I’m sorry that I don’t have a Tell Us Tuesday to share with you this week. I’m waiting on a few submissions to make their way through the pipeline.
Instead, I’m going to share with you a little story about Craigslist and Karma. Do you remember this vintage desk that I finished a few months ago?
It needed the right buyer and as the desk is quite small, it was best for a child. I had listed it on Etsy and also on my site but after a few inquiries, it just sat there. I find when a piece takes too long to sell, the best option is Craigslist. I don’t have a lot of room to store pieces and I have to turn them over to make room for new. Honestly, I’m lucky that I don’t have to use Craigslist too often but it is a great way to reduce the price for (hopefully) a quick sale.
I decided to list the little desk on Craigslist at a bargain price of $180. The piece is vintage and the hardware alone is worth quite a bit on Ebay. It is solid wood and I worked hard on it. The paint is Classico Pure and Original Paint. I had received it for free as part of a contest that I participated in. I used gold gilding wax and applied a topcoat. The cost of materials alone was quite steep and adding in the original cost of the desk, I wasn’t making much.
I had an email from a woman who wished to purchase it. She told me that she would be over on Friday to pick it up. I gave her my address. Friday rolls around and I never hear from her. I emailed her later that afternoon and asked if she was still interested. She responded that she now wanted to pick it up on Saturday. Okay, I answered, but when? No response. On Saturday morning I was at the gym on the treadmill when my phone rang. It was the Craigslist lady. She was leaving and would be at my house in half an hour and was that OK? Sure, I told her. I cut my workout short and raced home to quickly shower. Rude.
She sent me this email:
I hunted through my workroom and found the paint. As I said, it is Classico Pure and Original Paint and retails for $38 per quart and that doesn’t include shipping. I thought that I would charge her $20. A pretty decent price for almost a full quart.
And then she arrived. Oh. My. God. She pulls up in a brand new Mercedes SUV and brought two young girls. The desk was for one of their rooms and the little girl loves it. The mom wants to know if her daughter’s legs fit inside the opening. I return with a kitchen chair and of course, her daughter’s legs easily fit. She wants to know if I have the paint. Why yes, I say, and explain that it is expensive paint and I would ask $20 for it. Suddenly her phone rings and she says, “Oh, it’s my husband” and proceeds to answer it. She screams, “Oh, my God, no!” and races outside. I’m left inside with the two girls and we start chatting as I’m wondering if someone just died. The front door opens and the mother reappears and acts as if nothing had happened. So. Weird. She wants to know if I have a bookcase for her daughter’s room. I show her one in my garage and in the process, one of my flower pots falls and smashes into pieces.
Then she turns to me and says, “I will take the desk if you throw in the paint.”
Wow. Seriously? I had explained that the paint was expensive. Sure, I had received it for free but she didn’t know that. It was rude. She was rude. I am used to bargaining on Craigslist with customers but this one bothered me. I was selling her this very sweet desk for a bargain price. She had said in her message that she would purchase the paint. If I had known that she would rip me off, I would have told her that I didn’t have the paint. But there I was. Totally put on the spot. I say, “Sure”. She tells her daughter that she would use the paint herself to paint the daughter’s existing bookcase at home. How flippin’ wonderful.
She wants help to load the desk into her Mercedes. But wait! Oh, no! She can’t find her keys! She proceeds to race outside and puts her huge leather purse on the wet pavement (it was raining) and hunts through it. She then runs back inside and dumps her huge – now soaking wet – leather purse smack on top of the painted desk. Picks it up and wonders if the top of the desk was okay because it looks like it has damage (seriously?!). She found her keys after explaining that she has a hole in her purse that items fall into. SO not surprising. I quickly grab one end of the desk. We get it to her car. Finally, she was gone.
Sophie had been sitting in the family room the entire time, unseen but listening to the whole ordeal. We look at each other. She says, “What a nightmare”. From the mouths of babes.
I Googled this woman. Turns out she is a well known author. She is very, very well off. I really hope that there is karma in this world. Yes, what a nightmare.
Entri Window Panels
Well said. People have no idea the work or the supplies that go into refinishing a piece of furniture well. And that doesn’t even include the time it takes to market it and meet with buyers. I always offer a very small amount of touch-up paint (in a very small containter) and offer to email them the type of paint so they can buy their own, but never sell my paint stock. It’s more valuable to me to use on another piece.
I think that’s a great idea. I need to get a few small containers to do what you suggest. Thanks for the tip!
I feel your pain my friend, but I really thought she was going to use the paint to touch up the distress marks you
so beautiful put into the desk. I love the desk ! It is georgeous !
Thanks, Libby! I think if she had said that it may have sent me over the edge lol!
Wow. Well, there ARE those in the world that are just so self-absorbed. At least she took the desk instead of making an excuse and leaving. Those kinds of people just flummox, don’t they? Back to the beauty you create!
Thanks, Linda! Yes, at least she took the desk. I have my corner back in my work room lol!
