Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Facebook Marketplace or Goodwill?

People who buy stuff off Facebook Marketplace are a hoot and a holler away from being your typical flea market shoppers. (That's not an insult, by the way, I used to love flea markets and have been on both sides of the goods bought and sold.) But few Facebook shoppers seem to care about being on time…only the ones over 60 know how to do it when they say they will pick up what you’re selling. When Marketplace shoppers say, for example, “I’ll be there at 5:30” what they really mean is “I punch out of work at 5:30” or “I’ll leave my house at 5:30.” One lady came almost two hours late. I thought she’d ghosted me. (Look at me, I’m using young people speak.) No phone text or message on Facebook came saying that she was running late. She just showed up with the lame excuse that she had to pick up her kids from school and then had to stop to get them some Chicken McNuggets because she didn’t have change to pay me for what she was going to buy. Okay, I thought, that doesn't take two hours…so what happened to the rest of the time? She bought $65 worth of dishes so I kept my Mad Hannah face hidden behind my mask and accepted her apology and cash graciously. 

Another guy who was right on time at precisely 8:05 AM would have made me mad if I’d gotten up and dressed that early and he had shown up late but I knew that wouldn’t happen because he was dropping his kids off at a charter school a two minute ride away. I had a 12 foot tall tree trimmer for sale, a really old one that I quickly figured out wouldn’t sell right away (if at all) because the newer ones are made of aluminum while mine was made out of wood. When he sent the first messaging asking if it was still available he also wanted to know, “Is it really heavy?” to which I answered honestly that it was. “Okay,” he writes back, “I still want it.” 

I liked the guy before he even got here. Yes, I stalked him on Facebook and found out he was a single dad and was getting high praises from all his friends for being such a good father of three wholesome looking kids. So I was pretty sure he wouldn’t use that wicked blade on the tree trimmer to hack me up. This, and I was bigger than him and could have taken him down in a pinch. When he got here, he picked up the trimmer, a big smile on his face. “Just as I thought,” he says, “I’m going to get a really good workout using this. I like to build my exercise into my chores so I don't have to waste time going to a gym.” People passed over that old heavy trimmer for several weeks but he saw its negative quality and turned it into positive. I wanted to hug him like the teddy bear that he was but, of course, I didn't. Instead I pressed the essence of his upbeat attitude into my Mental Scrapbook to savor later on.

Then there was the long-haired humorless guy, late teens or early twenties, who had no searchable data showing on his Facebook page. He was interested in a black and white print of a well-known tree in town. The print was older than him, the tree is older than me. The print was created by a long-gone local artist who still has an international following. I made a mistake in the listing price of $27 when I meant to price it at $72, but I didn’t have enough time to edit it because within two minutes of me listing it the guy messaged me for the pick up address and said he'd be over in fifteen minutes. He was on his way before I noticed my mistake. 

He was good for his word on the time but not on the cash. He only brought a twenty dollar bill, claimed he didn't see the two. Kids today don't carry cash like my generation. He offered the full amount with his phone app---that's the way young people do Marketplace, they transfer funds from their account to the seller's account---but I don't trust my dyslexia moments enough to have PayPal on my phone. I didn’t think he was trying to pull that old flea marketer’s trick of claiming to be a few bucks short on cash, hoping the seller would say, “That’s okay, take it.” Never the less, that’s exactly what I did say because I doubt I paid more than ten bucks for that print back when I was his age. He studied that piece of art like an appraiser working for Christies Auction House. While he was doing that I asked him if he was an artist---he looked the part and knew enough to look for "half moons" in the paper, gave it the smell test for mold and other things that he didn't find. “No, I'm just building myself a collection of nice, original art.” It crossed my mind that maybe he was a shill buyer for someone with an art gallery who knew that in the right, international art auction they could turn it over for $250 to $300 but I’d rather believe he was just a kid with similar tastes in art to mine and that he’ll always remember me as that elderly woman who sold him The Old Gnarly Tree at a killer price.

