like selling land in a swamp

>> 6.17.2010

Since we've been on the topic of Craigslist lately, I thought I should share this gem of an ad I came across yesterday:

And in case the writing in the above ad is too small to read:

"A year old table that cost 500 and I'm only asking a little over 100 and yet I can't sell it. Its like I'm trying to sell land in a swamp. This is unreal. I HAVEEEE to move. So please buy. I can't take lower then 100. Pleaseeeeeeee this is my life I'm talking about, thanks."

Ah, whipping out the good 'ole sympathy card to get someone to buy from your Craigslist ad. Nice one!

I feel for ya, lady, and I'd like to help you out with your sale so here are a few pointers that might get that $100 in your pocket:
  • Take a better picture. I can't at all tell what you have going on there! Try moving the table outdoors and turning off the flash; it works like a charm.*Bonus points for posting multiple pictures and the store's stock photo.
  • Show proof of value. I believe that C&B would sell a $500 glass console table, but it would help you out if you showed the masses some proof. Can you post a picture of a the price tag? Maybe you can link to the table on the C&B website?
  • Repost every day under different titles. Posting the table then letting it sit for two weeks isn't going to get you anywhere.
  • It's time for a rewrite. You sound a bit desperate here and there's no way that someone would think that they needed to pay $115 based off of your phrasing! Think about adding in more descriptive wording to increase your search traffic. Try this instead:
"This versatile glass and metal table would be the perfect entry console, sofa table, bookshelf, or accent piece for any room of the house! As you can see from the link to the website, I bought it for $500 at Crate & Barrel just last year. Sadly, I have to move soon and must sell it. First $125 to pick it up gets it!

Tags: entry table, console, glass, shelves, West Elm, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, CB2"
  • Oh, and it's "Crate & Barrel" or "Crate AND Barrel." No one is out there trying to buy a crate out of a barrel, k?
On a more positive note, you did mention the store's name and original price in the ad. It definitely got me looking... and the ad on this site...

Have you seen any crazy ads out there lately? What would you change about this seller's strategy?

Before I forget, I'd also like to give a great big shout-out to a couple amazing bloggers... Chelsea at Someday I'll Learn and Marie at Frugalapolis... for the blog love they recently passed my way. Make sure you go and check out their blogs today!


k & b June 17, 2010 at 8:40 AM  

i love crazy ads... when im looking around for furniture or for nothing at all, i always send the hilarious ones to my friends. and im not even talking about the personal ads! there are a lot of interesting people out there....

Alexis L., The Studioist June 17, 2010 at 9:12 AM  

Going to disagree with you on one thing: Please do not repost or topost with different titles. It only makes me flag your ad as spam and send bad vibes your way. Otherwise, spot-on.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog June 17, 2010 at 9:22 AM  

@Alexis~ Craigslist does not discourage reposting ads:

The important thing is that the seller reposts after deleting the previous ad.

I don't believe that many people bother with an ad after it is 2+ days old. This seller seems to be in a tight spot and needs to sell quickly so their best chance of getting it sold is to repost for the new day's visitors.

Danielle and Clint June 17, 2010 at 12:14 PM  

What I find in my area when I post something on there to sell is people not reading the post completely, then reasking me questions I already wrote in the description. It's almost like they are testing me or too lazy to reread the post.

I have to agree with you on this one. Bad pictures don't help!

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog June 17, 2010 at 12:22 PM  

Watch out for those people! Sometimes scammers email with fake questions just so that you'll reply with your real email address attached. One of the best ways around this is to write out as much info as possible including dimensions, age, etc and writing the phrase "will remove when sold" at the bottom. seriously.

The Thriftress June 17, 2010 at 12:44 PM  

Kasey sometimes I want to get an anonymous email account and send people critiques of their CL ads. They are just crazy...from terrible spelling to awful pics to horrendous prices!!

