My Facebook Marketplace Adventure and Three Tips for Smooth Transactions

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You could say I’m a newbie when it comes to Facebook Marketplace, but I’m totally not a newbie when it comes to selling things. Before Facebook, I would sell things on Craigslist, but Craigslist seemed to get a little sketchy, so I said “peace out, Craigslist, we’re through!.” Then, I started selling things in the Facebook resale groups. I’d sell outgrown clothes, furniture we no longer needed, appliances we didn’t need (um, remind me to tell you about how my husband got a meat slicer one time), just THINGS in general that we didn’t need. You see, when we lived in Florida, we lived in a gorgeous house that was 3,400 square feet. Not at all to brag, but that’s a lot of space and, with a lot of space, comes a lot of things to fill up that space. When we moved back to New Jersey, we bought a house that’s just under 2,000 square feet. Basically, we had a lot of stuff to move into about half the amount of space.

So, 5 years later, we’re still clearing things out. Like I said, I had sold things on Facebook resale groups but then, for whatever reason, the resale groups became confusing as all heck to keep track of. Anyone else? I took a break from the resale groups and, instead, just donated things to the Vietnam Veterans of America. It’s really a great organization – you can schedule a date online and they literally pick things up in your driveway. It’s amazing, but I still had things that I would prefer to sell rather than donate.

A few weeks ago, sister-in-law had told me that her mom was selling a ton on Facebook Marketplace, so I figured I’d give that a shot. In my mind, it’s pretty much like Craigslist, but you can see the person’s profile and that made me, somehow, feel safer. I’ve sold a few pieces, made some money and have been feeling great about clearing things out of the house. All transactions have been pleasant and successful…until today. Holy moly, you guys…I can’t even make this stuff up.

I posted an accent table on Facebook Marketplace. We bought it a while ago for $200, but it’s just been sitting in my basement for 5 years (I know, I know), so it needed to go. I listed it at a reasonable $25. Solid wood, has a few small scratches, but otherwise fabulous condition. I have always been totally transparent in my listings because I know I don’t like surprises when it comes to buying used. Multiple people message me, a few try to haggle me, one woman actually says “I’ll take it.” Pickup was scheduled for 9am this morning. Now, usually I prefer porch pickups and have people just stop by to pick up the item from my front step and leave the money in an agreed-upon location. It’s easier for everyone. I’m not stuck waiting for the buyer and the buyer can just stop by whenever they’re available that day. For this piece, though, I wanted a certain pickup time because it’s a larger piece and I didn’t want to risk leaving it outside to get rained on. Anyways, 9am comes, 9am goes. 9:30 goes, too. I messaged the woman and asked if she was still coming. She messages back that her husband is coming and he’ll be in a black car.

The thoughts fly through my head. Why is a man coming when a woman claimed and set up the pickup? Why didn’t she ask me if it was ok for her husband to pick up?  Why can’t this be easy?!

A car pulls up. A man gets out of the car and starts re-arranging things in the trunk. He finishes re-arranging his trunk and goes back to sit in the driver’s seat. WHY is he sitting? Why isn’t he coming to ring the doorbell?

I pick up the table, separated into two pieces to make it easier for transport, and bring them out to the car. He gets out of the car and opens the trunk.

“Is this in good condition?”

“Um. I think it is? It’s the same as it was described on marketplace?”

“There are some scratches.”

“Yes, that was noted in the listing.”

“Will you take *less money than agreed to online*?”

“No. It is as described. I have a line of people waiting to purchase, for the asking price, if you don’t want it.”

“Ok. *puts table inside trunk* Do you have change for a $10?”

(You have got to be kidding me)

“No, I don’t have any cash.”

“You don’t have any cash?”

(Am I an ATM machine????)

“No, I don’t have any cash.”

“Well, take this $20 and I’ll be back with the rest”

“No, I’m sorry. It needs to be completely paid for if you’re taking it.”

“If I say I’ll be back, I mean I’ll be back.”

(I don’t know this man from Adam)

“Let’s get this table out, you take your money back and you can come back with the right amount.”

I get the table out, give him his money back, and my neighbor comes outside. The guy ASKS MY NEIGHBOR if he has change!! He actually does, so he breaks the $10 bill. I’m handed the correct amount for the table and we put it back in the trunk of his car.

Five minutes later, I get a message from his wife “can you go outside again?” What the ever-loving….

I look outside and the car is, once again, parked in front of my house. He thinks there are parts missing. I show him that everything is there and he goes on his merry way.

That, my friends, is how my morning has gone so far. I swear, I cannot make up stories like this. I just can’t.

In an attempt to help Facebook Marketplace transactions go a little bit smoother (more smooth? smoothly? It seems my coffee is not doing the job at the moment), I leave you with….drumroll, please…3 tips for smooth transactions!

1. Show up on time.  If a specific time has been set, do your best to show up on time. If you can’t be on time, contact the other party. I totally appreciate someone letting me know they’re going to be late versus just showing up late. Yes, I am happy to be making a sale, but time is valuable and a time has been set for a reason.

2. Come prepared with exact change. The seller is not your personal ATM machine. If your total is $35 and you only have two twenty dollar bills, stop at the bank for change or treat yourself to a $1 drink at McDonald’s and come prepared with exact change.

3. Don’t haggle pricing in person. I’m sorry, but that just makes the whole process uncomfortable for both parties. Unless the item is drastically different than how it was described online, if a price was agreed upon prior to meeting, that is the price that should be paid.

One more thing…if you have claimed an item, but will be sending another person to pick it up, please let the seller know! Stay/Work-at-home moms tend to get worried when they see men just sitting in a car in front of their house.

Do you sell things on Facebook Marketplace or another online resale site? What have your experiences been?

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