the strange world of facebook marketplace

the strange world of facebook marketplace

As someone who refinishes furniture and sells vintage, I spend a LOT of time on Facebook marketplace.

It's the best and the worst. It's a reliable place to find what you're looking for and sell things for extra cash, but it comes with some strings attached. Namely, you end up having some bizarre Messenger conversations and in-person interactions along the way.

hi, is this available?

I would say 95% of my interactions have been either perfectly pleasant or unremarkable. The rest of the time, things can get a little strange with bizarre questions, rude offers, or just generally odd behaviour. If you're doing any kind of online buying or selling, unfortunately you have to be a little paranoid and look out for scams and be super safety conscious. Always trust your gut if something feels a little off and don't go.

Here are a few of my favorite stranger interactions I've had over the years, plus some of yours you shared on my Instagram stories.

the garbage return

After driving 35 minutes to pick up a sideboard at an arranged time, I messaged the seller to say "I'm here" and he replied with "should be home in 45 minutes". Um, no. Luckily his wife saw me waiting and offered to help me. We had to muck through a muddy backyard and lug it out of a shed in the rain. It was SO heavy and all wrapped up in moving plastic wrap. I'm pretty darn strong and with two of us we could barely manage, but somehow we got it in my car.

At home, I unwrapped it to start sanding and discovered the reason it was so heavy: it was absolutely full of junk and garbage in all the drawers and cupboards. Sigh. Here's the best part: the seller messaged me later to say "hey when can you return all my stuff?" I declined.

the blast from the past

This one is a happy one! Someone purchased a piece of furniture and while setting up delivery, she sent her address. It was the house I grew up in! She invited me to come in and see it when I delivered because it had been totally gutted and renovated, it was wild to see it transformed.

Here's the best part: she said, "I'm so happy this happened, we saved something during the reno you might want." We had always regretted when we moved that we forgot about the height chart my later father had written on the basement landing wall. When they renovated, they took the time to cut out the piece of drywall and save it in case we wanted it. They had emailed us but we didn't get the email.

We framed it and hung it on the basement landing at my mom's new house.

the diaper change

This one was shared with me on Instagram and it will now live in my head rent-free. The item was cloth diapers, and the person who came to claim them ASKED THE SELLER TO CHANGE THEIR BABY'S DIAPER so they could see a demonstration of how the diapers work. To be clear, the seller is asked to change the buyer's baby's diaper, aka: a stranger's baby. She declined the request.

the stroller

When we were expecting our first baby, my husband drove really far for a great deal on the stroller we wanted in "like-new condition". When he arrived, the stroller was an absolute hunk of junk not to mention incredibly filthy with mud all over it. He pointed out to the seller it obviously wasn't the same one from the photos. In fact, he could see the brand new one she had bought herself sitting on the porch that she had used for photos. She shrugged and said "What do you expect? This is the country," as though that explained everything. 

the two strong men

Another great Instagram share. A fellow vintage-loving friend snagged a dresser that was advertised as needed "two strong men" to lift it. She showed up solo and easily carried the dresser upstairs from a basement, much to the shock of the seller. See, who needs two strong men when you have one determined woman?

the free delivery

Someone once inquired about a piece of furniture and it went something like this:

Her: Where are u [pickup location is clearly stated]

Me: Uxbridge

Her: Where is that?

Me: [send a Google maps screenshot]

Her: That's too far can you deliver

Me: Where are you located?

Her: nepean [outside Ottawa, 370 km away)

Me: That would be 5 hours each way

Her: yeah I don't want to drive that long

Me: No

Her: come on, I really need it

the accuser

A friend shared through Instagram her experience of selling a perfectly safe, good condition car seat on marketplace. The buyer suddenly turned around and accused her of it being dangerous and demanded a refund...six weeks after buying. The kicker: she already had it re-listed for sale for $100 more than she paid for it. 

the bread maker

I shared this one on Instagram awhile back but I'm still a bit annoyed about it. A man bought a bread maker from me, then messaged me that night saying it was broken and he wanted to return it. I was super stressed out and felt terrible, but also suspicious because it had always worked fine for me. I tried to help him troubleshoot but he was firm it was broken, so I said yes to the return.

After the return, I ran a loaf through before I threw it out just to be sure. Guess what: a perfectly baked loaf of bread emerged. I realize now he just wanted to try it out and decided he didn't like it for whatever reason, and so returned it the same as you would at Walmart (with a side of lying).

Did I send him a series of photos of the perfect loaf of bread? I sure did. No reply.

If you have any good ones, send me an email or a DM! I've loved hearing these stories. And stay safe out there in your Marketplace adventures! 

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