So True what Linda says – I thought you were going to say that she either didn’t pay you (left without paying) or canceled your check. Since this is not a Craig’s List blog I won’t bore you with me trying to buy a bed off a sell – I waited and had the money – they never showed up. Don’t know – maybe it’s a CL thing but it really bothers me that your customer continued to chip away until she got it all her way! Too, I agree with the comment about you providing a small sample of paint for touchups – just as when you buy a new car. They don’t give you a quart. I don’t usually comment on your blog anymore but I was so burned up when I read your story – honestly if it would have refused to sell the desk to her (yep, I would have shot myself in the foot). She doesn’t deserve to have that beautiful object and then to be able to gloat to her friends about how she got it for a ‘steal’! Oh, you bet I’m annoyed! Keep up the great work – your stuff is fantastic.
Thank you so much, Sharon! I really appreciate it! I am also still burning because she really “one-upped” me with the paint. The people that never show are the worst. I think we both agree that let’s hope karma is real lol!
I agree what a nightmare.
WOW! I have a Benz too(Hehe!), but I would NEVER do that to a person! Idk WHY people think that things should be handed to them – People don’t realize how much TIME and LABOR it takes to paint these pieces. Hope karma bites her in the booty!
Hi Stephanee – I mentioned the Benz to show that this woman had a ton of money (you know it when you see it lol) and she could afford the twenty bucks for the paint that she had originally told me she would buy. I am not a Benz hater lol! (I wish I was too!) Thanks so much for mentioning the time and labor as most people don’t understand it!
Omg….same thing happened to me. I was selling a beautiful painted grandfather clock and when the lady arrived she said that she needed to go to the bank and get the cash. I waited for over two hours for her and just as I was leaving she came back and said she hit all the garage sales on the way back and wanted to pay less for the clock. I told her absolutely no and she proceeded to tell me who her daughter was on the Disney channel and she was her manager. I said okay??? But that’s not going to change the price?? She also asked for the paint and a brush just in case she st scratched it in the way home. I told her good luck with that and don’t forget to not touch the clock because it will re-chalabrate on its own. Well …starting at 12 am she started texting me and telling me it was not working. Again at 3 am and again at 6 am. I politely told her it was in perfect working order when she left and told her she was crazy! Thank god I had her sign a piece of paper before she left 🙂
Oh, my goodness what a horrible experience! You were so smart to have her sign off on it before she left. What nerve that woman had to treat you that way. Karma baby. It has to exist!
I know a lot of people love Craigslist, but I am not one of them. I have had too many rude, inconsiderate A-holes try to badger me with pricing and no-shows. I guess if you are buying, then Craigslist may be wonderful, but selling on there is a pain in the… I never low ball or no-show to other people. I don’t understand why people can’t just do what they say and agree upon.
Sorry you had to go through that Suzanne!
annnnnnd… end rant 🙂
Thanks Patra! I am lucky in that so far I have had good luck with Craigslist. They typically try to haggle prior via email. This was such a trick. To email me prior that she would pay me for the paint and then tell me that she wouldn’t was so wrong. I was really mad at myself for finding it for her in the first place. Thank you so much and I’m glad that I didn’t come across as whiny. I was ticked off!
ugh those people are the worst! i stay firm… if they drove to see it they’ll buy it and you aren’t desperate. next time be firm! 🙂
You are totally right and I should have stuck to my price and not given her the paint. It was one of those super awkward moments when I tend to back down to make it all feel better and then end up making myself mad that I did. Hard to explain! I will not back down again. I felt bad for the little girl because she really wanted the desk. I’m such a sap!
Cynthia Chilson Finger
I think I see a new series … LOL … Seriously, I thought you were going to write that when she showed up she decided to only buy the paint, and she was going to DIY her own desk!! LOL
Craigslisters are almost normal compared to garage salers … so this just happened. I had left over Ball jar wall sconces from a consignment shop; they were priced at $3 .. with the candle!! My neighbor was manning the sale and when I stepped out of the house a lady was taking pictures of them. My friend said she hoped I wasn’t mad; I just laughed … I’d like to see her make them for under $5! Seriously! When we lived in the south, we would have said … bless their little heart … Take care, Cynthia
I have to agree with you that garage sales attract the lowest of the low! I had my last one a few years ago and vowed never again! People were asking for a discount off a dollar item lol! Yes, bless their little heart, grrrr 🙂
Yes I truly believe in karma. I have an etsy store where I sell paper goods, banners, invitations and such. A few years ago I had a huge order for birthday invitations for a 1 year old. Now I know the 1st birthday is a very big deal but this child was registered at 3 stores in NYC!! I did the invitations, 150 very intricate invitations along with response cards. Then she asked if I would also do the address labels, then she asked if I would also address and mail them! I agreed to but she did not want to pay the additional charge so I mailed them to her. She was rude and demanding. She gave me an ok critique via email. Well her big event at a hotel was cancelled due to a hurricane. Gotta love karma!!
