Donuts), I told him to drive there and I would meet him. I arrived five minutes
A Dunkin Donuts can be VERY hard to spot!
later and handed the guy his Tonka Truck.

Now at this point, most CL buyers will thank me or comment how much they like the item. But not this guy. He had the nerve to begin complaining about my choice for our meet-up, whining that the Dunkin Donuts was a terrible place because he couldn't see it from the highway. (Yet all my other buyers always managed to find it.) He went on to take shots at my supermarket landmark, complaining he was unable to spot that as well! At first, I couldn't believe the guy was serious. Struggling to remain civil, I reminded the guy that I'd sent him the actual street address for Dunkin Donuts. He blew this off, mumbling that he didn't have GPS. The guy continued to gripe, but at that point I'd pretty much heard enough. Grabbing the ten bucks from his hand, I barked, "You know what? I gave you the street number and location...try LOOKING a little harder next time!" I then jumped in my car and drove off before it got any uglier!

It's people like my Tonka buyer and Kai's golf guy that can really frustrate you when selling on Craigslist. But I always remind myself that for every occasional dopey buyer, I have a hundred more Craigslist buyers who are terrific! If you read my blog regularly, you know my most interesting, fun stories come from my meet-ups with Craigslist buyers! Most are pretty neat folks who are a pleasure to do business with...even if it is for just a few minutes!

So never let the occasional CL turkey get ya down. There are waaay more nice people on Craigslist then there are the lost, rude and disagreeable types!

How's your Craiglist buyers been? Give us your good, bad or the ugly stories!

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  1. I have not been selling on CL for as long as you have, so I have not yet encountered an ugly buyer. All my CL buyers so far have been so nice and I'm always interested in their stories. I am more annoyed by the ones who contact you to ask if the item is still available; and when I say it is, the say "I'll get back to you." I don't get it: why ask if you are not interested. I don't ask about something unless I want to go see it. Otherwise, why waste time.

    1. I always put the following statement in my CL listings:
      If interested, respond with your location and a valid email address or a phone number that can receive a text message. You will be contacted to arrange pickup in "XXX" area. Generic spam or robo-emails that simply ask "Is this still available?" or "Will you accept less?" will not get a response. Sorry but CL is full of spammers. If this post is up, then this item is still available. It will be removed only after the item has been purchased.

    2. Mc Goodwill- Thats a pretty good streak of pleasant CL transactions. I hope I didn't just jinx you! lol And you are correct, it is annoying receiving an e-mail inquiry and when you respond you don't hear back from them. I've been there!

      Lorraine- You have all the bases covered in that statement. Pretty good!

      Thanks for your comments....Dude!

  2. My worst buyer was a lady who called and said she was leaving in a bit to come over and see the couch I had then, it should have taken about 40 minutes. I waited and waited for about 3 hours, I called and no answer. Thank goodness I was staying home anyway. The next day I texted and finally got a reply that said she changed her mind, not even a "sorry". So annoying when they are not polite and don't let you know they're not coming.

    1. Crisit- That's just plain ignorant. Would have taken her a second to e-mail saying she wasn't coming over. Some people are unbelievable!

      Thanks for sharing the story....Dude!

    2. Whoops, sorry-typing too fast...Cristi...that's better!

  3. I haven't had an ugly Craigslist encounter yet, but I've dealt with a whole parade of humanity on ebay. Thank God most customers are awesome. They make up for the few that make me crazy! :)

    1. Kimberly- No CL bad apples yet? That's a good track record, hopefully you can keep it going!

      I agree, most customers are good people!

      Thanks for checking in....Dude!

  4. We had a 20 yr old flats boat for sale on 'Dregslist '. I say had because I deleted it after being insulted, stood up and 'nit-picked' to death. Posted with the ad were close ups of every inch of the boat, motor, trailer (with flaws clearly shown) AND the NADA page showing price was fair. I feel like the ad with the Judge saying "Waste of my time!!!!"

    1. I hear ya. I know a few "boat" people...they can be brutal! I agree, some CL buyers are a pain in the #*@, but when you make a sale and get to keep your entire profit, it's a beautiful thing!

      Thanks for checking in...Dude!