Wednesday, September 18, 2013

All Fired Up

To prepare for my new wood burning insert to go into the existing brick fireplace that was mutilated by the previous owners to install a cheesy electric fireplace, I wanted to get rid of the cheesy electric fireplace. I've had good luck selling things on ebay, bad luck selling things on craigslist and almost no luck selling things in the newspaper classified ads. The classified ads just don't work for things like this because you can't post a picture or a lot of words so unless it is super cheap, I rarely get any calls. On ebay, I have lots of luck because I only have to deal with the winning bid and then all I need is to verify payment and drop the item in the mail. But with a large fireplace, mailing it wasn't a really desirable option so I opted to see it on Craigslist.

Before posting it on Craigslist, I looked to see what new ones of similar caliber were going for and found them to be around $350 to $500. Not wanting to hang onto this for long, I priced it to move at $75, took a half dozen pictures and put it on Craigslist. I didn't get any emails those first few days and since Craigslist scrolls at a fast clip, my listing was soon buried under and I assumed that I wouldn't get any calls at all. But after almost two weeks went by, I got two emails asking if I still had the fireplace. I responded to both but got no more response.

Like so many, I refreshed my ad so that it gets back to the top of the list and suddenly I started getting some responses which reminds me why I hate Craigslist. The first couple people to show interest asked if I would deliver the fireplace both over a hundred miles away. I politely told both that I priced it to move and that it wasn't worth my time or gas to deliver it. I got three or four people who asked if I still had it and then never responded again when I said yes. I had two people say they were interested but only if I reduced the price. I declined both. Another person asked if I would take some more recent pictures of it. I told them that the ones I took were only two weeks old and unless he wanted to see something that wasn't in the posted pictures, I wasn't going to take anymore. No surprise I never heard anything back from them.

Finally I had someone respond back to my email saying it was still for sale. She called on a Saturday and said she was on her way out of town and wondered if she could stop by on Monday to pick it up. Because we were gone anyway, I said that was fine. She promised to give me a call Monday morning to arrange a time to pick it up. Monday morning, I got another response from a fellow who said he would take it. I told him that it was spoken for but if that didn't happen, I would let him know. He couldn't pick it up anyway until Tuesday evening and said that would be fine. I called the first lady but only got an answering machine so I left a message saying I had someone else interested in the fireplace and asking her to call me back if she was still interested. Early Monday evening she returned the call to say she was still interested but because it was so hot, she asked if she could come late in the evening, promising to give me a call before she left since she lived 20 minutes down the road. I said that would be fine but also told her that I had another person coming the following day to buy it if she didn't get it tonight.

I stayed up until ten o'clock and finally gave up on her and went to bed. She never called and in fact by early afternoon on Tuesday she had not contacted me at all. So I sent a text to the fellow who had been interested telling him I still had it if he was interested. He texted me right back saying he wanted it and would be there in a couple hours. About 30 minutes before he arrived, the lady texted me asking if I still had it. Put off with her cavalier attitude towards this sale, I told her that I had already sold it. Fortunately the fellow showed up and bought the fireplace. He was a really nice fellow and we stood in the driveway talking for nearly a half hour after the sale talking about Craigslist. He loved Craigslist but all he had done was buy from it. I told him buying was okay but selling stunk and told him all I went through trying to sell the fireplace. He also laughed when I told him about the people who asked if I could reduce the price without even asking to see it first. He said it was a steal to which I agreed. I priced it to move, not to get rich.

Finally two and a half weeks later, I finally have a vacant fireplace now ready for the wood burning insert that I bought to put in what is left of the brick work. Even though we received our first 90 plus degree days of the year this last week of August when I wrote this post, I'm excited to get things to where I can burn some wood this winter. Perhaps by the end of September when the new one gets installed, we will get a cool stretch to try it out. I plan to pour myself a tumbler of nice scotch, grab a good book and break it in properly.


warren said...

I have sold a few things on facebook yardsale and had the same experience. I just don't get why people would bother typing if they aren't going to follow through, at least somewhat

sage said...

I can't imagine buying an electric fireplace... and you sales experience is why places like Good Will stay in business!

Ed said...

Warren - They obviously aren't on the receiving end very often or at all.

Sage - For smaller items, I usually take them to Good Will. I just figured they wouldn't be interested in such a big item.

Anonymous said...

Good that someone else can get a use out of it and that it doesn't end up in landfill. Or even destructive recycling.