The Problem with “Free Stuff” on Craigslist


I’ve talked more times than I can count about scoring gems on Craigslist– the best way to approach sellers, what to search, and how to find diamonds in the rough. But I’ll admit that I’ve never succeeded in picking up anything marked as “free,” and after recently getting “stood up” a couple of times, I think I’m best off steering clear of freebies.

Both times, I had been communicating consistently with the sellers, only to get “ghosted” (ha) when it came time to setting up an exact time. I always try to communicate consistently with people interested in my items, even when I need to tell them that someone else offered a higher price/their pickup time won’t work out after all, etc, so I thought it was incredibly rude to just curb all communication. Have some dignity, people!

Aside from the fact that no money involved = less motivation, my only guess is that people realized it was easier to set the free items outside rather than deal with scheduling a pickup time with a stranger, or that they were inspired by my interest and decided hey, maybe this item isn’t worth parting with just yet. Who knows, but the moral of the story is that there is no such thing as a free lunch…or ghost chair…or flat screen.

Have you ever scored anything for free on Craigslist? I have picked up things marked as “curb alert” before, and this is way easier because you don’t have to email anymore, but it also requires being local and speedy.


Oh, and I’ll leave you with this amazing find in the free section–it wouldn’t have worked out for me to pick up anyway, since I 1) have no more room for something this size after scoring another midcentury dresser last week and 2) live about an hour away from Burke, VA, where the item was located…but how beautiful is this piece?! Things like this normally go for $400+ on CL!

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