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My Craigslist Posse


Craigslist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you build it, they will come. And if you post it on Craigslist, they might also come. Mostly, with the exception of a few no-shows. They’ve arrived from all over, with varied stories. It’s the randomness that I love. Everyone is creating their own field of dreams, and it’s fascinating to be a part of it, for an infinitesimal moment in time.

In preparation for our move, I’m selling our furniture. It worked well enough in this house, but will look like it took a wrong turn in our new, smaller space. We’d have to inch ourselves around it, and let’s face it, life has enough obstacles.

I took a picture of the items in question and posted to Craigslist. Before I could make my tea, I received responses.

A student from UBC was overjoyed to pick up a $50 espresso maker. A guy drove an hour to pick up our upholstered ottoman, which would be so much safer for his two-year old son. A young couple came for our dining room furniture, and when I describe them with rosy cheeks, it is no exaggeration. They loaded up their truck with our table and chairs underneath a huge tarp, and I could almost hear the Beverly Hillbillies theme song playing as they drove away, the optimism that beamed through their skin.

Eric from South Korea came to put a deposit on our bedroom furniture; I’m worried our moving date was lost in the translation. I’m hoping he’s coming back before the movers.

Another UBC student, Sophy, sold everything a year ago to travel the world, and is now re-furnishing from scratch. I was dying to ask her about her travels but she was wringing her hands about our loveseat, I didn’t dare distract her.

And then there was Leon.

In his email, he mentioned he was just starting out. When he came to pick up our armoire with his father, I was surprised to see he was roughly my age. His father was a talker, though Leon was not. He explained that Leon’s family, his wife and two children, had lost everything a few months ago when their rental house went up in smoke. Leon had been watching the Canuck’s game, when his youngest daughter got out of bed complaining of being hot. As it turned out, that was because there was a raging inferno on the other side of her wall. They had four minutes to get out of their house – the lint in the dryer needed to be emptied from the back of the dated appliance, Leon said wryly. They escaped unharmed physically, but will wear emotional scars for years to come; his children now terrified of going to sleep.

Leon’s quiet determination to rebuild a comfortable space for his family was the face of courage itself.

The twenty-odd things I’ve sold on Craigslist have all gone to great people, I was happy to meet and chat to each of them. My first and only potential scammer arrived tonight, via Stephen, who sent me the following email:

Thanks for the mail, I will like to purchase your item note you will not be responsible for the handling and shipping of the item, my shipping company will come to your location for the pick up kindly confirm to me with your full name and address so that I can have it forward to the shipping company for them to calculate the shipping cost to me for the shipping to commence on time right?

Dude, I wasn’t born yesterday. And if you’re planning on scamming people, you might want to lose the form letter approach, it’s a dead give away.

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