In the populist world of the gol’ danged Interweb many entrepreneurs set out to create platforms for people to meet, interact, and perhaps to engage in meaningful commerce.
Almost all of those objectives—thanks to the ignorance, asinine behaviors, and stupidity of the average Web user—were epic fails when compared to the original, more noble and (perceived) beneficent objectives of their creators.
Craigslist, like eBay, is a direct marketing website that allows any Joe or Jill on the street a chance to sell their garbage to others. Ads are created by those wanting to sell things, with descriptions of the products being sold; those in the market for something in particular can peruse the site and find said consumer items.
The site lists the standard fare for sale (furniture, cars, pets, etc.). It also features postings by employers looking to fill jobs, people seeking particular employment situations, and some other sections (e.g., “personal” ads, apartments for rent, etc.).
And there is a thing called “Missed Connections” on the site wherein some socially inept goober might have spotted a hottie in a coffee shop and, having no confidence, failed to walk up to her and tell her how much he wanted to store her in his basement along with his other “girlfriends”. In those cases, the seeker will post an ad hoping the object of his desire will see it and call him, becoming another notch in the axe handle of a serial killer.
One of perhaps the greatest sources of free entertainment can come from reading the ads on Craigslist on any given day posted from all over the globe. Many of the ads are well-written, concise, and do a good job of detailing what is being proffered.
Other ads, however, create free merriment just for the search time it takes to randomly look at some. These are sometimes written by a person with a real sense of humor; for the most part, though, when they are funny they are unintentionally hilarious! Descriptions of products being hawked border on stream-of-consciousness writing at times, with misspellings and improper sentence structure so that, in the end, no one can be certain what is truly offered for sale (was it the car or the baby or both?)
The mutilation of the English language, though, is only one of the many pillages and razings found on Craigslist when it comes to these listings. Often, the pictures that go with even the most serious or banal ads (usually of the seller lovingly displaying his/her wares with the gentle stroking of a Viking rampaging through Western Europe) are often as amusing as the print text that goes with them.
Let’s laff, kids, because these Craigslist people just can’t even!
The originator of Craigslist (the site is most often noted with the lower case “c” as seen in its base URL) is a real person. His full name is Craig Newmark, and he had taken an interest in the social websites of his day (wayyyy back in the creaky, wheezy times of the early 1990s) where people posted interesting items for sale. Thanks to a distribution system only the Interweb can provide these cyberneers were able to get a lot of exposure. Newmark decided to create something similar for just the city where he lived (San Francisco), focused mostly on local events (shows, sports events, etc.). This was disseminated originally via an email network (in 1995), then later through more powerful Web networking.
The concept worked out so well, with people sharing information and exchanging news and items, that he was able to expand into many other cities. Today, while the idea of the local network of goods and services is still the core goal, the site is now used in reaching out globally. It is posted around the world in multiple languages; people everywhere, with a few keystrokes, can now find a car that “runs good”!
Speaking of which . . .
“Runs Real Good!”
Many car ads on “The List” carry that ever-optimistic phrase, “runs good”. Sometimes, when a poster is feeling particularly feisty, he or she will add the intensifier “real” to the word “good”. It is presumed the potential buyer, then, must be reading and saying, “Hmmmm . . . this crappy car over here only runs good, but this 1949 Mercury up on cinder blocks in that guy’s front yard runs real good, so I guess I’d better buy that!”
To begin with, no mechanical device “runs good”. That is a grammatical error perpetuated and overlooked almost overwhelmingly by the average putz. “Good” is an adjective: a piece of (good) machinery may operate (or “run”) well but it can’t run good. “Well” (the proper word) when used to describe how something may “run” is an adverb, not an adjective. A person in a marathon may be a good runner or have had a good run, but he or she doesn’t “run good”; anyone finishing the race runs well. [“Well” also obviously functions as a noun: “A toddler fell into a well.”]
The muscle car guys are almost always funny in their postings because they feel compelled to throw in every mechanical detail, ad nauseum, and no matter how picayune:
“350 v8 number matching 1969 Camaro with Muncie M20 4 speed out of same car with 3:08 rear gear also from same donor car, motor was completely rebuilt to stock besides the RV cam and painted same as the color of the car is going to be (Phantom Gray 2011 stock GM color). Muncie m20, with brand new Haynes clutch and Blow Proof bell housing, comp. Hurst 4 speed shifter.”
