Craigslist has been hailed as a liberal triumph, and has put a lot of newspaper classified-ad staffers out of work. To me, it is mostly just odd.

While cleaning up the yard last weekend, Micaela uncovered three 60 lb. bags of sand under a bunch of brambles. This wasn’t sandbox sand, or concrete sand, but sand that is recommended to put in your trunk to increase traction. We have no use for it, but with a retail value of $10-15, Micaela said, “Let’s post it for free on Craigslist!”

So I did. Within minutes, there was a reply: “When and where can I pick it up?” Micaela was excited by the ease and efficiency of this system. “Don’t get too excited,” I said, “that sand could be with us for a while.” For I have previously sold and given away around a dozen items on craigslist, and what I’ve learned is that there are people – many people – lurking and seizing on any new posting, with no intention of ever owning the item in question.

We got five offers for the sand on the first day. One, sent after dark from a remote town, said he would be there “in 1.5 hours”. Another’s e-mail address was; simply replying probably made me the victim of some obscure pubescent prank. But I replied anyway, I replied to everyone, with my phone number and (approximate) address. The phone never rang.

The next morning there were eight more offers, to which I made eight replies. Later that day I did receive one call, but the person ended up being a no-show. Now on day five, the responses seem to have topped out in the low 20s. The sandbags remain on the driveway.

I don’t even want to think about what it’s like to post a personal ad.

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