Renovation Saga Week Three: The Crazies of Craigslist

posted in: Experience, Seattle-ing | 25

This week’s installment of the great renovation saga of 2012 (and 13, and 14…) focuses on the Magic 8-Ball that is Craigslist. First, I’d like to point out that Craigslist is a dot org. This should have been a red flag to me, but if I had an inkling, I ignored it. Dot orgs are the wackiest of all websites. Don’t believe me? Here are some examples:

Ghosts.org, which is headlined, Obiwan’s UFO-Free Paranormal Page

Termlifeinsurance.org, which at first doesn’t seem odd, until you click into it and realize it’s actually a page devoted to the World’s Strongest and Strangest Beers, not to life insurance, as the URL would suggest.

And finally there is:

AirCrap.org, which purportedly “Monitors the Planned Poisoning of Humanity”

I rest my case.

Making Pizza: the only thing that kept me sane this week

But what does this have to do with a house remodel? Well, kids, if you ever find yourself on the business end of a demolition project, chances are you will turn to Craigslist to both sell things you wish to demolish and to enlist the services of people who can help haul things away. Sometimes the people who answer you ads are sane. Most of the time, however, they are not. *Especially* if you are utilizing the special section of Craigslist marked “free stuff.” The second you attempt to give something away for free, you become a rare earth magnet designed solely to attract the nutjobs of the world.

I placed an ad that read:

Up for grabs: 520 square feet of pine hardwood flooring in very good condition (installed about 4 years ago). It’s yours free, but you’ll have to come remove it from the subfloor, so bring a crew.

I also included two images of said flooring. The first text message came in less than a minute after I’d published the ad. The eager beaver texter wrote:

“Plz seend imgs of the floorz. Plz sho the edgis and tell me the rite tools to pack so I can tace them out of your hom and if I wont the floorz I will come to be tree in 2 daze time.”

I felt that the two images I included in the posting were sufficient and also I was afraid if I let this person come into my house to remove the floors and they spoke anything like they wrote, my ears would be scarred for life in addition to my eyes, which were ruined the moment I saw the text.

Several more emails/texts/calls came through until I found someone I deemed capable of removing the floors without causing me or my subfloor too much anguish. We agreed upon a time, and then the most common thing ever to go awry on Craigslist occurred- they didn’t show up. Nor did they call. Suddenly their phone number was disconnected as well, so I am forced to believe they were abducted by one of the non-paranormal Ghosts chronicled on the above-mentioned website, ghosts.org.

I then chose a runner-up, if you will, to come and collect all that lustrous pine flooring. I texted:

“The other people to whom I originally promised the floors did not show up- would you like them? Can you come tomorrow to remove them?”

To which they replied:

“For religion I could not do it o suday so can you deliver them to me?”

Which I deduced to mean that they belong to some sort of religion I have never heard of that allows them to text message but not to do manual labor, seemingly only on Suday which is more than likely Sunday. The religion does not prevent them from ordering me to do manual labor for them, however. Naturally I would be happy to spend my day heaving up hardwoods in order to hand-carry them to someone who for “religion” reasons probably wishes heathens like me would disappear from the planet faster than Tom Cruise’ second marriage.

As of now, the hardwoods are still in place. I’m kind of afraid to shake the Magic 8-Ball again, for fear of conjuring an even crazier Craigslister.

And then there were the people who came to pick up our free furnace. They phoned to tell me they’d be there as soon as they finished sanding a rocking chair. I am not sure why I needed to know this, but Craigslisters notoriously enjoy volunteering extraneous information.

They met my husband at the property. He helped them load the furnace into their truck, and they began to look around. They decided they needed our water heater, an oil tank, and several pieces of our copper siding. My husband told them those items were being used and politely turned them away. Not willing to take “no” for an answer, they called me. They informed me that “some construction worker named Jonas” (my husband) told them they couldn’t take several of the components associated with the heater and that I needed to speak with him and tell him they could take what they wanted.

Meanwhile I got a text from Jonas explaining the actual situation, so I told them to defer to the “construction worker” and take whatever his lowly ass would allow them to take, no more. They persisted, calling me no fewer than 20 additional times, before he was able to boot them off the property. They left many voicemails, and in the beginning they referred to me as “Linda,” but after about message five, they started calling me “Joshua” for no reason I can deduce.