While that gibberish may be important to a gearhead—and bless ’em, these overly-technical listing sellers—these damn ads tend to read like out-of-context lyrics to early Beach Boys’ songs.
And, of course, all of those muscle cars “run good”!
Pets take a metaphorical beating on Craig’s website, but none, seemingly, more so than dogs.
This frail flower of femininity is holding out a dog that I guess she wants to sell. But she seems less than thrilled at the photo op, standing there with her coffin nail dangling off her lip and her best, Sunday-go-to-Walmart clothes.
One can’t begin to imagine, either, what is going on in the dog’s tiny brain, so I helped him out there with a thought balloon. [By the way, the dog was described as a “beautiful, young puppy” in the attendant post. Lies, I say—no fauna in that photo is young!]
And one particular bloodhound may take awhile getting placed thanks to the rambling, nonsensical words of its current owner (who just can’t even seem to get the animal’s gender correct!):
“. . . a beautiful Bloodhound he is well takein care of, her coat is shiny and clean and smells better than a dozen roses. He is microchippen and upbto date on all shots and vacination. he knows all basic commands and he is fully house broken and does great withbother pets and children. he is 2 years old so he is great for any family that wants to have a new companion. There is a 200 rehomeing fee . . .”
Barring the change in personal pronouns (referring first to the dog as “he” then referring to “her”), the fact this dog smells like a dozen roses and is so wonderful as to be a Nobel Prize laureate begs the question, “Why are you wanting to get rid of it?”
Another seller had a “chewwahwah” that she paid “almost a hunnert for”. She was looking to sell the “chewwahwah” so she could buy a “pomuriania” puppy. She even added the helpful statement that “I think they are Iranian” in reference to the “pomuriania” breed. Iranian?? Really??
And while dogs feature prominently in general it is a couple of listings for Yorkshire Terriers (Yorkies) that recently reduced me to fits of laughter.
The first was headlined “Delicious yorkie puppy”. I stopped right there and nearly choked—delicious? Do these have a good flavor, especially with a side of fries? Maybe with a nice, little, red “Two-Buck Chuck” from Trader Joe’s? Mmmmm . . . now that’s good eatin’!
Another one was funnier in its text. Under the hyperbolic header “Breath taking yorkie” (I have no clue why none of these jackwagons can find the shift key to use capital letters in their titles) was this delightfully stupid tag line: “the yorkie puppy is so special will make you feel it when you get him”. [Bad, confusing text is the work of that dog seller, not me!]
“Will make you feel it”? Make me feel it? This dog has some special telekinetic ability to force me, against my will, to make me reach out and feel it?
I’m feelin’ it—are you feelin’ it?
“I Missed You, Love of My Life. Signed, Stalker Boy”
Truly funnier than the regular ads of things for sale are the “personals”, and none are more harmlessly entertaining than those found under the “Missed Connections” category. This allows people who might have briefly espied each other in a public place (probably the local health department’s free clinic) to maybe, just maybe, find each other again. One party will post an ad, describe himself/herself and the circumstances under which he/she and a desired object (for later infecting) did not meet and greet. And, hopefully, the person with whom he or she was interested might see the ships-passing-in-the-night post and get in touch with his/her future baby mama/daddy or future life-ender.
The categories under which these ads are placed are myriad: “man seeks woman” (abbreviated with the charming text-speak, “m4w”); “woman seeks man”; “Brony seeks adult heterosexuality”, etc.
And while mostly meek in tone the “Missed Connections” page does require the reader be 18 to view and also has a small-print notice below the group listings:
“Safer sex greatly reduces the risk of STDs (e.g. HIV). Please report suspected exploitation of minors.”
This alone can cause a sane person of normal intelligence to shy away from responding to anyone who posts such things, but . . .
A typical ad usually describes where the poster saw the prey potential love connection and what he (they’re mostly always men looking for women they saw at the Laundromat or walking past his parole officer’s building) looks like and how much he wants to meet her. They will usually ask some kind of control question (such as “What bar were we at?” or “What did you have in your medical specimen jar?”) to ensure that any responses received are from their true love and not some troller.
A Lothario at Walmart had this to say about his “find” in the produce section:
“I saw your blonde hair from a mile away and walked past and commented that you didn’t have a jacket. What did you say in response?” [His “control” question to make sure it was his blond who responded to him and not some other unattainable blond—I’m guessing her response to Mr. Obvious, about her lack of a certain item of apparel, would have been along the lines of “No s**t, Sherlock!!” or “I see you’re not wearing a tiara!”]
