A brief etiquette guide for buying and selling on Craigslist

Read the ad. Often, the questions you have about the item being offered are answered by the ad. “What size is the bed?” you ask. Do a quick skim for words like “twin,” “full,” “queen,” or even just “size.” No one wants to enter a financial exchange with a person who can’t read.

Don’t be an entitled jerk. When writing an ad, there’s no need to say things like “I will not respond to anyone who asks me if the item is still available” or “I will only sell to someone who will stay for dinner” or my personal favorite, “I will not respond to emails” (hello, you are on the internet). But this can go both ways: Don’t email presuming that this person wants to sell to you. Try saying “please” and “thank you” and heck, simply spelling words properly. Manners go a long way, you will see.

Communicate. That means responding to emails and clearing your voicemail if you ask people to call. If you’re going to be late to pick up the item, let a sister know, OK?

Don’t flake. If you email a buyer 10 minutes before you’re supposed to show up to say that sorry, you got caught up with work and cannot come to view or pick up the item at that time or ever, anyone can tell you’re lying. When you email the same person “anonymously” via Craigslist the very next day about another item they’re selling, they’re going to remember your record.

Don’t ghost. Email once with a question or an information tidbit and then disappear? Exchange a few emails, but when the time comes to set a meeting, drop off the face of the earth? Not cool, dude. I know you have commitment issues, but if you’ve changed your mind, just say, “I’ve changed my mind.” They’ll understand. It’s so easy!

Don’t Internet-stalk people who are just trying to have an ordinary goods-for-cash exchange.¬†Normal human relationships eventually involve a certain amount of Googling. But Craigslist is not a place for normal human relationships. Don’t call multiple times, ask the same questions over and over, and comment on the website of your potential buyer or seller. If you do, don’t be surprised when you get an email saying that oops, the item is no longer available and a TRO has been filed.

Don’t post pictures of your penis.¬†You’re welcome.

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