the thoughts and aspirations of a wannabe

***CRAIGSLIST MARKETING 101***

In A few of my favorite things, Being sassy, Great Decisions My Parents Make, I Laugh in Your General Direction, Just not a fan, Peeves on November 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm

This morning I daringly decided to peruse the online marketplace for potential contenders to replace my former vehicle.

I say “daringly” because the subject of purchasing a new car is touchy with my parents. About three months ago after an argument that included, but was not limited to yelling, fist pounding, and four-letter words, my dad said it would be a “couple” months until we would be in the market for a car again.

If we’re adhering to the true definition of a “couple,” then it should be high time to hit Mike’s Discount Car Corral. But, then again, he very likely could have meant a “couple,” like, “I’m going to have a couple mini-donuts,” which always means around seven.

And by the way that he flatly answered my prodding questions of, “Do you think a Jeep Wrangler would be safe enough?” and, “Doesn’t $6000 sound like too much for a ’98 Jetta?” I’m thinking the number of months it will take to earn back my freedom is closer to the average mini-donut intake.

Even if I knew I was not about to purchase a vehicle, what brought me to Craigslist this morning was my inherited enjoyment of admiring vehicles I have no intention of buying with the same scrutiny as if I was.

However, it seemed to me that a lot of people really didn’t care if their car would sell or not, or were otherwise blatantly unaware of the do’s-and-don’ts of selling things online. As a service to these people, I have listed the “don’ts” below.

Note: all the examples are taken from craigslist.com. I’m not exaggerating.

1. TITLES IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS WITH ABSOLUTELY NO PUNCTUATION

1999 CROWN VICTORIA LOOKS GREAT DRIVES GREAT HEAT AND AIR CONDITIONING CD PLAYER CALL OR EMAIL

I feel as though Will Ferrell’s Jacob Silj is trying to sell me an automobile. Does typing this way give you more hits or put you higher up on the queue? No. I just feel like you’re screaming at me. I’d rather buy a car from someone who uses their indoor voice.

2. Being rude.

Evidence of the seller’s immaturity is never a good selling point. But it is hilarious.

“NOTE TO SCAM EMAILERS: you’re a scumbag. get a life” actually makes me feel bad for the scam emailers. Or, “There is a nice hole in the dash where some jackass stole my crummy stereo. Jokes on him because the display barely worked, it ate CD’s and the volume up button had a tendency to stick…hahahahahaha!!!”

3. Posting a picture taken from your cell phone, or no picture at all.

I honestly don’t know what makes people think they can get away with not posting a photo–who is going to buy a car when they aren’t sure what it looks like? Others seem to think it would be a great idea to post a 2×2 inch, pixel-ridden thumbnail that captures nearly half of their already unattractive Geo Prizm. Even if you were trying to sell me my dream car (red 3-series BMW hardtop convertible) and took a picture like that, I wouldn’t want it. Well, maybe.

Also, please take into account the backdrop. If you happen to live in a sketchy neighborhood, or the view from your driveway is the Ingham County Jail, take your car to Wellington Estates and borrow one of their driveways. They won’t mind.

Just a thought–one advertiser posted pictures of neighborhood children washing his Saab. Genius.

4. Unforgivable spelling and/or grammar mistakes.

I’m normally rather forgiving when it comes to everyday conversation, but if you’re entering the professional world (yes, I suppose that includes Craigslist) and apparently no one taught you the correct use of “well,” (“runs good, drives good”) then I start to judge.

Some favorites are: “EXCELLET BODY,” and “need to seel to get truck.” Run-on sentences are especially inviting. I have highlighted the flubs for your convenience.

“very economic on gas though I get about 27mpg on high Way and 17-21 in city not bad for a v8 but hey its w BMW the car will need one thing witch it a wheel bearing costs 115$ at parts store will buy but don’t have the money price is a little negotiable do to that issue.”

Could the reason why you don’t have $115 to spare be because you misspell words like “due?”

Alright, that was a little mean. It just makes me a little wary of the owner when one advertises a car as having “vary little rust.” If you aren’t confident in the spelling of “very,” you might have a look on dictionary.com before you take a stab at it.

5. The use of “female-owned” in the description.

Believe me, that means nothing. I’ve seen plenty of women (overweight, holding a cigarette out the window) driving rusty, old sedans that are littered with greasy McDonalds bags and 7-11 “Big Gulp” cups, with three kids squished in the backseat–one in a car seat, two glued to their Gameboys. Yeah, I know you’ve seen it, too. When you tell me your ’92 Camry was “female-owned,” that’s the female I picture.

6. Trying too hard.

Adding seventeen asterisks to the end of the title or “LOOK AT THIS CAR!!!!!!!!!!!” The sad thing? It actually works. I just don’t like that it works.

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