Classifying — and solving — a new problem

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Craigslist is scary, eBay is a hassle and newspaper classifieds as less effective than a combover in a windstorm — so what to do? The new UnionvilleTimes.com classified

By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com

It's listed at $7,500, but make me an offer.

I have a car problem. At least, that’s how my wife sees it.

Up until recently, I had too many cars. Now, I recognize that can be taken a couple of ways around Unionville, ranging from the dreaded and now mostly extinct cars on the lawn on cinder blocks, to some of our wealthier neighbors wondering which Ferrari to drive today.

I don’t exactly fall in either category — my cars all run, but none would win Best in Show at Amelia Island, either. One car has departed via eBay — my beloved old Honda Civic. Well, at least I think so. Since this is a family news site, I’ll put it this way: selling a car on eBay is less fun than getting divorced, and with none of the perks and nearly as expensive.

The problem car I still have is my old 1979 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. The car itself isn’t a problem — but continuing to own it prevents me from getting another car, this time (cue Bob Barker voice), a brand new car! My days of owning three cars at a time (I still have my everyday driver Subaru, which remains handy to have when it snows two feet or the Brandywine floods, or both on the same day, and I need to get out to shoot pictures) have met a spousal roadblock (yes, that’s her over there with her cute, little chainsaw).

So, to get the new wheels — a new Ford Mustang convertible, from our pals at Garnet Ford — the Bug must depart, plus, to be honest, I could use the cash to add to the down payment fund.

But how to sell it? Well, there’s eBay — which is where I bought it, and subsequently drove it home from Utah in three days (and discovered that the horn and wipers didn’t work in Kansas, both of which are now fixed). But there’s the whole less fun than leprosy issue, so, I’m leaving that as a last resort.

Hmmm. There’s always Cragslist. Of course, that’s a little like going on a double date with Charles Manson, but it’s never boring and of course, free. Unless you don’t so much like the idea of inviting felons to your house to inspect the merchandise. My wife, you remember the chainsaw, is oddly opposed to that idea. Fussy, fussy.

And then there’s my pal Freddie’s suggestion: run an ad in the paper. Unfortunately, Freddie was hit very hard in the head in the early 1980s, and doesn’t seem to remember any new information. Walk around downtown Kennett Square with him and he always marvels at all the people talking into their tiny “walkie-talkie” thingamabobs. You’ve undoubtedly seen him, he’s the guy in the “Miami Vice” T-shirt trying to find New Coke at SuperFresh.

The abject failure of classifieds at newspapers (along with the abject failure of management) is why pretty much every old-style newspaper around here not already pushing up daisies is in the publishing equivalent of hospice care.

“So, Mr. Big-time media baron, why don’t you do something about it?” asked my wife, the other day.

Well, I did.

You’ve probably noticed the new classified section — which features an ad for the Volkswagen. Your ad could be there, too (just $2.99). The ads are cheap — but not free, which cuts down the odds of ads being placed for non-existent products by scammers and the ads are all locally placed and screened by our staff (no strange or icky stuff). And the ads are seen by your neighbors, so the scary factor is at a minimum.

So give ‘em a try. Or check out my ad.

Granted, there’s not much there yet, but I wanted to make sure everything worked right before rolling it out. So far, so good.

Let me know what you think — and as always, if you have any other ideas we should be looking at.

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