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The Immense Power of The Follow Through

Friday, March 22, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

The hardest line to write of any paper, is the first line.  The toughest part of taking care of yourself is often actually making all of the phone calls necessary to set up the various appointments.  And likewise, when utilizing craigslist.com, having a willingness to put in some effort and respond promptly to correspondences can be the difference between a free 56" big screen T.V., and a bunch of empty emails shot into the darkness of the inter-webs.

My life has been dramatically bettered by craigslist.   Yours could be too.  Here are two helpful hints (with examples!!!) to working craigslist as if you owned it.  Which you do not.  Craig does.

1) If something of actual value is being given away for FREE on craigslist, and you want it, make the transaction process as painless as possible for the giver.  

This happens all of the time as far as I can tell.  Some guy who loves the latest electronica wants to upgrade to the next greatest thing.  Back in 2006, when living in Boston, there was a post on craigslist for a free 56" rear-projection (box) TV.  Perfect condition but, obviously, huge.  The ad said he was getting a plasma flatscreen or LCD or whatever, and that this one had to go.  His only stipulation was that it not be taken for resale.

Well, my housemate at the time, both an expert in these transactions and the owner of a pick-up truck replied to the post.  In his email he said, basically:  Hi, I'm Gavin, I live in Cambridge. I have a truck and can drive to you and grab the T.V. (for personal use) whenever is convenient for you.  Here is my phone number.  We promise to give it a good home.

Not too long after, Gavin (real name redacted--I'm not sure I could actually live with someone named Gavin) got a phone call from the T.V. giver-away'r stating his address and telling us to come on over and take the television.  He mentioned that Gavin's response was the only one that didn't request more information about the T.V.  All the other responses required him, a guy who is giving away a, let's say conservatively, $500 T.V. to do additional steps (send them the specs., tell them what inputs it has, exact dimension, etc.).

It's free.  Don't ask questions.  The price is RIGHT.  Don't handicap your own chances of success by further burdening a generous soul.  Put yourself in their position.  Wouldn't you choose whomever made the process easiest on you?  I know you would.

2.  Their are a ton  of jobs posted to craigslist.  Some are nutso, but many are quality postings seeking a greater range of applicants.  When you do see a listing that sparks your curiosity, you still have to have get up the courage to respond in order to make that dream-job a reality.  But it's so much easier (safer?) to just keeping clicking on by.

Back in the spring of 2005, I saw a post in the craigslist "jobs" section for photographers for the Red Sox.  Surprisingly, the ad was not asking for photography experience, but rather individuals with enthusiastic and outgoing personalities.  I am an individual with one of those personalities, and I also happen to be a huge Red Sox fan.  Interested individuals were told to come with a resume to the .401 Club on Yawkey Way.  I didn't know exactly what this gig was about . . . and I was at least a little worried that it was all a internet hoax, but all I had to lose was an afternoon.

I showed up 15 minutes early, and was welcomed by a small but growing group of eclectic individuals.  Some seemed to "know the drill" while others, like myself, had more of a deer-in-headlights expression going on.  We were eventually let into the club and there began my interview and subsequent induction into the FanFoto family.  An occupation which involves roaming Fenway during the pre-game and game, taking digital photographs of the fans, which they can then purchase subsequently on the internet  as a souvenir.  While for some this would be an absolute nightmare, I enjoyed the hell out of it.  Sure there were downsides (e.g. every time a middle-aged man used the joke, "I can't have my picture taken, my wife can't know where I am.), but I enjoy a good witty repartee with an audience.   In the Fenway grandstands, where banter is a un-ignorable constant, I was often thankful to always have the advantage of sobriety on my side.  Nothing is more precious than the look on contrition on an ├╝ber drunk dude's face when he thinks he just insulted your recently deceased mother. (sorry bout that mom)

While all jobs have their grit and sweat components, not all of them have perks like this one did:

- I got to watch games on top of the Green Monster for two summers.
- I got to take my father onto the field, onto the Green Monster, and into the Green Monster!!!
- I got to sign my name inside the Green Monster
- I caught/retrieved Dustin Pedrioa's first Fenway park home run.
- I snuck my Sox's loving girlfriend (now wife) into the park.
- I got all the ballplayer signature's I never tried to get as a kid.  I ended up with almost all of the Red Sox and most of the Mets (who I also like).
- I was on the field for one of the Mets vs. Red Sox games at Fenway, watched another with a friend, and watched the last one from the Green Monster.
- Met, shook hands, and got the signature of Hall of Famer Bobby Doer.
- Mistakenly took a poop in the women's bathroom at Fenway on opening day, just as the gates were opening.

Best. Perks. Ever.  All I had to do was show up to a craigslist ad and all this ended up happening to me.

I should mention that I recently responded to another job posting on craigslist, and the subsequent interview process has left me at the beginning of the runway to more good news . . . this time on the blogging front.   I can only hope that this experience turns out to be remotely as successful as the Sox gig.  Stay tuned and remember to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves.

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