furnishing, secondhand stories, setting up home

Shopping Craigslist: You Win Some, You Lose Some


west elm spoke chairs

I spent a couple of weeks back in the city and, although I hated being separated from our beloved Dream House, I used the time productively. And by productively I mean that I spent most of my time shopping for the house.

One of the advantages of big city life is having resources like CraigslistIf you’re not familiar with it, Craigslist is like a giant online classifieds system. Unlike newspaper classifieds, however, Craigslist is free. There’s no charge to create a listing, nor is there a fee to browse the site. It’s all very person-to-person, with nary a middle man in sight. And I love that about Craigslist! Well, I love that and I love that I can often score gently used furniture at a fraction of the cost of new.

When I’m in the city I make it a habit to peruse Craigslist on a daily basis. It would take all day to scroll through every single item for sale on the site so I usually search around using keywords. I’ll search by item – dining chairs or love seat, for example – or by brand or designer – say, West Elm or Jonathan Adler. It was my search for West Elm that turned up two of the brand’s Spoke Chairs for sale. Now, I’ve had my eyes on these chairs since I first laid eyes on them in a catalog so I was thrilled to see a set of two chairs selling for half of what they cost new. I showed the listing to The Mister, we both agreed the chairs would be a perfect fit in our dining room and so I emailed to ask about seeing/purchasing them.


Cheryl, the seller, was delightful. We exchanged a couple of emails and then moved our conversation to text message. Cheryl was going out of town, she informed me, but when she got back in a few days the chairs would be mine. I spent the next four days trying not to get too excited about the chairs. After all, what were the chances that it would all work out? But lo and behold, Cheryl got in touch when she returned from her travels and we arranged for me to purchase the chairs the following day. Cheryl met me at the door of her townhouse and within a few minutes I had the chairs in the back of my Honda.


The same day that I had arranged to pick up the Spoke chairs, I was also set to buy this Room and Board love seat for our city apartment. The seller had stated in an email that the love seat measured 61″ wide, which is the absolute perfect size for our tiny apartment. Then, as we were measuring the love seat to make sure it would fit in my car, the seller groaned.

“Oh,” he said, “I was wrong about the measurements. It looks like it’s actually 70″ wide. Will  it still work for you?”

Unfortunately, no, a 70 inch love seat will not work for us. The seller was incredibly apologetic. “There must be something else here that you want. I feel terrible about making you come all the way to my neighborhood and then leave empty handed.” But I was only interested in the love seat.

We shook hands and I drove home empty handed. Had I not already bought the Spoke chairs earlier that day, I might have been terribly disappointed. But, like anything in life, I had to roll with the punches. You win some, you lose some, as they say. And fortunately I had gotten to win and lose all in one day!

— J. Blandings

Images: 1. Mr. and Mr. Blandings; 2. Craigslist

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