Craigslist Gives Me Melon-Feet

I love the idea of Craiglist. You sell things. You buy things. You give away things so that people will haul them away from your house for free. I have been able to give things away on Craigslist that no one on Freecycle was willing to take from me. In theory, Craigslist is just a hands-down all-round super-awesome idea. It has one major flaw that I can see though – People use it.

Yes. When you’re buying and selling on Craigslist, you have to deal with People and People are sometimes flakey and overly picky and sometimes they don’t tell the whole truth about the whole everything. I know this. I have years of experience both dealing with and being People.

The last time I put something up for free on the List O’Craig, I had about 20 people ask to come by for it. I began trying to give it away on a first come, first served basis but the first people to respond were not necessarily the first ones who could come by and even when they said they’d stop by, they often didn’t. So for days, I’d tell one person they could come get it, we’d set up a time, I’d wait at home and they’d not show up. This happened several times so that when I finally got rid of the darn futon, I was thanking the taker PROFUSELY for actually showing up to get the free furniture.

So now I’m a shopper. I’m looking for baby stuff. My MacLaren Quest Stroller of Bliss and Joy that I’ve had and loved for the past 6 years molded and mildewed in my garage over the winter and so I want a new one without paying for a NEW one to the tune of $220. My infant seat has expired and although I’m not sure I believe in expiration dates on car seats, I have enough doubt in my heart that I would blame myself if we got in an accident with the old seat and the baby was injured in any way.

So I found a top consumer reports car seat on Craigslist that was 6 months old and in “perfect condition” from a non-smoking, pet-free home and the woman swore it had never been in an accident. Since Dan does not believe in expiration dates on car seats, he was much more amenable to my spending $85 on Craigslist than $200 at Babies R Us for the infant seat.

However, the day before I was to pick up the seat, the woman emailed me to say her child was still using it and it wasn’t really available yet until she got him the bigger seat. Okay. So it was on Craiglist but not really for sale yet. She apologized and said if I could wait a week, she’d have it ready. This went on for a few weeks when finally she emailed to say she’d purchased her new seat and I could come pick it up.

Not wanting me to come to her home, she asked me to meet her at a grocery store 35 minutes from my house at 6pm as a celebration of cranky hungry kids and rush hour. I told her I could come at 6:30 and she said that by 6:30 she’d be at her church for an event. She told me to meet her there, gave me directions and said to call her on her cell phone when I got close. Well her church was 40 minutes away and it was still rush hour but I packed my kids in the car and drove out to meet her.

The directions were wrong and after driving around for a while I found it anyway because it was a super giant mega-church, having a humongous concert of some kind with a full stage and lighting set up in the parking lot and hundreds, if not thousands of people in the audience. All the parking was full. People were walking from blocks and blocks away to hear the music. I was getting concerned about how I was going to find her and whether I’d have to drag my two kids and my crippled pregnant body for blocks and blocks to the concert and then blocks and blocks back to her car and then blocks and blocks back to my car so I called her.

And it went straight to voicemail again and again and again. I left her some choice messages, sort of polite in a biting sort of let-me-describe-in-detail-all-the-ways-you’ve-put-me-out sort of way and I teared up a little and headed 30 minutes from there to Babies R Us to buy the dang car seat new so I would never have to deal with People again, only sales associates.

To her credit, she called a couple of hours later to apologize and say she’d left her cell phone at home by accident. I could not bring myself to say, “It’s okay,” or do anything to really make her feel better. My feet were swollen. My people were cranky and we’d spent 3 hours about town in rush hour traffic on a wild goose chase. I told her I was frustrated. I told her I’d used half a tank of gas for no reason. I told her I never planned on using Craiglist again. I wished her luck selling the seat and I hung up.

Strangely, making her feel bad did not make me feel better at all. I still had melon feet. My kids were still mad and I was still out $200 bucks, a tank of gas, and a few ounces of sanity, only now I also felt guilty. I could have let her off the hook. I could have not spent the entire drive telling my kids to be quiet because I was busy talking to Dad, Grandma and my sisters about what a total jerk-wad this lady was on my Bluetooth. I would have liked them to have seen me be a bigger person than that. I would have liked to have played 20 questions or listened to Eye of the Tiger and I would have liked to have remembered that I’ve stood people up before, forgotten my cell phone or just gone temporarily brain dead.

