The lady put my air compressor and nail gun in the back of her running car and pulled out a bank envelope with cash inside. She then proceeded to show it to my wife and quickly tucked it back in the envelope, jumped in her car and raced off. All but $10 of the $250 was fake. I had only paid $140 for the two items so we lost $130.
I’ve had close to two thousand substantial Craigslist transactions over the past few years and this is the only negative transaction that I have to write about. One unfortunate, preventable situation where we received some counterfeit money.
Long ago I put to rest any fears I had about buying and selling on Craigslist, but I’ve wanted to build up a substantial transaction history to put a little weight behind my reasoning.
3 reasons I’m not afraid
1. Craigslist isn’t some under-society filled with criminals and thieves waiting to snare their next victim. It’s filled with people that live in your city and town. It’s your neighbors, friends, business owners, college students, the rich and poor, every ethnicity and religious group. If you are afraid of Craigslist you are afraid of your city. Don’t be afraid of your city.
2. But Ryan, what about the rare nutjobs out there, shouldn’t we be afraid of them? There are sharks in the ocean too, but if you are afraid of sharks you will never get to surf a wave or snorkel with tropical fish. Living life plagued with fear is no way to live. It’s a risk to take that first step when one is learning to walk. It’s a risk to love someone. Life is filled with little risks. Avoid risks and you will avoid life’s rewards.
3. News articles that are written about Craigslist are almost exclusively about crimes associated somehow to a Craigslist transaction. Sex sells. Crime sells. Fear sells. Regular old, pleasant transactions aren’t deemed newsworthy. 60 million Americans use Craigslist each month viewing 50 billion pages. The image one will get from the news media is astonishingly unbalanced. There’s no other way to put it. Go to news.google.com and setup a news alert for Craigslist and watch the stories that come up for a few weeks.
I used to live in Hawaii and would go out bodyboarding 2-3 times a week, every week. In 13 months of living out there, we saw a harmless reef shark once. One time we even had a pod of dolphins swim up on us, jumping all over the place. It was one of the most magical things I’ve ever experienced in my life.
That’s what my Craigslist experience has been like. In two thousand transactions there has been one reef shark (counterfeit money). I’m not going to let the fear of some incredibly unlikely event prevent me from earning a living, meeting my neighbors here in Portlandia and enjoying the myriad of other benefits that Craigslist has to offer. Remember that risk is everywhere and to avoid risk is to avoid reward.