MV Stuff 4 Sale

Last February, having been on Facebook for just over a year, I blogged about why I liked it. I listed four Vineyard-specific things I liked. One of them was MV Stuff 4 Sale. Kim Hilliard, massage therapist and musician, had started the group only a few weeks before and already, I noted in wonder, it had 500 members.

It’s now got 2,344. If I don’t hustle, it’ll hit 2,400 before I finish this post.

The group’s description is spare, like haiku: “Yard-sale style. Join the group. Post pics of stuff you have for sale, or stuff you’re looking to buy. Find Stuff. Get Stuff. Support Local. Recycle. Spam-Free. Easy.”

I’ve bought stuff, sold stuff, and given stuff away through MV Stuff 4 Sale. I love it. I more than love it. It’s a wonder.

You can get almost everything you want, and stuff you didn't know you wanted, at MV Stuff 4 Sale.

You can get almost anything you want, and stuff you didn’t know you wanted, at MV Stuff 4 Sale.

Each time I’ve bought, sold, or given something away, I’ve met someone I didn’t know, or knew only from a distance. Deals are made in cyberspace, but the goods are passed hand to hand, face to face, in the real world, on the real Martha’s Vineyard.

Even when I’m not selling or looking to buy anything (which is most of the time), I drop in frequently to see what other people are trying to unload. Kids’ clothing. Computer games. Motorcycles. Furniture of all sorts. Jewelry. Plants. Pots. Pottery.

hens

A few weeks ago someone offered hens for sale, $5 each. I wasn’t in the market for hens, but I learned a bit from the Q&A that followed the initial post. One person worried that the rooster in the picture would miss his hens. Turns out the rooster had passed on not long before.

In the barely 18 years of its existence, the World Wide Web has given rise to countless marketplaces, where sellers connect with buyers and stuff changes hands.

MV Stuff 4 Sale is not eBay. It really is like a yard sale that’s open 24/7: neighbors buying from neighbors and calling up friends to say “Hey, come look at this — weren’t you looking for one of these?”

Confusions, conflicts, and miscommunications do arise. Founder Kim Hilliard has been an amazing moderator, encouraging contentious parties to work things out. And we are working it out, improvising ground rules to facilitate communication and make the group work better. The sheer volume of stuff has been an issue for many. Recently the question came up: Could crafters use the group to sell their work? After much discussion, the general agreement was, No, not a good idea: MV Stuff for Sale is more yard sale than artisans’ fair. But out of the discussion came at least one group dedicated to the crafters.

MV Stuff 4 Sale is a local phenomenon with beyond-local implications. There must be groups like this all across the country and around the world. The physical world and the cyberworld can interact in amazing ways. Watch this space. We’re making it up as we go along.

With characteristic good humor, moderator Kim Hilliard reminds group members to clean up after themselves.

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About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has two blogs going on WordPress. "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories" is about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard. "Write Through It" is about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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7 Responses to MV Stuff 4 Sale

  1. Hi – I’m moving to MV from Maine to start a new job – do you know if there is a facebook page for MV house-shares/rooms for rent? Please let me know if so. Thanks gaweinand at roadrunner dot com

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  2. Facebook sites such as this are the Island grapevine on steroids. Found a year round apartment for my daughter, gave a budding farmer a lawn mower, sold a piece of gold for pretty much what it was worth….wonder if Mark Zuckerberg had any idea what a community service it would turn out to be.

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    • Probably not, and I bet he’s not happy about it. Look at all the contortions FB is doing to try to get us to part with our money, and here we are working out ingenious ways to make it provide free services. :-)

      I’ve been calling FB itself “the grapevine on steroids” ever since I signed up. It is. I love it. But MV Stuff 4 Sale has a dimension that the grapevine doesn’t: call it self-governance for lack of a better word. Look at the discussions of, say, how long one should wait before giving up on a prospective buyer. Or, especially, the one about whether it should be OK for crafters to sell their work there. It got a little tense, sure, but it could have gotten a lot tenser. Almost everyone likes crafts, and most of us know at least a few craftspeople (or are crafters ourselves). So it took a fair amount of courage and tact to say high volume was already an issue and this might make it worse. And several crafters played a key role by not taking it personally when group members said they’d rather not have people selling their crafts on the site — and often by saying the same thing themselves.

      I can’t credit Kim enough for this, for keeping rules to a minimum and letting us work things out for ourselves, with minimal melodrama and animosity. Some other aspects of island life could benefit from our collective example!

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  3. rawkimroll says:

    MV Stuff does not remain unsung after all! Thanks for GETTING me, Susanna — what I am doing, or trying to do with the site. Global domination agenda of world peace. Starting local. ;)

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  4. tompostpile says:

    One of the reasons MV Stuff for Sale exists is that Craigslist has no clue that MV is a separate place. We’re lumped in with the Cape and that “Other” island. Doesn’t work well for us Vineyarders. I keep saying that CL should buy out Kim for a large sum.

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