Posted by Ryan Finlay on March 29th, 2012
This past weekend, someone was giving away a washer and dryer on the other side of town. I was the first to call. I got his address and at the end of our conversation, (I had already pulled up his address in Google maps) I told him I would be there in 30 minutes. I ran outside, hooked up the trailer, jumped in the truck and raced across town. It ended up taking 35 minutes.
When I arrived, I got out and went up to his front door and knocked. After 15 seconds or so the man came to the door and stepped outside. He couldn’t look me in the eye. My heart sank. “You just missed them.” he said
Stunned, I asked what he meant. (already knowing exactly what he meant)
“They just beat you here.” he replied.
“I just wasted over an hour of my day and all that gas. You could have told me that you were going to give your address to someone else as well.”
“I had no guarantee that you were going to show up.” he replied.
“I told you I was going to be here in 30 minutes.” as he glances down at his watch shaking his head. Nothing. He knew I had shown up almost exactly when I said I was going to.
“Alright…thanks.” I said in bewilderment as I walked back to my truck. I had yet again fallen victim to the great Craigslist horse race. I’ve lost this race more than I care to remember.
Two things can be taken from this situation. First, when people treat other people like ducks at a duck pond, they need to see the inhumane way they are treating their fellow man. The best way to do this is to show them your genuine disappointment with what just happened. Don’t get angry. That will just help them justify their actions. Craigslist isn’t a horse race. People need to remember that their neighbor and fellow man is going to receive their goods. Not a horse. Not a duck.
Second, I should have known better. When I got back in the truck, my six and a half year old son asked me what was wrong. I told him that the man had given the washer and dryer to someone else. “How come?.” he asked “Well, the man gave his address to another person that called, and that person came and got it already.” “I know, next time you should ask him if he’s going to give his address to anyone else!” (Long sigh..) “Yup, your right son. I should have done that.”
Give people the benefit of the doubt and trust they are going to hold it for you. At the same time, still ask them if they are going to give their address out to anyone else. Tell them the truth. You don’t want to waste your time driving over if someone else is going to beat you there. People will usually be honest at this point. I even think this man would have told me the truth, just from experience. They will say that yes, they are going to give the address out. Or, that they will hold it for X number of minutes and then they will go down the list. Or they will say they will hold it for you until you get there. The response often depends on how many flakes they have experienced. (See my post on Craigslist flakes) Do your best to stay out of the races and when you find yourself in one, do your part to help discourage them in the future.
Also, I just wanted to let you know I started another more general themed blog over at RyanFinlay.com My first two posts are already up.