For frosh looking to check off your packing list, Barnard Buy Sell truly has it all.
You might first hear Barnard Buy Sell, formally known as “Buy | Sell | Trade | at Barnard,” described as a marketplace-type Facebook group in which students resell their old clothes, books, furniture, and other items to each other. But simply outlining the formal definition of Barnard Buy Sell in this way undercuts its beauty. Navigating Barnard Buy Sell is an art. It is a scientific undertaking, even, and an endeavor not suited for the faint at heart. Once you get it, though, the rewards to reap are plentiful, with hidden gems and treasures beyond your wildest dreams. Read on to figure how the heck to start.
Because Barnard Buy Sell is a secret group on Facebook, you can’t actually look it up and hit request to join. You have to be invited, which means the way to join is to solicit people who are already members. Luckily this isn’t a Real Housewives trying to get a drink at Dumbo House moment, so just ask your upperclassman friends (like your RA if y’all are tight like that) or bribe an upperclassman with a meal swipe (this is a slam dunk of a method……good god we need them).
Once you get into the group, you’ll be greeted by the warm, bright lights of this welcoming, very generic, unsplash.com-esque cover photo:
Just lovely. While the cover photo makes it seem like this group is targeted towards candle-wielding boho moms, in reality, Barnard Buy Sell is actually a lot less middle-aged book club and more New York City bodega – diverse, definitely has a cat somewhere, fast-paced, well-intended but sometimes brutal, contains every product/object/thing you can imagine, and will eventually take a VERY special place in your heart.
Now that you kind of have a handle on the vibe, let’s get into Barnard Buy Sell’s main functions!
Don’t get overwhelmed. There’s a whole lotta stuff in this Facebook group. Yes, Barnard Buy Sell has cute clothes and dorm decor. It also nylon ukelele strings, a ticket to see the pope, a single orange, and a half-opened pack of Dentyne Ice. There are a few ways you can shop for these items.
Once you find an item from a seller that you really want, message the seller immediately. Do not comment something like “interested!” and expect the seller to reach out to you, you silly little goose you! Act fast, like, writing-the-answer-to-the-last-midterm-question-with-mere-fleeting-seconds-on-the-clock levels of speed. In fact, if you only take away one mantra from this section, it would be that time! is! of! the! essence!
If you don’t message quickly enough for a popular item, mark my words….it will be GONE. In your message, ask the seller for when/where you can pick it up and if you can try the item on. Usually, the original post will provide size and price, but if not, ask for that too. And if the price is marked as “$XXX or OBO,” OBO means “or best offer” (so sorry if that’s an obvious piece of knowledge, but this Bwogger is dumb and didn’t know that was a thing so here we are!).
When actually meeting the seller, don’t get your hopes up. People are flakes and will often cancel/sell to someone who offered a higher price/forget that you were waiting outside their dorm room door for 3 hours straight with only your water bottle and a singular (1) chocolate chip muffin in the wee hours of the morning. Bring cash or be prepared to Venmo, say hi, be nice, and thank them for their time. If you like your item, congrats! If you don’t, good luck and on to the next one.
By mid-year, you probably have shopped your heart out on Buy Sell and have scored some pretty nifty stuff. But one day, you see some earth-toned billboard ad for an empty, barren Scandi room and you’re like, oh my god, totally all about the whole minimalism thing now because it’s so zen and, ugh truth be told, none of your things #spark any freakin’ #joy anymore. It’s final! Decided, even. You need to sell all your stuff, stat.
Luckily, Barnard Buy Sell has that for ya too. Here are some important pointers when you’re trying to sell an item for the first time. Starting with the basics, take a photo of the item. And put in that extra effort, young grasshopper – use good lighting, un-wrinkle your clothes (if applicable), and make sure to include the entirety of the item in your frame (can’t sell that Brandy top with off-the-shoulder sleeves if you can’t even see the sleeves!).
When deciding a price, half off the original is usually a good rule of thumb, but take a lil’ quick sneak peek at what other sellers have used for comparable items and use that as a basis. Along with the price, make sure your post includes details about your item, like the size, condition, any defects, and pickup location.
Finally, you get to the fun part of making cold hard cash. Be warned: again, people are flaky and a surprisingly large number of people will be completely forget the existence of time when y’all try to meet up. Selling your old dress will take time and patience. But tis but the life – it’s all worth it for that extra money, along with that sweet, sweet feeling of passing down something to another student who will make good use of it. Happy buying and selling, y’all!