Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Things that Chap My Ass About Craigslist

I’m a Craigslist junkie.

I mostly peruse the “Tools” section, but I do occasionally look in other categories.

Craigslist is my first avenue when I’m looking for something, especially tools, especially quality tools. I have a list of things I’m looking for and I check the local listings every day, sometimes two or three times a day.

See nowadays most tools, especially large stationary woodworking tools are crap. Take Sears Craftsman for example – from the 1950’s through the early 1980’s, Craftsman was a name synonymous with affordable quality – with the best warranty in the business. When it came to tools, the Craftsman brand name was one of the true American indicators of superior quality. Hell, fifteen years ago my dad gave me a couple of Craftsman power drills that he had bought in the 1960’s, and they not only still work, but work as well or better than any high quality tool you can buy today. I still use them. But somewhere in the mid 1980’s, the genius MBA’s running Sears decided that they could sell over-priced cheap plastic crap while trading on their brand name and nobody would notice. They also got rid of their warranties, because really, who guarantees cheap plastic crap made in China? Twenty years later and you can’t find a woodworker worth his tape measure shopping for tools at Sears, because, see we did notice the complete degradation of quality – and if you do see actual woodworkers shopping in Sears, they’re buying the Dewalt or Porter-Cable brands Sears was forced to carry after their own signature line of tools went completely to shit.

But see, you can still find those old vintage Craftsman tools out there. And vintage Dewalt, Milwaukee, Powermatic, Shopsmith, Jet, and Rockwell machines. Cast Iron behemoths, covered in dust and cobwebs and rusting away in somebody’s garage or backyard shed. You can usually acquire these tools for some small fraction of their worth and with some elbow grease and a bit of mechanical inclination, a little innovation, some oil, some paint, and a few dollars you can usually refurbish them to their original functionality. I own a large number of old machines, some more than 40 years old, that I acquired through Craigslist for a pittance. Restored, those machines perform better than nearly anything made today and are worth thousands.

I also own a number of newer high quality tools that I got amazing deals on – frankly I love scorned women in the middle of a nasty divorce, they’ll practically give you a Foredom Rotary Tool worth several hundred dollars just to stick it to their soon to be asshole ex-husband. Word of advice men, don’t leave your tools with the woman you screwed around on. Unless you want me to own them, that is. And thank you, by the way.

But for all the deals I find on Craigslist that just make my day, there are certain things that irritate the hell out of me. So as a public service here’s a few guidelines should you decide to use this service:

- It’s “Hydraulic.” You spell it H. Y. D. R. A. U. L. I. C. Hydraulic. Not hydrolic. Not hidralic. Not hydrallic. Hydraulic. And since we’re on the subject of spelling, they’ve got spell checkers on computers now, use them. Or buy a dictionary, they sell ‘em on Craigslist cheap. Nothing irks me more than trying to puzzle out what the hell you’re listing because you spell like a fucking monkey with a head injury.

- Make me an offer. What the hell is this nonsense? If you want to run an auction, then list your item on eBay. Quit wasting my time, don’t make me guess what you want for it. In case you haven’t noticed, there are forty other listings for similar items and by definition you’ve got an internet connection, take fifteen minutes to figure out the median going price. Make me an offer, fuck you, give me a price, Jerkoff. We can dicker from there.

- And speaking of price, Dude, you don’t seriously expect to get double the actual value of the item when it was new, do you? Listen, Sparky, when I can buy it new, including Shipping and Handling, for less than I can get it used from you – it’s a pretty good bet than I’m not going to call you. It’s also a pretty good bet that if you’ve listed your item every day for the last month and nobody has made you an offer, you’re asking too much. If I want to get screwed on price, I’ll go to Sears.

- Wanted to Buy. Do us all a favor, would you Mr. Stupid Lazy Ass? Take a look at the listings first. I have yet to see a WTB listing that isn’t within three entries of that exact item.

- Save your sob story for somebody who gives a shit, or sell it on Craigslist to C&W song writers. I don’t want to hear how you’ve lost your job because of Obama, your wife left you for a one legged marine, the dog got runned over by a damned ol’ train, and little Bobby-Joebob needs a liver transplant because of her drinking problem and the hepatitis-C infection she picked up in Cancun last year . List your item and tell me what you want for it. If I want to listen to soap operas, I’ll watch the Lifetime Channel movie of the week.

- Specifications. For the love of little green apples, list the goddamned specifications. Look I can understand if you’re selling a fucking toaster or your virginity, but tools are a different ballgame, Dipshit. Electerical Moter, $150 OBO or traid, make me an offer tells me exactly dick (well, that’s not true, it does tell me that you’re an idiot). Single or dual phase? Shaft horsepower? Amps? Max load? Shaft dimensions? Mount type? Use some common sense will you please? You list a socket set you might want to mention whether it’s metric or ISO Standard, just a suggestion here is all. Oh, and a blurry picture of the specification plate doesn’t cut it.

