If you want to sell stuff in Brooklyn, you’d put it on Craiglist and hope somebody legit would be interested.
Or on a nice day, you’d have a tag sale (we called them “stoop sales” because the front porch of your brownstone is known as a stoop). It was a lot of work to put all the items out in the hope that people would buy what you didn’t want.
Lots of passersby would cluck their tongues, remark that they were downsizing too, and walk on past.
Here in Dubois, the thing to do has been to post an ad in the Roundup, the weekly stapled package distributed by the VFW. (Popularly known as the “poop sheet.”)
You can put a little notice in the For Sale section, on the tightly packed front page, for free. Or you can make a flier about your tag sale, drop off 402 copies at the VFW (why 402? Don’t ask), and for a small fee it will be distributed to stores and offices around town along with everything else stapled to the front page.
We never miss the chance to pick up the Roundup, because it’s fun to see what all is going on. However, new technology has created a robust competitor. Facebook is already the place to go to keep up with friends here, but it’s also quickly becoming our newspaper (by another name).
Someone created the invitation-only Facebook page called Dubois, WY-Area Classifieds in October 2014. It now has 1,504 members — larger than the year-round population of Dubois. The word “Area” in the title is construed broadly: Many of them are from out of town, from Shoshone, Ethete, Riverton, even as far away as Rawlins and Rock Springs. I think lots of people look at it not so much to see what’s for sale as to see what’s going on.
What’s really going on, I mean. Not just what you see in the Frontier.
It goes way beyond items for sale, but those are interesting of themselves. This week we have Black Baddie heifers, a 10-year-old gelding, and under ISO (in search of) someone looking for a backhoe. Not long ago we had a Barbie doll collection, and there are usually some Western or heavy-duty outdoor clothes on offer.
There are event announcements (the new children’s choir, a Bible study group, the snow princess contest at the Rustic Tavern, a spray tan party). And there are items of a more personal nature: A photo of a baby in a snowsuit, with a wish that everyone will be safe in the snow, and an appeal from someone moving to town who’s looking for a place to rent.
The replies are often as engaging as the posts. For instance:
“Anyone here in town selling Girl Scout cookies yet?”
“Need a fix!”
“Order online!? Where?”
My favorites are the posts about lost animals, because of their human interest appeal and their immediacy. In this one, a woman in search of a lost cat has shown us a gallery of her dogs as well. (That blue heeler looks like he needs a job.)
Some time ago, I saw a post from someone out Crowheart way whose heartbroken boys had just lost their dog. Someone replied quickly that some friends of theirs had just posted about finding a similar dog trotting up the highway while they were driving over toward Jackson.
Next I saw, the family from Crowheart had posted thanks and were heading west to meet up with the other folks. I hope it was the right dog!
© Lois Wingerson, 2017
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