A couple of weekends ago I got a new grill. No, not the blinged out jewelry for your teeth grill; it is a “get hot and cook your food” grill. Allyson has been wanting an upgrade over our old grill for quite some time. In this case, probably a fair viewpoint considering I originally got that grill for $20 off of Craigslist. It didn’t heat evenly and really only had 1 setting, lava hot, but it lasted us for almost 2 years and we got 2 full propane tanks along with the grill for that original 20 spot.
Whenever we decide to get a new kitchen/cooking item, we turn to Cook’s Illustrated to check out their reviews. In this case the highest recommended grill was a Weber Spirit II E-310. A three burner grill that they couldn’t say enough good things about. To top it all off, Allyson’s parents were very generous and offered to get us the grill for Christmas. Easy right? We knew exactly what grill we wanted and we knew we were getting it as a gift. All we had to do was order the grill online and get it sent to our house or go pick it up somewhere.
As I’ve said before, if you want or need a new product or gadget for you house, it is always worth checking your local thrift store or Craigslist first to see if you can find a gently used version for way less than new.
I can’t write that down and then not practice what I preach, so as soon as we decided on the grill I hopped on Craigslist and checked to see what was available in my area. I’ve discussed previously how to sell an item on Craigslist; here is what I do when I’m looking to buy on Craigslist.
First off, I start off every conversation politely, giving my name and seeing if the item I am looking for is still available. If it is still available I negotiate my price before setting up a meeting time. As soon as you go to pick up an item it will be harder to negotiate a price, so it is best to do this ahead of time. Whenever I negotiate, I take a look at what an item costs new, what others are asking for equivalent items, and the condition of the item, and then I offer what I think is fair, including all of my rationale. Typically there is some back and forth, but I set a number that I am comfortable paying and then walk away if we can’t agree on or below that number.
After agreeing to a price, I set up a time and a place to go pick up the item, trying for public places outside of my house as much as possible. One key thing that I have figured out after buying and selling numerous items on Craigslist, is to have a phone conversation with the person you are meeting prior to leaving for the exchange. I have found that speaking on the phone helps the connection become more human, increasing the chances that they will not bail and leave you hanging at the meeting location with no explanation. I bring a friend whenever possible and make sure that every transaction is done in cash.
Now back to our purchase of the grill. I actually reached out to 2 people about their grills. The first one that I spoke with had a grill that was in great shape, however, they started out asking a very high price relative to everything else available and were not willing to come down to a price that I was willing to pay (it is still available 3 weeks later). The second person that I reached out to was great. Martin responded quickly and we settled on a price that we were both happy with (it was $50 lower than I had offered the other woman). We set up a time and place to meet, and while I was out of town Allyson was able to give him a call before the meet up and then go with a friend to load it into a truck and bring it home. Once there, it was obvious that Martin was trying to get rid of a lot of stuff before moving and we were able to connect him with some friends who bought a bike from him.
It was another positive Craigslist experience and with a little bit of work we ended up getting a grill in great shape for less than half of what a new one would be. I can’t wait to get the new grill set up and make our first meal on it. In the meantime, I need to go out and take some photos to sell our old grill, keeping it out of the landfill and hopefully making some money in the process.