Craigslist has helped a lot of people over the years. Happy relationships, casual flings, roommates, bargain electronics, jobs, missed connections, and much more all stem from this simple listing website. However, not everyone is quite so lucky! There are plenty of unfortunate souls out there who have gotten the short end of the stick, finding themselves thrown into some downright bizarre situations with some “eccentric” people – to put it nicely. Here are eight of the worst and strangest experiences folks have had to endure.
8. The Adorable Infestation
A woman wanted to adopt a hamster, and a Craigslist ad offering free critters seemed like the perfect option. She called to inquire about the ad, and was a bit confused when the response was, “Yes, I just found some.” Thinking she had simply misheard or misunderstood, she ventured over to pick out her new rodent friend. When she arrived, she was greeted by multiple cages, housing around 100 hamsters.
This unfortunate woman was not intentionally breeding hamsters, but she had owned a pregnant one that escaped in the house. The hamsters started breeding throughout the home, in the walls, under the sofa, and anywhere else they could find. As the old saying goes, if the hamster wheel’s arockin,’ don’t come aknockin’.
The result, of course, was a truly unmanageable hamster infestation. The woman was placing the hamsters in cages whenever she happened to find one, and then using Craigslist to try to sell them off faster than they could multiply! It almost sounds like the makings of a really twisted Milton Bradley game for kids. The Craigslist adopter gave the hamster hoarder an animal rescue organization’s number, and the hamsters were eventually removed. But let’s not ignore the true irony of this bizarre tale: those Craigslist hamsters were seeing more action than anyone in the Casual Encounters section. Think about that humbling factoid next time you cruise Craigslist for a romantic tryst.
7. The Too-Good-To-Be-True Household Giveaway
What would you do if you came across a Craigslist ad offering a household full of free items? Most people browsing the free section would be there in a heartbeat. The problem is that the person who posted the ad, Nichole Blackwell, did not actually live there. The bogus listing claimed that the tenants were moving out, the house was being demolished, and everything in the house was free – no exceptions. Naturally, Laurie Raye, the owner of the home, was more than a little bit surprised to come home to find that her house had been stripped by bargain-hungry Craigslisters.
Missing items included the refrigerator, front door, and – yes – even the kitchen sink. Blackwell was charged with second-degree burglary, criminal impersonation, and criminal mischief for her posting. Apparently, there had been some bad blood between the two, due to Raye evicting Blackwell’s mother from the home. Blackwell returned home angry after going to pick up some of her mother’s items, and she just couldn’t resist giving away a house full of Raye’s possessions. This may have been a dream come true for thrifty Craigslist hounds, but it sure sounds like a nightmare for the homeowner. This, my friends, is why it’s a good idea to have a quality home security system…and deadbolts…and window locks…and cabinet locks…and sink locks…and toilet locks…
You know what? Better yet, just be really nice to your landlord.
6. Sofa with a Surprise
A young couple were thrilled to find a fantastic deal on a new sofa, and headed out to reap the furniture fruits that Craigslist had to offer. Of course, the sellers claimed that they just had to get rid of it as soon as possible, as they were moving the next day – so everyone wins, right? Not quite. As they were carrying one of the couch sections out to the waiting van, the buyers noticed a bug scurrying across the upholstery – a cockroach to be specific. The seller quickly brushed the pest off, pretending nothing had happened.
Fortunately, this buyer knew that one visible roach usually means there are many more hiding. Before taking another step, he cut open the bottom of the couch, watching on in horror as thousands of roaches poured onto the ground, scrambling in every direction. If it wasn’t for that one roach out for a stroll around the couch, this couple may have paid $500 for a serious infestation. The sellers ashamedly returned their potential suckers’ money, presumably to find another unfortunate Craigslist mark to sell their sofa of sadness to. But hey, it still beats trying to assemble furniture from IKEA.
The moral of the story: When shopping for cockroaches on Craigslist, make sure there isn’t a sofa hiding underneath.
5. The Hydrophobic Roommate
A woman in San Francisco was urgently trying to move out of her ex-boyfriend’s house. After much searching, she finally found a Craigslist ad that looked promising, met up with the seemingly nice older lady who posted the listing, and decided to move in. Unfortunately, sometimes things are not always as they seem. After showering for the first time, the bewildered renter was confronted by her new roommate for leaving the shower wet. This hydrophobic housemate insisted that after drying herself, every single one of the roommate’s showers were promptly concluded with a full tub wipe down. One can only imagine how traumatized this woman must feel every time she’s forced to hover over an ominous pool of toilet water.
The poor roommate (with the patience of a saint) agreed to buy a separate towel for drying off the bathtub after using it, but unfortunately that was only one of the many peculiarities she had found herself living with. For example, she knew she had better stick with takeout when the neurotic roommate was out of town, as all of the dishes and silverware would be locked safely in the high-strung roomie’s bedroom, free from the prying hands of someone who may want to do something as insane as using them for eating. Needless to say, that was one roommate relationship that did not last long. One can only hope she found a companion who shares her disdain for water in bathtubs.
Let this be a lesson to all of you. When browsing for rooms on Craigslist, remember that the most seemingly sweet and normal people are often the most peculiar, so try to stick with the creepiest listings you can find. Then at least you know what you’re in for.