Oh, my goodness this is a great story! Not what happened to you but how wonderful what happened to her! Karma at its best!
Oh my!! Suzanne you handled this so much better than I would have because I would have told her to turn around get back in her Mercedes and leave. Unfortunately there are people in this world that are so full of themselves that they believe others should just want to give them things. Sadly her two girls are being raised by a poor example of a mother.
Hi Annie, yes it was a negative experience. I wanted the little girl to have the desk though because she really loved it. I felt bad for her. Maybe if she hadn’t been there I would have told the woman to get lost!
AWWWWWWW!!! Please PLEASE give us some hints. If I read the B*&^h’s books, I never will again!
Mary you are SO funny. Her name starts with an X and that is all I can say lol!
Thar’s the kind though and the reason they drive Mercedes.That kind of falls under the “two bit millionaire” category.
I would say the most rude part of the day was when she said they wanted the paint to paint the bookshelves themselves!
I so wish you would have just given her the website to order her own paint.
You are a good lady –
I was flabbergasted when she said it! I mean, really she just ripped me off and was bragging about it! Clueless and rude – bad combo!
You are so much nicer than I am. I would not have reduced the price of the paint. She could have gone home. I picture her coming into your house with a smokescreen of toxicity following her and her 2 kids. Ugggggh! Did her check clear?
Ha! She asked if she could pay with check and I told her no. I am so glad that I did. Toxic does describe her pretty well.
Wow! How totally rude! All credit to you, Suzanne, for maintaining your own demeanour.
It upsets me that people have no idea how to conduct themselves with common courtesy, kindness and manners. Really. To be truthful, I do find people who are well off have little understanding about things like that. I grew up in a relatively poor family, but, one way and another, have ended up dealing with a lot of wealthier people these days. Of course it’s a generalisation, but they can be fairly self-centred, and are surprised when their money can’t buy everything.
As you say Karma is on it’s way. Mightn’t be today, or tomorrow, but it’s coming!
Hi Elisabeth, I deal with people from all walks of life – rich and not so well off. I once had a lady email me and tell me that she really wanted a dresser and could she pay me a bit each month? I said yes and she paid it off after about 6 months and was thrilled with it. I think that what truly bothered me was the way that she sent me that email and then turned it on me to get the paint for free. For twenty dollars that she obviously had. Oh, well, what’s done is done and hopefully karma does exist!
I always have believed what comes around goes around so it will happen. I feel so sorry for the children. You handled it in such a classy manner. And yes I believe it works both ways, if you treat people right you get good karma. If you treat them bad, bad karma. We know what kind of karma is coming her way.
Thanks, Debra. I hope karma does exist 🙂
Some People!!! I had a really pretty spinet desk I had done and listed it on CL. I agreed to meet a lady in a town an hour away from where I live since it was halfway for each of us. I texted her when I arrived at our meeting place. She responded that she was here, “in the red Honda Civic”. What??? Of course it wouldn’t fit in her car or trunk so I ended up bringing it back home. Another time, with the same desk, the lady came in and asked “Is it a real antique?” Then she told me I had “devalued it” because I painted it. UGH! I told her it wasn’t a Louis XV piece, and she wouldn’t have wanted it in her house if I hadn’t spent hours “devaluing” it. I finally did sell it to a very appreciative lady who paid my asking price with no qualms. Karma indeed!
Oh, I would have been so angry if I had to drive and then that happened. Infuriating. I just don’t understand how people can say and do things and not realize that they are being at the best insensitive and at the worst, rude. So sorry that happened but so glad that you found a great buyer for it!
So rude! I do really want to see that bookcase though after she paints it, I bet it will be just lovely….?
LOL so true!
Therein lies the problem with selling “finished” pieces on these buy and sell sites. It seems the mentality is to get things cheap and the value of “hand painted” is irrelevant. I’ve had several situations like this but on sites like Etsy or local markets, people get it. Shame on this lady and I do hope karma comes back to bite her in the you know what.Thanks for sharing this story, Suzanne because it’s a reminder that were not alone in these types of situations.
Hi Marie – I agree that Etsy is a fantastic place to sell. Quality buyers that understand that what you are selling is a true labor of love. I really only sell on Craigslist as a last ditch effort lol but wow – this one was a little too much to bear! We have all been there and it is to be expected I suppose!
I don’t know the brand right off, it is probably Dannon or YoPlait, but there is a yogurt I used to buy that comes with granola in a top seperate lid. After eating it, I save the cups and lids and they are wonderful for small amounts of paint. It seems to be a pretty tight seal as I have some that are still fresh aft quite a while. Might want to check them out. Denise
Awesome tip! Thanks, Denise!
I don”y mind people trying to negotiate $ somewhat; but some offers can be down right insulting.
I had a child dresser on Craigslist and received a note from a lady offering me $25. Her reason, she was a single parent starting over again.
I chose to be as rude as her and just simply did not reply.
Oh, my goodness. Twenty-five dollars is insulting. Not replying is the way to go. I do that all the time!