Jeannine @ Small and Chic June 17, 2010 at 1:18 PM  

My Craigslist is horrible these days...back when I was in Boston, it was great. I could sell things in a couple days. Here, the only nibbles I get for days will be ones from Nigerian scammers. It drives me nuts!

Even putting "cash and carry" or "cash only, no shipping" gets me spam. It's so frustrating.

BTW, I also host large pictures on Photobucket and also upload them to CL. The listing gets two little orange labels next to it when you do that. PIC and IMG...I think.

Jammer June 17, 2010 at 1:34 PM  

GREAT TIPS! I have such a love hate relationship with Craigslist sometimes, but I don't know what I would do without it :)

Kelly@TearingUpHouses June 17, 2010 at 1:46 PM  

Everything about that ad just CRACKS ME UP. Ohmygoodness. She should also include, "And please bring police protection when you arrive to pick up the table. I may or may not have taken my meds."


Kim at Yellow Brick Home June 17, 2010 at 2:54 PM  

Crate "n" Barrel had me cracking up - glad you pointed that out though!

Honestly, it's almost always about the photos. I love when I see the worst photo ever, and they claim that it's in excellent condition.

J. June 17, 2010 at 3:59 PM  

Haha, great ad! And great post!

Greetings from a brand new reader!

Cheri @ I Heart Old Houses June 17, 2010 at 5:54 PM  

This ad is too funny! Honestly, the more personal (and whiny) people get in their ads, the less likely I am to want their stuff.

Love your Craigslist tips, btw!

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards June 17, 2010 at 8:22 PM  

This seriously made me laugh out loud. My favorite Craig's List finds are the ones that say, "Paid $5,000, like new. Will part with for $2,500." And the photo is clearly a 30-year-old, worn-out sofa. People's junk is always worth more to them than to anyone else.

And, I know this as much as anyone. I finally sold our sofa set after 2 months on Craig's List. I tried everything, had lots of people come look at it, and no bites. I just think it was worth more than others did. So, I sucked it up and sold it for way lower than I intended. But, a few hundred dollars is better than on the curb for trash pickup, right?

The Thriftress June 18, 2010 at 8:42 AM  

Here's an ad for you that I just ran across...

4 SOLID WOOD BAR STOOLS - $25 (Near Damascus and Urbana)

Date: 2010-06-17, 10:20PM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

$25 buys you 4 solid hardwood bar stools with metal thingamajigs where your feet sit. These bar stools have been faithful compadres for the past 7 years and they are as solid as the day I bought them. Unfortunately we are moving and our new house doesn't have a bar (WTF?!). They aren't spotless by any means and I was planning on painting them black but instead I am moving and going into huge debt...what was I thinking!? I know they are strong stools because my buddy weighs over 350 pounds and he sat on one all night drinking beer and eating nachos and the stool is still standing strong! They have to sell quick, the movers are coming in about 5 days! Please note...the Star Wars light saber in the background IS NOT included! (my 3 year old son would kill me.)

Sara @ Russet Street Reno June 18, 2010 at 12:42 PM  

I agree that the key is for people to repost their ads and delete the previous ones. There is nothing more annoying than opening three different-looking ads and seeing the same busted couch. UGH

That being said, I've had people check out my 2-week old listing and come buy it. I guess it just depends on the item quality.

alanna rose June 18, 2010 at 2:57 PM  

My CL continuously has the same add for a used pole (you know, for pole dancing), and lots of ads for Dale Earnhardt memorabilia. I know you are jealous!

Amanda @ Little House on the Corner June 19, 2010 at 1:04 PM  

I haven't done any craigslisting lately, but I've seen my share of crazy, desperate ads in the past. I think you definitely provided some good suggestions - speaking about the benefit of the table (or whatever it is) and not oversharing about your personal reasons for getting rid of it. That is a turn off to me!

Jenny @ Anything Pretty June 20, 2010 at 11:31 PM  

This is hilarious! It shows how some people don't really take the time to think about it and expect things to sell. There should be a site for bad craigslist ads just like the one for bad real estate photos!

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