But I still kind of loathe Craigslist.

Now tell me. Do you believe in car seat expiration dates?

This entry was posted in around town, baby stuff, disasters, driving, shopping. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Craigslist Gives Me Melon-Feet

  1. Carrie says:

    I just had a happy craigslist experience tonight- we got a almost brandnew Radio Flyer tricycle for $25! But I agree, a lot of the time it’s a pain in the butt. My last two attempts at selling items on there have failed and I’ve just sold the items on amazon instead.

    I do believe in infant car seat expiration dates. Car seats are the one thing that I’m kind of fanatic about. I think every mom needs their thing, and I’m SO laid back about everything else that I don’t worry about irrational with this one 🙂

    Anxiously waiting to hear of Wanda’s arrival!

  2. Carolee says:

    We listed a minivan on Craigs list at a very good price, practically giving it away. Within an hour after listing it, I must have had 50 responses. Yes, it had some problems — a/c didn’t work and an automatic window didn’t go down — hence the low sales price, but flaws were fully disclosed. But when the first guy who responded came to see it he kept pointing out things wrong and wanted me to drop the price. He was really mad that I wouldn’t do it. I kept saying that I had plenty of people interested at the price I was asking and if he didn’t want to take it he could leave, and he finally did stomp off. I was so happy the next responder got it because she was so thrilled to get a minivan she could afford, as she was a mom of a handicapped daughter and she said the minivan would make her life so much easier transporting her daughter in her wheelchair. She had a car mechanic family member who would fix the broken stuff. It made me feel good, so at that time, I liked Craigs List.

  3. Erin Marie says:

    I like Craigslist, though I’m getting frustrated because no one wants to buy the items I posted, plus there’s a ton more spam and scams than even 6 months ago.

    And I do believe in carseat expiration dates, though I’d give them an extra year or two, because I figure most expiration dates are over estimated to cover the companies butt (you know, like milk). It’s the plastic that has the expiration date. At least I hope so because my in-laws still use the mostly metal carseat they used for my husband 25 years ago.

    Although, I bought a new carseat after the one I bought on Craigslist (as part of a package deal that was worth it even without the carseat) was expiring a month before I was due to have my first. But that was mostly because the class I took, the teacher kept harping on it and I was nervous. Trust your gut and ignore your wallet on this one.

  4. Marian says:

    Within reason, I don’t believe in expiration dates for car seats. If all parts are intact and in good shape, how is a car seat suddenly no longer good on Jan. 1 when it was ok on Dec.31?

    I’ve been pretty reluctant to use Freecycle/ Craigslist anymore. Given my life right now, the frequent hassle and extra stress , such as you describe here, is often just not worth the savings.

  5. Janel says:

    Darn Craigslist and pregnancy and driving with whiny kids in rush hour for bringing out the worst in us. And giving us the chance to be humbled. Melon feet and all.

  6. Mrs. M says:

    I’m a fan of craigslist, but I agree, there are tons of flakes out there. When I post free things, I specifically state that I will NOT hold items and that people shouldn’t contact me unless they are ready to come pick it up.

    We got a fabulous deal on a bedroom set that we would never ever have been able to afford new and it’s in great condition. I love buying stuff from rich people who just want to get rid of things so they charge prices that I can afford:)

    Hope your melon feet settle down and that you feel better…

  7. dustin says:

    I’d use a carseat after it’s expiration, but only to a point. Few things you have to keep in mind:
    1) the material can fatigue, and not just the plastic, you’re going to want to make sure all the straps are good, etc.
    2) safety standards! I think this is one of the main reasons they expire, safety standards change all the time, so an older carseat might not met the most recent set of standards.
    3)traveling: if you travel a lot by plane, and were going to be using a carseat, if the airline’s paying attention, they might not let you on the plane with an expired carseat.

