April 2, 2013 by kmwelden
I don’t have the best track record selling things on the Internet. I’m not sure, but I think it’s a combination of the fact that I’m painfully awkward, not very good at hustling, and I am just living on a different planet than people most of the time.
When I was thirteen, I accidentally bought an iPod on my dad’s eBay account. I say “accidentally” because I was just bidding away, having a great time, assuming that I wouldn’t actually win. Well… I won, and since I didn’t have the money to actually fork over, my dad got in touch with the customer service people and made them think I was just small child playing on the computer. I was thirteen, as I mentioned, so I was totally aware of what I was doing. I’m just inept; buying and selling online simply confuses me. The “buy with one click” button on Amazon is simultaneously my arch nemesis and my very best friend… it’s complicated.
My first foray into the world of selling on Craigslist happened when I sold my GRE prep book for $10 a few months ago. Previously, I made fun of people who sold stuff that cheap on the internet. Are you that hard up for money that ten dollars will make a difference in your quality of life? I wondered. Then I became a senior in college and my finances became a giant mess.
I feel like at my age, money is just this giant enigma that I’m never going to figure out. I very routinely can justify spending $30 on a meal at a noodle bar or $40 on a new dress, but I can’t spend the $3 to buy a new loofah or I’ll go without face wash for weeks because I’m “too broke.” Last year, I asked my dad to order a pizza to my house because I claimed I couldn’t afford it (he obliged, and God bless him for it, but if my kid every tried to pull that I would laugh right in their face). Broke is a relative term when you’re in college. Anyway, that’s how I found myself thinking it would be cool to make a quick, extra ten bucks by selling this book that I used once. And if I recall correctly, my mom was the one who paid for it anyway. Kait, you’re a genius. I told myself with a self-satisfied smirk as I clicked the “submit” button and published my very first Craigslist ad. This will pay for one of the nice six packs at Harris Teeter. How financially responsible of you.
Eventually, a guy named Jeff emailed me, and we made plans to meet that Friday downtown on the corner of King and Calhoun to make the trade. I wrote it down in my agenda, pulled out the book from under the desk and wiped off the accumulating dust… and then promptly forgot about the entire exchange. That Friday, I received a call from a strange number when on my way to pick up the registration for my new car in Goose Creek with Kara.
“Hi… uh… this is Jeff, from Craigslist. I was supposed to meet you today?”
My mind was temporarily blank before remembering what the hell he was talking about. “OH!” I gasped. “Umm… what time was I supposed to meet you again?”
It turns out I was supposed to meet him fifteen minutes prior, so I told Jeff to hold tight while I retrieved the book and that I would be right there. If anyone was wondering, I don’t respond well to pressure (shocking!). I began freaking out and trying to U-turn and talk and generally was seconds from a wreck in my brand new car until Kara made me pull over and practice “whooo-sahh” pregnancy breathing until the beads of sweat that appeared on my forehead from the sheer stress of the situation evaporated, and then she let me proceed (What stress, you ask? I get stressed out really easily, you snarky reader. Don’t get an attitude on my blog).
I was so embarrassed about forgetting about this guy that I couldn’t even face him. I’m not sure why I was so flustered… he was a stranger who I would never meet again, but I was legitimately freaking out that this “Jeff” character would forever think of me as some flaky Craigslist girl. I could try to explain to him that I’m not, in fact, a flake, and I actually did really well on the GRE, but instead, I turned to Kara (Kara is always my trusty sidekick in my shenanigans. I don’t think that she’s necessarily thrilled about this role, but that’s just how it is now. There’s no going back):
“Kara, I need you to get out of the car right now and go sell this guy this book,” I said, hurling the GRE book across the front seat at her and careening (quite unsafely) through downtown traffic. She tried to protest, but when she eventually got out, probably out of sheer frustration with me, I locked the car doors so she couldn’t get back in. “CALL ME WHEN YOUR DONE,” I shouted out of the window as she stood helplessly on the side of the street, large purple book in hand.
I made Kara go impersonate me in the Craigslist arrangement while I drove around the block. According to her, they couldn’t even find each other, and she spent a significant portion of time walking through the Starbucks, holding the book in front of her and surreptitiously trying to figure out who wanted to buy it, kind of like a guy selling fake Louis Vuittons on a side street in New York City. She saw someone she knew in Starbucks who greeted her as Kara. “Shhhhhh,” she scolded. “I’m impersonating Kaitlyn and selling this book,” she told our very confused mutual friend. Fortunately, I think people are just used to our odd agendas by now, so it didn’t appear too out of the ordinary.
Finally, almost an hour after I was supposed to initially meet Jeff, Kara returned to my car with ten crumpled dollar bills in her hand. All of that… for ten measly one-dollar bills. “I’m so, so, sorry, Kara,” I said as she shot me dirty looks for the remainder of our drive to the car dealership. And I still mean it: Sorry, Kara. Sorry I’m incompetent, and you are a saint.
So that’s Craigslist experience number one.
The second time involved me selling a pair of women’s aviators to a man. He had asked, via email, if they were women’s, and at the time, I really didn’t know. “Oh well, I’ll just drive around looking like Erik Estrada,” he had written, but I still felt like a jerk taking his $70, but not enough of a jerk to look back apologetically or anything after disappearing into the crowd of Starbucks… after all, a girl’s gotta eat (or buy a new dress).
Anyway, this Sunday, I decided to give it another try, and I put my dresser on Craigslist for $100. A lady responded by Monday and after some back and forth (and a question about whether or not she had to worry about bed bugs. No, lady, I don’t have bed bugs 😡 ), she made plans to come later that day. Because I don’t think things through, it didn’t occur to me that now I would be living the remainder of my time in Charleston without a dresser. I also might mention that I don’t have a closet either, so things in my room all have very specific, odd places that they belong. For example, you can find all of my black leggings in that random suitcase by the window. Sweaters and extension cords are kept together in a bench that has a hollow inside. The t-shirts are in the blue trunk that I bought on the side of the road for five dollars. I didn’t have enough time to figure out what to do with all of the stuff that was previously housed in the dresser, but I did my best to finagle everything so that I didn’t look like a complete hobo when the potential buyer came.
Eventually, the lady came with her husband and three adorable children. We got to talking and coincidentally, they just moved from Denver to Charleston, whereas Andrew and I are about to move from Charleston to Denver. I was feeling pretty good about this whole scenario… I mean, I was where I was supposed to be. I wasn’t selling products the person didn’t want. I had a nice rapport with the people… and I didn’t even have to send someone to impersonate me. Then, she offered me $50, which is HALF what I requested. But how could I say no to these people? They were so nice! It was for her daughter’s room! They were from Denver! I was just so happy that I hadn’t messed anything up yet! I drive a hard bargain, folks. I took the $50.
The nice woman and her family left, and I was $50 richer, but my room was a disaster. I have spent the last 24 hours trying to get things in any semblance of order again, with limited success. After all of the stress, though, I decided I deserved a treat (See? I always do that to myself! More on that: treat yourself), so Kara and I made appointments to get pedicures on Thursday. It was a hard day of the dog-eat-dog world of Craigslist, and it’s only natural that the money I got is already earmarked to be spent on something that is not grocery shopping… which is also something I desperately need to do.
I think for now I’m over my foray with selling things on the Internet. What ever happened to lemonade stands? That’s an entrepreneurial project I think I can manage.
If you have any other get rich quick schemes, let me know. Have a great Tuesday!