Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to Buy an American Girl Doll on Craigslist

 I had no idea that Craigslist had an icon; it's actually kind of cool. I love peace signs. In college, I had a very hippie/bohemian fashion style so loose, billowy shirts, braids, hemp jewelry with peace sign beads...ahhh, those were the days. Maybe I'll do a little revisiting of those days soon and pull out the fringed jacket, who knows?

Last night, I posted about the upcoming doll sale that I will be hosting on Saturday. Since I posted on Craigslist, and because I am doing a series of posts discussing buying and selling on the secondary market, I figure I'll share my thoughts and experiences dealing with Craigslist.

Me and Craigslist (Craigslist and I? Darn it, I'm an English major) go way back. Back to when I started buying dolls left and right becuase I found them for a great bargain. A lot of those bargains were on Craigslist. I've found complete collections: one time, I bought a lot of AG items for $500 that included 13 of the 18"dolls, Julies' bed, Molly's stage and theater chairs, TONS of clothing, and tons of accessories. I've found countless dolls: two Nicki dolls in complete outfit for $50 each, Addy and Samantha for $20 each, Samantha dolls for $30, etc. So there are a LOT of bargains to be found on Craigslist. Well, for some reason there aren't as many anymore, which is a bummer.

A lot of people hate Craigslist, and with good reason. I think that I may have been lucky, as for the most part, whenever I was interested in something I was always the first one to inquire and actually go buy it. That's one reason why so many people hate the Craigslist game: it's first come, first served. The first person with cash usually gets the sale. I didn't like this at first; the first time I was supposed to buy a doll (a brand new MyAG #29 doll for $50) I made an appointment to meet with the seller a couple of days later, and when that day came, she said she sold to someone else. Now as a seller, I sort of understand. So many people will tell you they are coming, but then they won't show up. Selling to the first person with cash sort of steps up the sense of urgency, if that makes any sense. That way, you know who is serious and who is not. It's not a foolproof system, but it's worked out so far for me.

When searching for AG items on Craigslist, you will come across tons of ads where sellers are asking ridiculous prices. Just be patient, most likely they will realize what their items are really worth and the price will come down. Or if you have time, feel free to negotiate. Craigslist is a place to buy items for a bargain, so feel free to bargain. After all, the worst they can say is no, but it's worth the shot! As a seller, remember as well that buyers looking on Craigslist are looking for deals. You won't have much luck selling something for eBay or retail prices. 

Speaking of deals, if you are selling American Girl items, you will ALWAYS have people who will try to scam you out of your stuff. I've heard it all: "My daughter wants a doll, but I can only afford $20", or if you have really rare items, they will try to con you into selling them for $5 or $10 an outfit. So KNOW YOUR STUFF! It pays to do your research! Someone put up an angry ad not too long ago directed towards someone who came to her yard sale and offered her $20 for her daughter's Kirsten doll and outfits. Well, if you don't take the time to research the worth of your items, there is no one to blame but yourself, so take that extra time because it will pay off.

Now when you meet up with someone, whether to buy or sell, always put safety first! I was a young and reckless college student, meeting sellers by myself, even though we would meet in public places. Also, when buying, always check the items to make sure it is what you agreed to buy. I cannot tell you how many times I've been in a rush and the dolls have cut hair or large stains or whatnot that I discovered after getting home. Take the time to inspect everything carefully. Hey, it's your money the sellers want, they can wait an extra five minutes.

Craigslist can be a stressful experience for newbies, and even for experienced users like me. But I find it to be worth it. So far, anyway.


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