I think one of the most amazing takeaways from my obsessive Craigslist shopping experience over the past few weeks has been the number of amazing women that I’ve met. Yes, I love the thrill of the bargain hunt, but truly I’ve met some wonderful woman thru these purchases. Admittedly, I’m dealing with all mom’s of small children… And these Craigslist posters have proven to be WAYYY more nice (and normal) than some of the other random Craigslist sellers I’ve dealt with (ie: the sketchy guy from Brooklyn who sold me a dress form – and informed me that her name was Annabelle and insisted it remain so.)
That said, the wonderful interactions with my recent oh-so-friendly-mama-craigslist-sellers has given me a perma-craigslist-glow these days. If I had to deal with the rest of the general public in all my Craigslist dealings, I probably wouldn’t be feeling so warm and fuzzy right about now.
Some of my recent scores…
The UppaBaby Vista stroller: $300 (including the bassinet, rumble seat and rain cover.)
It wasn’t in pristine condition, but that proved to be no match for me… a thorough scrubbing with a toothbrush and some Palmolive dish detergent and it was looking almost new. After a little elbow grease (which may have included me nekked in the shower scrubbing down the bottom basket with a brillo pad) and I was tempted to try flipping this one back on Craigslist (I think I could have gotten $450 and made a cool $150 with it) but when I took a step back, I realized I may have taken this whole Craigslist craze a bit too far. So, I forced myself to shut down my computer, look around at all my Craigslist finds, and take joy in my new sparklingly clean Uppa stroller.
And after a self-imposed 24 hour Craigslist ban, I was back online and searching out bargains.
Restoration Hardware Glider and table: $300.
The same woman who sold me the Uppa stroller also divulged that she had a glider that she was looking to move since she was running out of space in her so-spacious-it-made-my-apartment-look-like-a-shoebox condo. She didn’t want to post it on Craigslist as she didn’t want any sketchy CL lurkers in her apartment, but after our stroller transaction, and realizing that I’m not a total nut-job, she let me take a look at it. With slipcovers fresh from the dry cleaners, the hubs and I were carting that sukker on a dolly up 2nd avenue to our apartment that evening.
Arms Reach Mini Co-Sleeper: $70.
And the woman who sold it to me turned out to be such a dear. She’s now my “craigslist friend” and while I do love the co-sleeper, I think our friendship was the better score from this transaction. That said, when the hubs and I tried assembling this one, we were cursing its mere existence – and had the hubs threatening to throw it out the window. Rocket scientists, we are not. Nor are we proficient at reading instruction manuals. Because had we done so, we could have saved ourselves a boat-load of aggravation in figuring out how to snap the upper bars of the sleeper into place (note to all other instruction-reading-lackies out there -> you need to snap the BOTTOM rungs into place before you attempt to lock the top ones into place.) Like I said, not exactly rocket scientists.
Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Bouncer Seat: $20.
This one’s for the house upstate. Given our need to buy two of everything, I’ve been trying to scout out CL for these little items – which aren’t total necessities, but are sure nice to have – if found at the right price. The woman who sold it to me had it back in the original box with the instruction manual (I mean, who keeps the actual box something comes in, let alone the instruction manual?) But I’m sure thankful this anal-retentive mom did. And as everything that could potentially come into contact with the babe was fully removable, I took comfort in soaking the entire thing in oxi-clean for two days – plus two additional spins thru the wash, and I was feeling pretty darn good about this $20 spent.
JJ Cole Infant BundleMe: $10.
I really only got this one because the chick selling the Bouncy seat threw it in to sweeten the deal. Clearly, she knew the way to my heart… Why walk away with only one bargain when you have the opportunity of two? Again, another soak in oxi-clean and this one’s looking as good as new.
Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller and Belly Bar: $150.
Do we actually need two strollers? Um, no, of course not. But I’m digging having the UppaBaby for strolling along the NYC streets (and its ability to adapt to a second kiddo – yeah, I’m thinking WAY ahead here – I should probably try getting thru this one pregnancy first) and using the City Mini for its amazing portability (easier to schlep on the subway, easier to get in and out of the car, etc.) Hence the two strollers. Which seems ridiculously indulgent to say the least, but getting them both for a fraction of their prices rationalizes my dual-stroller-indulgence, in my mind at least.
A few of my Craigslist tips:
- My rule of thumb on pricing is for something in excellent condition, 50% of the original price is standard. They got good use out of it. Now its your turn. But only at the right price. Which brings me to ->
- Everything is negotiable. Bid down, squash feelings of guilt when the seller feigns shock at your low price, then agree to meet in the middle. They almost always do.
- Seek out geographically desirable sellers. Schlepping to Brooklyn may seem like a fabulous idea when its 3am and you’re surfing Craigslist because you can’t sleep, but when morning dawns and you’ve agreed to trek an hour on the subway to go look at a random (and bulky) baby item that you will then have to schlep home, you realize the error of your ways. My advice, stick close to home. Its sort of like men -> geographical desirability is key. Makes those 6am walks of shame home a bit less shameful. This from a woman who married a man who lived a block and a half away. Trust me on this one.
- And last but not least, when someone divulges pertinent information such as, “my husband is ready to kill me if I don’t get this stroller out of the apartment ASAP!”, realize you may have the bargaining power on your side. So bid down…
That said, when you’re mid-craigslist-transaction and recognize that the mom about to sell you something her baby used and simply wants to pass on her goods at a reasonable price so another mama out there will benefit, recognize that this may be a time to abandon any ingrained pricing rules. Pay what she’s asking and bask in the glow of the finding both a new friend AND some cheapo baby goods.