September 04, 2007
For the past several weeks I have been trying to sell some extra furniture on craigslist. The experience has been interesting to say the least.
Throughout the posting process, and embedded in every single email you get from craigslist are warnings about scams, imploring you to be wary of long-distance buyers and checks of any kind. When you make your first posting you don't really pay much attention to these warnings, until the scam emails start to appear in your inbox. The broken English, lack of punctuation or capitalization are dead give aways that this email may not be kosher. The "buyers" willingness to send you a check immediately is another give away.
Most of the local buyers call the number you provided and they all have the same questions. "Is the <item> still for sale?" And, "Will you take <a number less than 50% of your asking price> for it?" Few buyers ever call back, and fewer still show up to look a the pieces.
To be fair we did sell a small, leather recliner within a day of first posting in online, and Sibylle was able to sell a refrigerator. Selling a couch and chair, however, is a lost cause. Furniture that was expensive brand new has almost no value in the used market. Pennies on the dollar. Even though I am not emotionally attached to the pieces anymore, I would like to get some value out of them.
After a showing Sunday where the buyer wanted to give me $200 for the $500 pair, I have decided to donate the furniture. I can valuate them at say, 1200 for the pair (a reasonable value by all accounts) and receive a tax deduction of about $300 next April. That the furniture would then be used to benefit those less fortunate than I, makes it all the better.