That same day I listed the frames in the photo up above on Facebook. (Those were in was my bedroom before I redid it with a cottage, seaside theme.) Within an hour five people asked if they were available and I replied to them all with the same "Yes, they are" but only one answered back. I don’t get why people ask if something is still available one minute and five minutes later they act like you gave them the wrong answer and they don't say boo after that. That fifth lady who did reply made an appointment for 6:00 PM but 6:00 came and went and she didn’t show up. I've had other marketplace people show up really late or call to reschedule but she was my first no-show. But I didn't take it personally. Life happens to us all. It's just frustrating and if you want to sell on Facebook Marketplace you'll need patience and flexibility. 

The next day I was off to Goodwill and recycling. If the back end of my Trax hadn't been full those frames might have gone with me. Something tells me they're going to be a lot of trouble for the lousy twenty bucks I'm asking. As I waited my turn in the drop off lane, I was flabbergasted by the way the lady in front of me dumped her totes upside down in Goodwill's rolling cart. Clothes, games, household decor, appliances, etc., all tumbling out, mixed together with no rhyme or reason. She didn't even tape a jig saw puzzle box closed and, of course, it spilled all over the place. My stuff was in labeled boxes and anything inside of the boxes that belonged together, like a stapler and boxes of staples, were sealed together in zip-lock bags. I also label anything that isn't easily recognizable like an adaptive device to help one-handed pool players. Like I've said before, downsizing is like living your life in reverse. I couldn't just throw out that little thing when it could help some disabled guy (like my husband was) to get back into billiards again. But seeing the cue holder again sure brought back a bunch of buried memories. ©


40 comments:

  1. Bless you.my goodwill stuff goes as is in large trash bags or bins. I try to keep like items together but there is no guarantee. In fact I often use donated clothes to cushion other donated things. These days the only place I shop is Facebook. I confess to occasionally asking about availability and then not answering but usually I am doing comparison shopping so to speak. It sounds like your downsizing us going well aling.

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    1. Okay, the comparison shopping makes some sense. But I've never had that happen so close together on the same item so I was kind of wondering what was wrong.

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  2. What interesting people you are meeting though your downsizing. Do you ever wish you could get to know them better?

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    1. I do. There was a couple out here who bought my Fenton glassware that came out to buy some other stuff not listed anywhere, but they had to come out three times as they got the money for what they wanted. They might be out again for my garage shelving. We had a mutual love of old colored glass. Another guy has bought several pieces of art as e-Bay pick ups and he and I talked quite a bit. Probably the pandemic has something to do with it.

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  3. I'm always astonished at the way some people treat the stuff they're getting rid of, whether they're donating it or selling it at a garage sale. When I used to do garage sales, I made sure my stuff was clean and attractively presented, grouped in logical ways (kitchen stuff together, etc.). I was in the minority.

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    1. We always did that at our antique booths and even at flea markets. Haven't done only 4-5 garage sales in my entire life...just don't like to see people mishandling my personal stuff, better to say goodbye at Goodwill.

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  4. I just took a bunch of frames like these to Goodwill. I have no patience for trying to sell things online. Or at a garage sale either. Move the stuff along quickly is my approach.

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    1. I guess I'm kind of greedy. LOL That, and I know this is my last opportunity in life to ever sell stuff again. I don't do garage sales either.

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  5. I used Facebook marketplace for the first time this week and also had good results. I also sold something on NextDoor which was just as easy.

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    1. I haven't tried NextDoor to sell stuff. I just kind of figured Facebook has a bigger buyers pool. Glad you had positive experiences.

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  6. Hopefully you have enough people like your tree trimmer guy to make up for the jerks. Could not pay me enough to do what you are doing. You have made me more aware of how to treat my donatables though. Thanks.

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    1. I would not want to be a sorter at Goodwill and whatever we can to make their job easier I'm sure is appreciated.

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  7. There was an article in the paper the other day about how Goodwill has to sort and sort because so many people just donate their broken, dirty crap to get rid of it. Of course, Goodwill does not want people's junk - only resellable stuff. I bet they love seeing your organized pile of donations! You are making great progress!

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    1. I can't see why people think Goodwill wants to spend time cleaning the stuff that is donated. If I donate appliances I always put a note on it that it works, too.

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  8. I applaud your bravery in selling directly to the public. Luckily my tenants (and good friends) handled that for me, before my move. They are both well-versed in buying and selling through various media (and quite expert in pricing, too), and I offered them a deal: whatever they got for my stuff, they could take half, for their trouble (and in some instances it was a lot of trouble). I probably would have just donated it to Value Village rather than have to deal with no shows and the other unsavoury aspects of doing this.

