I love the idea of Craiglist. You sell things. You buy things. You give away things so that people will haul them away from your house for free. I have been able to give things away on Craigslist that no one on Freecycle was willing to take from me. In theory, Craigslist is just a hands-down all-round super-awesome idea. It has one major flaw that I can see though – People use it.
Yes. When you’re buying and selling on Craigslist, you have to deal with People and People are sometimes flakey and overly picky and sometimes they don’t tell the whole truth about the whole everything. I know this. I have years of experience both dealing with and being People.
The last time I put something up for free on the List O’Craig, I had about 20 people ask to come by for it. I began trying to give it away on a first come, first served basis but the first people to respond were not necessarily the first ones who could come by and even when they said they’d stop by, they often didn’t. So for days, I’d tell one person they could come get it, we’d set up a time, I’d wait at home and they’d not show up. This happened several times so that when I finally got rid of the darn futon, I was thanking the taker PROFUSELY for actually showing up to get the free furniture.
So now I’m a shopper. I’m looking for baby stuff. My MacLaren Quest Stroller of Bliss and Joy that I’ve had and loved for the past 6 years molded and mildewed in my garage over the winter and so I want a new one without paying for a NEW one to the tune of $220. My infant seat has expired and although I’m not sure I believe in expiration dates on car seats, I have enough doubt in my heart that I would blame myself if we got in an accident with the old seat and the baby was injured in any way.
So I found a top consumer reports car seat on Craigslist that was 6 months old and in “perfect condition” from a non-smoking, pet-free home and the woman swore it had never been in an accident. Since Dan does not believe in expiration dates on car seats, he was much more amenable to my spending $85 on Craigslist than $200 at Babies R Us for the infant seat.
However, the day before I was to pick up the seat, the woman emailed me to say her child was still using it and it wasn’t really available yet until she got him the bigger seat. Okay. So it was on Craiglist but not really for sale yet. She apologized and said if I could wait a week, she’d have it ready. This went on for a few weeks when finally she emailed to say she’d purchased her new seat and I could come pick it up.
Not wanting me to come to her home, she asked me to meet her at a grocery store 35 minutes from my house at 6pm as a celebration of cranky hungry kids and rush hour. I told her I could come at 6:30 and she said that by 6:30 she’d be at her church for an event. She told me to meet her there, gave me directions and said to call her on her cell phone when I got close. Well her church was 40 minutes away and it was still rush hour but I packed my kids in the car and drove out to meet her.
The directions were wrong and after driving around for a while I found it anyway because it was a super giant mega-church, having a humongous concert of some kind with a full stage and lighting set up in the parking lot and hundreds, if not thousands of people in the audience. All the parking was full. People were walking from blocks and blocks away to hear the music. I was getting concerned about how I was going to find her and whether I’d have to drag my two kids and my crippled pregnant body for blocks and blocks to the concert and then blocks and blocks back to her car and then blocks and blocks back to my car so I called her.
And it went straight to voicemail again and again and again. I left her some choice messages, sort of polite in a biting sort of let-me-describe-in-detail-all-the-ways-you’ve-put-me-out sort of way and I teared up a little and headed 30 minutes from there to Babies R Us to buy the dang car seat new so I would never have to deal with People again, only sales associates.
To her credit, she called a couple of hours later to apologize and say she’d left her cell phone at home by accident. I could not bring myself to say, “It’s okay,” or do anything to really make her feel better. My feet were swollen. My people were cranky and we’d spent 3 hours about town in rush hour traffic on a wild goose chase. I told her I was frustrated. I told her I’d used half a tank of gas for no reason. I told her I never planned on using Craiglist again. I wished her luck selling the seat and I hung up.
Strangely, making her feel bad did not make me feel better at all. I still had melon feet. My kids were still mad and I was still out $200 bucks, a tank of gas, and a few ounces of sanity, only now I also felt guilty. I could have let her off the hook. I could have not spent the entire drive telling my kids to be quiet because I was busy talking to Dad, Grandma and my sisters about what a total jerk-wad this lady was on my Bluetooth. I would have liked them to have seen me be a bigger person than that. I would have liked to have played 20 questions or listened to Eye of the Tiger and I would have liked to have remembered that I’ve stood people up before, forgotten my cell phone or just gone temporarily brain dead.
But I still kind of loathe Craigslist.
Now tell me. Do you believe in car seat expiration dates?