There are a lot of falsehoods floating around the internet, and I feel like I should write this to clear up some misconceptions and outright lies about my favorite website (besides this one, of course!); Craigslist. You've probably heard of it. I myself kind of thought it was a joke at first, or something to fear. It can, in fact, be a very valuable resource for multiple outlets. Plus, if this article inspires you to begin using Craigslist I'll probably be better off personally, because it relies on involvement from the site's users. So read on, and get posting on Craigslist. There's a world of used electronics, online personals, and adult tricycles waiting for you! We'll get to the tricycles later, but let's start out with the basics of the site.
If you haven't heard of it, Craigslist is the online version of a tightly-organized bulletin board. As a child I was always interested in bulletin boards, especially the ones outside of supermarkets. Craigslist gives you the ability to enjoy all of the information contained in such a bulletin board without the hassles of things like interacting with people trying to read the same things, or those same people getting in your way. It's also pretty hard to lock your keys in your car because you're overeager to look at a bulletin board when on Craigslist, not that I ever would've done such a thing at Foodland (sorry again, Mom).
The main thing you immediately notice upon visiting Craigslist is the organization. It's very straightforward and easy to find what you're looking for. Something that might take some time to notice is the lack of advertisements. I'm not against advertisements on a basic level because they're necessary for funding, but it is refreshing to visit a site that won't fight your pop-up blocker to the death.
The 9 main sections of the site are community, housing, jobs, personals, for sale, discussion forums, services, gigs, and resumes. I've had experience with most of them. Lucky for you, I'm willing to share. Let's go in order, because order is one of my favorite things about Craigslist.
I'm originally from Pittsburgh, PA but when I moved to Detroit, MI last year, I utilized the community section frequently because I didn't know much about my actual community and wanted to acclimate myself. Under activities, you can find a variety of postings. The ones I found there were for a flag football team I briefly joined, a softball team I was going to join but played too far from my house, and several hockey teams. These were all organized teams or leagues, and the postings were made by people who handled everything in a professional manner.
I only utilized the rideshare tab once (successfully), because most of the people I tried to call for rides to work were afraid to drive to the street I lived on. What a bunch of wimps! I did see a post offering a ride to and from Pittsburgh one weekend that I wanted to come home. After the driver and I gave each other some personal info to make sure that the other wasn't some kind of axe-murderer, we set off for Pittsburgh, also stopping to pick up a girl from Cleveland that was stuck in Detroit. Aside from the fact that I have a natural distaste for people from Cleveland, everything went smoothly. Now, there's always that slim chance the driver planned on turning me into the base for a delicious stew on the return trip, but lucky for me I ended up moving back to Pittsburgh that weekend and she didn't have to take me all the way back to Detroit.
Three of the best jobs I've ever had happened because of Craigslist directly. The first one I was hired for after an open interview that I attended. This interview was conducted right across the street from a focus group that I attended...after responding to a Craigslist post. So thanks to Craigslist, I got paid and fed free pizza for going to a focus group where I got to clown around and act like I was in high school much to the delight of my fellow groupers, then attend an interview that led to a good seasonal job. What more could a guy ask for?
After that job ended, I moved to Detroit with no job prospects and $200 in my pocket. Despite the popular stereotypes and opinions about Detroit, this did not in fact enable me to purchase the entire city and live in the mayor's mansion. After 28 days and an interview or two, I found a temp job on Craigslist through a great company called Manpower. The job ended up lasting 6 months, or 5 months longer than I was promised at the beginning.
I've gone on a couple of dates after utilizing the personals section. The best advice I can give is to figure out as much as you can about who you're e-mailing (direct correspondence always goes through e-mail first, posting phone numbers is a pretty risky proposition) and first meet them in a public place. I did this with three women and had fun on the dates we went on. We didn't get any further than dating once or twice, but nothing overly negative happened either. Some people have a bad opinion of this. I understand that because of stories I've heard, but isn't every blind date a risk? Dating somebody you don't know is the same on Craigslist: use common sense, don't get your hopes up, and be careful. Speaking of not getting your hopes up, if you're going to reply to postings, don't be discouraged. There are always some spam posters and fakes in the personals section, so don't take it so personally (get it?) if you don't get a response. I've probably responded to about 30 ads posted by women, or pretty convincing men pretending to be women, and ended up with one date as a result. That's not a bad ratio if you ask me.
I've had more luck posting my own ad. If you're a man looking for a woman, you need to stand out or you don't have a chance. Posting something basic will lead to being ignored, because there are mountains of postings daily from men, especially compared to women. So standing out is a huge advantage. The ad I've posted and gotten positive responses to is one where I compare myself to a car, because the ads in the "Cars For Sale" section are really funny and cliche. It's not hard to post about a man written in the style of the typical Craigslist car ad, because every car has positives that are trumped up and negatives that are downplayed. But think of something original, because the car ones are my turf, and even though nobody can find you when you don't volunteer information in your postings, I have my ways.
Speaking of the "for sale" section, that's the one that I've really had success with. So far I've bought a TV, a hockey helmet cage, two adult tricycles, exercise equipment, and a car. If you're going to buy something, use common sense, just like with anything else. Taking someone with you is a good idea just in case anything funny happens. You usually meet at the seller's house and go from there. I bought the TV from a mother who had just left her husband and had children in the house. She had no use for the TV, needed cash, and I got a pretty good deal. The tricycles were custom-built and I got some interesting information on adult tricycles out of the encounters. The only strange thing involved an exercise bike that I bought. The seller came in a truck, with his brother-in-law (that was according to him - I have no way of knowing one way or the other). I first noticed that this team included a black guy and a white guy, which I was happy to see because I didn't see a lot of examples of such racial harmony in Detroit. They helped bring the bike into my basement, and one of them noted that "there's a lot of nice copper piping in here." He must've noticed the look of suspicion on my face, because he quickly added "I'm a plumber so I notice this stuff." More power to him. After the way that lease ended, I kind of hope he was lying about being a plumber and makes his living by hocking stolen copper pipe. If he lost the address I'd be happy to give it to him again.
The reason I had to buy the TV from the Mom is because the TV I took to Detroit with me finally died. It was a big hulking monster and I didn't want to have to lug it down several flights of steps, and eventually I posted it in the "for free" section. Within minutes I had a response from a woman that wanted it on the off-chance that she could get it repaired for cheap. I was dead-set on not carrying it myself...until she arrived outside my house and I realized that by the looks of her, she works for tips but isn't a waitress. Al Bundy's old saying that "men will always do something stupid if there's a woman around to impress" definitely applied to me when I somehow managed to lug a TV over a hundred pounds around all by myself, because she wouldn't have been any help and wasn't really offering any. On a somewhat related note; there's no truth to the rumor that I broke up with the girl I was sharing the house with because she said "if you don't want to wash the dishes why don't you go live with that stripper who took your TV"?
Now, does anybody need an adult-sized tricycle?