Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Love Craig's List. I Hate Craig's List.

Here in the San Diego area where I live, Craig's List is a thriving, jam packed place to advertise and buy musical gear. I know that in some cities it's big and in other places it barely exists. In fact I have checked out the Musical Equipment section in some decent size cities and I'm shocked that there might be only a couple of listings a day. Well, maybe that's for the best.

There is a love/hate relationship for most people I come across that frequent Craig's List. In fact, if you look up the word "flake" in the dictionary, I'm sure there will be a picture of a guy selling a Squire (sic) Stratocaster on Craig's List. It's almost unbelievable at times and, just when you think you've run across a good, upstanding, reliable person...sometimes even sharing your own horror stories of dealing with the flakes...they turn out to be one too.

Why am I wasting blog space with this subject? I don't even know. Maybe just for my own sanity. I am sure that many of the idiots who pull the same dumb crap on CL might read this and say to themselves, "Man, I know what he's talking about!" So, it's not going to help really. Here are my last two me, I'll feel better if I just type it out.

Over three weeks ago I answered an ad for an MXR Carbon Copy analog delay pedal for $100. I've wanted one of these ever since my buddy Rob got one and we ran it through its paces. Really nice pedal and a great deal even at full price. However, I just didn't want to spend full price for one and hoped one would eventually show up online for cheap. I emailed the person selling it and inquired about the pedal. I also mentioned that I live in the extreme northern part of San Diego County and wasn't able to drive to the extreme southern part of San Diego, I was just curious what part of town he was in. From one end to the other takes over an hour, so it can really eliminate which ads you answer. This guy didn't mention where he lived. He wrote back and said he lived pretty far away, but his bass player lived near me. He said they would be rehearsing the next day and he would give the bass player the pedal and we could hook up. Naturally they didn't end up rehearsing, so we postponed the hook-up until later in the week. Of course this didn't work out either and it goes like this, emailing every couple of days, for over 3 weeks. Finally I email the guy and say that I'll drive wherever, but can we just meet. He writes back and says, "No problem, just give me a call!" Well, there is a problem...I can't call you if you don't give me your phone number dumbass. I give him my number and many days later I still haven't heard from him. Deal over. I spent the money on a nice steak dinner with my daughter.

So, after my frustration with that deal had subsided, I decided to list a Squier (I actually spell it's written ON the can you get it wrong?) P-Bass for sale for $100. It's a cool bass and worked out well for recording, but I just recently acquired a really cool Squier Vista Series Musicmaster Bass in a lovely shade of shell pink with matching headstock.

So, since no one should really own more than one Squier, the black P-Bass has to go. I list it and get an email pretty quickly from a guy who wants it. We couldn't hook up in the afternoon, so we agreed to talk again in the evening, at which point I was headed to dinner (to spend the Carbon Copy money on a nice steak at Ruth's Chris). I called him and offered to drive the bass to him, which was not a short drive. But he had been accomodating of my schedule earlier and I thought I'd be nice and make the effort. I called him and he said he was too tired to do the deal that night but would be happy to drive to my place the next evening. Now I don't know how much energy it takes to open your door and take money out of your pocket, but I guess I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Maybe he has Epstein-Barr or something.

I called him the next evening to make arrangements and he said, "Oh, sorry, I bought my neighbor's bass instead." Sigh. I pointed out that he could have at least emailed me early in the day to let me know so that I could contact other people that inquired about the bass and tried to sell it that evening. His response? "Oh...uh...yeah. Sorry."

So what's the point? Here's the point people: at least have the human decency to be courteous to others. If you make an appointment to go see an instrument, and then you decide not to go, at least call or email to let the person know you're not coming. They may have rearranged their whole day to accomodate you. If you change your mind about buying something, tell the person so they can sell it to someone else. If you are going to have the nerve to flake on someone, at least be a big enough person to let them know. And when it comes to describing your items, be honest and don't waste people's time. Give LOTS of information in your item description. I can't tell you how many times I have seen an item listed with this description: "Guitar for sale. $650. Serious inquiries only." Are you kidding? Is it an acoustic or electric? Six or 12-string? What brand is it? Does it even work? Does it have a case?

Is it shell pink?


the shiz said...

just happened upon your site here while searching for info on the fender concert.

and holy CRAP. you bought that shell pink bass! i live in SD and i was gonna pick that up myself. touche!

momingle said...

I understand your love/hate relationship with craigslist. I am tired of craigslist myself. That is why I did something about it by creating a better site called I just put it up last week. It allows people to post any location-based messages/ads on a map and user can easily search and find it. Also, it allows people to rate the ads and warns other users if there is any issue of the ad. Try it out and see if you think it is a better alternative. If it is, tell your friends.

thesteve said...

Hey Jamie. Awesome blog you have here. As a fellow San Diegan and Craigslister, I definitely understand your frustration when it comes to flaky buyers and sellers and inadequate listings...

and hard is it to read SQUIER off of the headstock of the guitar...haha

AJ said...

Me too, here is what I use for aparment rentals SlickHunt.comCraigslist apartments are mapped on a google map and you can search by zip code etc. enjoy

Angie said...

I keep having this happen: I see what I'm looking for at a decent price. I respond to the seller, asking if the item is available. I don't hear back for a week or more, then the seller contacts me and apologizes for the delay. Apparently, multiple offers were made, the first respondent was honored, the deal went through, but perhaps I might be interested in investing in some business to earn a living from home (or some such thing). This has happened to me over and over in searching for a piano. It's always a different seller. Wish I knew how to search the posts to filter out the scams