Wicker Chair

WickerChair 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?

SELLER:
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.”
  1. awww I know the feeling :( I like the idea of getting a bargain, but I hate the feeling of Craigslist.

  2. lucinda

    this story is hilarious and spot on! like your sister, i am of the craiglist-persuasion, but you’ve got a pretty accurate description of most transactions. glad you finally found the piece you were looking for – it’s fabulous and the cushion is perfect, did you make it?

  3. beth

    HA!! Awesome story. And I feel the exact same way about craigslist. I wish I didn’t!

  4. I just about cried when you said, “[this] would have never happened at the Chouse.” So so funny.

    Welcome back my friend! I hope you had a wonderful reprieve. Looking forward to reading more!

  5. Nicole

    Welcome back.

    I have a similar love hate with ebay. Seems I always get whittled down to the lowest figure possible and pay the highest. Lesson learnt – I don’t do ebay anymore (unless for odd work supplies like string or vintage stamps).

    I found myself starting to get fanatical about wanting or even worse, NEEDing things and gave up on the notion (part of the quitting ebay but also shopping for our home in general). I’ll buy things online if I’ve become friendly with the seller/shop to show support but otherwise quite enjoying organic purchasing (stumbled upon items in random places / situations). Whatever I buy that way feels serendipitous and that little bit more like it belongs and it becomes part of our narrative rather than something I had to have for the sake of it which ends up never really fitting.

    Side note: I would have had you picked as more of an Acapulco Chair kinda gal rather than wicker? More Kaftan house no?

  6. Margie

    I’ve been on Craigslist for days looking for a nice bookcase for my son and his mini-library. Your experience is what I dread. My boss met up with a seller in our parking lot for a Roomba. But furniture, ugh, I have to drive there to see it.

    I remember your boat story.

  7. Deb Charlap

    Please, please “Design Dynasty” ~ to tip the scales against the makers of duck calls. You and Tara are naturals!

    Welcome back, love!

  8. pamela raper stoddard

    Yay! Back with a bang of a story. This is me, 100%.

  9. I just started my Craigslist journey last week! So far, I’ve successfully sold some furniture and I’ll be picking up a “new” 85mm lens this week. So far, no shady deals. Part of me likes the slightly shady drama of selling/buying this way, and part of me just wants to pay whatever it costs to ensure I get exactly what I want, sans crack heads.

  10. This is such an accurate explanation of how Craigslist works! While you can get some lucky deals and meet some genuinely nice people…more often than not…it’s shady business.

  11. Rory

    Yay, you are back! Doesn’t everyone have such a tumultuous relationship with Craigslist? I once waited for a guy I was selling some old camera stuff to for 45 minutes in a strange Starbucks. As I was about to give up and leave he came into the parking lot and yelled for my attention because he recognized my painted fingernails from the pictures! So weird!

    Keep your stories coming. I missed them!

  12. Vanessa

    Welcome back! I can tell from the tone of your writing here that you seem to have had a restorative and re-energizing break from blogging. Have a great rest of your summer and I can’t wait for the tour of your new house!

  13. SusanA

    Hey, you’re back! I hope you had a rejuvenating break! I enjoyed your story and can relate to why you don’t do Craigslist. I haven’t actually gone to anyone’s house to look at furniture yet, because no one has even bothered to respond to my inquiries. I’ve emailed three different people on three different occasions, asking about their electric drafting tables, but not a one has replied. And their tables are still listed! Given your experience with meeting the sellers face to face, maybe I should be glad I haven’t had that pleasure. I’d like to think I’ll get lucky and find a table when I least expect it, as you did your chair.

    Love the look of your new home and the view out the screen door. :-)

  14. Julie

    On a day when I needed a serious giggle, you delivered. Welcome back.

  15. “Yes!” to returning with a bang & a whole lottah humor!!! I lack the tenacity / patience / (insert other positive traits necessary for being a good CL’er) for CL, too. I buy it or find a way to build it!

  16. Naomi

    Hysterical truth, chicka. I shy away from CL too BUT just scored a HUGE dog crate for our recent rescue for less than 50% retail (but I was scared the whole way to our meeting point!). I’m MUCH more comfortable in a thrift shop for hours on end … (dig the wicker chair – good score)

  17. Welcome back K!
    No CL in Ireland, but we’ve got plenty similar ones. I’m crap at it but the fella gets lots of good deals, I need to study his moves!

  18. Naurnie

    This. “….lousy instructions would have never happened at the Chouse.”

  19. Monica

    And that is why I stick with Amazon Prime. My husband thinks I am wasteful but it saves me time, aggravations, and the possibility of being sold to Russia. Seems like a win to me.

  20. Sara

    Ha! This story is great. I just went through the other end of that kind of thing, with a service we have in Canada called Kijiji (pretty similar, just somehow less sketchy). Multiple interested buyers in two items I was trying to sell, all of them just disappearing / stopped answering emails / told me they could order it new from the states for the same price (which is always so confusing because shipping to canada is like $30 min. on the kind of thing I was selling, USD to CAD conversion makes it more expensive, and there’s almost always duty charges on electronics) and FINALLY I end up with someone who comes and picks it up a day after he emails, cash in hand, wam bam thank you ma’am.

    Some people are just good at it. I’m not one of them.

  21. Wow! Hellooooo universe! That was absolutely amazing and worth all the headache.

  22. Reni

    That truly is the magic and terror of Craigslist. You can find the most wonderful deals. Like my vintage italian leather reclining chair for $80, or you can find yourself in a terrible neighborhood looking at some strangers unwanted junk. But thats what makes it fun. Its the hunt for the treasure. And your wicker chair is awesome. I’m looking for one of those myself.

    the little lion girl

  23. Katie

    Oh my gosh, I am SO with you on this. The pathetic part is that I scan through craigslist listings on the daily but NEVER call on anything I like. I’m also too terrified/can’t be bothered with it… but I know others who literally buy everything on there with no problems whatsoever.

    Anyway, I was cracking up throughout this whole post. Very much enjoyed it & very much like that sweet $10 chair. ;-)

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