Why Do Craigslist Lowballers Play The Sympathy Card?

Every morning I find new best friends in my email box.

“My daughter is a young single mom. We’re looking to get her something that is safe, reliable, and less than $1200. Can you lower the price on your 2008 Sonata?”


Actually, the request above would be like a grammatical gift from the Gods. The average Craigslist sympathy email I get offers about as much sentence structure as old Nirvana lyrics, and as much deep thought as a Sarah Palin interview.

First there is the Ebonics texter. A guy I slightly sympathize with because at least he tries. Although not that much.

“Ur price hi botam dollah?

“Wud u cel les muny?”

“Would you trade? I have overpriced shitbox I can’t sell!”

Okay, the last one is my translation of what amounts to texting hieroglyphics. But you pretty much get the idea. Most of these folks are just bored and I return their lack of effort by ignoring their requests.


But then there are those which make you scratch your head just a little bit. The first is a big broad category that I call, ‘Single Mom’.



The internet is over 20 years old and some poor soul out there still can’t find the Caps Lock button. Seriously though, this wouldn’t bother me that much if I didn’t on occasion call back the number and hear a deep manly voice that almost sounds like this guy.

“Uh.... hello?”


That single mom impersonator isn’t the worst type of inhabitant in the Craigslist lowballing community. The green slime that’s stuck in the very bottom of the barrel are the know-it-alls, and they almost always come in two forms.

Mr. Kelly And His Blue Book

“Kelly Blue Book says that your 2005 Kia Spectra is only worth $1100. I’ll offer you $1300 which is more than fair. I need wheels!”


First off, if I could buy an average condition 2005 Kia Spectra for $1100, I would buy every single one and start at an Uber service for crackheads. It’s an open secret that KBB lowballs the hell out of older used cars to the point where they have no relevance to car buying reality.

So what happens? People who are cheaper than a wore out mop use it to badger complete strangers with offers that they would never take themselves.


Then there are the psychics.

The Fortune Teller

“These vehicles require a lot of maintenance. I should know because the internet told me. Also, they seem to always lose blinker fluid every 10,000 miles according to a thread I found on Saturnalia that was written about six years ago. Look, I’m not trying to lowball you but we have a family member who is dying from chronic halitosis and it would be a great help to her investment in Scope if you sold your car for a pack of chewing gum”


Now what gets me isn’t the blinker fluid. Heck, plenty of dealerships out there try to charge you for all sorts of fictional transaction costs and maintenance related schemes. Bullshit is a lubricant in much of the car world and the Wild West of commerce that is Craigslist has bullpucky all over the place.

What pisses me off is having anyone tell me what price I should sell my car for. Pardon my French, but I believe this classic quote from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off said it best. These guys are axe-hoes and when I see these pearls of wisdom fall into my email box, I just instantly delete them and remind myself of the pecking order I now have for automotive charity.

  1. Immediate family members
  2. Best friends who I have known for a long time.
  3. Relatives who just need a little help
  4. Friends and acquaintances, depending on the need
  5. Any combination of 2, 3, and 4, that need more than a little help.
  6. Monkeys at the zoo that fling feces at visitors
  7. Goldman Sachs
  8. Those who play the sympathy card on Craigslist

That just about sums it up. But how about you? What types of lowballers have you experienced on Craigslist? Feel free to help us all figure out to how to eradicate this virtual form of online herpes, and if you are selling a perfectly good MINI Cooper for $2000 in the Atlanta area, let me know. I have $1800 CASH MONEY!

Share This Story

Get our newsletter