Buying items “previously loved” is a great practice to partake in ecologically, economically, and otherwise. I mean, you’re covering at least 2 of the 3 R’s of recycling. #winner! You can go on many public forums and buy anything imaginable; the possibilities for hoarding are boundless.

Many of these sites have become forbidding due to fear of the unknown and society’s tendency for paranoia. This is especially true with Lifetime scaring us with cinematic thrillers like the Craigslist Killer movie. I know these are true events, and buying from strangers is definitely a time to proceed with caution; but what about buying from your friends?

People whom you know and trust, went to school with, dated…maybe even recognize from Facebook? Now that is more acceptable. Your friends, or people your friends are friends with, would never hurt you…well, that’s the idea anyway. What I do know is that I am a recent fan of Facebook marketplace, (regardless of the fact that is has been around for some time now) and the Oodle app that puts thrift store style shopping at my fingertips anytime.

I was thinking about this the other day as I flicked through postings of bright purple couches, bikes, and so many old desks I could probably stock a 10-story office building. (I mention purple couches because I almost purchased a set of purple couches last week on Oodle. Thanks to good sense and some friend-tervention, I avoided that mistake). Seeing that familiar name next to the posting made me feel more comfortable about this buying this item though, despite the couches shocking resemblance to Barney.
When in reality, my facebook “friend”, Johnny Appleseed, is a guy I have met one time at party, and his “friend”, Martha Washington, may have the same lost connection with him. It’s that familiarity that people take comfort in, that’s why selling can be such a psychological chess match: Each side is trying to get something out of the deal without giving away their strategy or breaking point. It is a complete mind game. You make someone feel comfortable with buying something that they have never seen by putting a friendly face to the unknown, kind of a silent endorsement.

Referral’s are so powerful for this reason too because another person is personally recommending the product or service, and it gives you piece of mind that helps eliminate the risks involved with buying/using something that you are unfamiliar with. Psychology was my minor in college, and is a true passion of mine. It’s a big part of why I love marketing and advertising so much.

It’s about people and communicating to people and getting through to them in a way that doesn’t cause them to put up their guard. So the brilliance of Facebook marketplace really caught my eye and made me love its simple yet effective selling strategy, even if they don’t directly profit from the sales they are making possible. That friend to friend connection keeps me coming back to Oodle more times in one day than I will own up to, and is the reason I now have a new bike!

In summary: Be safe, smart, and aware when you buy something from any public forum, even Facebook marketplace. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to buy a couch from a connection who is personal friends with the Pope; meeting in a dark alley at midnight loaded with cash is never a good idea. So with those words of wisdom, caution, and some hopefully interesting insight in mind, go forth and purchase! Just be weary of the brightly colored couches, they can be very enticing!

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