Thursday, December 17, 2009

What would Jesus Pay?

What would Jesus Pay?

Normally I try to keep my local customers out of Cod-Bag. This is for two reasons. 1. On average, they are typically less cod-baggy than online customers and 2. Many of them know where I live. But today I am making an exception.

A regular walked into the store today and noticed a beautiful hand-carved totem pole that had just arrived. Now I should qualify that by the term “regular” I do not mean this person comes and spends money. To the contrary, he typically costs me money by engaging my employees in long-winded anecdotes about how smart, cool, and/or religious he is. This guy is one of those born-again Christians that is desperately trying to make up for past transgressions before being judged at the holy gates. I call them ‘Yeah-But Christians’. You know, when Saint Peter pulls up the Power Point of all the bad shit they did in their lives they want to have a list of last-minute good deeds in their pocket so they can say “Yeah, but… “

Anyway. This Cod-Bag walked into the store and spotted this 7-foot tall totem pole and bellowed, “How much you gonna’ ask for that?”
To which I replied, “$2,000.”
His belligerent Cod-Bag rebuttal was, “What’s my price?”
Mind you, I have negotiated with this guy before and he is the quintessential chiseler so I said, “For you, the price is $2,500 and we can work down from there.”
It was then that he decided to up the ante and bring a third party into the mix.
“What’s your price for Jesus?”

Now I’m not sure if he was negotiating on behalf of Jesus or if, for that instant, he thought he, himself, was the son of God. Regardless, my response was pretty abrupt. “Why, is Jesus short on cash? What the hell does Jesus want with a pagan talisman anyway? As false idols go, I would think totem poles are up there on the list.”

His final response was an incoherent mumble as he walked back out the door.

And so it was that the momentary son of God drove off in a shitty old Ford, defeated and totem-less.

The moral of our story is this: The day God can’t afford to pay full retail we’re all screwed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Craigslist Classics - December 09 Edition

I'm starting a new column here on called Craigslist Classics. Here we'll be posting some of our favorite Craigslist as responses and dissecting them with, just a little, sarcasm. I'd like to start off with one I recently received in response to a stainless RV tool rack system brand new in the box. It retails for $238 and we've listed it for $175(and we'd probably go to $150). Here's the eloquent response...

hello/ trailer came stock with some of these...don't rally need more...but if the price was right?...i'd think about it...i might pay 60-75...i dont care what they reatal for...i live on craigs with craigs prices...if not good luck selling it..thanks ralph in XXXX
  1. "...don't rally need more..." - Aaaah yes, the old tried and true "I don't really need what you're selling" so you should sell it to me at a fraction of your price. I hear this a lot and it's pretty ridiculous. To illustrate, walk into Home Depot and ask them to sell you 2x4 grade A lumber at 30% of retail because you don't really need the lumber right now but it would be nice to have around for when you do need it. I've done it and they just laugh.
  2. "... i live on craigs with craigs prices..." - If my price is on "craigs", as you call it, doesn't that make my price a "craigs" price by definition? In other words, any price I he doesn't like is not a "craigs" price.
  3. "if the price was right?... i'd think about it" - So I should come up with a price that I think you might like to pay. In other words, I should negotiate with myself.
  4. I care what they "reatal" for. As convincing as this argument is to me, it has never worked with my suppliers. The price I pay for things is the price they give me.
  5. What's with the punctuation? Is there ever call in the English language to use a foreslash? It looks like receiving end of a telegraph message. What does this guy's resume look like? I'd pay to see it.
  6. With the advent of spell-checkers in web browsers, is spelling words correctly really so tough? Most of the words this guy butchered were words that I used correctly in my ad. All he had to do was copy and paste from me.
Anyway, I shouldn't be too pissed off. At least it was a non phishing response.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hey, nice transmission. Can you find me some insurance?

I had to post this... I got this scam response for a remanufactured transmission I listed in Craigslist this morning. I nearly fell for it. The way the author uses terms like "wholly keen" and "advert" makes me feel like I'm speaking with one of my buddies at the bar over hot wings. Apparently, the guy is interested in my transmission and likes the form factor. He also wants me to get him some insurance quotes. I didn't even know you could insure a transmission. You learn something new every day.

i caught a glimpse of your vehicle in advert in Craigslist. it g0t a groovy form similar to what im seeking for. im wholly keen in acquiring it and i have by this time set aside the cash for a vehicle. what are m0re inf0rmation must i kn0w about y0ur vehicle? and one m0re thing ab0ut insurance, i need to grasp how much will it c0st s0 i can be aware how much i will pay. can u do me a small favor and g0 t0 this site - - please n0tify me the rate 0f the m0st basic auto insurance package there. thank you very much. Please feel free t0 c0ntact me if y0u have any questi0ns 0r c0ncerns. e-mail message trace ID: pmwobqjgbbn-2630037567-pd8e

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A New Breed

Here’s a Cod-Bag we deal with regularly. He is the Domestic Blow-Hard Advice-Giving Cod-Bag of North America. These clever creatures are typically late to leave the nest, often dwelling in their parents’ basements until late into their thirties. They have many jobs over the course of a lifetime and seem to acquire an exhaustive knowledge of every industry with which they come into contact. To the layman it appears that they can’t hold down a job. However, careful observation reveals that they almost immediately become smarter than any employer and subsequently find their bosses to be foolish and insolent. They become frustrated when co-workers refuse to heed their omniscient advice and eventually must vacate their menial jobs in order to collect unemployment until some other fool will hire them.