4. House for Rent (Does Not Include House)
This next story teaches a valuable lesson on making monetary transactions online. A family from Dewitt, MI thought that they had found the house of their dreams, as their family was quickly outgrowing their small apartment. The person who posted the listing claimed to be a missionary traveling to Nicaragua, looking for the right candidate to take care of his home. Assuming this was a sign from God, they were ready to take the plunge. And for only $1,200, this family just could not refuse.
Before signing the renter’s check, they performed a check of their own with the Lansing City Assessors, only to find that the names did not match as they should. The family visited the house and found an unexpected, unfortunate surprise – the house was actually for sale and had been rented by the same tenant for the past five years. Some nefarious overseas Craigslist scammer had stolen pictures of the home from the owner’s legitimate For Sale listing, and listed it for rent as if it was his own. Fortunately the family did not send the money and move in before talking to the real owner.
So remember, if the price seems too good to be true, and the “owner” is unable to meet with you in person, and the “For Sale” sign seems to contradict the owner’s story, and the electricity doesn’t work, and you need a crowbar to open the front door…there is a slight chance you may have been conned.
3. A Magical Exchange
A young San Francisco man was selling multiple boxes of sealed Magic: The Gathering cards on Craigslist. He found a buyer, and decided to do what most smart sellers (and feuding mafia bosses) prefer – meet at a public place. In this case, a Starbucks was the location of choice. The seller notices that there is an ATM conveniently located just a minute down the block. He decides to enjoy a cup of coffee while waiting for the buyer. That is when he notices the three police cars parked in front, but thinks nothing of it. After all, police raids in Frisco are about as ubiquitous as cockroaches in a Craigslist sofa.
Anyway, the buyer shows up, and the Magic merchant directs him to the ATM. He comes back with a handful of bills, ready to make the transaction. They walk to the car, exchange money for goods, and are immediately detained by the aforementioned boys in blue, who are under the assumption that these fantasy role-players are engaging in drug trafficking (and are also very bad at it). After tearing open multiple packs of the cards, they decide to call in for backup. Fortunately for these accidental Craigslist crime lords, the backup officer is also a Magic: The Gathering player, and is able to convince his cohorts that these boys just want to cast some spells.
Remember, kids. Imaginary wizard combat is way more satisfying than any street drug, and you’re far less likely to OD (although, in the dastardly world of spell casting, nothing is guaranteed).
2. Wow. Such Doge. Much Sold. Very Sadness.
Robert “Robby” Gabbert is a soldier and dog lover, who went to serve overseas in Afghanistan. The proud owner of a Shiba Inu “doge,” Robby assumed that his pal Baxter would be safe living with his girlfriend (now ex-girlfriend, surprisingly enough). Unfortunately, he was wrong. Rather than take care of the dog, she decided that it would be easier to simply put Robby’s canine pal on Craigslist. Even though Robby gave her his parent’s phone number so they could take care of Baxter, she decided – for some odd reason – that a random family on Craigslist would be better owners for poor Baxter than Robby. As an interesting side note, in The Divine Comedy, Dante describes the ninth circle of hell as being reserved for people who give away a loved one’s dog while that person is overseas fighting for their country. At least, I think that’s how it goes. My recollection of classic literature is a bit shaky.
When Robby learned of his now ex-lover’s decision, he made a plea to the internet to get Baxter back, begging for anyone with any information to call or email his mother. Sympathetic strangers helped make the Craigslist ad go viral, eventually allowing the rightful owner to get in touch with the new owner. Although the family was reluctant to give up Baxter, this Craigslist nightmare does have a happy ending, and Robby and Baxter have since been reunited.
The girlfriend’s actions were so abhorrent in this instance that we can only conclude that Robert must have met her on Craigslist. The moral of the story? Stick with eHarmony.
1. The Nanny Nightmare
Ralph and Marcella Bracamonte of Upland, CA needed some help looking after their three children. Naturally, they decided to hire a live-in nanny, and finding someone on Craigslist seemed like the best way to do so. Diane Stretton seemed like she would be a fine candidate, and she was – at first. After a few months without problems, the 64-year-old woman decided to stop working, citing health issues as the reason. Because she was not doing any work, the Bracamonte family asked her to leave. However, Stretton outright refused to vacate the premises.
Although they tried to take legal action, the police informed them that this was a civil matter, and that the authorities would not be able to intercede. In the meantime, the nanny refused to perform her duties, yet continued living in the household, eating the family’s food, and coming and going as she pleased. Because of a problem with the paperwork, a judge actually ruled in the nanny’s favor. The nanny was allowed to live in the household and there was nothing the homeowners could do about it. After she refused to work, she essentially became a squatter! Although the nanny claimed that she would move on as of July 4, 2014, she is still living in the home as of this writing.
So when looking for a nanny, always use extreme caution. Unless she flies in on an umbrella and sings songs about feeding the birds, you may be getting much more than you bargained for. And if she refuses to leave, try leaving the shower wet. That might just scare her away.
Proceed with Caution
As you can see, a certain amount of caution should always be observed when using Craigslist. Additionally, don’t let greed or opportunity cloud your judgment. It is certainly a wonderful resource with numerous positive characteristics, but it’s important to be careful. You never know when a simple transaction could turn into a Craigslist nightmare. Try to bring along a friend or family member whenever possible, and remember that if a Craigslist deal seems too good to be true, it just might be!