Hung Truong: The Blog!

Craigslist: Addiction!

August 21, 2009 | 1 Minute Read

I have had some experience with craigslist before, but never selling stuff. I just looked at some apartments. But since I’m moving and I need to get rid of stuff, I listed a few things on craigslist to sell.

One girl contacted me about my coffee table almost immediately after I listed it. Her roommate picked it up and he told me she’s kind of a hawk on craigslist. Many people contacted me about stuff and never replied after I replied to them. Some people just didn’t show up. Lots of people are bad about calling before showing up. Actually, no one so far has called before showing up. This is bad, because what if the thing already sold?

The most interesting thing about craigslist interactions is that they consist of two parties who don’t really trust each other, except that they recognize they’re both just normal humans who are probably okay. There’s a lot of implicit trust set in.

Like, for example, the dude who picked up my table left his wallet in my apartment for some reason. Maybe that’s like a form of escrow. Then he paid me after the entire table was ready to be driven away. The person who took my couch paid me upfront, before I helped her husband move the couch into their truck. Either way is fine, I guess, if you believe that people are inherently trustworthy. Or at least trustworthy enough to not drive away with your table if you go back into your apartment to get him some tape to hold down the drawers. Also, it would be much easier to just steal from people than set up an elaborate craigslist scam.

I wonder if anyone has done research on the psychology of craigslist. There’s certainly a lot of risk/reward built into the system, along with not knowing people, whether they’re trustworthy, etc. There’s also just a mad adrenaline rush when you get a wad of money and someone takes your couch for you! I have a few more things to get rid of, so hopefully the rest of my transactions go as well as my previous ones!