One such Cod-Bag recently e-mailed us a question about an on-board computer for the trucking industry. Here is the annotated thread:

This is the blow-hard behavior. Proving to the world that he is smarter than you and knows everything possible about the item you are selling. This is accentuated by the use of all caps. The reader can almost imagine the Cod-Bag in a small cafeteria, sharing a loud story about his neighbor’s fence encroaching on his property… “Blah, blah, 1932 survey, blah, blah, blah, GPS technology… Blah, Blah I know a lawyer… blah. “

My response was curt, but professional:
If the component is not in the photo or itemized in the listing, it is not included. These were complete working systems pulled out of a local P&D operation.
And now for the advice-giving behavior for which this species is known:
then i suggest you either check for the dome or revise yur auction, because without the white dome/antenna they are not complete systems
Oh, Cod-Bag, you crack me up. Every time I sight one it is like the very first time. My response:
Thanks for the advice, but I don't think you know what the hell you're talking about. This is a local P&D [Pick-up and Delivery]system, not OTR [Over the Road]. QualComm builds a myriad of systems and, unless you are their VP of product development, you probably don't know even half of them.

I invite you to keep your advice to yourself. Have a great day.
I am thinking about developing an illustrated field guide for cod-bag aficionados. I think it would be helpful for budding Cod-Bag enthusiasts as well. Look for it at your local Barnes and Nobel soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Morning Inbox Blues

God I hate Mondays.

I typically ignore eBay over the weekend because it only serves to piss me off when I am trying to spend time with my family. Unfortunately the questions just pile up and by Monday morning there is a mountain of stupidity in my inbox.

This morning has been exceptionally entertaining and I thought I would share a couple highlights.

Question Number One:
We are selling Hookah Pipe Leads. (Freight salvage provides a diverse product mix.) These things are advertised as replacement vaporizer parts for herbal remedies but everyone knows they are for smoking pot. Here’s the question I got:
How efficient is this whip with herbs?
Now I know dope smokers can convert grams to pounds to ounces and divide any number by 8 faster than Big Blue, but I did not realize the depth of their scientific prowess. I have no idea how you would measure the “efficiency” of a bong, but this was my answer.
Using which scale? Erschock's or Vopenheimer's?
Question Number Two:
This one needs no lead-up. Standard Cod-Bag:
I kwould like to purchase this item but I have 2 item strikes within the last year. I have over 1500 feedback, I just had an issue regaurding the method of payment with two sellers.
My Response:
Dflab, here's a hint. If your sentence doesn't end in a question mark, it may not be a question.

I am kinda curious what type of payment method confusion there was. I’ve had that problem before. I tried to pay a Craigslist prostitute with roses. Well, to be honest, first I tried to chisel her down to 200 daffodils and when her pimp showed up I hauled out the roses, but by then it was too late. He beat the crap out of me and crammed the roses... well, lets just say, I had no idea proctologists made that much money.

I feel your pain dflab from North Dakota. I really do.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cod-Bag of Major Warehouse Store Proportions

By now I hope everyone has discovered If not, go there as soon as you finish this story. While the people there are pathetically comical, this individual has risen above the rest and joined the Cod-Bag elite.

Phillip R. Wright, 41, of Monroe, Louisiana tried to return some items to Wal-Mart, but was jilted when the store would not accept his merchandise.

So Wright did what any reasonable CodBag would do -- he started a fire in the men's clothing department. As he fled the scene, raging flames triggered the store’s sprinkler system which proceeded to ruin over half a million dollars-worth of store fixtures and merchandise.

His point being made, one would assume Mr. Wright would go home, flop down in a big, green, ass-smelling recliner and crack a well-deserved PBR, but not Phillip. No sir. Deputies arrested him two hours later in line at the Return Counter of another Wal-Mart.

Phillip… Not only are you a Cod-Bag, you are an exceptionally dumb Cod-Bag. Please proceed to this link to view your CERTIFICATE.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Feed your F*cking Turtle!

Sometimes the annoying little CodBags build up and eventually I just have to vent. Jag-offs like this woman piss me off because they obviously don’t value their own time much less anyone else’s. But we’re all afraid of negative feedback so we are forced to treat them like real human beings as opposed to the window-licking, mouth-breathing, time-wasting fungus eaters that they are.

