Sunday, April 27, 2008

Favorite Moment

Selling on Craigslist is similar to dating, except instead of selling yourself you're selling furniture. You initially put on a big show in your ad, convinced you're the best damn sofa out there. Really, it's akin to putting up a personal on

"Stunning, (I'm hott! And thin! And smart!), Mint condition (With no issues!), and practically brand new (I'm 35 28 19 26 years old!) sofa up for sale. (single female!)"

And because you're the best damn sofa out there, you decide you're worth every last penny and price yourself accordingly. I mean, seriously. People have to realize you're Pottery Barn. OK, Pottery Barn inspired, but that's just like Pottery Barn but without the label, you know.

"$600 - Price Firm (Must drive luxury car, own home, and make six figures/year).

Then you get a couple of emails and people ask for pictures. No problem! As you download them onto the computer you realize something. You're used furniture. And is that a stain? When did that happen? Holy crap those cushions look saggy and wrinkled, and can they tell that's dog hair or does it look like just a shadow? Filled with self doubt you send off way too many pictures from way too many angles and even go so far as to point out your blemishes and imperfections, daring them to judge you. You sign off with a confident, "Let me know if you are interested."

You never hear from them again. What is up with that, Craig? You can't email someone back? How hard is it to say, "I love that you're leather but your measurements are too big. You won't fit in my living room." You don't need to hear they love you, but it would be nice to know if they don't like you.

BE HONEST!, you want to scream into the email, because the longer they take to respond the harder it is to keep from sending an email that says, "Hey! What's up? Where did you go? We were chatting back and forth and in your last email you asked for a close up of my seat cushion and I sent it and you haven't responded and I don't think you realize you just saw the best seat cushion anyone is ever going to offer you at this price and, really, your ass shouldn't be this picky."

So you start to panic and think about lowering your standards price. Another weekend goes by and you do it. You change the add.

"$360 - OBO." (I'm desperate. Breathing is good.)

Damn. Now you really are used furniture--and priced accordingly. And because you're feeling cheap, used, and vulnerable you are excited to receive an email from someone who appears normal, despite your reduced price. You quickly accommodate their request for more pictures and wait patiently by the computer, confident someone like them would be more than happy to snatch up a drastically reduced gem like you.

Ping! Yep, just as you expected: a quick reply. After all, you're Pottery Barn (inspired). You saunter over to the computer and languidly open your mail program while you mentally determine the best time for pick up. Instead, you are stunned to read this:

"What is the least you would accept, I am looking for a dark chocolate color to go with my love sacs. Thank you"

Now you're furious, and for three reasons.

  • Number 1, there is no question mark, it's a run on sentence, and the closing is missing a period. Solicitations should be reviewed for errors in grammar and punctuation. That's what you always do! First impressions count, and you deserve at least a spell check.
  • Number 2, Love Sacs? Really? You never saw yourself as an accessory for love sacs. You're just becoming adjusted to the idea you're used furniture and now someone is trying to tell you you're just what they need to brighten up their king-kong sized bean bags.
  • Number 3, you're actually determining your lowest price.
You're unappreciated, unsalable and considering offers from the wrong side of the mall. As you sit there, waiting for another email from the love sac, you can't help but wonder when you went from fresh and new to used and shabby. Have you already reached the age where you can't compete, or worse yet, not asked to? Are you at the end of the ten year cycle in fashionable home furnishings? Your arms are rolled, your back cushions loose, and from your gently-wrinkled leather wafts the unmistakable scent of motherhood and suburbia. It's official. Your passe, like zebra skin rugs on the diagonal. You've decided to accept any price the love sac offers when you hear the Ping! of a new email hitting your account.

"Hey. On my way home now. Thanks for doing all you do--especially all the Craigslist stuff. I love you, The Mister."

Margaret Wolfe Hungerford is the one who said beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lucky for me, I think she was right.