Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Helpful How-To: Craigslisting WHAT NOT TO DO

You should, by now, be aware that Techy and I have been working on our breakfast nook like fiends. 

We are currently in the throws of painting, sanding, upholstering, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

What you may not be aware of is the fact that we had to purchase a new table for the nook.

And due to dimensional constraints, we are pretty particular.

Hello, old friend....

I think we all know how I feel about Craigslist by now, right?

I spent a good portion of Sunday evening pouring over the ads and sending out emails. 

We needed a pedestal table because legs would only get in the way of people sliding in and out of our booth. 

Difficult to find, to say the least.

And we wanted a square ended pedestal, which unless you want to spend $1,000 on a hand made one, are nearly impossible to find.

Everything in the furniture stores end up looking like this.

But I don't believe in shopping in furniture stores, anyway.

Why buy new when I can buy used?

I'm green like that.

Saving dumps from furniture castoffs one room at a time.

Step 1. BELIEVE in Craigslist. 

Kinda like Diet Dr. Pepper....  It really is that good.

You really can find amazing deals.

Believe me, I understand your skepticism.

Even I was a little skeptical this go around.

Undaunted, my plan of attack was to widen my search area and expand my wait, meaning I was going to start searching on Sunday and hope to have a table in my house by Christmas.

Step 2. Set your expectations.

We wanted a pedestal, but because of the limited availability, I had to either be willing to wait for what I wanted or search farther out.

I had pretty low expectations, considering.

And I sent out several emails that night about several different style tables.

My price range was anywhere between $50 and $200 considering the fact that my wish list was so nit-picky.

If you know me, you know my el cheapo self doesn't usually budge much higher than $100, so this was going out on a limb for me.

Step 3.  When contacting always ask for pictures (if they aren't already posted), dimensions, availability and negotiable prices.

You want to know what you are working with.

Luckily, by Monday morning, I had a handful of emails in my inbox confirming dimensions/availability, etc.

And it just so happened that 2 of the tables were the exact size that I was looking for.

But again, considering my ridiculous wish list, I was uncertain if any of them were exactly what I was looking for.

So imagine my surprise, when one of them happened to be a pedestal.
And I realize now that I should have been a little more excited when I found something reminiscent of this baby for $50 on Craigslist.

WITH 4 chairs. Not that I needed chairs....
But still...doesn't mean I don't have ideas for them....

Step 4. Confirm availability and set a pick-up time as soon as possible.

I immediately emailed to confirm when and where I could pick it up.

And then never thought about it again. 

Until Techy mentioned it at dinner that night.

When I nearly lopped his head off in my excitement. 

"I found one today!"

"Seriously?  Call him!  I'll go get it now!  Call him!!!!"

And within minutes we were making the call and Techy was walking out the door.

But then his phone rang.

A work call.

Nothing like being married to a man who solves issues remotely.  All.the.time.

And since Craigslist dude - who will from here on be termed, "Mike" - was waiting for us, off I went.

In the dark.

In the cold.

In the wind and rain.


And Techy was on a work call.

Totally unreachable to me.

Step 5. NEVER go alone!

The whole way over, my imagination was going wild.

I was alone.

It was dark.

I was going to a remote location.

To meet someone named "Mike".

And get his "table".

Did I mention I was alone?

And I'll just say first glance, people completely disregard my keen kickboxing abilities.

Or my running abilities.

I may have those things in my favor. 

But "Mike" would never know that.

Oh and did I mention, on the way over the rain started pouring and the wind started howling like Joan and Melissa Rivers in an argument over plastic surgeons?

Yeah.  Perfect horror movie set-up.

So I called my sister.

And gave her the address.

And the phone number for the police.

And kept her on the phone the entire time.

When I pulled up to the house, OF COURSE it was completely dark. No lights on.  Anywhere.

Freak out number one.

Then I noticed 2 pick up trucks in the drive.

You may not understand, but most country women don't ALWAYS drive a pick up truck.  If she has one, she almost always has another CAR to drive for other occasions.

That meant no women.

Freak out number two.

I walked up to the completely dark front door....only tripping once over the giant tree limb that was blocking the path.

Yeah.  Another great omen.


"Mike" answered.

And said, "Usually everybody comes to the side door!"

Yet another bad omen of no women in "Mike"'s life.   If women are going to greet people at a side door on a regular basis, there would at least be a wreath to make the "side door" appear as an entrance.  I had seen nothing of the kind.
Oh, and hey Mike, if people should come to the side door, you should tell a girl that when she calls you to come haul off your table.

Also, turn on a light or two so she can see your "side door"

But then I walked into the kitchen and saw the perfect pedestal table that I was looking for.

And was delighted. 