Today I get this e-mail regarding a 15-oz jar of turtle food we have on eBay:

Q: Would you send me the food for a total of $5?? (my ZIP is 91730) Over the net you can find it between $2 and $4.. But I need ASAP (my red eared turtle is hungry. I need the fod for him ASAP and I trust you'll send it immediatelly... Thanks in advance Waiting for a prompt annswer Kind Regards Bea'

Obviously Bea is in a hurry. So much so that she can’t spell-check or punctuate her email. So I pose to her this question: Do you want your product fast or cheap? Because, in my experience, the two are mutually exclusive. This is a 15-oz item. Let’s assume I can adequately wrap this in less than one ounce of material, (which I can’t), bringing the total weight to one pound. Priority mail will cost me $4.95 to ship to your zip code, leaving me a nickel to cover my cost of goods. Oh, wait, I forgot that I already paid eBay $0.35 for my listing. Oh, yeah, plus the 8% Final Value Fee… 40 cents more and of course there is the PayPal’s Fee, another $0.45. So you are asking me to lose $1.15 so you can feed your pathetic excuse for a pet.

Here’s a better idea you broke-ass piece of crap. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, toss in a sliced carrot, a packet of ramen and your beloved Tipsy the Turtle. Let boil for ten minutes, reduce to a simmer and salt to taste. Serve on the half-shell. There’s no reason for you both to starve.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

CodBag Hat-Trick. This guy is a triple-trhreat

So My jack-ass buddy from New York popped up again today with yet more abuse. Now remember, the most inflammatory thing I have done to this guy's face is to offer him a full refund for a TV FedEx damaged. Here is the e-Mail he sent last night, 5 hours after we signed for the package.
Where is my refund? I was supposed to get it last week when we had spoken....??? This whole thing is odd. You have $1000 insurance out on this and are getting a claim for 4 times wht it is worth. I would think that not only should I have had a timely refund, but something extra for my initial inconvenience incurred and all the time spent calling you, FedEx, etc...

What initial inconvenience you fuck-tard? Did you have to pull a redundant freight quote just to entertain some half-wit dolt? Have you persevered multiple phone calls from some twit with a chip on his shoulder? Did you have to file a freight claim? Please, Cod-Bag. Let me reimburse you for being such a giant pain in my ass.

With this little gem of an e-mail you are now in the running for CodBag of the year.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Once a CodBag…

This one started out as a classic CodBag and just got better.

We listed a cracked-screen Sony Bravia on eBay. It was big and heavy so we used the calculated shipping option. The listing ended and shortly after we got an e-mail requesting an invoice. EBay veterans know where this is going. Either the buyer is too retarded to use the PayPal checkout which clearly states the shipping OR they are setting you up to debate the shipping charges. In this case it was predictably the latter.
”Given that, you can definitely ship this for way less than $130, right? I just got the same television on another account and it was sent to me for just $70, and I sent a KDL-46V4100 from coast to coast NY to CA for $79. Please advise. Thanks for your time.”

OK CodBags, here’s the deal. The shipping is what the shipping is. When you bid on an item you need to factor in the PUBLISHED shipping just like everyone else. It is not up for negotiation after you have won the item.

I re-sent the original invoice and two days later I got a call. To his credit the guy played dumb and conned me into wasting 15 minutes getting him a shipping quote. Surprisingly the quote came out exactly the same as eBay’s quote… weird, right?

So I sent him the same invoice again and he called back asking me to squirrel the invoice around to roll the shipping up into the price of the item and show shipping as free so he could execute some trivial coupon scam on PayPal. “Oh, and by the way, I need it right away because my coupon expires today.”

Yes, CodBag. Please let me waste ten dollars of my time to save you ten dollars. What a douche.

Two days later we finally got payment and sent the thing via FedEx Home. CodBag, Dismissed.

But Wait! That was not the end of his CodBaggery.

Yesterday I got yet another call. I picked up the phone and identified myself in my traditional manner, “Coho, this is Tom.”
A rude New Yorker responded “What’s your name?”
“My name is Tom?”
How do you spell that?”
“It’s Tom, T – O – M. What can I do for you sir?”
“Its T – O – M, but you pronounce it Tome?”
If the caller ID hadn’t indicated New York I would have sworn I was being pranked by a friend.
But this guy was for real. I paused, collected my temper and calculated the fastest way out of this phone call.
“Sure,” I responded, “What can I do for you?”

It was our hearing impaired, post-auction negotiating, PayPal defrauding TV buddy. He proceeded to lay into me about how long it had taken for his TV to arrive and now the tracking number showed it being returned per shipper’s instructions, “What the hell?” he shouted, “When were you planning on telling me you weren’t sending me my TV?”

Still trying to take the high road, I looked up the shipment and, sure enough, it was on its way back and, per FedEx’s tracking info, it appeared to be my fault. But we hadn’t had any conversations with FedEx. Something was wrong. So I stumbled around for a minute trying to figure out what was going on and agreed to call FedEx and get some answers.

The girl on the other end was great. She looked it up and found that our broken TV had fallen off the conveyors and been broken in transit. “Oh no!” I exclaimed, “I hope it didn’t crack the screen.”

“I’m afraid so,” she empathized in a sexy Memphis drawl. “According to the notes, it appears to be a total loss.”

