You Suck at Craigslist...

Posted on
October 31, 2016

[Above left: the ad said, "Meditation chair, $200." I call bullshit. That is a dog bed.]
[Above right: I have no idea what's going on in this ad, which claimed to be selling a "Brand new in box TV stand." I wanted to reply and just say, "WTF is going on?! Am I having a stroke?" But who does that? Well, Mr. Pink has been known to, but that's another story.]

So I'm going through this phase of purging things on craigslist and it got me thinking about how many things I've bought/sold on the site over the years. It turns out I've been on craigslist since at least 2003 if not longer, so between selling things, buying things and responding to emails on both sides of the transaction, I've easily expended at least 10 times as many words (to go by a metric that actually means something to me) on craigslist than on, for example, Facebook. If you count job postings—resumes sent into the ether—probably 200 times as many.

But that's not what I'm talking about today. I'm talking about the craigslist fails… Delightfully foolish like the ad on the left or literally mind-boggling like the one on the right, yet always amusing. It's people like these who inspire entire blogs dedicated to making fun of them (you suck at craigslist, I'm looking at you). And it's not just the "For Sale" section...

I know several people who work in HR and most of them post jobs on craigslist. Every once in a while, out of sheer desperation for a kindred mind, one of them will forward me a particularly vexing job-seeker's email, riddled with text slang and typos, no more than one to two sentences (although sometimes it's hard to tell), no resume attached, and the icing on the cake—sent from a ridiculously inappropriate personal email address, e.g., This is the actual email in its entirety (minus the name and phone number because I'm not a monster):

Hi my name is xxx I was messaging regarding ur job opening in I'm very interested if u could plz give me a call at xxx-xxxx I would be greatful

If this sort of harmless moron–baiting sounds mean-spirited to you, let's bear in mind that hiring managers have an above-average need to blow off steam and if we can't make fun of people we've never met, and wouldn't recognize if we did, then what's the world coming to? (Also you might want to quit reading now.)

Sometimes you see something on craigslist that makes you wonder if the person posting the ad lives in the same universe as you… I mean, in what universe is the baby carriage on the left (that is the actual photo) not creepy as fuck? If you're like me, you're thinking, where have I seen that before? And the answer is, an insanely creepy 1980s horror movie called "It's Alive."

I stumbled across this ad a while ago while looking for a couch on craigslist and it didn't take me long to notice that this LR set had a little "something extra" (superhuman powers of perception over here!). The ad copy ran as follows: Living room furniture set, $100.

  • Set includes full size couch, love seat, single chair and coffee table
  • All in great condition
  • Contact for details
  • includes good company
  • Matt you're a gem.


Of course I had to share it with the folks at you suck at craigslist, but what exactly is going on here? Did "Matt" lose a bet to a diabolically witty pal in order to end up, ahem, end up in this picture? If so, how many craigslist ads out there are really just inside jokes between friends (who are apparently far more diabolically witty than my friends)?

Or is it one of those super on-the-down-low craigslist escort ads I've heard so much about? I'm not sure I get their reasoning posting it in the furniture section, though. Like you're alone one evening shopping for a sofa/loveseat/chair combo until you see this. "Now that's what I'm in the mood for!"

Or was it simply that this was the best picture they could find of their living room set? "I can't find one picture that doesn't have a naked man in it, but at least my coffee table is clean in this one." On second thought, maybe there's nothing weird about this picture. After all, have you ever seen an iPhone photo on craigslist that didn't look like ass?

Here's another trend that drives me bonkers. Why, when you're trying to sell something overpriced, do you feel compelled to photograph it outside in your driveway, in the rain, on a pile of fucking leaves? If you're asking someone to pay $850 for a used office chair, for the love of god, do them the courtesy of helping them maintain the illusion that it hasn't been sitting outside in the rain, will you?

If you factor out everyone who wouldn't be caught dead buying anything used—and let's factor them out because—honestly? Fuck those people. The main problem with taking a semi-serious political stance about giving as little support as possible to the consumption-industrial complex is the fact that most people have pretty terrible taste. The likelihood of someone selling something you think is really cool at the exact moment when you're in the market for that very thing is extremely small. It can feel like a cosmic intervention when they actually converge. The rest of the time, it's like when I was little and we used to go to garage sales on the weekends, driving around Seattle or Sedona or wherever, newspaper classified section open on my mother's lap and covered with notations and scribbles, always keeping one eye out for the hand-posted signs advertising more sales along the way. Even if we went home with nothing, we always had a good time.

Maybe that's why there's a special place in my heart for the "Best of craigslist." I may not ever want your "HUGE low-profile, 11-footer modern sectional" with its "Stains due to living with children and their not-so-sippy-cups," but reading the epic testimonial to what some other—let's just call them what they are, shall we—lesser people might deem "un-resellable," renews my faith in our shared humanity and the indomitability of the creative spirit. Besides, you can only scroll through so many massive oak entertainment units and dining table sets that seat eight (sold by people who moved from places with dining rooms to Vancouver, home of the "condo-sized sectional"), before you either have to laugh or cry.

From this amazing 3,500-word pitch for the "11-foot" sectional with "mad style," despite being full of holes and covered in stains with one genuine stabbing hazard (all of which are lovingly and hilariously documented). The best part is the description of the dangerously jagged, broken piece of glass in the outward-facing side of the built-in table, described (under "Flaws, for sake of transparency") as "a noticeable chunk missing from it due to an unfortunate rookie moving move." Underneath the header, "Here is the Awesomeness," is "it seats a million people" and "You'll be the envy of all your house guests." If it wasn't for the aforementioned "children and their not-so-sippy cups," I would have almost been tempted to call them just to see if I could make some new friends.

Read the full ad: HUGE low-profile modern sectional

Read the full ad: bullshit European baby scooter made of wood and smugness (#EpicWin)