Buying and Selling online (9/5/2022)

Craigslist, Facebook, OfferUp and other platforms are basically great tools to buy and sell stuff.

Unfortunately, they also have become places where you can easily lose some of your hard-earned money to scammers who sell faulty products or who make you pay in advanced for a service that will never be provided. Frauds witch checks and money orders have been abundant and some of the scams are quite elaborate.

Now I’m not here to warn you about scams, plenty of other people have done so already. There are some other things that bother me and one of them is that very often I have to deal with people who are just rude and inconsiderate. 

A while ago I offered some items in the ‘free stuff’ section and I got replies that said something like: ‘Where can I pick it up?’ They didn’t ask if they could have it and in most cases there was no name either. Another type of response I got was: ‘Call me,’ followed by a phone number. I don’t have to call anyone, and I certainly won’t do it if you can’t say ‘please.’

At some point I had 5 or 6 ads with free items and a guy emailed saying: ‘I will take everything’. No, you won’t, I’m not giving it to someone greedy like you. I appreciate a little friendliness and courtesy, people who don’t show any respect I won’t deal with.

Another thing that bothers me is that some people never show to pick it up, even after making a specific appointment. I have canceled other activities to accommodate buyers and takers of the free stuff. They didn’t cancel and didn’t even respond to my messages in which I kindly asked if they still wanted it. Sometimes I’m inclined just to throw things in the dumpster because I don’t want to deal with that kind of behavior anymore.

May be less irritating, but still annoying, is that after I respond to a wanted ad, I don’t get the slightest acknowledgement. A few years ago, a lady offered to trade toys for converting some computer documents to a different format. I told her that I really have no use for toys, and I would be happy to do the work for free. No response, not even a simple thank you for the offer.

I always skip ads that are written in uppercase only, in many cases they don’t have proper punctuation either and they are hard to read. I can deal with bad grammar and spelling errors. Not everybody masters the language perfectly although, with all the tools available, it should not be hard to do it correctly. Some of the mistakes are just funny, a while back a lady was trying to find ‘tubber where,’ instead of ‘Tupperware.’ And I can’t count the ones that used the words ‘labtop' and ‘coutch’.

And then there are the people who find it necessary to write comments about other people’s posts. Sometimes it is a friendly warning about a suspected scam however most of them are just outrageous and totally unnecessary. They use foul language and cursing for no other reason than to be obnoxious and to insult the owner of the ad. And then of course those comments elicit more comments and in some cases the writers show very little taste, to say the least. If you have a problem with a post, contact the owner and tell him. May be he made a mistake and advise him to adjust it.

Craigslist ads are not moderated, and I can understand it is not doable for a free service that size. The drawback is that people can just post anything, and it will be in the open until it is being flagged. And since some of those posters don’t seem to have anything better to do they just re-post, may be hoping that people will get tired of flagging. The anonymous nature of the site makes it so attractive for people with less that honorable motives.

I know that social media and sales platforms are not the only places where bad behavior shows up. You see it in traffic, in stores, on TV, just anywhere where there are people. Free online media unintentionally provides them with another opportunity to show off their lack of good social skills. I guess we just have to deal with it. Shrug it off and move on.