I expressed my gratitude for her help and quickly hung up before I was overtaken by an uncontrollable evil chortle. I then called Chase, the CodBag, explained that it was FedEx’s policy to return items they destroy in transit without attempting delivery. I faked an apology and offered him a full refund which he accepted.

So here is one of those cases where Tom’s an asshole, wins a moral victory and comes out on top financially. Man that new Bravia is going to look great in my living room. Thanks FedEx and thank you CodBag... If you hadn't been such a dick-head I might have felt bad about screwing you over. Muuuuuhhhhhhahahaha!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Negotiation 101 - "The Nancy"

Today I want to talk(write) about a negotiating tactic that we call the "Nancy". It's named after a customer that employed it to a humorous extent. It basically goes like this... "The stuff you're selling is

  • crappy quality

  • last year's model

  • a bad color

  • undesirable by any other purchaser

  • not the exact size or shape I want

  • not within a 5 mile radius of my house

  • I just don't have that much money

  • etc

so I'll be generous and offer you pennies on the dollar." In other words, they are saying that you have no idea what you're doing when you're pricing your products.

It's a simple negotiating tactic employed by people that don't really know much about negotiating but have probably had some success with it across from sellers that don't know much about negotiating. The counter for it is also simple. Just ignore everything that comes before the person's offer. What do you care about all the extra details they are throwing at you? If the situation was reversed, would that person sell the product at the lower price? No, they would sell it based on what the current market rate is defined by Google (just like you). Have them make an offer if you're flexible but above all, don't get into a discussion defending your pricing because they already know the comp prices and are trying to get you to drop your pants based on made up information.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sony Bravia LCD - Price Negotiation Or Just Plain Lying?

Here's the setup...

I'm selling a new in the box Sony Bravia 46" LCD with 1080P, 120Hz, drink holder, pistol-grip gearshist, etc. It retails, on for around $1200. The KDL-46V5100, refurbished, goes for around $900. So Craigslist codbags are pulling there usual "I'll give you $200 cash TODAY." offers (BTW - when did the US dollar become so valuable that I can take $700 less on a TV because someone's offering cash?)

Anyway, I get someone in the store that claims that my price is too high because he can get that exact model at Wal-Mart for around $700 and will I beat their price? As I've stated in past articles, I'm not all that bright but I know that even the mighty Wal-Mart can't get a 46" 1080P, 120Hz LCD in your hands for that kind of money. And a Sony Bravia to boot.

I get this a lot from customers and I've begun to wonder when lying became a negotiating tactic as opposed to just flat out lying. I actually get this from a lot of people that insist everyone know how Christian they are. Maybe Jesus would misquote a Wal-Mart price to get a great deal on a sweet LCD, I don't know. When a customer goes down this road, you're pretty much forced into the position of either giving them what they want or embarassing them by calling them out on their lie.

Here's what I usually say... "That sounds pretty low to me but I'll tell you what, if they have it at that price, I'll beat it by 25% but if it's not available at that price will you buy mine at my price?"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Multi-Million Dollar Celebrity Cod-Bag

Great Job Ebay. The world now knows you pander to cod-bags. Last week some poor old lady auctioned off her husband’s burial vault above Marilyn Monroe’s. (Now I don’t want to go into how creepy it is that her husband was entombed face-down above Monroe’s corpse because it has nothing to do with this rant, but it is kinda creepy. Right?)

Anyway, the auction started at half a million. World news organizations followed the auction, conveniently driving up the bid and eBay’s profits. The price meandered up and ended (sniper-free) at $4,602,100.00 and then something all too familiar happened. Two days after bidding ended the seller received this message from her Japanese winner:
'I am awfully sorry but I need to cancel this because of the paying problem,'
Ah yes, the old “paying problem” as in, “Oh shit, I didn’t realize I actually had to pay.”

Now the news feeds have started reporting this act of Cod-Bagery and people around the world are stunned that eBay provides sellers no recourse against deadbeat bidders. How can it be?

So I got this idea. If you can’t beat Cod-Bags, why not join them? What would happen if all our readers formed a cod-bag flash mob? Rather than meeting in some public place dressed like Pac-Man or Mario, we would create clandestine buyer accounts and use them to win high-profile eBay auctions and then Cod-Bag out on them? I’m talking every date with a celebrity, every Bond car, and every pair of Kim Kardashian’s panties… We bid, we win, we flake! Of coarse I am not suggesting anyone go out and do it. Wink, wink. But what if? Ebay wants to give buyers all the power. Why not use it to bring them down. It wouldn’t take too many more high-profile Cod-Bags for them to be forced into action. Popular opinion would eventually drive them to modify their obscenely biased policy.

Ebay has since revoked the bidder’s account. Odd, they never yanked any of the Cod-Bags that stiffed me. I wonder where the cut-off is. $4 Million? $4.5? An opening monologue on Leno? I wonder. I wonder how many times they would need to be in the news before they made it policy to revoke all Cod-Bags who bid and bail.

Wanna find out?

