What's the best way to ensure safety when selling a physically large item via Craigslist?
July 5, 2007 8:10 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to ensure safety when selling a physically large item that cannot easily be brought to a neutral site via Craigslist?

I want to get rid of an old PC and CRT, but I'm slightly concerned about having people I don't know come to my house. I just sold a laptop via Craigslist by dragging it to a coffeehouse that was very well populated, but that won't really work with a full size PC.

What have you found to be the best way to ensure you don't invite crazy people into your house when selling through classifieds? Meet them in public to verify sanity, then have them follow you back? Have a very large and intimidating friend hang out for the afternoon? Any suggestions welcome.
posted by loudguitars to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Put it in your car, meet at a busy locale. Really, that's about the best you can do.
posted by notsnot at 8:19 PM on July 5, 2007

Chat on the phone for a bit when you arrange it. Trust your gut and decide if the person is normal. Most folks are.
posted by putril at 8:21 PM on July 5, 2007

When I've done Freecycle meetups, I just get everything out into the garage before the time I'm expecting them. Then I close the door between my garage and my house behind me so that they're only ever in the relatively neutral area of the garage, and the large garage door remains open the whole time, so whatever happens is in plain view of the entire neighbourhood.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:29 PM on July 5, 2007

Response by poster: notsnot - The problem comes if they want to turn it on to make sure it works.

jacquilynne - I live in an apartment, so unfortunately that's not an option. Would be great if I had a house, though.
posted by loudguitars at 8:32 PM on July 5, 2007

Personally I go for the large intimidating friend (actually my husband).
posted by metahawk at 8:39 PM on July 5, 2007

I sold my futon on Craigslist, which was too big to drag anywhere public. I live in a flat, and I just made sure my husband was around when the buyer came to pick it up. If you live in an apartment with a common area you could always set up the computer there.
posted by christinetheslp at 8:43 PM on July 5, 2007

Response by poster: No husband (although I do have a couple of large intimidating friends I could bribe with beer), and the only real common space in my building is the pool, and even if it had electrical outlets, I don't think I'd want to set anything up there for safety reasons.
posted by loudguitars at 8:46 PM on July 5, 2007

jacquilynne - I live in an apartment, so unfortunately that's not an option. Would be great if I had a house, though.

Yeah--meeting in the garage does require a garage.

Do you have a lobby, perhaps? You could tote it down to the lobby before their expected arrival and wait there with it until they get there. That way they'd never come into your personal space, and they'd likely be on security camera, as well. It's likely there are some electrical outlets in your lobby (for vacuum cleaners or floor buffers or what have you) if they really need to test it.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:49 PM on July 5, 2007

Response by poster: Nope, no lobby. It's one of those SoCal all-outdoor complexes that looks kind of like a motel. Hell, for all I know, it used to be a motel. Like I said, the only common area is by the pool, so that won't work.

Any suggestions for a workable 3rd party site?
posted by loudguitars at 9:00 PM on July 5, 2007

Get one of your "large intimidating friends" to sell it for you for some beer?
posted by glip at 9:30 PM on July 5, 2007

Response by poster: Heh, I suspect they'd require a percentage in that case. Anyway, thanks for the suggestions, sounds like some variation of the large, intimidating friends is the way to go. Thank you!
posted by loudguitars at 10:30 PM on July 5, 2007

I'm selling something bulky on craigslist thi week, and am e-mailing a few pople about coming to see it. I've noticed that the shoppers have all mentioned coming by with their husbands, and that I've been sating when "we" would be home. You can imply hat you'll have people with you, even if you won't -- it's not much, but it's something.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:32 AM on July 6, 2007

Unfortunately, anyone agreeing to pay for an old PC and CRT is probably insane. For selling stuff in general, though, I tend to intimate that I need to fit the meeting in between the long hours I work at the police department.
posted by troybob at 6:34 AM on July 6, 2007

My boyfriend sells large guitar amps and other guitar gear all the time. He's generally trusting in nature (more than me, anyway), but he does generally follow this procedure:
a) Get a phone # and actually talk to the person interested in buying. Because they're supposedly into music gear, and hence can make intelligent conversation on the topic, he can usually pick a fake out quite quickly.
b) When they buyer comes to the house, he usually has me around, just in case. (Although I'm hardly intimidating... but he is, so I guess that's covered).
c) He puts everything easily "stealable" out of sight. Bags, purses (well, mine), anything that's lying around.
d) He brings the piece of gear in question out to the living room, not allowing the buyer into his music room. He does this so they don't start getting any ideas about what else might be available thru less respectable means.
e) Cash only.
posted by cgg at 7:31 AM on July 6, 2007

Find out who the real person you are dealing with is, full name, phone number, address.. This isn't standard procedure, but if you are letting them come to your house, they should be willing.

However, the most important thing is not displaying your valuables. Even if the person you are dealing with is honest, he might tell a friend about the great hifi system he saw..

Meanwhile, if I was worried about having people at my place, I just wouldn't worry too much about letting them test. Just take it to wherever, same as you did with the laptop. This attitude is aided by good heatware feedback, of course, though most craigslist users won't have a clue about that.
posted by Chuckles at 9:09 AM on July 6, 2007

anyone agreeing to pay for an old PC and CRT is probably insane


True, the CRT is probably worthless (very high end pro models still get a few bucks).. A PIII 1GHz is worth more than $50. 2-3x more, if it has a lot of good stuff in it.
posted by Chuckles at 9:11 AM on July 6, 2007

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