Worth Reading: ‘Meeting A Craigslist Stranger To Trade iPhones’

Having lived the same moment dozens of times, Nellie Bowles’s recounting of an iPhone Craigslist exchange made me smile:

“First came the barrage of scammers, texting that they were captains in the army so couldn’t meet — could I send my bank routing number? But like magic, the Internet provides. If you bought an iPhone 6 and want a 6 Plus, someone has the opposite problem.”

There’s always a discomforting uncertainty about using Craigslist. The awkward etiquette of email chains. The doubt and anticipation of a sale. The specific and at the same time generic wording of a listing. The nervous energy on your way to the rendezvous.

Once, after having me wait over an hour at a coffee shop while sending several reassuring texts about how he was “almost there,” a potential buyer finally admitted he was just having me wait and drink coffee all afternoon to troll me because he didn’t like the listing price I’d set for my iPhone. Unfortunately for him, I already waste plenty of afternoons sitting in a coffee shop idling on Twitter, so I couldn’t even be frustrated. I’m just sort of fascinated at the weird way Craigslist coalesces the behaviors of Internet anonymity and IRL interaction into a one-of-a-kind experience.