Why Craigslist beats out eBay

Steve Rosenbaum · June 19, 2008 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/2a7

Local wins as 'green goes from trendy to essential'. So, what do tomatoes and used iPods have in common? A lot, as it turns out. My eco-friendly pals have been talking about the slow-food movement for a few years. I confess, I didn't understand back then. They were talking about local growers, and farmers' markets. I found it all pretty appealing. But truth be told, I found it more quaint than a significant change in how we live. I was wrong. I learned about it this weekend.

I have a house full of old consumer electronics. From VHS decks,  iPods, to digital cameras, etc. As we try to be more environmentally conscious,  one of the things my family is trying to do is throw less away. So, the first thing I did was put a bunch of old VHS machines on the "free" boards on Craigslist.

Why not eBay, you may asking yourself?  Because shipping is a pain. Shipping costs $$$. It's hard to manage the logic of shipping a VHS machine across the country if you can buy a new one for $50.

Within hours,  I had two folks happy to come by and pick them up.  Done. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Next, my old Treo 700p.  I've got an iPhone. But, this nice little very-expensive-and-hyped-up phone is sitting gathering dust. Here too Craigslist beats eBay. Why? With phones, folks don't want to buy them and find out that the ESN is bad; they want to buy local.  Sure. Local grown phones; I get that.

And, finally, my iPod (with video 30 gigabytes).   Here too Craigslist. Why? Folks want to hold it,  try it, and buy local.

Here the etiquette gets a bit tricky.  I had a bunch of folks who wanted me to bring it to them. 

Nope,  if i don't want to ship it, I'm not going to schlep it. Then I had a bunch of folks who would "meet me halfway." No, again. Finally, there was the guy who wanted to meet me at the 86th street subway stop so he could hand the money over the turnstile and I would hand him the iPod.  Here again,  too sketchy.

But overall, local beats distant.  Craigslist (local) beats eBay (national or international).  And strangely enough, it feels better too.

How will this premise grow over time?  Well, as the cost of gasoline increased the cost of shipping, you can imagine a shift from low-cost goods being flown, trucked, and moved by rail and cargo container to the growth of locally produced goods. In fact, if you look at the aisle in Target,  it's clear that this entire economy has been created by low-cost transportation.

So,  if Craigslist promotes localism - then localism could be an emerging trend in the economy.

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