Monday, October 21, 2013

I discovered something

Should I be ashamed that I have only just discovered a new something craigslist-related?  Or awed at the splendor of this fascinating tool, ever new?

Does it matter whether the something is really obvious?

I hope I have conveyed, in this survey of the 'List, my general philosophy as regards things I love: my fondness for them must not result in a blindness to their faults, but in a stoic admission of them.  Nothing earthly is lovable because it is perfect; it might, however, be good, and if it is loved, then as the lover of the thing, one must also hope that it be improved.

Chesterton had far more eloquent words on this theme, devoted to the neighborhood of Pimlico.  But I had the idea before I read his.  (I believe he said something similar about Christianity.)

Thus, obviously, I wish that craigslist sellers would use better English.

But badly-worded ads are not nearly as annoying as badly-priced ads.  And the worst of these are unclearly-priced ads.  (I may have mentioned a little peccadillo I have about people wasting my time.)  Not putting a price in the "price" field when creating the ad means that on a list of results, the ad will not appear with a price, such that the searcher must click through to the ad to find the price.  I'm sure some people theorize that this will get their items more attention, but I must assure them that any greater attention is not positive attention.  Even more annoying to me as a searcher is that failure to put a price in the price field means that I cannot search by price.  Your $4000 Edwardian buffet will come up in my search for a $30 broken buffet that I can paint.  How does that help you?

Of course, probably most people who fail to put the price in the price field probably do so because they don't notice that it's there, or misunderstand how to use it.

Which is why that pales before a far greater sin: listing the price as $1.  Nothing more clearly conveys the message, "I know that the field is here, I know how to use it, and I know that shoppers are using the field to restrict their searches to the maximum price they're willing to pay, in order to avoid wasting their time looking at things they can't afford.  Well, I'm here to waste that time."

I don't believe I've yet seen an ad for a reasonably-priced item that used $1 in the price field, so I don't think I've ever started out provoked by this behavior and then thought, "Oh, well, in that case..."  But even if there ever were someone with a nice normal $100 couch who pulled that "$1" stunt, I don't think I would buy that, because you already know the guy is a jerk.

So, really, this little discovery of mine should be obvious.  But I've only just this week started filtering my results to remove items that some unspeakably obnoxious person falsely labeled as $1: set a minimum price that is the lowest your chosen object would ever reasonably cost.  For my paintable buffet, I figured that price was $10.

I'm telling you, this is going to change my life.

1 comment:

  1. I've been on the lookout for a car for the last week or so. I just set my minimum price at $2 (which obviously any car that I would want to drive would cost more than) and it has successfully removed all of the unpriced and $1 priced items from my searches. LOVE that feature.