    So sorry about your CL experience, I sold a bunch of baby stuff before I moved and it’s a mix, sometimes you get the flakes, sometimes you get normal people, sometimes you get really nice people. Reminds me of… pretty much every other way of dealing with the public! 🙂

  8. Andrea says:

    I do follow the expiration dates. I say it’s money well spent.

  9. Stephanie says:

    I didn’t know they had expiration dates. My car seat just got handed over to my sister to be used for its 4th time.

  10. Mrs Lemon says:

    I agree about the safety standards – we’re going to use the same infant seat and matchy matchy stroller we got suckered into at BRU for this next baby, but after she grows out of the infant seat we’ll try and resell the set as it is in good condition still. Then I’ll craigslist for a double stroller 🙂 Because I will never again pay over $150 for a set – I’m so ashamed …

  11. grammyelin says:

    Rush hour is nerve-racking.

    Wrong directions are a pain.

    People who stand you up are tough to deal with.

    Hungry, angry small folk are frustrating.

    Sending time, energy and money for nothing is discouraging.

    Crippling hips and melon feet are painful and exhausting.

    Feeling that you haven’t been your best self is discouraging.

    And yet you lived to tell the tale and so you still win.

    Hang on to the hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

  12. rebecca says:

    I believe in car seat expirations — I know how to tell if milk is bad, but I know nothing about how to tell if a car seat really is bad. 🙂

    Craigslist is great when it works. And when it doesn’t…I have a bad habit of grumbling about the flakes in the world. It takes a lot more dedication to make it work despite the flakes than it is worth sometimes.

  13. Stephanie says:

    I don’t believe in the expiration dates. But then again, I don’t think car seats are all they are cracked up to be. Here’s a link

    to some research the guys who wrote Freakonomics did that shows that really car seats don’t perform like they are supposed to. This isn’t to say that I don’t use car seats and pray that they will work, but just to say that I think the expiration date is just one more way for the car seat industry to ream more cash from us.

  14. Awesome Mom says:

    I believe in expiration dates to a point. I plan on using our infant seat past the date since it really is not used for all that long. That said I do get a convertible car seat for each kid. The Evenflow Triumph is equivalent to the Marathon and a ton cheaper which is what I got for the baby this time around. I really like it.

  15. m2knp says:

    that was an awful experience, honestly. i’ve had mixed results with craigslist – usually better luck selling/giving away than buying. anyway, I’m emailing you abt the carseat…

  16. Karen says:

    I went round and round with this debate when Jack was born a few years ago. After a lot of comparisons and looking over my seat very carefully (It had already been through 2 kids and 6 years of age) I decided to replace it for a newer model that had updated safety features. I also worried that after being stored in extreme temperatures for several years that the plastic had been compromised.

    On the other side of the debate, if I had a new seat for Jack and a new baby came along 3 years later I wouldn’t be buying a new seat again. I just don’t think a seat can expire in safety in 3 short years if it’s been stored and cared for properly.

  17. Sara says:

    Wow. That’s why I quit Freecycle. Talk about goose chases. I just got stuck with the goose poop. =)

    I do believe in carseat expiration dates. While I know companies “over” engineer things like that, I have already seen the sun damage to our seven month old Graco infant seat, and the wear and tear on the adjustable strap from being pulled in and out each time. Because of that, I think we’ll always buy new. Plus, we’re in BC, Canada where there is a monopoly on car insurance, and they have requirements if we ever wanted to be reimbursed or covered in case of an accident where a child was in a safety seat.

    Actually, I was tempted to quit Freecycle because of the junk people tried to market as “nearly new”. But I ended up quitting after the administrator told me it was totally fine to give away an expired carseat when I informed him of the illegalities of that idea.

    I’m sorry about your melon feet. At least cantaloupe smell nice. =)

  18. Carrie says:

    Wow, I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. I use Freecycle & have never used Craigslist, but I can imagine how frustrating this must have been for you. 🙁

    As far as the expiration dates, I was told when expecting my first child, that it has to do with your state laws & also your insurance company, that if you don’t have an up-to-date car seat (I think it has to be manufactured in the last 7 years) and you get in an accident, your child’s hospital bills won’t be covered or something…but I don’t know that for sure. Better to be safe than sorry!

