I was cashless (swapped out of cardless because I didn’t want to waste a week of pre-paid T-pass). Everything was fine, I even installed levelup and got a bonus $5 which I used to get a loaf of bread at the best bakery in town.

In a recent panic about finding a job and leaving Boston, I started preemptively selling off my furniture on craigslist. I have probably conducted 20 craigslist transactions (re-sold most of the stuff I bought) over the past few years. Each transaction has been cash based. Because buyers and sellers are complete strangers, cash is an instant and verifiable way to complete the exchange.

Two craigslist shoppers were supposed to buy my loveseat and ottoman. I realized that I would have to break the cashless rule or loan them my laptop so they could use paypal. I didn’t like the idea of complete strangers to using my computer and didn’t think they’d want to login to a site related to their finances on someone else’s machine. I considered having my roommate take the cash and pay me on paypal, but then it looked like she wasn’t going to be home while the buyers were here.

While I waited for the shoppers I realized that cash is the only option for exchanges between people who don’t know or trust each other and aren’t bound by formal repayment mechanisms. While I thought about how I didn’t trust the people coming to my house, I realized that the hour had passed and they had completely blown me off. Obviously, this re-affirmed my sense that some craigslist buyers cannot be trusted and made me glad that they had failed to materialize at my door.

I rescheduled with a new buyer. She dropped by Friday at 4 – the smackdown had ended! She asked if I could make change. I couldn’t. She let me keep it!


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