What’s the lowest you’ll go on that LG Stainless Washing Machine?

This is a question I’ve gotten about kajillion times and most recently got yesterday about a really expensive brand new LG washing machine and an Xbox 360.

What is the lowest I’ll go on that LG Stainless Washing Machine and why, in the name of all that is holy, would I answer that question? Now, I’m not formally trained in the art of negotiation but I’ve dealt with many people who think they are channeling Donald Trump. I’m fairly certain you don’t want to just blurt out you’re lowest price and there’s more than one reason for it.

When you take that bait, you’re actually negotiating with yourself and giving up any leverage you might have. Here’s a short list of possible bad outcomes from giving in to this even one time

  1. The price on every product you sell is now up for negotiation.
  2. If they actually purchase that LG washing machine or LCD TV, they ask for further discounts when they also buy HDMI cables, Blu-Ray Players, etc because they are buying so much stuff.
  3. The bottom price you just gave that customer to make the sale is now going to be the index for every other sale you make to that customer and anybody they know.
  4. The customer may not even be buying at any price. Some people just enjoy seeing how much they can get you to lower your price. When they say “thanks” or “I’ll think about it” and walk out of your store, you will feel like a complete douche.

Here’s the simple way to counter this tactic. Instead of giving them a lower price, have the customer make an offer. It establishes that they are serious about buying and that they do have a price in mind that they are willing to pay.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's no High Definition LCD TV but the price is right.

I actually had a guy suggest today that we should drum up business by giving away a free big screen LCD or Plasma TV in some sort of contest. Now, I used to work in an electronics store that rhymes with Future Shop a few years back and I can tell you good readers that it's been my experience that contests for free things nearly always end in tears.

I've seen just about every possible outcome from free giveaway contests and not one of them has been good. Arguments with customers, salespeople, managers, fistfights, threatened lawsuits and customers storming out to bad-mouth your business to the world. What does this all have to do with anything? Well, I just wanted to tell everyone that I've made some improvements to our free Craigslist Hit Counter. It's free for everyone and you don't have to enter a contest to get it. In fact, on our Free Craigslist Hit Counter page.

In short, it's no High Definition, Blu-Ray capable, 1080p LCD large screen TV but it is free and some of you industrious types could use it to make some extra dough and buy an LCD TV. Actually, if you're already buying one, check the new LED TVs. They are as thin as I am fat. Word is bond, Seacrest out

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Can we get som Prozac for Julie... PLEASE

Open Letter to Julie Totalamo of Palm Springs, CA

You crazy bitch!

Thank you for your nutty, nutty call today. Not only did you make me laugh, you also gave me opportunity to scream at somebody, (something I typically reserve for my blog.) It was quite cathartic. My only regret is that you hung up before I called you a Cod-Bag. You missed the best part.

You’ll have to forgive me for forgetting your 9-month old eBay transaction. While I am sure it was a milestone event for you, we do about 300-500 sales per month. So it should be no wonder that I was surprised by your accusation that I had sold you a used sink as new. Add in the fact that we have sold nearly 20 identical sinks without issue and you start to see why I might have pursued an inquisitive, nay, confused tact in our conversation.

Now I agree it might have been rude of me to transfer the phone to myself when you demanded to talk to the manager. And it probably came off as inflammatory when I offered to put you on with the owner and then did it again. Likewise, I probably should not have laughed as you started to boil over with clinically pathological rage. That was wrong. But in my defense, I only briefly considered faxing you a picture of my ass when you demanded to see a copy of my drivers license and I probably wouldn’t have followed through with it anyway. And it was true when I told you stainless steel can’t "rot away"… It’s science. I googled it.

I sensed by the beating of your cell phone against your dash that you were a tad upset, so I went ahead and researched your complaint. Using the item ID you yelled at me at the beginning of our conversation, I used Pay Pal to track it down. Sure enough, in December of 2008 you bought a Commercial-grade stainless steel sink from us. You paid for it December 19th and then two days later we refunded your money because you indicated you had found one cheaper locally. We never shipped you a sink because, in true Cod-Bag fashion, you welched on the deal.

So you see, you bat-shit crazy, money-grubbing whore, I was right to question the premise of your call. You were completely off base and, I suspect, off your meds. If you have misplaced your Paxil I suggest looking under the cushions of your couch, under the seat of your car or the at the bottom of your gigantic eighties-style purse. If you can’t find them by morning, please call your doc. You need to be medicated for your own safety and the safety of those around you.

If you are institutionalized, please forward your address so that we may send you your Cod-Bag Certificate. You've earned it.

Yours Truly,

Hit Counter Technical Issues

Good People of codbag land,

We(and when I say "we" I really mean "I") have been having some technical difficulties recently with the hit counter being really slow. I have been feverishly (and when I say feverishly, I mean "at my usual snails pace") to correct these issues. Some have been resolved but some of my true enemies have yet to reveal themselves. (10 points if you can tell me where I got that line).

Anyway, I hope you continue to enjoy my splendiferous hit counters.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Twitter me served!