But the real coup de grace came with the negotiation over a commercial refrigerator/freezer I had listed for $400. These units typically sell for quite a bit more, but we need everything out of the house so I priced it to sell quickly. Right away, I got an email from a Baptist minister named Craig Lester. If that isn’t a fondler’s name, I don’t know what is. He queried:

“I was wondering if you would be willing to donate your fridge and we can give you a tax deduction form. Please consider and let me know.”

I am happy to help out a good person in need, so I wrote back:

“I will consider it based on your answers to the following questions, a. what is your (and your church’s) stance on gay marriage, and b. how do you feel about the Beastie Boys?”

Those questions are my qualifiers for determining a person’s inherent goodness. I did not hear back from Homeboy Lester for several hours, and I hoped that he was seriously contemplating his response. It turns out he was probably just busy molesting the innocent serving gruel with a side of brimstone to the less fortunate, because when he did write back, it was brief:

“The biblical one – that homosexuality is a sin, therefore “gay marriage” is a non-issue.”

Despite my intellectual understanding that most zealots are clearly bigoted in their ways when it comes to human rights, I was nevertheless saddened to learn that Lester, a man of godly power in the community of Tenino, WA where he resides over his parishioners, would so summarily dismiss the rights of my friends to wed who they wish.

Adding abrasion to the injury is the fact that he decided to ignore the Beastie Boys part of the question entirely, thus proving his reading comprehension skills to be lacking. This forces me to wonder why anyone would trust him to properly interpret antiquated bible nursery rhymes.

So Lester is not a good person and therefore does not win himself a fridge on my Craigslist rendition of the Price is Right. But surely there is a teaching moment in all this. What would you do if you were me? I need to get back to Lester somehow, what should I say?

I’m convinced there is a drinking game to be made of Craigslist encounters. If you want to get in on helping me define the rules, let me know. I think if we could make millions off it if we packaged it with the Craigslist app and sold it with an unlimited supply of Four Loko. You in?

*It’s come to my attention that many of you may have Craigslist stories of your own. By all means, share them below in the comments.

share, bitches...

25 Responses

  1. You had me laughing out loud! What is the right answer to the Beastie Boys question?

  2. Now my issue where an ebayer didn’t pick up her £7 curtains for 4 months pales into insignificance!

  3. To the God-fearing church man:

    As long as Gay-Marriage is a non-issue ….. so is the freezer ;-)

    love your blog!!

  4. I have been involved in a very brain intensive project today and needed a break, so I trolled a few blogs until I ran across this post. OMG – I could hardly read it, I was laughing so hard.

    My husband loves CL and insists on both buying and selling through it on a fairly regular basis. But the best part is that he usually has to read or have me read some completely insane ad almost every night. Cl is definitely the place the crazies come out to play.

    Thanks for the laugh – I can’t tell you how much I needed it today. BTW – that pizza looks delish! Did you cook it on the grill since your house is in demolition mode?

    Linda Reply:

    @Nancy G., So glad to provide a laugh. We’re thankfully still living in the old house (who knows for how long tho) so I at least have a space to churn out some pizzas once in awhile to keep me sane;)

  5. I’ve sold many items on craigslist, but none were as amusing/frustrating as trying to sell a baby stroller. Even after I discarded the “bot trolls” I still had questions such as:
    1. Will this stroller work for twins?
    2. Does it come in other colors other than black?
    3. Why isn’t your wife selling it? I don’t want to buy from a man.
    4. Do the wheels turn?

    And best of all, I had someone else trying to sell a similar stroller sabatoge my sale. We planned to meet three times and she backed out each time…I can’t remember exactly what she said, but it remineded me of something said in another ad I read when trying to determine pricing. Sure enough, when I asked a question (from another email) she replied with the email we hand been corresponding through.

    After it was all said and done my wife told me “you’re dealing with pregnant women who are extremely hormonal and irrational….why do you think I told you to sell it”….thanks, I love you too!

    Another event was when I tried to give away 40 6″x6″ glass blocks. 20 plus emails and no takers. A week later I listed them for $5 a piece and they were sold in less than an hour.