- Which takes us to pictures. Who doesn’t own a digital camera nowadays? OK, sure, you sold yours on Craigslist last week so you could pay off your Bookie and the local meth dealer, got it, but surely you know somebody who has one? Hell, your kid is mailing around naked pictures of herself using her camera phone, ask her if you can borrow it for a couple of minutes (the phone, not the pictures). Seriously here, it would be a whole lot easier for me to figure out that big old rocky radical saw is actually a cast iron 14” Rockwell Radial-arm Saw if you include a picture. And, really, is it too damned much to ask that the picture be in focus, of reasonable resolution, taken in reasonable light, orientated upright on your ad page, and that before you take the picture you move the boxes and baskets and garbage cans and all the other shit sitting on top of, in front of, or otherwise obscuring the object you're listing? Oh, and one more thing, if you’re taking pictures of something shiny, please, please, please put on some fucking clothes – I cannot emphasize how much I don’t want to catch a refection of your hairy dangling bag-O-marbles in the chromed power cover of the scroll saw you’ve got listed. And really, who does this? Silly sick bastards, that’s who. Sick silly stupid bastards, because seriously here dumbass, you’re listing your contact information. Think about it.

Thank you.

Now, if you excuse me, I need to check the listings.

What chaps your ass about online sales sites?


  1. Specifications. For the love of little green apples, list the goddamned specifications. Look I can understand if you’re selling a fucking toaster or your virginity...Well, if you're selling your virginity, you'd better include some specifications as well. Your sex. Your age. If you are looking to be deflowered by someone of the same sex or the opposite sex. And so on.

  2. Hey! While we're talking about monkeys with head injuries...does the duel phase motor only work at 15 paces? And does it need a second? :D

    -The Pedantic Asshole (meeting or exceeding your pedantic needs since 1978.)

  3. Spelling usually gets my gauges all twitchy. Things like: radio-alarm saw, sawzaw, scrosaw, wood-lay, etc. Combine that with a picture that actually shows them what it is and they still get it wrong? yeesh It's a Milwaukee Reciprocating Saw (like the picture shows - even spells it out right on the side) not a Crafsmen Sawzaw. (Reminds me of the Tiger Saw I just saw)

    peepul if you dont no whut yer sellin mabee you shuld fined out...

    Oh, and duel (sword/pistol kind) versus dual (double/twin kind)... ;)

    And how the hell is 'Bar-B-Que' an abbreviation of 'Barbecue'?

    And what Jim said about watching yourself in the chrome. ew

  4. "...hairy dangling bag-O-marbles... "

    I shall steal that and try to use it in every post from now on.

  5. Duel. Yes, yes I fixed it. And I knew it was wrong when I proofread it, and just kept reading without stopping to figure out why the red light went on.

    Please, let us speak no more of it. Thank you.

    I shall steal that and try to use it in every post from now on.
    And my work here is done.

  6. This also appears on auction sites:

    "100% complete--missing some parts."


  7. I hate the bid-sniping that's so prevalent on ebay that you have to use 3rd party sniping software to win any auction on popular items (like electronics, etc). I can only stand to shop ebay in "buy it now" mode, it's just not possible to win an auction bid anymore.

  8. Jeri, yes, exactly. I hate eBay. I hate auctions. And I hate the fucking jerks who have made eBay biding some kind of competitive sport. I don't have all day to sit around with my finger on the button like those lifeless assholes.

    That's why I like Craigslist, I find what I want, I call the guy up or send him an email, we agree on a price, I go pick it up. Simple.

    eBay? I hate eBay. And man, ask a question of seller and get slammed for it. Then the guy pesters you for a month to "rate" him. Yeah, minus 10, Fucker. I bought something from you, we don't have a relationship.

  9. I used to buy a lot of computer parts on eBay. The Buy-It-Now feature is pretty much the only thing I look for any more -- auctions have mostly become a waste of time.

    Frankly Amazon partners is often a better deal, because I know that the credit card is going through Amazon and the partner better deliver.

    Have never bothered to even look at Craigslist.

    Dr. Phil

  10. Have never bothered to even look at Craigslist.Craigslist is a classifieds site - you find what you want, then drive over to meet the guy and swap cash for goods (or goods for goods).

  11. With Amazon partners, if the partner screws up, Amazon refunds your money and blacklists the partners.

    Especially if they sell you pirated software. Fickle finger of Amazonian fate was swift, I didn't have to deal with the 3rd party and my money was back in my account within 48 hours.

    Amazon then wanted me to rate my refund experience - no problemo - stellar!


  12. Jim...this should be submitted to "The Best of Craigslist"

  13. I know what Craigslist is. I've just had no reason to go there.

    Dr. Phil

  14. Never used Craigslist, but I'll check them out.

    The worst problem I've had on ebay is the sellers who create sockpuppet bidders to bid it up past your bid, then after the auction closes send you a note saying that the "winner" backed out and offering it to you for your maximum bid. In looking at the bid history there are fifteen bids by the same bidder with no history in $5.00 increments. There was one seller who tried to pull this twice on me, so I sent a note to ebay about it since there was no way I could compare the IP addresses of seller and "bidder". No idea whatever came of it.

    I've never quite understood the problem with snipers, but then again I just bid up front with the most I'm willing to pay for the item, and if it goes past that, oh well. And, of course, never bid on something unless it's being sold by someone with a large and nearly perfect feedback record.


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