December 15, 2009


As a people, I think we're becoming cheaper. The economy pushed us further in that direction but it was going on long before that. Granted, we do buy $1000 flat screen TVs on which you could watch Family Guy from the house down the street. And people buy cars that cost as much as every car I've ever driven combined. But still, we're cheap. How else could you explain eBay or Craigslist?

A few years ago, Beth was searching for a laptop. We checked eBay and spent a whopping $200 on a laptop that lasted about two years. In my mind, unless you want something super-fancy, $100 a year isn't a bad investment. So when that laptop invariably crapped out in spectacular blue-screen fashion a couple years ago, we did the same thing. Recently, it became clear that Owen was done with his crib. Instead of buying a twin bed (we haven't really decided what we want to do with his room), Beth found a toddler bed online for $25. Even if it lasts just a month (and I'm sure it will last longer since Owen loves it and it's a pretty nice bed, though not nearly large enough to accommodate all the crap Owen apparently needs to take to bed with him, or it turns out to be an evil mutant bed which will terrorize us and our children from the rest of our lives), that can't be a bad investment.

And all this convenient cheapness is great. Until it gets a little creepy.

The other day, I was surfing a local Craigslist-like site and ran across something that chilled me to my very core and then chilled me some more.

For sale - collection of assorted brands and sizes of toothpastes. Approximately fifteen, all slightly used. $12 or best offer.

In a word, ew. In three words, what the fuck? Who wakes up one morning and says, "hey, I have a dozen or so tubes of toothpaste around here and I'm sure someone must want them." And also, who has a dozen tubes of slightly used toothpaste lying around? Showing up at this guy's door sounds like the best way to get a nose full of chloroform and wake up in a basement, shirtless and afraid, given the task of lotioning this dude's skin suit, made from the other poor bastards who decided they too wanted some cheap-ass toothpaste. But of course assorted brands and sizes of toothpaste could very well be some impenetrable internet code for 25 year old blond coed available for handjobs and jello wrestling. Maybe I'm just not up on the lingo.

Do you bargain hunt on the web? What's the best deal you've ever gotten? And the weirdest thing you've ever seen for sale?

Posted by Chris at December 15, 2009 7:31 AM

That is kinda gross. I wouldn't be surprised to see something like that on, but to charge for it is kinda weird. I'm a HUGE bargain shopper. I always was, but even more so since I've been out of work. Not sure what the best deal is that we've ever gotten. We like for electronics. I saved about $100 on a printer there once. We love yard sales in the summer too. We've gotten some good finds there. As far as weird things for sale eBay has some freaky things under the weird stuff category. Or at least I think that's what it was called....

Posted by: Rose Winters at December 15, 2009 7:42 AM

My wife's current computer is a $50 desktop that I bought on Craigslist earlier this year and put Ubuntu on.

The weirdness on Craigslist is nothing compared to the freakshow that is Freecycyle.

Posted by: COD at December 15, 2009 8:57 AM

That is the funniest thing ever! Someone should show up at that door and insist upon "trying before they buy"!!!! Ha!

Posted by: Debbie at December 15, 2009 9:01 AM

My wife and I love going to storage auctions every now and again and buying a few boxes to see what we get. You can open them but can peek in if there not taped close and pick them up to see how heavy they are. Over the last few year we have some really weird and really neat stuff -

1) A very heavy box marked books that turned out to be three cinder blocks! Who in the heck packs cinder blocks in a box?

2) We bought a fake tree once for $5 just for the pot. Under the tree we found a laptop!

3) 2 boxes full of perfume bottles. Nothing in them and there was no tops just the empty box. I think we still have a few of them in the house still (there was 500 or so).

4) A box marked kitchen items that turned out to be full of old watches and pens (nice ones). We sold most of it on eBay and kept a few for ourselves.

Posted by: Steven at December 15, 2009 9:28 AM

Most bargain shopping I do is online. I doesn't feel like much of an effort like going from store to store or gathering coupons. Most recently I bought some Cars cars on eBay that are impossible to find and the whole experience was awesome. However, the previous one was not. Give and take I guess.

Weirdest? Nothing too weird, but some people put some real junk out there. I recall someone offering a box of miscellaneous toy parts once. That was odd.

