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Does anyone have good experience with this?

I seem to get a lot of inquiries for fish / shrimp I'm selling, and the majority of these lead up to the customer getting to the point of discussing when they can pickup, and me responding with a day/time/place, and then . . . . . . . . . . [insert silence here].

28 of the last 30 or so inquiries have gone this way. Like I get it if we don't agree on price or meeting place or whatever, and then mutually decide not to do business. . . . but it seems like the customer is getting to the register and then walking away at the last moment silently.

Makes me wonder: Why have a multiple email conversation at all, arrange everything, if at the last minute you decide 'meh nope'.

I've done about 5 of these interactions in the last few days alone. And like I said, price never comes up, not anything else, just enthusiasm, then nothing. I get that this occurs, but this is like 90%+ of the CL customers I interact with.

Does anyone else have these experiences? is the CL mail relay mechanism glitchy and dropping that final crucial when and where aspect of all communications? (Probably not). Or is this just the nature of consumer transactions?

All in all, I guess this is better than 'no shows' at the meeting location.

Edited by tolstoy21
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I have bought and sold on craigslist, not sold fish but many, many other things, including floating plants, supplies, etc. 

In my experience most people follow thru, but I have heard not all parts of the country are like that. 

I have only backed out once, that was for a tank from a seller who was super weird, paranoid, and flaky. This person was older and did not use technology well, sounded fearful and paranoid, and then forgetfully called me several times as if we had not spoken. I decided I was as likely to get shot as a trespasser as get a cheap tank, and just moved on. 

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I did actually see a fish on CL, contact a seller, and then tell him I didn't yet have a tank big enough. He bred fish, so I bought a tank, set it up, cycled it, sent him a photo and asked for a trio. He was surprised to hear from me again!

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@Brandy Thanks for the input.

The techie part of me feels like something is happening (or not happening) with CL's mail relay because I find it hard to imagine that almost all of my transactions that are seemingly going well suddenly just stop, dead silent. Because of the nature of my work, I use many different devices and connect through various VPNs and wonder if something about my activity triggers any fraud or spam mechanisms on their end in terms of their relay.

The misanthropic part of me feels like people are just flaking out. 

Is it advisable to use a real email address or txt number on CL, or does that just open one up to more spam?

Edited by tolstoy21
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I have a dedicated email I use for most online spam heavy interactions. I have never been concerned about using my real phone number as I can block spam easily enough. Most people in the PNW seem fairly honest and decent. I actually always felt the local nature of interactions made me feel safer from scams than say, ebay, but my experience could just be luck. I am inherently trusting, but also savvy enough to spot red flags. That makes me either brave or foolhardy depending on your point of view. 😁

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Not fish related, but I was selling stuff on Offer Up and another site and lots of time was wasted when a buyer just never showed up. You'd have multiple chats, agree on a price and location, get there and the buyer wouldn't show up. From what I gather, bored teens use such sites for entertainment with no real plan to show up. I haven't used Craigslist, but I suspect the same problem exists there.

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Yeah, it's just odd to end a conversation with the person saying, "I'll take X amount of whatever. I can meet tomorrow at any time for pickup." Then I suggest a time and place, and nothing. Had soooo many of these conversations in the past few months. Yesterday was my breaking point where I was thinking "What the heck CL. Am I doing something wrong?"

Using CL doesn't cost me much in the way of effort for the few sales I do get here and there. Just has me scratching my head and wondering if someone is waiting for a reply from me that's somehow evaporating into the ether.

 

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Craigslist can be a frustrating mess. I'm sort of dealing with a similar situation, trying to move a few fish but getting tired of the go-no-where email chains and people who are a bit odd. 

When I've gotten fish off Craigslist I've typically dealt with solid folks though.

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I try to move the conversation to text asap. I only have problems with that with older people who don't text usually, but they are willing to TALK ON THE PHONE (like savages), so that is ok also.

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While I haven't sold fish on craigslist, I have significant experience buying and selling other items there. (Mainly auto stuff and musical instruments).

Here in the NYC area, your experience is the absolute norm. Very passive buyers/sellers, without a consideration for common courtesy or a phonecall/email/text agreement. No one wants to lift a finger (even as a buyer), and that includes communication.

I do have one main tip, if you can swing it: Strike while the Iron is hot.

This works the best, both as a buyer and a seller, though it can be quite inconvenient. If I am a buyer, and assess that I really want something, I will make it as easy as possible for the seller. I include my phone, and email, and offer text/call/email as contact methods. I also reply as instantly as possible, and try to arrange an immediate transaction. In order to do that, I often have to travel at the drop of a dime. But I consider that a "comes w/the territory" cost of completing a transaction on craigslist.

Believe it or not, as a seller, I sometimes do the same thing, though it depends on what the item is and how long I want to sit on it. If I want it unload it, I price it attractively, and offer to meetup in the listing itself. I am also extremely prompt with my replies to any inquiry.

In short, If you give the time for someone to change their mind....they usually will. That's my craigslist experience in a nutshell.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Brandy said:

I try to move the conversation to text asap. I only have problems with that with older people who don't text usually, but they are willing to TALK ON THE PHONE (like savages), so that is ok also.

That's a good suggest. I'll try that and see how it goes.

