Craigslist is great for trading goods and services. Need to get rid of a sofa? Craigslist. Old cell phone? Maybe Gazelle. But Craigslist isn’t a bad choice either (if you’re safe!). Whatever you use it for, you have to admit it’s become an indispensable tool in the Internet Age, a more immediate and local eBay filled with wondrous and amazing stuff.
But, come to find out, it’s also a frightening dystopia of obsolete technology—not just used technology; old technology—forgotten by time. These are the kind of trinkets your out-of-touch parents used to buy, and now they’re being pawned to a younger, more tech savvy generation.
I’ve been casually perusing the “for sale” sections around major U.S. cities, and I’ve made some truly appalling discoveries: off-brand digital cameras, tube TVs, portable CD players, and worse. And to think: all of this stuff—and more!—is just…available, waiting for people to say, Hey, is this still for sale? You have to wonder: Do these relics ever get sold? Or do they go unloved until they’re finally thrown away?
I tried reaching out to a few of the original posters with some questions—I had to know who they thought might buy a “Reto [sic] JC Penny’s B/w Tv”—but I haven’t received any responses, yet. (That can be a separate post unto itself.) Either these people are overwhelmed with interest, or they’ve simply given up, resided to the fact that VHS is no longer the preferred media.
It’s not just the items themselves that make these listings so nightmarish; the descriptions and images help to complete the circle of technological despair. They’re like car wrecks—I want to look away, but I’m ultimately compelled to stare. Partly in amazement, partly in horror. Once you start looking, like any terrible thing on the Internet, it’s impossible to stop.
It’s funny: technology moves at such an alarming pace, that we forget. We have pocket computers, crazy VR goggles, and watches that do more than tell time. In that sense, peering through these listings gives you a renewed appreciation for how far we’ve come. It makes our complaints almost meaningless. A 720p screen? Suddenly it looks sharper, while six-month-old processors and plastic designs don’t seem so bad.
I don’t blame these people for trying to squeeze a buck out of their old stuff. But who, in a landscape where smartphones have become ubiquitous, would buy an 8GB Sanheshun MP3 player? A Sega Genesis, maybe. But, man, some of these listings are just plain insane. That’s what Craigslist has become: a gold mine, a safe haven for people to shamelessly dispose of their unwanted stuff, no matter how old and outdated it is.
That’s the fun of it, though. Searching through the depths of Craigslist is like peering at a museum—a dank, horrible, unkempt badlands where things that shouldn’t be for sale, are for sale. The listings above are but a few we came across, including a particularly priceless one below.
Trade you my Fire Phone for OPO? What a deal.