Local residents connect with Facebook yard sale
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 00:03
Butler County residents now use Facebook as more than just a means of communication.
A Facebook page called “Butler County, Ohio (N. of Cincinnati) Garage & Yard Sale Stuff” allows members to buy and sell previously-used items.
The Facebook page is a closed group with 241 members who use the site not only to buy things from others, but also make a profit themselves.
The page is private, but members of the group can invite other members to join, according to sophomore Shannon Beatty.
Charles Moul, a Miami University assistant economics professor, said this is much more efficient than doing an actual garage sale.
“We can imagine that all our apartments and houses have a lot of junk in them,” Moul said. “I can’t identify who values my items more than I do. This website lessens that problem.”
Beatty is a new user of this Facebook phenomenon. She heard about it through a friend, senior Morgan Perry, and decided she could use the extra cash.
According to Beatty, the way it works is similar to Craigslist. Members of the group post a picture, description and price on the page and anyone interested can ‘like’ or comment. The more ‘likes’ a picture gets, the higher it will be on the page for more people to see. Beatty said sometimes people will bargain, but usually the price stays the same.
According to Beatty, once someone comments on the picture of the item they are interested in, admins of the Facebook page have asked the consumer and seller to then private message one another to determine a meeting spot to pick up the item(s).
“It’s kind of risky and kind of unsafe, but there are rules,” Beatty said.
Beatty said rules that apply to these meetings include meeting only in the daytime and only in a public place.
“While this may have been safe 25 years ago, ideally it isn’t safe in this day and age,” junior Rebecca O’Neal said. “Things have changed, people have become more naive and others have believed they could get away with things.”
According to Perry, who has used the page for about three months, it has administrators who make sure the site is kept safe.
Perry said anyone who tries to sell inappropriate items will be reported and their post will be deleted.
The moderators have implemented a three-strike rule, meaning after three incidents, a member will be asked to leave the group.
While there are rules for posts and meetings, incidents still occur.
A warning posted on the Facebook page encouraged all members to remember to private message about the meetings for the items.
This reminder comes after an incident regarding a man who had just finished a sale when two African American men came up to him demanding to have the money he just made from his sale. The two men saw the information about the meeting time and place off of the Facebook page, according to Beatty.
Both Perry and Beatty said they are not worried about the possible danger of this program. They both use the same meeting place, Meijer in Hamilton, where a camera is visible and there are Meijer employees who are aware of the meetings.
“This is pretty risky in a way, but I feel safe enough because I always have my phone or someone with me,” Beatty said. “Meeting at Meijer is a very public place and not a dark alley.”
For Beatty, she said using common sense has kept her safe. If she is alone, she will type 911 on her phone and leave it open.
Despite the potential danger, there are still over 200 members on this Butler County Facebook page. According to Beatty, there is an array of items sold on the site.
“People sell cars, puppies looking for homes, clothes and just about anything in between,” Beatty said.
Beatty said the most bizarre item she saw for sale was cough medicine in bulk. The seller said it had never been opened, nor was the seller positive she was allowed to post and sell it.
Perry said she has sold the majority of her items, which have been clothes, to people around her age. However, she has bought household items for her house in Oxford from older residents from Butler County.
Moul said the only reason this Facebook page would not last is if something better comes along. He said garage sales have been around for a while, and they will continue to be.
This Facebook page is simply a better and more efficient version of a garage sale, since the transaction is done in person and there is no shipping fee, according to Moul.
Moul said he believes this is a beneficial group.
“Nothing makes an economist sadder than people having stuff in their house that they don’t value which other people would value,” he said.