You know, when I wasn't trying to envision my optimal position for attack.

And then "Mike" said, "Let's taker through that side door over there."

Again, with the "side door"!?!

And opened the door to yet another unlit room.

Where I saw no door. 

Only a dungeon-esque type room.

Stone fireplace, bare wood floor. 


Here's where I realized I should have had a code word for my sister. 

But I forgot.


Just sure that "Mike" was leading me to some horrible basement death, I peeked further into the room and finally spotted a "side door".

So I walked through the room (as quickly as possible) to said door.

To be greeted by yet another dark room.

And I turned around to see "Mike" right behind me. 

Great.  Here we go.  Do I try an upper cut or an across the body punch or do I just make a quick kick to his "nuggets" and run?

But where?  He's behind me, blocking me from going back the way I came. 

"Le-, just step down into that room and out that side door to the porch.  An automatic light thingy will turn on for ya"

Ugh.  Right. 

But, I did.  The next room was filled with what I can only imagine was equipment used in every SAW movie ever made.

But there was another door.

That I pushed open as quickly as possible to see the beautiful, dark, rainy, windy night sky.


I felt like Bella when she escaped the confines of the Volturi's lair, only I was "Edward-less". 

Bummer for me.

Well, if he let me get this far, chances are I am ok, right?

"Uh, I think I will just back my car up to the porch here, Mike."

"Uh, ok.  You sure you don't wanna wait for yer husband?"

"Uh, no.  It's fine."

Inside the car. 


To my sister - "Sarah, he lives like a hermit.  No lights anywhere.  So strange."

Backed up the car.

Then back out of the car.

"Mike" was still at the "side door" waiting for me.

"Here's your money.  You got change for $60?"

"Only 2 dollers." 

"That's fine!  Let's load her up!"

And we ran back in to grab the table and chairs.

I'll admit I was shaking so hard at this point that I could barely carry the table, but somehow we got it loaded into my car.

I remember asking about the age of the house and him telling me something about the 1700's.

What I should have said, was "Hey Mike, it's 2011.  Would it kill you to install a light around the joint?"

"And maybe take down the torture kit in that dark "side room"?"

But I didn't.

And as soon as everything was loaded, I squeeled out of his driveway.

I may or may not have kicked up some gravel in my haste to get out of the joint.

My nervous laughter to my sister was more than enough to show my relief.

I hung up before telling her the extent of my terror.

That was when my phone buzzed.

A message from Techy.
"If you are ok, text me the nickname I have for you."

Apparently, he could sense my phobia.

I love that man.

So yes, it's a funny story.

Because it turned out just fine.

And I have no doubt in my mind, but that "Mike" wouldn't have hurt a flea.

But it didn't hurt me to be a little paranoid.

To have the forethought to let others know where I was going and who I was seeing.

Obviously, it would have been better and more comfortable had I had someone with me.

Which is pretty much the only way I recommend.

I would even recommend seeing if the seller will meet you half way at a public location. 

But in the end, you should most definitely enjoy, nay RELISH, your craigslist finds that you may or may not have risked your life for.
I know I will.

Also? My freedom!

P.S.  In the end, I got exactly what I wanted for $8 more than the $50 price tag.  Because I am crazy and didn't want to stick around any longer than physically necessary and didn't bring EXACT CHANGE.  But $58 for the perfect table AND 4 chairs only 20 minutes away?  So worth it.  Also, I realize now, that when he asked if I wanted to wait for my husband, he was assuming that my husband was in the car.  Um, yeah.  Even "Mike" didn't believe I was crazy enough to come alone....

I am sharing this post over at Serenity Now's Weekend Bloggy Reading Party...because let's face it the world needs to know what not to do, right?
Weekend Bloggy Reading


Katie said...

I felt tense. I felt relief. My eyes opened with excitement. I felt victory. I felt adrenaline. I laughed.

Can't wait to see the nook.

Roberta said...

Lean you NUT...don't EVER do that again! that I'm out of "I'm your mother" mode...can't wait to see this table and the nook all done ;(

Bumber's Bumblings said...

ahhh this was scary!! my heart was beating fast, but I knew you were still alive because you did write the blog!

emily said...

As I read I kept shaking my head as if to tell you to "stop!!! Don't go in the dark room". But then you wouldn't have bought the perfect table so the adrenaline rush was worth it.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Seriously on the edge of my seat for that one!!! Glad you made it out safely. ;)

Thanks for joining my Weekend Bloggy Reading party. Have fun finding a a few good reads, and I hope you'll visit Serenity Now again soon. :)

Paula said...

You must have really wanted that table to go alone. Glad there's a happy ending to your story.

I'm here via Amanda's party!