I have found an unusual friend the past couple of weeks in the Facebook Marketplace.
Several new friends, actually.
I reached a point recently where I decided if I did not get out of the Quad-Cities, only I was to blame for any ongoing misery.
In my head, I thought it probably did make sense, but in my heart, it did not.
And when I began to look at numbers, in my head it did not either. Don’t be fooled. There is nothing good about the Quad-Cities real estate market unless you are looking to buy here.
And, come now. Who is. Who wants to pay higher taxes in jurisdictions where services concurrently are being cut?
On the other hand, if all you own is a beautiful house that you made just as you like it, and it’s your childhood home, and you like spending most of your time in it…why would you sell it?
That would be STUPID. Unless a person could make money or at least break even. That’s not happening in my case. I made my house the Redneck Ritz Model Home, I’ll never get full value.
Despite all that, I decided I was going to start selling off my possessions to pay bills and make sure I don’t run out of medical cannabis. By God, I was moving.
It all began with an iron four-post bed
So, I started with a bed that I had been tired of looking at for a very, very, very long time. I took a picture of it, clicked on the Marketplace Icon when posting to Facebook, set a price, a short description, and voila! There it is, for all the Quad-Cities to see.
Let me tell you something: Things sell pretty fast – in minutes, even – if you know what you’re doing.
Can you see how newspapers are going down the tubes? Even sites like Craigslist pale in comparison to the Facebook Marketplace.
By God, in our instant gratification society, the person who decides to buy your four-poster bed can tap the money icon on FB and pay you right then and there– no cash exchanged. The money immediately is in your account, ready to use.
The truth is, it took a few days for my bed, the first item up for bids, to sell. Being new to the Facebook Marketplace, and having PTSD and being extremely leery of everyone, I pulled out on meeting people a few times.
Finally, I sold the bed frame to a nice Bettendorf couple. He works for Deere and discussed having me possibly do some writing for them. He was surprised to learn I actually have done some work for Deere already and should be in their vendor system. Maybe I will hear back from him – I did follow up!
Purchases funded medical cannabis, paid a few bills
As the days passed after that first sale, the bed, I sold something most every day. Many items were for small amounts — $10 or $20 here and there. I would take the bus to the dispensary and buy a gram of flower or a pre-roll joint simply to get out and socialize and be medicated if needed.
And as I began to interact with these strangers, I was reminded that I have the gift of gab and can easily make new friends when I choose to do so. It’s so nice to chat with people. I’m finding I really don’t have any problems with people I never have met before.
However, after about a week of selling things on the Facebook Marketplace, I saw on the news that the RIPD was urging people to meet in public places for FB Marketplace exchanges. When the RIPD talks, I listen.
So, whenever I have even the tiniest feeling in my gut that something might not be right with a buyer, I meet them across the street in the St. Pius parking lot. It works out perfect, except when I’m selling furniture or big items.
Screwballs do show up at your door now and then
I have had one kind of scary experience on the Facebook Marketplace already, although for all I know it was simply an honest misunderstanding between myself and a shopper bent on bagging a bargain.
One of the items I sold during the past week was two flat-screen TVs together. I had four of them in this tiny house. It looked cool but served no real practical purpose. Two televisions are enough for one bungalow.
At any rate, I had agreed to meet this man at noon, and I had given him my address because walking across the street to the St. Pius parking lot with two TVs did not sound palatable to me.
When he did not show up by noon, I went into my room to lie down. At 12:30, I woke to someone vigorously banging on my back door. Upon turning on my cell phone, I could see him, and I armed the security system from my phone. ADT then warned him to flee with her signature voice and statement: “Armed! Stay! Exit now!” And he did.
A couple of nights after that, I sold a pair of Bose multimedia speakers that I have had about 15 years. I recently replaced them with a Braven Balance. The man who bought the speakers, a longtime Quad-Citian whose father owned a bowling alley, is the type of person we like to think our entire community is comprised of. Honest, concerned for his fellow human being, law abiding.
He gave me a little lecture about being careful about meeting people at my house after dark when selling items on Facebook Marketplace. You really just never know.
Another strange woman demanded to see the inside of a grill I had sold to another man while he was loading it into his truck.
One buyer of another item joked that perhaps she wanted to see if I was selling drugs.
Perhaps. I know that would be a discovery that many people probably are praying for.
Sorry. Not gonna happen.
The cat lady who bought dad’s old end tables
The only thing I truly regret selling during the past couple of weeks on The Facebook Marketplace is the snow blower, the hedge trimmer, and the weed eater.
I was angry, and I was moving you know!
The snow blower I sold out of spite. I’m not even going to get into that because life is too short to be negative. That story is a great blog post of its own, anyway.
No, instead, let me tell you about the end table cat lady.
Dad had two old end tables that he purchased from my aunt after mom threw him out of the house in the 1980s. While these end tables remain in top condition today (I think Aunt Enid originally bought them at Ethan Allen) I grew tired of looking at them.
I mean, you can imagine. Dad has had them since the 1980s and Aunt Enid that them before that.
At any rate, the buyer of the end tables ended up being a woman who says she has “spoiled cats.”
“I’m going to paint them black to match everything else, and then each cat will have their own little house,” she explained.
My cat LOVED both end tables, so I’ll know she will be happy with her purchase!
Selling on Facebook Marketplace: Tips for fast sales and good experiences
Describe your items in detail. Some shoppers will ask every single item you can think of. If you still have the owner’s manual to whatever you are selling, it probably will double your chances of selling the item quickly. The same goes with boxes.
Brand-name items catch the attention of shoppers even when the item is broken. Play up big-name brands when selling items bearing such names.
Disclose anything that might be wrong with your item. If there’s a burn in your daughter’s prom dress from a marijuana joint, fess up. The buyer won’t want the prom dress, and won’t like the surprise, when they show up for the purchase.
Clean everything up first to the best of your ability, particularly in light of the price asked. It’s just common courtesy.
Take clear pictures that “flatter” the item. Use a clear background. Make sure there is no clutter or other visual debris that will cause the viewer’s eye to move from the item itself.
I interviewed for a real sales job this week, too
Over the course of the past two weeks, each day I have had a reason to get up, and that reason has involved intense communication with strangers while selling things on the Facebook Marketplace.
I think it’s fair to say that two weeks of working the FB Marketplace has been sort of like a new sort of cognitive behavioral therapy treatment. People with PTSD isolate – that’s our number one problem. So, this has been a very healthy exercise, right down to how I handled the kind of scary TV incident
I’m relieved I didn’t do something stupid like sell my house. And I even have made a few new friends.
A week ago, I interviewed for a sales job in digital advertising. Maybe it’s something I should consider a little more closely. I’m not thrilled about the car requirement, although there is a generous car allowance. The base salary actually is pretty good for a sales job.
I have been offered sales jobs several times through the years while looking for work. Maybe I should start considering them a little more closely.
I’m pretty persuasive, I think. I know how to sell.
My computer always will be here when I get home from whatever “real job” at night.
Until next time.
You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz