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Not all craigslist users experience difficulties

Two Lake Oswego Review reporters have enjoyed nothing but success when using craigslist. Here are first-person accounts from Education Reporter Cori Bolger and City Reporter Sam Bennett:

By CORI BOLGER

Staff Reporter

Craigslist is a godsend. Seriously, it is.

I could go on and on extolling the virtues of this amazingly helpful Web site. Believe me, I know how difficult life can be without it.

I once lived in Mississippi, where virtually no one knows about or uses craigslist. But when I moved from Mississippi to Portland two years ago, craigslist saved me a lot of grief as a stranger in a strange land.

I desperately needed to make money to pay my bills. Through craigslist, I found a job at a senior living facility in Sandy, where I cleaned and served food to residents. Even at minimum wage, it was one of the best jobs I've ever had.

Next, I needed to find a place to live. I discovered an ad on craigslist for a cute purple house located along a bike corridor and mere blocks from the Southeast waterfront and the Lucky Lab brewery.

I drove there to meet the man who posted the ad after we chatted on the phone. Yes, I went alone. No, it wasn't scary. Our personalities clicked. And I loved the ground-floor bedroom with the high ceiling and private bath.

I immediately signed the lease and moved in. Though I moved out in August (into another craigslist find), I am still good friends with my old roommates.

On craigslist, I found my Eddie Bauer bed frame, comfy mattress, wooden dresser and vintage turntable stand. I sold my bike to a nice guy who invited me to hang out with him and his friends at a bar downtown when I didn't know anyone in town.

Then, when my boyfriend moved to Seattle, I advertised on craigslist to share my car on the ride north each weekend. Those trips introduced me to new people who shared delightful stories along the way (and I didn't have to pay to fill my gas tank).

I bought tickets off of craigslist to see Brandi Carlile and Ryan Adams when they each played sold-out shows at the Aladdin Theater. They ended up costing less than face value because the people selling them were simply that nice.

I know people who have found long-lost relatives through craigslist and others who browsed personal ads and eventually met their significant others, or at least went on a decent date.

Occasionally, if I'm strapped for cash, I'll sell an item myself. Sometimes, people write checks as payment - and I tend to trust them.

I've found that there are good, honest people on craigslist and it's not hard to find them - or anything else, for that matter.

By SAM BENNETT

Staff Reporter

Whether I'm buying or selling, craigslist rocks.

Being of Scottish descent (cheap) and being a journalist (poor), I live for the bargain.

My first craigslist (CL) experience was in 2003, when I purchased a Fender Telecaster electric guitar. The seller wanted to meet me in a parking lot near Olympia. Scary? No problem. The transaction was smooth as silk and I was instantly hooked.

Since then, I've bought watches, an Apple MacBook, shoes, sunglasses, firewood, a Nikon digital camera, an SUV and, of course, the all-important Entertainment Book, packed with coupons.

I've sold quite a bit there, too, including cars, furniture and a guitar.

I always ask sellers a little about how they purchased the item and I ask them to produce a receipt, if possible. When a seller seems sketchy, I walk away. I'm always skeptical of sellers who hype their ads with exclamation points or capitalizations. But even with people who seem trustworthy, caveat emptor.

As a seller, the main downside is responding to numerous e-mails and still having sales fall through. I also am very careful about giving out my address. When in doubt, it's best to meet in a neutral setting.

I'm always surprised by the immediacy of CL. I recently posted an ad for a VW Cabriolet, and had three interested parties within an hour.

There's very little that CL doesn't cover. Before I sold my house in Seattle, I advertised 'Free Stuff' and my place was swarming with people in a couple hours. My Realtor then put the home on CL.

I even figured out a way to get to Seattle using CL. Under 'Rideshare,' I found a guy in Hillsboro who drives up Friday nights and comes back Sunday. The cost: $10 each way. Beat that, Amtrak.