Monday, March 5, 2012

Breadmaker Cooks Up Craigslist Deals

“Getting a bread machine is a great idea! We'll be able to have bread every day, and we'll know exactly what's going in our bread! Awesome!”

Thinking like this has lead to the noble downfall of many a specialty cooking product. People see a product on sale that makes something they like and immediately want it. Once they have it, they use it once (MAYBE twice) and then sequester it to the darkest corners of the attic or dumpster and never think of using it again. And I love these people for this rationale.

Who wants some squared, randomly holed bread?
While some of these items go for over $100 on the retail market, they go cost significantly less on the “I want this crap out of my house” slums of Craigslist. They generally list it for 70 percent of what they paid for it (they want it gone) and I do the standard “offer 10 percent less than listing price,” which they always agree to (they really want it gone).

It's not just bread machines that fall into this delightful slum. There's also ice cream machines, back up bread makers, ravioli presses and diapers that populate my house as a result of my bargain shopping. Sure, I don't have a child, but diapers are great for other things... like they have funny cartoon characters on them?

These purchases resulted in lower cost jalepeno cheddar bread, near free beer bread (just add beer... bread) and an amazing sweet potato ice cream. Were I to get these at a normal store, I'd be out a lot of money and, in the case of the latter creation, I'd get odd stares. Sure, I do need to factor in that 80 percent of face into my value equation, but the cost of goods is so low, I definitely come out ahead.

But I realize there's got to be more to my searching than just amazing breads and mostly unused diapers. I know there had to be more to it than that, so I decided to expand my search.

Armed with this knowledge of the cheap and easy, I took to Craigslist to see just what else I could find. And then after I amended my search to NOT include the phrase “cheap and easy,” I found a lot of the results actually were quite intriguing. Everything from a dolphin candle holders to bathroom sinks to horse embryos were close at hand. Since I know these were hiding away in some darkened closet, they probably haven't been ravaged by the scourges of time and when combined will make an excellent multi-use tool. Would anyone like to eat horse embryo skewered on a dolphin out of my new bathroom sink? No? I can pair a bread with it too! Sounds good.

Mother said I no longer needed that ice cream maker.
The only downside of this whole Craigslist phenomenon is people who are going to firesale their items are probably not the most sane. They should know what value they have lurking in their closet, but they don't. And therefore, they are insane.

A good rule of thumb is when you go over to pay, if they say “I just didn't need that thing. That thing you're here for. Whatever it is, it's right over here... in my basement...” and then make a swooping gesture as they open the door, you probably shouldn't buy that item. Or, at the very least, you should do like I did and take a look behind you with each step to make sure he's not whipping out a machete... or whatever else can be whipped out.

Because of that strategy, I got a dirt cheap bike. Thank you Craigslist for your bizarre but awesome bargains. Now I'll have some of my popcorn bread.

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