In many ways, Craigslist is a pretty accurate representation of society: there are lots of lovely, polite and responsible people, but there are also plenty of flakes and scammers. As I prepare for my upcoming move, I've been doing quite a bit of Craigslist selling, and I've developed a theory of Craigslist karma. Just today, as my most recent Craigslist customer left carrying my air conditioner (after bringing me a carmel latte as an apology for missing a previous appointment), I was marveling at what good luck I've had on Craigslist lately. I've sold ten pieces of furniture to eight different people with nary a disappearing act. I've never had such all-around positive experiences, so naturally, I wondered why.
Here's my explanation: I've accumulated some good karma. I posted clear photos and thorough descriptions; I was honest about any flaws and reasonable with my prices. I responded quickly and politely and tried to be as accommodating as possible. I'm not telling you this because I'm such a hero; in fact, I think it's how most people behave on Craigslist. But since I had limited time to get everything sold, I was especially keen to make each transaction go as quickly and easily as possible, so I may have been more apt to make a deal.
Whatever it was, almost everything sold with little or no haggling and very few problems. People responded to my good behavior with good behavior. And each positive experience gave me continued faith that the next interaction would also work out. It was a self-fullfilling prophecy.
So I made a little cash and, more importantly, reduced the number of heavy things to carry down four flights of stairs. And some very nice people got some new (to them) furniture for a great deal. A win-win, just as Craigslist should be. Not to say that some people won't be jerks no matter what, but going in with the right attitude just may have been the thing that set the tone for a good interaction. It certainly didn't hurt.
Have you had any great Craigslist experiences? What do you think made them that way?
(Image: How To Optimize a Craigslist Listing)