    Deb

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    1. I've never ran into any unsavory aspects of selling, more annoying than anything. But I need to put an end to it so I can get the house itself ready. Most of the services that deal with helping people downsize take 50% plus they charge by the hour o help you make decisions on what to keep or not. I would SO hate that kind of pressure of someone telling what to do like I'm a kid cleaning my room.

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    2. I had several scary encounters with creeps not wanting to take no for an answer when coming to my building to pick up stuff I was selling. Or even trying to follow me into the building when going through the trash I was putting to the curb (to see what else I was going to put out). I was very happy when my tenant offered to sell stuff on my behalf and I was the one who told him he could keep half - Jonathan didn’t mention any “fee” and would have done it for nothing, I am sure. But that wouldn’t have sat right with me.

      I wouldn’t want to hire a service for downsizing either. I don’t blame you!

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  9. You've had some interesting interactions. The only reason I know anything about the different phone apps is because of my 29 year old daughter. She gave me one of her old phones because I'd never had a smart phone or cell phone of any kind and set up an app called Cash App. I kinda like it. It's an easy transfer. I do have Paypal but I don't use it much.

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    1. I could see why its a popular app and causes young people to never carry cash or checks. I'm too old and set in my ways to change my ways. I do a lot of Paypal online though so it wouldn't be hard to make the jump, though.

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  10. Rick has been selling a lot of things of late on Marketplace. He actually tells them if you aren't here by the time you say you will be then it will go to the next person unless you call me and tell when you will be here. He's mean like that. But now he's only been using paypal and venmo so they pay upfront and then come and get it. Never been an issue and it works so much better. No need to interact. No need to worry about who is coming to your home. And we've been paid. They just pick it up off our porch. One guy said he'd be here after work. He showed up at 8:30p. We were just getting home from walking the dog and saw him. Rick introduced himself and said I thought you were coming after work? The kid says I work until 8pm. Okay then. But if he hadn't already paid us we'd assume he wasn't coming you know? But hey if he can sell my pilates machine next I'll be forever grateful to whomever takes it. I am not taking it to NC.

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    1. Rick is smart to say that about going to the next person and for using the Paypal and porch pick ups. I feel like I'm overloaded with learning new things and I'm not going to be selling much more on Marketplace so what I'm doing is working for me.

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  11. I have only had one garage sale and it was definitely NOT worth the time. We sell on Facebook for our city but only accept Venmo payments. Even $20 bills are often counterfeit. Glad you have better success!

    You have so much more patience than me!

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    1. I like meeting different people when buying and selling stuff but it does get frustrating from time to time. And they make good blogging fodder. I don't even know what Venmo payment is.

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  12. Every now and then I have things to move along, and I've started going to a local church-related resale shop. They use their proceeds for a food kitchen, helping with medical bills, and such, and I do like keeping it local.It's located in an area on the edge of that Bay that's hard hit in every storm, so they're always rebuilding in one way or another. They have a nice store and run a tight ship, so that's good, too.

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    1. There are a lot of good charity shops around but none close to me and Goodwill is really handy for me. I know a guy who is high up in the Goodwill management and know they, too, do a lot of good locally. Their main focus is to train and find employment for disabled people and others who are employment challenged for various reasons. The stores fund those programs.

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  13. Donating items is better then trying to sell the stuff much of the time

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    1. I like to do a combination of both and I'm on my last hurrah on both.

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  14. Life in Reverse is Interesting and I'm trying to get used to it and having it be our New Normal, since, we ain't getting any Younger and sometimes the whole Downsizing Process seems so daunting, given my Habits and Compulsions especially. *LOL* You're actually accomplishing it tho' and that gives me not only Inspiration, but a lot of Hope that by the time I'm in my Seventies, perhaps I'll actually have Just Enough and not Too Much? We'll see... *Winks* Facebook Marketplace I'm not familiar with, Craig's List I knew a lot of people do but at the D.A.'s Office there were some unfortunate Victims of Crimes, including a Husband/Wife Prosecutor Team who disappeared without a trace while Selling their Truck from their Home via Craig's List. The Truck was recovered... they never were... which just Creeped me out too much to ever consider Selling to anyone I didn't know from Home... which is why I Rented Space at the Antique Mall and Sell from here only to known Trusted Friends in the Industry. I'm glad to hear you check them out first, via FB, just in case.