Cod-Bag, Please.

I am not even sure this guy can be considered a Cod-Bag. He's almost too sad and pathetic to qualify.
Our shop got several cases of slot car parts. motors, chassis, gears, wheels, tires, and miscellaneous little bits. Apparently the technology has progressed significantly since I was a kid, smashing them into Lego roadblocks. Anyway, we listed them on eBay because that's where you find this sort of "niche" customer. Within a day we get this well-crafted message. (do your best to read it. Its entertaining in itself.)
“will this little power house fit in just SCX or any other name brand car like ninco as i have a pile of motor now they just fit slot it and I'm not sure it the are better then want i got in the car i only race 2 solt its at home there no real slot car store with a big track with in 100 mi and the one i new of is over 200 mi. away and i dont think they in business any longer and its the 3rd largest town (city) in MO. so i buy things that dont fit even if hot slots says it will and then they say call they manufacturer i didn't buy it from them i bought it from you hot shot that my commentary for the day back to the trasins i have never had a problem with that atlas loco parts do not and will not fit buchman locos and both come with a warrentry card and parts list and all rolling can be made to inter change wheels and some bottoms track same way as long will it works to somtime you have to cut something of the track with road bed but slot car once you out fo HO forget it thats enoughh it”
After I uncrossed my eyes and shook the stupid off my frontal lobe, I responded:
“Thank you for your question.” (I assumed there was a question in there somewhere even though there was no punctuation to confirm that.) “We are a freight liquidator. We do not specialize in any of the items we sell. However, here is a link to a helpful website that may assist you:”
Jose CodBago had this retort:
“thats was my point nobody know crap about slot cars srry nothing personal”
Oh, Snap! Consider me served. Score one point to Incoherent Slot Car Geek. This is what happens when you learn the English language by following Paris Hilton’s tweets on twitter. Apparently that top line on the keyboard is reserved for clever emoticons. ( * )

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A brand new freakin' Treadmill ...

Alright Craigslisters, see if you can top this one...

I'm selling a brand new, just out of the crate, commercial treadmill. Retail value... $5000. Selling for... $2500. I get an e-mail from a lady who apparently could use a treadmill but due to some unforeseen financial setbacks over the last, say, 45 years, finds herself somewhere in the neighborhood of $2500 shy. Here's an excerpt from her response to my ad...

"I saw your treadmill on Craigslist and it would go perfectly in my home gym. If nobody takes it can I just have it? oh, and by the way, I don't have a vehicle so can you load it up and drive it over to my place in shantytown? "

I'm not sure how stretchy your apple bag has to be to hold stones big enough to ask these questions but you're definitely working with some square yardage. I don't know about you good readers out there but my mom would hit me in the head with a frozen salmon if she even heard I was begging for stuff on Craigslist or anywhere else.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's true! The mildly popular Craigslist Hit Counter has received a facelift!

We here at have given birth to a brand new baby Craigslist hit counter! Actually, the stork brought it to us and frankly it was pretty freaky to have this big random bird just show up out of nowhere. I mean, are these things even able to live in our climate and what do they eat? I digress...

The point is that the mildly popular free Craigslist hit counter is about 23% better than before if that's even possible. The important part is that it's still priced affordably(free) and you don't have to use it for Craigslist. You can use it anywhere you want a hit counter. All we ask is that you don't alter the code in any way.

But wait, there's more!
We are now working on a pro version of the hit counter that includes a lot more goodness. You'll get:
  • By day hit counts
  • By hour hit counts
  • Charting
  • Tracking by ad
What would you expect to pay for a tool like this? ones, tens, thousands!! Because we're not particularly bright here, we haven't figured out how to charge for these things so you'll get this one free too. Anyway, it's coming soon. Let us know what you think.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cod Bag Quickie

Ebay user, blizzardc, writes:

"Are you an idiot or what? thinking someone is going to pay that much for a filter?"

Apparently blizzrdc failed to recognize this was a lot of 12 automotive oil filters. Thus the per unit price was just under a dollar each... about 1/5 what they cost at a car parts store.

Thanks for making my Monday blizzardc. Not only are you a tremendous Cod-Bag, but you take the time to spread good cheer in the form of time-wasting stupid comments. You are one for the books... or at least the blogs.

Cod-Bag on my righteous son!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thanks loser! Now get your own high definition TV

I thought I had seen, named and cataloged just about every crazy Craigslist buyer tactic until the other day when I heard about this gem from the person that it happened to. The names have been changed to protect the embarassed. For our purposes here, we'll call the buyer Ethel and the seller Mike and I'll paraphrase for the sake of hilarity.

Ethel: Yes, hello? I'd like to purchase your high definition projection TV. Mine just went out and my husband is sick. He really likes to watch Murder She Wrote in high definition.

Mike: OK. When would you like to pick it up?

Ethel: I was hoping I could get you to deliver it. I'm in my 80's and I'm not able to pick it up.

Mike: OK, I was brought up to respect my elders and I'm a nice guy. I'll be right over.