Posted by: Brad at December 15, 2009 9:59 AM

You should check out Lots of Humanity FAIL on display there.

Posted by: Fraulein N at December 15, 2009 10:01 AM

I am the cheapest mo-fo on the planet. I pay retail for NOTHING. Last week, I got a ridiculously fancy dress for my company Xmas party in Hollywood on for $35.00.


See? Hotness.

We moved to Houston last month, which you know, and I had to buy a house full of appliances. I got a near-new side by side Whirlpool fridge on Craiglist, with a 6 month warranty, for $400, delivered. I got the fancy ass Whirlpool, HE, three loads at one, automated washer and dryer set, brand new with all the factory plastic still on it for $750. FOR THE SET. Never used, not once.

We moved 30f3 out of her crib (at age 4, shut up) when we moved. I got her a mint condition four poster bed with mattress and box spring and everything on Craigslist for $200. My mother in law is sleeping in it right now and swears it's the most comfortable bed she's ever slept in.

I had to sell Josh's old beater drive-to-work car a few years ago when we moved to Vancouver. In 3 hours after listing it on Craigslist, it was gone and I had $500 in my hand.

Craiglist is my sweet butter love, no joke.

Posted by: Mr Lady at December 15, 2009 10:37 AM

I never knew the bad of craigslist until a "Friend" pointed me to the random hookups section. EW.

$25 for Doc Maartens in '97. I still wear em.

Posted by: alektra at December 15, 2009 10:53 AM

You want creepy?! Or just plain gross?

My aunt is a garage sale fiend. I mean, I don't think she's a full-blown hoarder with other peoples' shit stacked to her living room ceiling, who's going to end up on Oprah or Dr. Phil or anything. But according to stories, her garage IS stacked to the ceiling with shit. She just can't pass up a "deal."

So, she bought me shampoo. At a garage sale. Half a bottle of shampoo. And conditioner!

It gets creepier. She lives in Florida. I live in Pennsylvania. She sent it home in my grandparents' luggage so they could pass it on to me.

Posted by: Sabrina at December 15, 2009 11:33 AM

I'm still kind of squicked at the idea of craig's list. I know I shouldn't be, but there are some CREEPY PEOPLE out there.

Posted by: k8 at December 15, 2009 1:25 PM

I agree that we are a "cheap" nation on some levels. However, my husband is a mover for a living and I could stay here all night typing up a list of things that he's brought home for TOTALLY FREE from rich bitches who "didn't want it anymore" because it didn't go with the new house's decor or wouldn't fit up the stairs or they downsized because they're Q-tips moving to Florida etc. etc. etc. Upon walking through my typical "welcome to our home tour" there is more "FREE" than there is "Oh I paid for that". Most people ask me where I bought something and I say, "Oh I didn't, that was rich bitch free!"

Posted by: Kristy at December 15, 2009 8:20 PM

Two words to explain the partly-used toothpaste: Nursing home. Or else OCD.

My best bargain was on some used CDs at a CD shop. My record collection had largely up and left along with my ex, and I needed to replace a lot of music. The owner said, "Hey, don't mix the ones you already own with the ones you're buying," and pushed aside a bunch of discs which he wound up giving me for free without the other patrons cluing in. I think he figured out either the truth or that I was a B&E victim. Either way, I was very grateful.

Posted by: Kat at December 15, 2009 10:20 PM

Ok, but this begs the question, are we getting cheaper or are we getting greedy? Ebay and Craigslist a lot of times are such a ripoff. I know you CAN find good deals, but seriously, did we really try and SELL used shampoo before Ebay? It's like people are out to make a dime on everything. Around here, people sell their used little tikes stuff for nearly full price. How is that a deal? And baby furniture? It's like they're trying to make money on it. It's USED furniture.

Posted by: statia at December 16, 2009 2:46 PM

I browse Craigslist regularly. I bought just one thing. A lacrosse rebounder.

I think a more happy medium with spending COULD be a good thing. Most of us are surrounded by overflowing closets and clutter. Do we really need 4 or more televisions in every home? Needs and wants have gotten quite blurred by our standards of living.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at December 16, 2009 8:59 PM