    Linda Reply:

    @J.R., the glass block thing is so crazy- like people have to see value or something…

  6. I so wish I lived in your area! I would grab that pine floor in a heartbeat.
    I’ve never had good luck with Craigslist either.

  7. I haven’t laughed out loud for awhile, thanks for that! Sounds like you guys are knee deep in remodel. I, like you, see only possiblilities and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  8. Excellent post Linda! I needed a good laugh today.

  9. This is purely awesome. I have something for sale on Craigslist as we speak but I haven’t got a hit yet?! What the what?! I want to do some weirdo socializing. Wish me luck!

  10. Wasabi Prime

    I remain devoted to the joke ad showing a scary, hissing possum with calm, sanely-written text about a somewhat fussy cat being found, and to please claim this cuddly critter, ASAP.

  11. OK, I may have cried a little while reading this. I have resisted using CL for years but now we are going to have to get rid of a fair amount of stuff before we move. I’m scared.

    Linda Reply:

    @Dana, You should be very, very scared:) Good luck on the move- Seattle will miss you.

  12. HAHAHAHAHAHA This is awesome.

  13. john v phipps

    One time user of CL… asked for some hard to find parts for my 93 Metro convertible. Got a hit next day from a guy in Aurora, Or. Krista and I drove down to be sure what he had was correct (and for a ride on a beautiful day too). I bought three parts, and Krista bought hundreds of more them in the form of a restored 92 metro convertible for herself. How can you go wrong with 42 MPG? ;<} Guess we should walk away as winners and never go back to CL again!

    If you can't move the fridge in time, ping me. Maybe we can work something out.

  14. Mo Lester would have been better.

    I traded a hot tub for a barrel of mushroom mulch. Worked out great. Dont get me started on Freecycle though.

  15. As I write this, my supposedly-fantastic Viking Professional refrigerator is getting a $500 repair. Maybe I should drive to your place, tell you that I’m getting gay-married in less than a month, all the while holding a boom box above my head playing “Hello Nasty.” And then I’ll ask you to deliver your commercial fridge to my brother-in-law’s house in Orlando.

    Linda Reply:

    @Andrew, So glad you chose Hello Nasty for your John Cusack moment- I would deliver the fridge to ends of the earth with it strapped on my back like a sherpa for you.

  16. Um, nightmare! But funny. I can completely relate — I had my husband’s car on Craigslist this last month and received inquiries from plenty of folks who barely knew how to a computer, much less drive a car. One lady’s excuse of why she couldn’t show up to a 9:30 p.m. test drive (her suggestion. Don’t worry, I had my armed father with me), was that her dog was currently having puppies. Yeah, sure, bud.

    Linda Reply:

    @Adrienne, It really makes me wonder what the inside of these people’s homes is like.

  17. I haven’t laughed this hard in a while. Not at your expense, but definitely at your CL luck! When I was selling real estate I listed a Single Wide for FREE – you haul…and you are right, rocks everywhere hinged up and the dregs came a calling. My phone and email were never as popular as that day. I’ve since decided that selling goods on CL is for someone else…not this girl. If I didn’t live on the opposite side of the state, I’d probably buy that fridge from you, or you could donate it to my Church of ___. I think gay marriage is no different than hetero marriage and I heart the Beastie Boys. Do I win? :) Great post and I can’t wait to see what you do with the house.

    Heather

    Linda Reply:

    @Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet, I would love to hear more about the single-wide crazies, I should have opened comments up to other folks’ craigslist stories, in fact. And yes, you win!

    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet Reply:

    @Linda, I had more people ask if I could “hold” the mobile home for them until they could get a truck to move it. Sorry this isn’t Walmart folks, come get it or crawl back under the rock. It was several days of people asking for layaways, delivery (even with the YOU PICK IT UP) and so on. I finally set a time that I would be there and told everyone, first to come with a truck is the first one to get it. The guy who was the winner of the lovely 3 toned single wide informed me as he was driving it away that he planned to sell it to “tweekers in the mountains” for $2000 and it would most likely end it’s trailer life as a meth house. Awesome! My guilt soon faded when the old farmhouse FINALLY closed. I think everyone has a CL story to tell. Can you hold that fridge for me until I can find a truck? :) ha!

    Linda Reply:

    @Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet, OMG, that is the funniest ending ever. It may well have ended up on Breaking Bad;)

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