The Internet has made our lives easier in so many ways, not the least of which is that it makes it a million times easier and more efficient to try and move merchandise, whether it's a car, a boat, perhaps an old playground set, or your stepdaughter....
Yeah, that's right, your stepdaughter.
You know who agrees with my assessment of the Internet's efficiency? This dude in Gainesville who decided to place his stepdaughter on Craigslist like a used xBox under the tissue paper thin veil of giving away a Tennessee versus Florida ticket for this weekend, that's who.
Here is the text from the ad:
My step-daughter's date backed out (his loss, your gain) for the game...
1 Free ticket for the Tennessee-Florida Football game this Saturday (cost to me, $150) on the 40 for the right gentleman. You must be an attractive, professional, single well educated gentleman, with a good sense of humor, 25-33. You also must not be threatened by an attractive, professional, single well educated lady, (as she is). If you do not qualify, please pass this ad to a friend.
The fine print: I lied! (Sorry...not totally free). Your cost will be a modest dinner, drinks and delightful conversation with her before or after the game.
P.S. (Being a Tennessee Vols fan is not required but is highly desirable)
Only those that respond with pictures and resume will be considered! Be creative!
Location: Sec 36, Row 19 it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
You can see a screen grab of the ad to the right, but if you want to assess more of the aesthetic qualities of the stepdaughter, go check out the ad itself. I have to say that unless this is a Lennay Kekua situation and stepfather is trying to catfish some Vols fan, the stepdaughter is not bad at all. The pictures depict an attractive, fun loving gal! In one picture, she is standing in front of Churchill Downs and in another picture she is dressed in a short dress leaving a hotel room, so I think it's safe to assume she clearly enjoys gambling and
sex room service!
And, as it turns out, she does indeed seem to be real!
Clay Travis, FOX Sports college football analyst and founder of outkickthecoverage.com, actually was tracked down by the woman after he essentially "broke the story" on the existence of this ad. Her name is Jess Flanagan, she's a 27 year old who lives in Denver and has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. And long story short, she had a date for the game, he backed out, and the stepfather (with her approval) put the extra ticket (and time spent with Jess) on Craigslist. In short, it's real and it's (moderately) spectacular.
Now, before we assess the effectiveness of the advertisement itself, let's address the actual college football angle with all of this which is "Look how far the Tennessee-Florida matchup has fallen!" There was a time not all that long ago that this late September matchup would be a significant domino in the national championship race, where tickets would go for hundreds of dollars a pop.
Now, tickets are basically being figuratively stapled to the face of this poor girl like some sort of coupon you'd find tucked underneath one of your windshield wiper blades in the Target parking lot.
As for the effectiveness of the ad itself, I will defer to a 2011 article by a writer named Ed Rhee titled "How to sell anything on Craigslist." He identifies a short list of key components of any effective Craigslist advertisement. They are listed below with my assessment following each one (preceded by "SP:"):
Presentation is a key component to selling anything. On Craigslist, presentation starts with a descriptive title of what you're selling and your asking price.
SP: Again, the pictures themselves depict a very attractive, fun loving, almost "devil may care" kind of chick. Also, in many parts of the country, it would have been advisable to include the fact that Jess has a degree, but in Gainesville I could see where that might be intimidating to the vast majority of men responding. If you're seeking volume in terms of replies, touting the degree might be a turn off. (My suggestion: Perhaps a little white lie about owning a meth lab.)
Setting a $1 price to get people to look at your post isn't helpful.
SP: Yeah, negative points here for the stepfather. Not only did he put that the ticket was totally free to entice you, but he actually lied about it. Modest dinner, drinks, and conversation? I don't know, as Steve Stiffler would say, that sounds like a lot of work. Bad stepfather, very bad! (I'm pointing at him like a grade school teacher as I say that.)
In the description, be sure to provide lots of details about what you're selling, but don't just cut and paste a product description. If applicable, include the model number, color, condition, where you originally purchased it, and why you're selling it.
SP: It would help to know why the date backed out of the game. I mean, what guy turns down free college football? They leave things open to the assumption that Jess is annoying or has bad breath or chronic gas. Why did an American male turn down a free trip to The Swamp? (As it turns out, it was an expense issue to come to the game all the way from Denver, which is acceptable. Back in the Peyton Manning-Steve Spurrier Era it would have been completely unacceptable, though, and this post would probably be about that guy and the wussiness of him backing out for expense reasons.)
Think about what the absolute lowest price you'd be willing to sell it for, then bump up the price a bit. For example, if the lowest you'll go is $50, try asking for $70.
SP: "I'll try asking for a modest meal and drinks, but won't go any lower than McDonald's and splitting a flask inside the game."
Take some safety measures to ensure a smooth transaction. Try not to divulge too much personal information about yourself.
SP: Again, I would argue this is one instance where it would have helped to know that Jess is an educated, genteel Southern woman, because before Clay posted the ad to his readers, the fact that they were using Craigslist as their venue for transaction meant that 95 percent of the respondents were probably pictures of penises or half naked selfies. (The inclusion of Clay's readership brought that number down to like 70 percent.)
Meet during the day in a busy public area like a grocery store, library, or coffee shop, and tell someone you know where you're going. If you must meet at your home, be sure to have at least one friend with you.
SP: I include this merely as a public service announcement that your chances of having a serial felon buy your product off of Craigslist is apparently a hundred times higher than if you sold it on eBay.
It's hard to argue that the ad hasn't been effective. Boosted by the publicity it received from Clay's site and verious talk radio shows around the country, as of yesterday afternoon, Jess's family had to put a deadline on entries due to the overwhelming response:
9/17 3:55pm EDT updated info: due to the overwhelming response we have received so far, (and to the fact that we're doing this completely off the cuff with absolutely no planning whatsoever) we decided to put a deadline on entrance. All entries must be in by midnight tomorrow (Wed) night EDT. A winner will be notified by 10 a.m. EDT Thursday. Thanks to all the respondents, and good luck!
According to Jess, she has narrowed things down and will select shortly after the deadline:
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"I do have the finalists in mind, however I'm still making last minute decisions on them. My step dad was going to email them letting them know they are in the running and any final words they might have. Not sure how to really sure how he is going to go about this. I have three candidates in mind."
I'm pretty sure if she gathered the three candidates together for various feats of strength to weed out a winner, or as Clay suggests, a Bachelorette style selection show, the YouTube hits would be monstrous. In the meantime, we will await the selection and see if indeed a love connection is made.
At the very least, we will find out what constitutes a "modest dinner" in Gainesville. I'm guessing chicken fingers are involved.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.