(Mike gets in his car and drives 20 minutes to Ethel's house - brrrmrmrmrmmrmmr)

Mike: Where would you like me to set this TV up Ethel?

Ethel: Oh, just set it up in the corner. Could you help me with all the cables and such? I don't know how to do all that stuff.

Mike: Well, I have to get going, but I suppose I can set it up for you.

Mike: I'm just going to go out to my truck and get the manual and I'll be right back.

Ethel: OK

(Mike steps off Ethel's porch and the following happens)
  1. Door slams
  2. lock turns
  3. lights go out
  4. crickets sound
Mike: Uh, Ethel? (knock, knock, knock), Ethel? (knock knock)

(Fast forward through ten minutes more of knocking and phone calls...)

Mike: Son of a bitch, bastard! I just got ripped off by an old lady!

(Mike drives away - brrrmmrmmmmmmm)

Anyone have a story to top this? It's 100% true, by the way.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A couple Shout Outs!

I'll admit it. I like to rant. I like to rail against the idiotic machine. But every once in a while you have to take a look around and notice whats right in the world if only to have something to contrast the idiots against.

So here goes... A couple websites I actually like:

This site mines through eBay for misspelled, mis-categorized, or otherwise screwed up listings. I found this site when I was looking for a set of Sennheiser headphones. Now ordinarily I side with sellers, but honestly, if you have the damn thing in front of you and still can't spell it right you deserve to lose your shirt on it. I've also had a lot of luck with Tohatsu outboards and Scuba Regulators (You'd be amazed the spellings Americans can come up with.) Oh yeah, don't forget to click the US Flag, the default is and, beside not having any Euros in my pocket, I found the shipping to be bloody exorbitant.


This site is a blatant, unabashed rip-off of craigslist. They have taken everything CL does right(free local listings) and combined it with a little HTML and some paid advertising. There are several paid categories (Female "Escorts" , ehem) and also some categories CL bans, like pets. (Seriously Craig? Pets? You're such a freakin' tree-hugger you don't believe in the concept of pets? I can find a hooker on your site that will do god knows what for 125 "roses" but I can't find a kitten to keep me company in the dark, cold night. Seriously?... I digress) Not a lot of people are using backpage yet, but I think it has potential.
This site is awesome. I should qualify this by saying I am not a consumer electronics geek. I don't watch the trends or obsess over the newest MP3 player. That is probably why I like Retrevo so much. They are like Consumer Reports on steroids. They take every new gadget for a test spin and then throw them on a scatter chart with features on one axis and price on the other. The bargains stick out like sore thumbs. You mouse over the dot and a brief description of the item pops up. Click on the bubble and you are directed to a full description. From that page you can jump to a handful of e-commerce sites that sell the item. Digital Cameras, Laptops, GPS, MP3's, everything is on Retrevo.


This site is pretty cool. As far as I can tell, these guys are ripping apart thousands of broken TV's and computers a day, inventorying every part, taking pictures and listing them. It has to be one of the most labor-intensive, slow-nickel operations on the planet, but at the same time it is brilliant. If you have a broken plasma TV, a burnt out DLP, or a fried LCD, pull the back off your TV, and look up shopjimmy. You can search by model number and see what the parts are supposed to look like. You don't even need to know what they are called. "Hmmm, this flat, green do-ma-ja-hinkus is all burned up. There's one just like it. I'll take it."

- In this consumer age of disposable electronics, Its nice to see someone pre-cycling.

This company has specialized in the smallest of high-end home entertainment niches... cables. Remember good old out-of-business Circuit City and their asinine attempts to upcharge you cables and service warranties. Well if you ever fell for the Gold Monster Cable (guilty) you will kick yourself when you see this site. Is it straight from China? Probably. Is Monster Cable? Yup. But the prices on HDMI and Wall Mounts are a tenth what they cost in the store.

Obviously I wasn't going for an exhaustive list. I realize the last 3 are kinda tech-geek sites, but I like them because they help the un-techs like me. Let me know if you have more like these that I have missed.

Legal-ish disclaimer: I am not getting paid to endorse any of these sites and I am not affiliated with any of them. Please don't get pissed at me if they suck or if you get bilked out of thousands of dollars. I went to highschool with my attorney and we remain good friends so don't try to sue me godamnit!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Nibble Back

There is a book from the 80's by Chester Karrass called Effective Negotiating that everyone who sells on Craigslist should read. Old Chet describes a negotiating tactic called "the Nibble". Nibbling is that last-minute attempt to shave a little off the deal after you've agreed to a price. Sometimes it come in the form of asking you to deliver, but usually its the old "This is all the money I've got," followed by the turned out pocket.

Per Mr. Karrass, the best defense for a nibble is the reverse nibble. Here's how it works:

I was selling a boat once (Nice little Arima). The buyer was getting a great deal and we both knew it, but he came at me with a $600 nibble at the last minute. "This is all I can afford to give you."

