Craigslist Serendipity

We are big fans of Craigslist for finding cheap stuff and getting rid of things. But, more often than not, we use it for dreaming and browsing. Megan sends me pictures of the perfect wingback reading chairs, I search for supplies for random hobbies I’d like to take up like pottery spinning and glassblowing, we look for industrial furniture, and last weekend, I was looking for a kayak. Not looking looking, because a kayak isn’t in the budget, but keeping my eye on the listings to research prices and dream. You see, I really want to learn to kayak and I have a dream of Meg and I conquering a stretch of the calm Missouri River.

And what do you know, someone was looking to trade kayak for a scooter or a Playstation 3! And I happened to have a free scooter. Like I said, serendipity.

All I know about the scooter is that it was 33cc engine. It was a dumpster dive that was sitting in Megan’s mom’s basement, and I fixed it up for fun. I cleaned out the carb for about $5, bought some screws to re-attach the air filter assembly for $2, bought an air filter for $8, and a new starter pawl for $12. Which means that I got a kayak for $27 (plus another $40 that I gave the trader for gas money and an oar, which is the wrong kind but might allow me to trade for the right kind).

Craigslist Serendipity

The Kayak is a rotomolded 12.5ft recreational kayak. It’s built by “Current Designs” and it’s called a “Krestrel 120″. It retails around $600-800 new, but in its condition probably it’s worth more like $300-500. And it came with a dolly to move it around easily! So yeah, I feel like the king of Internet barter right now.

It’s hanging up from the ceiling in our basement, just waiting for warm waters! Well, warm waters, funds for lessons, and a good lifejacket. Here’s to hoping that we’ll have another stroke of luck to find one for Megan!

And while we’re at it, here are five of my tips for buying Craigslist:

  • Search for what you are looking for pretty regularly. Listings change and the good stuff at a good price tends to go fast.
  • Think of synonyms for your search terms. You might call it a vintage couch, but the lister might think of it as an old sofa.
  • Ask questions. If you’re a serious shopper, sellers should be more than willing to give you a better idea of the condition of the item. This will help you decide if the price is right.
  • You can almost always talk the price down, especially if you’ll pay cash fast and haul it away in a flash.
  • If you decide to make a deal, meet in a public place rather than at your home or theirs. (Safety first!) The exception is big stuff like couches, which you’ll probably need to pick up at their place. In that case, bring a friend.

Have you ever had an awesome stroke of luck buying things online?