What's the Best Way to Set Up Craigslist Appointments?
November 5, 2010 8:10 AM   Subscribe

How do I get my Craigslist mojo back? I'm three for three on the Craigslist Flake Scale now. What's the best selling arrangement?

I've had great luck selling tons of stuff on Craigslist over the years.--everything from a car to a kid's ukelele. I research selling prices, underprice the item, measure it every which way, photograph and describe it in detail, am totally honest about any flaws, and mention cash only. All this is to weed out marginally interested people. I try to work out a mutually convenient time to meet, usually letting them pick a time.

For the last three items, the first responders were incredibly interested in the item, couldn't wait to come over then . . . completely flaked at the time they picked. Two, at least, notified me an hour before that they weren't coming. The third just didn't show, didn't let me know she wasn't going to show, didn't pick up her cell when I called to see if she was en route, then e-mailed me begging for the item two days later. (I was so mad, I wanted to blast an e-mail back at her, but I didn't because I'm usually a rational Mefite. In any case, I sold it to someone else.)

What's the best way to set up appointments? Reconfirm with them a couple hours ahead that they're still coming? Tell them when I'm showing the item, or let them pick a time and hope that I've got my Craigslist kevorka back? What do you do?
posted by Elsie to Shopping (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've had major craigslist flake syndrome myself recently. I'm actually at 4 flakes on one item now. On the next person who calls, I'm going to say (without lying) that I've had several other people interested, and that the item will sell to the first person who shows up with cash....and see if that helps.
posted by TomMelee at 8:15 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

What has worked for me in the past is to set up a time to meet, but tell them to call when they are en route to meet me. No phone call = I don't waste my time showing up to show an item.
posted by Sassyfras at 8:17 AM on November 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

To reduce the number of cases like your last example, tell them that someone else is coming to look at the item later that same day. The won't want to miss the appointment because they're unlikely to get a second chance. Create a sense of urgency.

Beyond that, I don't think this is necessarily controllable. You're dealing with anonymous strangers. Some of them want stuff they can't afford, and so engage in aspirational inquiries. I don't know how to stop that, other than selling better stuff for cheaper.

On preview, Sassyfras' technique is good too, if you typically stay close to home.
posted by jon1270 at 8:21 AM on November 5, 2010

I do something similar to Sassyfras, I arrange to meet somewhere closer to my house and tell them that I'll leave once they call and are en route. No call, no wasted time.

I've had people not call but I've never had anyone call but not show up. I think this is about the best that you can expect when dealing with anonymous strangers.
posted by _DB_ at 8:40 AM on November 5, 2010

I don't even bother with appointments. I tell them I'm home between 6 and 9 and as long as the ad is up, the item is available. If they plan on coming over - they just need to email / call en route.
posted by Siena at 8:43 AM on November 5, 2010

I'm with The World Famous: never hold an item for anyone.

There's good legal grounding for this. Options, i.e. the option to exercise a contract or not, are real benefits which must be bargained for and which require some kind of consideration. So unless someone actually gives you money, you are under no obligation to hold it for them if they miss a pick-up.
posted by valkyryn at 10:43 AM on November 5, 2010

I agree that it's not a good idea to hold an item. If someone can't come till 3 days from now, tell them you'll contact them if nobody buys it in the intervening time, or ask them to contact you when they're ready to come. Everyone who's told me they can't come till the weekend has never, ever, followed up.

In your listing, say something like, "The _____ will go to the first person who can pick it up." It wouldn't hurt to mention that you've had a number of no-shows... a lot of first-time craigslist buyers don't realize how unreliable a lot of craigslisters are.

If someone is coming sometime other than right away, ask them to name a time. Repeat the time back to them. Don't settle for "late afternoon" or "after dinner." You can tell them, "If you're going to be late, call me, because I may have to be somewhere else later in the day."

In the listing, ask that anyone who's interested email you their phone number; talking live by phone seems to make people feel more committed. If they don't include their phone number, then they're not paying attention, and that's not a good sign. But if you still want to deal with them, write and say you want to talk on the phone.
posted by wryly at 6:15 PM on November 5, 2010

« Older Zenyatta!   |   What the heck was Pumpkin Creek? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.