This next one makes sure his target (seen in a grocery store) knows he’s not a stalker (but he wishes she were!):
“You let me cut in front of you in line and I followed you to the newly open line. I told you that I was not stalking you. You stated that your life was not that interesting anyway. I can’t believe that for a minute with such ravishingly beautiful looks. I was secretly wishing you were stalking me. :)”
“Wishing you were stalking me” with a smiley-face emoticon—nothing says “sincere” like a smiley-face emoticon! And it goes on to ask her what he was wearing (so he’d know it was her responding) and if they can meet somewhere, blah, blah, blah.
And this guy fancies himself a bit of a philosopher/intellect/Renaissance man:
“You were at the courthouse today wearing a balck stripe skirt was looking at your phone. dark hair, with a gray spot in front glasses. So fine. i seen you turn around and that ass! tell me What i wore.”
Women can be just as stupid, though. Check this out:
“. . . I see you out sometimes at bars or the coffee shop and I know you always notice me. We’ve shared a handful of conversations but never longer than a cigarette. I asked you for a light as you were sitting down about a week ago and I leaned forward giving you a great view straight down my shirt. Yes it was intentional lol . . . I’m blonde, younger than you and in shape. Maybe you remember my Star Wars tattoo since you’ve commented on it . . .”
I’m gonna guess the free cleavage shot and the Star Wars tattoo will be the beginnings of a bee-yoo-tee-ful friendship, one that I’m sure will last longer than a cigarette!
“I Want for You to Make the Sexy Time with Me!”
The absolute worst ads found on Craigslist are those in the “personals” section (which is the class the amusing “Missed Connections” falls under). Within the personals are those people with no scruples or senses of shame because they place ads for anonymous sexual encounters in the hopes that some moron is out there looking to hook up with them for what most likely will be a one-night stand (and a life-time commitment to having herpes or HIV).
While “Missed Connections” ads are usually innocuous—brainless and reeking of desperation, but innocuous nonetheless—the other kind, under the header “Causal Encounters”, are graphic to the point of being disgusting for the most part. They make you throw up in your mouth a little bit. The insanity posted under that section is typified by people who apparently have no concept of what a healthy sexual relationship may entail; these ads usually revolve around a specific act the writer wants to perform on whatever misguided/drug-addled/brain damaged respondent may choose to reply.
This section, too, carries the same “safe sex” warning the other personals carry, so caveat emptor, kids! These ads (none of which will be quoted here for obvious reasons) are the worst on the site simply because the posters reduce themselves (and, by extension, anyone who replies) to the most base elements. No sensuality or caring is involved, and while it isn’t certain that money changes hands for the acts desired (it may) the simple seeking out and finding tends to smell a bit like a john (or johnette) seeking a prostitute.
And, because much of what is posted there is from totally, socially retarded people almost any random ad viewed will be side-splitting!!
Craig Be Good!
The Weird Al video parody (“Craigslist”) at the end of this article neatly sums up (and skewers) much of what is off-kilter and funny about the site.
Not all who post are white trash illiterates, though. For example, one can find car ads that read “runs well” (versus the good ol’ stand-by, “runs good”). And, certainly, most who use the site are articulate people perfectly capable of posting without making themselves look like the village idiot.
The many local markets served by “The List” benefit greatly from the exposure. Having sold some things on the site myself over the past few years (good quality furniture I no longer needed) I found the process of uploading photos and setting up the ad text very easy. Obviously, one has to deal with “looky loos”, people who will ask you a million questions via the e-mail set up specifically for that posting and then don’t buy your item, but those are to be expected. The site also allows users to flag an offensive or otherwise misleading or erroneous ad as well, so there is a modicum of oversight (sheeple generated though it be).
Overall, Craigslist is a good concept that helps connect buyers and sellers easily, providing a wonderful means of exposing a seller’s items to potentially hundreds of thousands of people (depending upon which geographic market one lives). Anyone can find a job, a pre-owned engagement ring, a used car, a bunny (my wife and I found our most recent rabbit, a Flemish Giant named Regis Philbun, on the site), or a “love” connection. Furthermore, there are no subscription fees, no service fees for sellers, or any other hidden costs.
In addition to that, thanks to the fact that the world is filled with barely literate folks, you can also get a good chuckle—for free!—by randomly reading some of the ads!