  19. What a horrible experience! She deserved the phone hang up treatment.


  20. We have something FARRR better her in utah KSL.Com Classifieds! They are devine. I get stood up all the time. I would have told the lady you’d be happy to buy the baby seat if she brought it to your home!! MMM…people!!

  21. Rebekah says:

    I’ve had a lot of luck on Craigslist in the Boise area. But you’re right about the People. I’ve been pretty lucky on my finds, I think. How very very frustrating for you. I can understand why you feel a bit guilty about the hang up call; I would, too. But she was really in the wrong in a lot of ways, too. She shouldn’t have assumed that just because she was giving you such a good deal on the carseat that you had to bend over backwards to get it from her. It’s also strange to me that someone with a baby could forget what it’s like to be so very pregnant so quickly. Blech.

    Hope you feel better about it all soon.

  22. jk2boys says:

    You can lightly bleach the fabric.
    I saved my stroller that way.
    or maybe order a replacement cover (part).
    Just a thought.

  23. DaMomma says:

    I’m glad you got a new car seat. I’m firm about car seats. Even a fender-bender can damage one in ways you can’t see. You want to believe no one would lie to you, but when it comes to baby’s safety there’s just no reason to trust anyone if you don’t have to.

  24. jk2boys says:

    I was using my almost expired car seat on my third kid (it expires in December 09) but the base BROKE! A little piece of plastic was bent and I didn’t feel confident in it connecting with the base well enough. This seat was a pain to put in and take out anyway, so I was happy to try a different one….I had to use it without the base for a while I shopped around for a new one.
    I did look at used car seats in craigslist, but I just couldn’t do it…I think I would only use a used car seat if it came from a friend or family that I knew and trusted….and as long as it wasn’t expired.

  25. Paige says:

    I’m SO SORRY about your bad experience. Too bad you couldn’t have sent your husband to pick it up, and you could have stayed home with your melon feet and had a nice cool drink. I have to laugh at this post because I just listed a little tykes climbing cube and slide this very morning. I’m hoping someone will want to pay me to take it away, but if they don’t , then it’s no big deal. I have also bought things on craig’s list, but I don’t do it all that often. I do agree. Dealing with “people” is a pain.

  26. Kork says:

    YIKES! Why is it that People always throw the wrench into the gears??? Stupid People…we’ve had mixed CL results…mostly, I love it…we sold a piano, 2 car seats, 3 couches, 4 tables, and a whole lotta other stuff (because my darling husband can’t say no to free stuff)…

    As for the car seat expiration thing? When not in use, our infant seat was stored in our climate controlled house, not the garage, and it technically doesn’t expire til the end of 2010. We grow our babies big, so #3 will probably be out of it before then…but we passed on another one to my brother and his wife, who can’t afford a new one, and it expires this year.

    I do know that the off-gases from your vehicles in and out of the garage can damage the foam in bike helmets to the point that they will fail, and wonder if it can do the same to the plastic on car seats…needless to say, we keep the bike helmets in a closet in the house alongside the motorcycle helmets, and all car seat parts are in the house until needed in the spring.

    I’m glad you found a nice, shiny, non-puked on one, and will hope Dan understands the reasons behind it.

  27. Janell the Great says:

    I think the expiration date is to ward off people from using seats that may have had a recall issued on them.

    Have you heard of this program?

  28. Steve says:

    Hope you don’t mind if I link to this 🙂

  29. suzanne says:

    Yes I believe in expiration dates on car seats. I am a structural engineer and I know that materials degrade and change over time. The car seat will not performed as designed if it gets too old. I agree that the dates are probably conservative, but who would want to take that chance?

  30. Emily C says:

    Seeing what plastic does in heat, and how hot my white car gets in the summertime, I believe in expiration dates.

    I also wouldn’t buy a car seat used, but mostly because buying certain things used freaks me out. Like safety gear.

    And that mega stinks. I’d be really angry, too.

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