Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Snapshot of the Economy via Craigslist

Okay, I confess: I love craigslist. I have bought and sold stuff on it. My son finds great deals on auto parts and tools. I think it's a great resource, and with Ebay charging such high fees, it's a steal.

A new trend I've noticed lately, though, has to be a reflection of the fact that many people are experiencing financial problems. You can tell by what they are selling. Used clothes, okay. But worn out used clothing that is better served as a cushion for the dog's crate? A couch that the owner admits is smelly? Beat up kids shoes? The kind that a thrift store wouldn't carry, they are THAT beat up? I'm seeing more sentimental items listed, as well as just small attempts to make a few bucks.

Nothing wrong with that; I've made some small coin selling baby stuff that we'd outgrown. But half a can of paint? Thing is, selling is a hassle: you have to arrange the pick up, you have to be there and hope the person finds your house*. Or you have to go to them. Is it worth $3 to do all that? Maybe if you are selling in quantity. I can't see how anyone is making any money at this unless they are really, really broke. I totally get it, I would do it too if I had to. It just seems like it's more noticeable in the last few months rather than since craigslist was created.

It's really sad to think of the bailouts that went to the automakers that have gone broke anyway. If that kind of money could have been invested in people, wouldn't it have been amazing? Kids being able to go to the doctor? Schools NOT firing their staff? Why not bailout the educational system? Seems like the financial 'experts' could have considered more of a grass roots bailout, rather than that pathetic 'trickle down' ideology.

*Just my two cents: never let a craigslist buyer come to your home. Meet them at the grocery store or somewhere close. You can't be too careful.

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