18 March 2009

I love Craigslist

I've published this picture of my backyard before. This time, I want to point out the square edged in railroad ties in the back next to the garage.

The railroad ties were kept in place by wooden stakes driven about 2 feet into the ground and then screwed to most of the ties. My guess is that one of the families who lived here before we did had a swing set and it was set up in the railroad tie square. These days the square is nothing other than a really mulchy weed garden, much to the dismay of our children who dream of a playground reappearing in that space. If we had a swing set, maybe I wouldn't mind maintaining the square (weed-eating all summer long around the edges, weeding within the edges, etc.) but there is no swing set and I do mind.

The railroad ties had to go. So I called our garbage collectors to see if I could arrange for a special pickup. Well, let's just say that option wasn't an option. Their minimum charge for picking up non-standard household waste is $50. For railroad ties (big, heavy, and treated with chemicals) the price would just go up, up, up.

I tried to think of creative ways to repurpose the railroad ties in or around our house, but I couldn't come up with anything compelling.

Then, two days ago I decided to try something new. Craigslist. I've been on the buying end of craigslist a few times, but I had never been on the selling/giving end. I thought maybe, if I offered the railroad ties for free, someone might come get them, so I went out to the backyard and began to dig them up. They came up easy as pie with my shovel. Leveraging something with a shovel is one thing, lifting it is quite another. Boy were they heavy. It took time, but I was able to pile them up near the front of the garage and then I took a picture.

Yesterday morning, I posted the picture on craigslist in their free section. In my add I stated that whoever wanted them would have to come get them--one or some or all of the ties--however many they could use.

Ten minutes later the calls started. The first guy I talked to wanted them all and said he could come after work. I told him I'd save them for him.

I got calls and e-mails all day from people and most were very interested in taking them all. I kept their names and numbers in case the first guy didn't show up or didn't take all of them. I ended up with 15 people on the waiting list. I had no idea that so many people would be happy to take them off my hands. I mean, I didn't want them and that made me think no one would. Maybe it was because I offered them for free.

I love how my yard looks without them. I'm so glad that the people who have them now can put them to use and are happy to have them. I love that the ties are gone at no expense to me. And I love craigslist for facilitating this kind of transaction.


Karin said...

And youknow what...if you had left them in the ground and said they'd have to dig them up themsleves too, people would have done that. Quite amazing, isn't it? A lot of my freinds love Craigslist. Always fun to make someone happy. We had a guy drive for 45 min to pick up the old kitchen that was in oour house we had listed it in Sperrmüll. He even took the broken contertop. Don'T ask me why he thought the whole pile of crap was useful but hey...he was happy....and so were we!

Vatti said...

I love win-win situations like these.