Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Craigslist Species

After selling several items on Craigslist, I have come to realize that there are 6 categories of people who respond to these ads:

Vanishers – The “vanisher” is identifiable by their initial zeal. They will express a sense of urgency (I really, really want that cat hammock!!!) but once you reply to their response and attempt to clarify a transaction they drop off the grid. The only conclusion is that they located another cat hammock or you are dealing with bi-polar consumerism.
Riddlers These people generate unnecessary correspondence by asking a large volume of questions (most of which are answered in the ad itself). It escalates to the point that you start to believe the person on the other side is a prison inmate desperately seeking a pen pal rather than a prospective buyer. For instance, if I were to place an ad for a push mower that said, “lightly used, no cosmetic damage, engine is fine just needs a new blade” this person would ask, “Is there anything wrong with the mower?” Often they have an insatiable need to expose your motivation for the sale. They will ask, “Why are you selling the couch anyway?” I am always tempted to respond that the couch was utilized in a recent double homicide and although I thoroughly cleaned it I cannot take a chance on it being subjected to a forensic analysis were the authorities to search my home. Needless to say “Riddlers” rarely transform into buyers.

Bots – Having ruined the lives of all those brave enough to post in the “personals” section, these programs will reply to random ads using a potent combination of vague references, disastrous grammar, and sexual innuendos. Don’t be alarmed when the first response to your used deep freeze looks like this:


                        I noticed your profile on the Internet social website pages and wanted to see if time could be spent ourselves. I am free-spirited and are looking for someone for which to date casually in the nighttime way. You are very attractive and I hope to get acquainted with the desires you possess. There is a link to my profile below.

And trust me on this, no matter how many times you click that link Stephanie is still not going to buy your deep freeze.

Checkers – A checker has an insatiable urge to e-mail people with ads more than 48 hours old and ask, “You still got that back-hair straightener?”  In many ways they are the cruelest of all species of responders because they often renew hope once doubt has crept in. They have no intention of buying it, they are just curious as to how long it takes to move that particular merchandise at that particular price point. I used to think they were Craigslist employees paid to subtlety remind the lister that they need to remove their ad. I now realize that the truth is much more depressing.

Halfers – Irregardless of the item’s condition, cost, or location they will always offer to pay 50% (or less) of what you are asking for it. I don’t mind a little haggling, but show a little respect. I posted the ad on Craigslsit because I have excess goods I would like to unload for some extra money, not because I am supporting a meth habit. If I was willing to take $50 for it, the price would have been followed by the phrase “Or Best Offer.” The absence of those words indicates that I, the seller, took the time to specify an amount because there is an acceptable profit margin for allowing a complete stranger into my home.

No-Shows – The vilest of all creatures, the no-show goes so far as to specify a time to issue payment and take delivery of said goods. By this time you have divulged your phone number and, in some cases, home address because they have not fallen into any of the previous categories. Already imagining what you will do with the proceeds from your corduroy ottoman, you find yourself arranging several hours of your day to sit at home like a chump awaiting the sound of a visitor that will never materialize. Unfailingly, you have put off another buyer because you really had a good feeling that was going to come through for you.


  1. "Vanishers" also applies to personal ad responders with a high level of fickleness and no common courtesy. You probably wouldn't have wanted to meet them anyhow.

  2. You learn a lot about human nature when anonymous people have no direct obligation to you!

  3. Funny article. You should do a followup sometime. Riddlers and Checkers tend to be variants of the same species. Some respondents fit all categories at once, except for the bots.

    The bottom line is that too many people are passive-aggressive phonies and this venue makes it easy to be that way.

  4. Is this any surprise in a nation where people reward lying and obfuscation with the highest office? It goes well beyond craigslist!


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