I've recently started using Craigslist more in my latest city of residence, as we're doing a lot of work on our house and have lots of salvaged material up for grabs. This is the third city I've lived in as an adult, and I can now say fairly confidently that each city I have lived in has had a distinct Craigslist culture.
My newest city, Kansas City, has by far the least dependable Craigslist culture I've encountered. When someone expresses interest in a posted item and even arranges a time/place to meet, there is a good chance that they will not show up. I think this is due in part to the sprawling footprint of the city, which makes traveling "across town" an hour-and-a-half journey for some.
In the city I called home for a short time — Montreal — the Craigslist culture, in my experience, was exceptionally polite. It was assumed an item was held for anyone who expressed interest. I once sold a desk after an interested party viewed it and chose not to purchase right away but to think about it. He was greatly offended at my action (though he had not asked me to hold it). This surprised me until I met a similar assumption from the other side: I viewed a bed frame, decided it wasn't for me, and the seller took time to follow up with me before moving on to the next potential buyer.
My maiden Craigslist experiences were in New York City. These formative Craigslisting years are what created my ideal for how the system should work. There is an incredible lightness to dealing on Craigslist in New York. I could post an item in the morning and have four people wanting to pick it up that evening (and they actually showed up, unlike my experience thus far in Kansas City). Likewise, I knew that I could quickly find almost anything I was looking for on Craigslist NY and pick it up on my way home from work that evening. I met some really wonderful people through buying and selling on Craigslist NY.
What do you think? Is Craigslist a different beast in different cities? What would you list as defining characteristics of the Craigslist culture in your city? Are there unspoken rules that apply regionally? Is Craigslist chock full of treasures in your town, or must one search far and wide for good finds? Do people tend to meet for transactions in their homes or in public places? Do folks help you load, or is that left up to the buyer? We'd love to hear about your Craigslist culture in the comments below!
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(Images: Flickr member latddotcom, licensed for use under Creative Commons)