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6 hours ago, tolstoy21 said:

@Brandy Thanks for the input.

The techie part of me feels like something is happening (or not happening) with CL's mail relay because I find it hard to imagine that almost all of my transactions that are seemingly going well suddenly just stop, dead silent. Because of the nature of my work, I use many different devices and connect through various VPNs and wonder if something about my activity triggers any fraud or spam mechanisms on their end in terms of their relay.

The misanthropic part of me feels like people are just flaking out. 

Is it advisable to use a real email address or txt number on CL, or does that just open one up to more spam?

This happened to me with gmail and a custom domain I use which is on a shared server, so I switched to using a google voice text number. However, if you are receiving responses, then suddenly not receiving them, I don't think that's the issue. Text does seem to be a faster option though.

I don't sell fish there because selling pets on craigslist is actually prohibited: "pet sales (re-homing with small adoption fee ok), animal parts, stud service" -https://www.craigslist.org/about/prohibited

You can charge a re-homing fee, but I don't think this applies to fish really...unless you were moving a whole aquarium maybe. There is a local guy who always has shrimp listed.

For selling other items, I found that I needed to first weed out bots (there seem to be a fair number of them), then the flaky people (harder to tell, but sometimes I can sense that they aren't serious enough), then sometimes get close to selling something and they stop...so I wait a day or two and follow up.

I still end up with some people who 'forget' we set up a time to meet, show up late, try to bargain with less than I was asking for in their pocket...

Overall, it works okay for selling stuff but a local fish store might be a better option.

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@tolstoy21 I'd be interested to know if you've had any luck using aquabid. I see, I assume it's you, are advertising for PU only. I was thinking about doing something similar given I'm not ready or really wanting to try shipping. Especially given time of year and everything else. 

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No luck yet, but haven't had the listing up there very long.

I'm just trying out different avenues to see how I can move fish. I've dropped some off for store credit already and may continue to do so, depending on what the local LFS's need or if the fish did well with them.

It's cold where I am and shipments i've been getting via the PO are super delayed, so I have no plans on trying shipping anytime soon.

All in all, I'm just spending my time exploring what's successful for me and how much effort vs reward goes into the various ways to sell or trade. I'm only looking to make back what I put into this at this point, and also not be left with fish I don't know what t do with.

So I guess this is all the 'exploratory' phase of things. In all honestly, I could have probably put a little more effort into the aquabid ad.

That being said, I'm finding decent success with selling Crystal Red Shrimp locally, as most people express liking to be able to find them locally and not have to deal with shipping. No LFS's I've seen around here carry CRS, so I guess I'm filling a niche.

Edited by tolstoy21
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That's frustrating. Maybe if you got the money more upfront, you'd see more follow-through or at least get a reaction.

Like, "Great to hear you're interested in my fish. That'll be $15 via PayPal or Venmo to (my address). Once I receive your payment, we can work out a time and place for you to pick them up."

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1 minute ago, Kirsten said:

That's frustrating. Maybe if you got the money more upfront, you'd see more follow-through or at least get a reaction.

I just chalk it all up to a learning experience. I just have to work on turning people's interest into action. Or just figuring out the numbers, meaning 20 flakey people = 1 real sale. Then, over time, I'll have an idea of what the sale real rate looks like vs inquiry rate.

My hope over the long run is to have a good mix of LFS trade-ins, some sales from various sources, etc. Just enough to support the effort, as it's an enjoyable distraction from the day job and playing with fish is fun.

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4 minutes ago, tolstoy21 said:

I just chalk it all up to a learning experience. I just have to work on turning people's interest into action. Or just figuring out the numbers, meaning 20 flakey people = 1 real sale. Then, over time, I'll have an idea of what the sale real rate looks like vs inquiry rate.

Totally. Also remember that, like, anyone can use craigslist. Indecisive people, impaired people, intoxicated people, literal children, people who don't understand how money works. Don't take it too personally and definitely don't go to great lengths of inconvenience, knowing that most craigslist buyers in your area will flake for one reason or another.

It's a shame the post office is so screwed up right now. Here's hoping they get repaired and functional again. Most online fish sellers I see are straight up refusing to use USPS for anything living right now, and say you have to pay for FedEx or UPS 1- or 2-day shipping. Pretty prohibitive for something small like shrimp.

Have you tried looking at Etsy? I've actually seen a number of fish and aquarium stuff there and there are geographic searches and options for in-person pickups.

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@Kirsten Thanks for the advice on Etsy. I'm going to continue to look about and see and test all the different options available that appeal to me. When COVID is over, there's always the local swap meets, etc.

And trust me, I don't take the CL stuff personally. Nor will I let myself be overly inconvenienced.  My main concern was "what if I'm doing something wrong technically" and I'm inadvertently getting stuck in spam filters or being blocked because I do jump from device to device a lot and route traffic through geographic regions cause of work, etc. I was more worried that I might be dropping sales because of some glitch I didn't know about and that I could be the one leaving others hanging.

But yeah, Cl can be a bizarre place. I tried to get rid of some scrap metal this summer, offering it up for free on CL, and the replies I got on that were absolutely bizarre -- like someone saying they could tell by the photo in the ad that I had nice soil in my yard and could they please come over and dig some up!

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