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    1. I don't know why anyone uses Craig's List. It's full of scammers and scams. And I don't think Judge Judy would even have a show if people didn't get their roommate s and renters off Craig's list. LOL At least selling on e-Bay with local pick up or Facebook Marketplace there is a place were criminal investigators could start.

      I still have four, large hard-to-sell items to sell. Keep working at you're, Dawn. I wish I had downsized more when I was your age. I was never good at letting go things of sentimental or monetary value

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    2. I'm getting better at detaching from Stuff. I know it filled a Void when the Caregiver Diaries and Raising a 2nd Generation had disrupted Life considerably. Then I had to take that early Retirement and lose most of my Pension to focus on Family Crisis, so it was just a lot and Retail Therapy with Junquing for Treasures was some Escape, if only briefly... and surrounded me with Beautiful things when I was Housebound by necessity and not by Choice.

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    3. I know the cure for Retail Shopping for Therapy...watch back-to-back episodes of Hoarders on Tuesday nights. I did my best downsizing on Wednesdays. LOL

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  15. I'm so glad the whole thing will be over for you soon. As you can tell, I would hate to have to do it.

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    1. It's not all bad. I actually like talking to the people who come to buy stuff. If I had had e-Bay and not been downsizing though out the pandemic I would have gone the way of the Mad Hatter.

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    2. I just had the 10th person ask me if the frames were still available and then not say boo after I answered 'yes' so I deleted the listing, set one of the frames aside to use myself and the rest are going to Goodwill. It's funny how certain listings attract similar personality types. Never had so many people react like that in all my other listings put together.

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  16. I laughed so much as I was reading your post. I have experienced the same things on Facebook Market. A ton of "Is this available" with no other reply. A lot of late arrivals or no shows and many a ridiculous question. It works though! I have sold numerous items quickly. I have a friend who buys on Market and he is proud of his strategy of agreeing on a price such as $90 and then getting there and telling the buyer, "Oh, I just brought $80. I think it is a crappy way to treat people.

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    1. Selling stuff on Facebook does pay off but you do work for it, don't you. I would not treat people the way people have done to us both. At flea markets if you call a person on not "having enough cash" they will check their pockets and magically come up with the difference. That's a scummy thing to do and to be proud of to boot. Why not just say "will you take $80?" I will usually meet people in the middle.

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  17. I admire your patience with online sales. And skill. I guess I'm intimidated by the whole process and hate strangers coming to my home. So I just donate whatever I have -- and I have nothing of real value, so I know I'm not missing out on more than a relative pittance anyway. Good for you!

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    1. No one's been inside yet. Facebook is fairly safe in my opinion because unless they've got a fake FB account you know who is coming. And if you can do the money transfers via cell phone you don't even have to see each other...they do the 'porch pick ups.' I just wish I had access to the auction house we were using when this whole process started. I find that since this is my very last opportunity to make money, I am too greedy to donate things that I deem easy to sell online or a high enough value.

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  18. I've never done FB marketplace-- I should investigate that one. I think I'd just do cash. This is really an interesting and informative post, Jean. And maybe a kick in the pants!

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    1. It's so much easier than e-Bay because the learning curve for selling on FB is SO much simpler than learning your way around e-Bay and you don't have to pack anything. I have a table set up just inside my garage so people don't even have to walk more than three feet inside my garage where neighbors can see what is going on. And if you have other similar stuff for sale farther back on the table I've sold that as well.

      I have people text or call me when they get here, telling them it saves them from walking to the front door and they can pull up to the overhead garage door.

      You have to put up with most people being later than they say they will, with the excuse that they have to get change along the way and I keep change in my pocket so I don't have to go in the house to get a few bucks. I say right in the ad, "Cash at Pick Up" so they won't ask for a phone transfer which apparently is really popular on FB.

      Today, a really nice couple came for a small 15" square table for $50 so it was worth me waiting an half hour. I listed it less than 12 hours from selling it. That doesn't always happen, but often enough to make it fun.

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