My sister and I have become obsessed with scouring Craigslist for home furnishings. Well, Craigslist scouring is kind of her obsession and she then narrows down the listings and presents them to me – I simply respond with a “yay” or “nay”. Tara is always pushing for me to email or text the seller and I get exhausted just thinking about coordinating the maybe-shady and decidedly uncertain transaction. Some people are cut out for this sort of thing – but I think I’ve become spoiled by the convenience and certainty of Amazon Prime. My sister seems to have amazing luck with Craigslist. For example, recently she bought a coffee table. She texted the seller and within 5 minutes had a response. They arranged a meeting within the hour and I decided to go with Tara to the seller’s house just to make sure it wasn’t some sort of scam that ended with my sister being sex-trafficked in Russia. We arrive to the sellers house which is an amazing house converted from an old Catholic church – and the seller is a nice doctor lady wearing a fitted polo top, a knee-length khaki skirt, and refined minimal jewelry and makeup that gracefully says “I come from old-money.” It was a super pleasant exchange and the seller even gave us a sneak peek of her Chouse (church + house = Chouse).
So you see, I have a screened-in sun porch that needs furniture and it calls for furniture of the rattan, wicker, or bamboo nature. This one set of bamboo furniture kept coming up with a description that looked something like this: wicker furniture set wicker couch and chair. $190. excellent condition. The listing was accompanied with multiple photos of a dark bamboo (not actually wicker) chair and couch completely unstyled in the middle of a lawn. The chair had cushions covered in pink and green tropical fabric (very Miami). The couch however was not pictured with cushions. The furniture had good bones and the price was pretty competitive based on some of the other listings I had considered. My sister urged me to send an email – so I did. Here’s how it went:
ME: Hi! I’m interested in your wicker furniture set. Do you happen to know the dimensions? Are the couch cushions in good condition / clean? Also, would it be possible to deliver? I live in NW OKC. Will pay asking price.
[I hate negotiating. I'm always willing to pay asking price which my sister says is ridiculous. Apparently half the fun of buying stuff off Craigslist or at garage sales is haggling. I'm just not into it.]
SELLER: We will be back in town Tuesday. I will email you measurements when we get home.
[Note that only one of three questions were answered. I've learned in life and work you can only ask one question at a time via email.]
SELLER (5 days after the previously mentioned Tuesday): are you still interested in the wicker set?
ME: Yes, definitely! I just need to know the dimensions and if you would be able to deliver. Also, does the couch have cushions or no?
75 X 33 X 28 COUCH 33 X 33 X 28 CHAIR We don’t have a way to deliver.
It does have the seating cusions [sic].
You are more than welcome to come by and take a look at it.
After 6 more emails back and forth we finally coordinate a time for me to swing by and look at this wicker furniture set that is actually bamboo.
So it was a Friday morning and instead of working I made Tara come with me to check out this wicker furniture. Because if anyone is really going to be kidnapped and sex trafficked in Russia it’s probably the girl who gets on boats with strangers (that would be me). So we hop in my MINI Cooper and make our way not too far from our own neighborhood. We end up at a modest but cute ranch-style home – the front porch has some promising bohemian style including rattan furniture, ceramic turtle planters holding succulents, and wind chimes made of shells. After knocking, ringing the doorbell, and knocking again a lady – who is clearly stoned – answers the door. “Hi, I’m here to take a look at the wicker furniture.” She looks confused, tells me to hold on, and shuts the door. About five minutes later a shirtless man comes to the door and tells us to meet him around the side of the house. We’re definitely about to be sex trafficked. So we go around to the side of the house when a few minutes later we hear the garage door (which is on the FRONT of the house) open. So we head back over to the garage located at the FRONT of the house. Granted, it was only five steps from where we were but still, lousy instructions would have never happened at the Chouse.
Okay so, finally my eyeballs are on the wicker furniture in a garage that smells heavily of cigarette smoke. Tara and I sit on the couch which happens to have shredded-to-shit cushions on it. Tara looks at the shirtless seller and says “These cushions are in terrible shape.” Dude (who is also clearly stoned but probably not going to sex traffic us) says “Yeah, that’s why we didn’t include them on the photo.” Tara fires back (in the nicest way possible – like she was truly giving this guy some Craigslist education) “Yeah, most people include that kind of stuff on the listing. So you know… potential buyers are aware of it before they come out to your house.” Dude just kind of shrugs and says he’ll ask the confused girl, who apparently IS the owner of this wicker furniture, if she’ll take $100 for the set instead of the asking price of $190.
So THIS. This is why I don’t do Craigslist.We headed back to my MINI empty handed and with no deal in place. We drove down the street to a bustling garage sale and found this wicker chair for $10. I loaded it up in my car and as I drove off feeling like the Universe had delivered my sister said “You should have offered $5.”