Be careful what you post on Craigslist. And be sure you're very, very explicit about exactly what it is you're offering, or you could wind up like one poor Georgia family.
Facing foreclosure on their home of 20 years, Pam Hobbs and her son lost even more when a yard sale posting on Craigslist gave people the impression that it wasn't just the furniture in the driveway they were giving away for free. Folks were welcome to come into their home and take anything -- and everything -- they could get their hands on. Total. Chaos.
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How did people get the impression that all the family's belongings were up for grabs? Here's the ad:
"Fairly large, free yard sale. Moving and we want everything to go for free. So come over and take whatever you want and how much you want. Here are a couple of items that will be there: Couch, chairs, lots of household and kitchen items, appliances, a wardrobe, desk, recliner, movies, lots of books, lamps, women's and teens' clothing, etc. And also a box of free food with lots of cans. Please take only if you need it. We're starting at 10 a.m., October 24th, and we'll finish when everything's gone."
Oh man. D'oh.
What did they take? Literally everything. Instead of coming by after 10 a.m. last Wednesday, as the post advised, people broke into the house before the family got home and looted the place. They took heirloom guitars, housewares, electronics, and nearly every scrap of clothing. The only things left were some books scattered on the floor.
Posting free things on Craigslist apparently turns people into scavengers, and Hobbs said she even found herself arguing with greedy folks about her own prized possessions. A woman had loaded her grandmother's sewing machine in the back of her truck and refused to give it back.
The family was able to recover a few of their belongings, and the community rallied to give them a $400 gift card to replace some of what was taken, but that doesn't seem like enough to replace a whole house-full of clothes, shoes, food, and furniture, does it?
It's a sad story, and a cautionary tale for anyone posting on Craigslist. This definitely makes me think twice about what I say on the popular classified ad website -- and how I say it -- so that selling that old coffee maker doesn't wind up costing me my kitchen.
Would you be afraid to let strangers into your house if you posted on Craigslist?
Image via 11Alive.com