Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tracing the Slide of the American Economy From Craig's List


    Those who read this blog regularly know that our eldest daughter who graduated from university a couple of years ago was fortunate enough to buy a home.  Of course, having spent almost every dollar she had in order to close on it, it has taken her time to do the requisite cleaning and repairs. There were a lot of those to do.  The house had been a government repossession, and it seems that the government should move in a speedier fashion sometimes to prevent some of the damage which occurs prior to some foreclosures.  Now, a number of months later, she is ready to buy appliances and move in.  Of course, she doesn't have abundant funds, and the money she has saved should be retained as an emergency cushion and not be spent on the appliances she needs.  This is one of the challenges of being a good parent to an adult child.  You know they have grown and that they need to make sense of the world themselves, but you also hate to see them flounder or have less than they genuinely need.  Our best suggestion rather than buying new appliances on credit,  was Craigslist.  Of course, we asked her to be careful and to take one or several of her brothers and a truck.  We became familiar with Craigslist a couple of years ago when friends of our eldest son furnished all of their college apartment using Craigslist, and then upon graduation, sold everything they found there all over one or two days, on Craigslist also.
            Our daughter needed an electric stove, a refrigerator and a washer dryer set.  Since we kept some of the nicer furniture from my mother's home, and our daughter really liked it,  she didn't need much furniture.  I bought a really lovely large kitchen table and chairs from a local garage sale for her.

Yes, her refrigerator is a Maytag.
             Craigslist is an interesting examination of the American economy in itself.  Of course the information I am conveying is anecdotal, but it is interesting nonetheless.  The first item we began to seek together was a refrigerator.  She needed this even before she moved in !   She and my eldest son were installing new oak floors together and they needed somewhere over the summer to store cool water, gatorade, soda and sandwiches they'd brought while working. So,  I would peruse Craigslist and make the calls, and then my son and I would go to see the item on my daughter's instruction usually while she was working.    Some of the available refrigerators are available because people are redecorating and are seeking another color or a completely different style or size. Others are available because they have sold a house and the new buyer already owns one they prefer. There were plenty of them in all types available and they ranged from fair prices to costing almost as much as the same item new, which would also have come with a warranty.  Our daughter eventually settled on one in our own county where the family was redecorating a kitchen. We brought it to her house, let it sit for a day or so.  Then, we took all of the interior apart and washed it all in mild bleach solution before drying it, airing it out, and  putting it together again.  Then, I placed a refrigerator thermometer in it, and a another one  in the freezer, turned the frij on, and made sure that both sections would maintain the desirable temperatures in each area.   It worked perfectly, and we were encouraged.

I placed one of these in the refrigerator and one in the freezer which I will leave permanently in order to make sure the settings are correct, as the required settings do vary a bit in summer, and in winter.

              We had difficulty locating a stove.  Many of them were luxury or professional stoves or were gas operated.  Eventually we found one, two counties over in a gated community, and we arranged to look at it. This family was installing a Jenn Air grill and the original stove to their new home was no longer needed. The family had an exceedingly steep driveway and we, therefore, had a heck of a time loading it into my son's truck and then relocating it to my daughter's house.  It too works beautifully and was worth every dime we paid.   We carefully cleaned that too.


               The very last thing she needed was a washer and dryer.  This proved to be the most difficult of all. There were an abundance of very expensive front loading sets which were about $1200. per set, even used.  This was much more than she could afford.  We found a few sets which fit the space she had available, but when she called, they had been sold.  The good ones seemed to go within hours of being listed. As of thiis week, we have been looking for a washer dryer for more than a month.  I decided to look at stores which had new ones, in the hope that someone had a sale.Unfortunately, my favorite appliance shop, Ron Martin Appliance has gone out of business.   Interestingly, earlier in our process,  people selling appliances had simply been redoing homes they had chosen to remain in.  However, the people parting with washer dryers now are people who were either losing homes, and needed to sell these appliances for rent money for a new rental, or people who had been transferred and needed to part with everything quickly.  There was not only turmoil in the lives of these families but a desire to sell quickly and there was a tinge of desperation with some of them also.
             This evening,  my husband and I brought home a fairly new washer dryer from a city a distance away.  A man who had sold a rental house found that the new buyers had their own washer dryer and did not want the one that was in the house.   These were fairly new, as was his rental home, and without somewhere to adequately store them, he needed them sold quickly.    Tonight marks the first night that our daughter's home has all the appliances it needs.  Tomorrow, we will run a bleach load through the new washer, and wipe out everything in both.

               One of the things to remember if you are buying appliances or certain pieces of furniture from Craigslist or from any used source, is that you should run a search on the internet with the brand and model number for possible recalls.  As it turns out,  our daughter's refrigerator has been recalled, but the manufacturer will come to the house to replace a potentially defective relay free of charge.

             Daniel would be so excited that one of his siblings has their own home.  Now, she plans to expand and replace the security system, and put in a water filtration system on her own dime.  Then, she and a roommate will finally move in.

              If you have a chance, check out Craigslist.  Be careful, but it could be a great place to sell some things you need to, or to acquire some things you really need.   Make the time to be sure that the things you acquire are safe and enjoy your purchases.

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