Go on an Adventure: Click Craigslist

craigslistWith the first week of school coming to an end, many students are still struggling to fully unpack and get their rooms to the point where they want to be.

The issue of buying basic room necessities comes up as students struggle to find the right place to buy TV’s, fridges, futons and movie posters (“Charlie Wilson’s War” is hanging next to my bed. I don’t know how I have it, but I’m happy about it.)

Instead of taking the boring option of going to a store of some sort, the simplest answer has been right in front of everyone the whole time! Use Craigslist!

If you want to find anything (seriously, anything) for up to 95 percent off the original retail price then look no further than Craigslist!

I was a bit skeptical at first, but trust me, you can’t go wrong!

For example, let’s say you and your roommates are looking for a moderately sized flat screen TV and are willing to spend around $250.

Well lucky you, there’s a used first generation iPod for $35! Or let’s say you’re looking for a mini fridge for the dorm and want to spend around $100.

You can easily find a set of rims for a Mitsubishi Lancer for $200! Craigslist is just home to great deals all around!

Now some can argue that there are benefits to shopping at a store, but nothing that should sway your decision to purchase from Craigslist.

Sure stores can offer “security” by offering “receipts” and “warranties” and making “guarantees,” but do any of those things really matter when you can get such a great deal? I don’t think so.

The bottom line is stores are boring.

I think every buying experience (no matter what it may be) should be a journey, where you need to take a 20-minute drive into a neighborhood you’ve never been to before, meet up with the seller in his house (usually more like a run-down apartment complex), wait an uncomfortably long amount of time while the seller “goes in the back to find it” hoping he doesn’t come back out holding a machete to say “big mistake.”

Everyone should try using Craigslist at least once in their life, try looking at it as a learning experience.

When I came back to Tampa I decided, why not buy the TV for our common room on Craigslist?

I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t, right? So I can share my experience with you and show you that there’s really nothing to worry about.

After finding a post for a cheap 42 inch flat screen and calling the guy to confirm he still had the TV to sell, I agreed to drive over to his apartment and pick it up later that day.

On the ride over pulling up to the Tampa Cross-town Expressway entrance, one of the most embarrassing moments of my life happened as I quickly realized I didn’t have the 75 cents in my car to pay the toll and was forced to reverse down the ramp (while a car was already behind me).

The woman behind me was less than happy and I realized nothing I could say would make her happy so as she shot me a dirty look through her window I just yelled “recession!” and drove away.

Making it to the sellers house which was only a few blocks away from 7th Avenue in Ybor city, getting out of the car I saw a chicken calmly walking down the sidewalk then turning to enter a house. I figured it was a good sign.

Walking up to the guy’s second floor apartment the guy opens his door and two or three dogs immediately run out of the door (maybe more, it happened really fast).

I see the TV, everything seems fine, but he can’t find the remote, so I offer to help him look around.

As we’re searching for the remote, I notice a gun lying out in his open closet. I figured this was another good sign.

I don’t know what the guy did for a living or why he would leave a gun sitting out in his closet, but who am I to judge, right?

Anyway, we got the TV back to the dorm, everything works and I would consider it one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.

If you do chose to follow my advice and use Craigslist at any point in time, it helps to know when a post is fake or a scam.

Although Craigslist does offer great deals, maybe that new iPhone for $20 might just be too good to be true (I know, I wish it were real too, but it’s not).

Or if a seller doesn’t have a price or picture of the product and says “he’ll come to you” it may not be the post to pursue.

Finally, you can’t always take things at how they may be presented, after noticing a large trend of “French Lessons” being for sale on Craigslist, I started to think something was a bit off and looked to see if there were any other definitions for the term “French Lessons.”

There are.

It means oral sex. This is completely true.

I figured something was off when a ten minute “French Lesson” would cost me $250 (must be a really good teacher?).

So be safe and if you want to get more from your buying experience give Craigslist a try.

John Jacobs can be reached at jjacobs@ut.edu.

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