So I cringed, then I grimaced, then I thought long and hard and said, "Tell ya what," I said. " I'll sell it to you at that price, but I keep the Yamaha kicker. That way I can sell the kicker separately and make up the difference."

His $600 nibble was about to cost him a $1200 motor. I had him by the stones. He had already driven 100 miles in his brother-in-law's truck. I knew he wanted the boat for fishing, so he needed a kicker. SURPRISE! He found $600 in his other pocket. He must have forgotten it was there.

Craigslisters love to nibble, so a prudent seller should always keep a reverse nibble loaded in the chamber. (Cringing, grimacing, and long contemplation are optional, but I think it helps sell the point.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009 - CodBag Feeding Ground

I found a great source of Codbags the other day. The site is brilliant. It is called, simply, It is an open forum for people to lodge complaints online. Great concept. Vendors have the opportunity to rebuff complaints, but it doesn’t appear that anyone gets notified when a complaint is lodged against them. I guess you just check in periodically to see if anyone is dragging your name through the mud.

I was working on a project and had to look up Lumber Liquidators anyway, so I searched them on the site. Low-and-behold some knucklehead had lobbed a grenade at them. Now before you read this you should know that the wood this guy bought, Brazilian Teak, runs about $12-$25 per square foot plus delivery in a typical retail store like Lowes or Home Depot.

His Gripe:

Company: Lumber Liquidators
"We purchased 682sq.ft of Brazilian Teak Select and spent almost $4,000." [for those of you without a calculator, that’s less than $6/sqft] "We have defective flooring. The wood has milling issues, some of it is shaped like a trapezoid and almost all of it has different widths, not noticeable to the eye. We also learned the wood has high moisture content, and now believe the wood may have not been dried completely during manufacturing. We contacted LL at the beginning of our installation about the small gaps; we didn’t quite understand that it was a milling issue, but that lines weren’t nice. We were told to use wood filler and that they wouldn't take it back because it was a nonstock item. After more complaining the man said they'd take back the unopened boxes for a 20% restocking fee. Twenty percent would be about $800.00." [Blah, Blah, Blah. He cries more about the quality and then it gets funny]. "I feel it’s completely unreasonable that I should have known their product well enough to determine it was defective. The installation instructions don’t require consumers to check the wood flooring for moisture content or the milling. In my opinion, by their logic those that purchase their product need to be experts and catch defects the manufacturer couldn’t, yet they market to Do-it-Yourselfers."

I couldn’t help myself. I signed up for an account on and posted a comment:

"What exactly do you think the word LIQUIDATOR means? Lumber Liquidators liquidate lumber. By their very name you should expect it to be secondary product... That's why you got such a great deal. People who pay full retail for defective product have a right to complain. People who pay liquidation prices should expect to make up the difference with sweat equity or creative installation techniques."

This guy’s final statement gets to the heart of the matter, “those that purchase their product need to be experts […] yet they market to Do-it-Yourselfers.” The problem is that this guy assumes that willingness to do it yourself makes you a “Do-it-Yourselfer.” With no apparent research, training, help or advice he hopped into a project he was woefully unprepared to do and now wants to blame the world for his screw-up. Well sir, I am afraid to say you are not a Do-it-Yourselfer. You are, in fact, a Codbag. Congratulations.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Are we the only people loosing money shipping e-bay items?

I've had it Ebay! I want to give people flat Rate shipping, but I get warning messages even when I use USPS Flat Rate boxes. - "We see that your shipping appears high compared to other items in this category."

I don't gouge customers on shipping, but I can't afford to leave money on the table when it comes to freight charges. I have a part-time employee, packaging and overhead to account for. seems to give buyers a 30-45% discount off of the rates I am able to get from my carriers so I move backwards when I use them in my listings.

.... So, I fixed the glitch. It was surprisingly simple to do. And, while I am sure we are not the first ones to think of it, I thought it was worth sharing here.

The fix:
Inflate the weight. If you are shipping 150lbs, call it 200. 500? call it 750. The freight calculator will now reflect something closer to what your actual cost will be. Same is true of parcels. Rather than flat rate, we now use the calculated shipping and bump it by 10-20% of the actual weight. This helps cover our variable costs and doesn't anger the eBay gods.

Now I know what some people will say. "That's cheating." or "You're ripping off your buyers." To those Codbags, I say this: SHUT UP! Shipping is not a hidden cost. Anyone buying any item over the internet knows exactly what they are paying for shipping before they buy it. So, codbag, here is a little trick I learned in Mrs. Peel's 1st grade class. Its called addition. You take the cost of the item plus the cost of shipping and that is your actual price. If that is cheaper than what you would pay for it locally you got a good deal. If not, buy it locally. We don't care.

In conclusion, eBay wants you to loose money on shipping. In fact they would prefer everyone offer free shipping because they charge a percentage of the final sale price, not a percentage of shipping. 4% of a $10 item with free shipping nets ebay $0.40. The same item selling for $5 with $5 shipping only nets them 2 dimes.

Ebay is greedy and they have a monopoly on live auctions. We are simply optimizing their rules to mitigate the pain.