craigslist: The New Reason for Rehab

by Molly Kenney

As my time in D.C. draws to a close and I prepare to head abroad, I am faced with an apartment full of furniture and no place back home to store it. Keeping in mind my empty wallet and those of my roommates, I decided to brave the world of craigslist, uncharted territory I thought only for the savvy e-shopper. What I found was a downward spiral of addiction, riding the highs of a quick sell at a good price. I’m simply hooked.

In mid-July, I posted my couch, naively thinking that I should list it then if I wanted a response by the end of August when the lease expires. To my complete amazement, I had more than a dozen offers within the first hour of my posting. The couch was sold and picked up within the week. Unfortunately, my roommates and I far undershot the market price for fear that it wouldn’t sell, parting with a very nice couch for very little money. Also, we haven’t had much seating since then.

But I quickly learned the tricks of the trade. Over the last month, I’ve perfected the timing of my postings, the phrasing of my listings, and, out of necessity, the tone of my consolation e-mails to prospective buyers whose desired item has already been sold. I’ve sold a bed, a desk, a computer chair, side tables, storage bins, a bookcase, and even a futon, and I just want to sell more. Sure, I’ve dabbled in the Facebook Marketplace, but it’s only child’s play compared to the big game on craigslist. With craigslist, there’s a rush in the sudden influx of e-mails after a post and the struggle to schedule a convenient pick-up time. The pace of it gets my adrenaline pumping, and my roommates have become avid spectators to my e-sport.

I find myself getting desperate to feed my addiction. I sell things that my roommates and I were given for free. I continually set a stricter standard response time, discarding buyers who do not schedule a time within roughly 19 hours of our first e-mail conversation. But I’ve made so much money! Each roommate in our apartment, myself included, stands to make a $40 profit on the furniture we’ve used. That makes it okay, right? I’m helping my roommates make money. They need me. They don’t mind that we have no furniture in the apartment, and a week left on our lease.

Don’t worry, I haven’t hit rock bottom yet. I haven’t sold my roommates’ belongings without their permission, and my clothes are still on my back. Plus, I’ll never start buying things on craigslist. No one wants that crap.

(Photo by sideshowmom of Kansas City, MO via morgueFile.)

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