Special Classifieds Feature

Buy Washington Post Inauguration newspapers, books, and more

Housing Parody on Craigslist Leads to Real Offers

The room that Grabow jokingly put up for rent.

The advertisement was mixed in among more than 2,000 housing listings on Craigslist posted by apartment and condo owners hoping to make a few bucks by renting out their Washington-area dwellings for Barack Obama's inauguration. But this posting stood out from the others. Under the headline "Room for Rent-- Inauguration Day/ObamaCon 2009," it began this way:

In a search of a room in DC so that you can spend Jan. 20 standing in the bitter winter cold with thousands of like-minded souls watching the historic transfer of power from one Harvard grad to another? Look no further.

Me: Heartless, greedy right-wing oppressive type looking to make a buck.

You: Obama's election was Christmas/your first kiss/May Day all wrapped into one.

For five more paragraphs, the ad mocked potential renters as liberal, hippy, Communist ideologues who would love the Adams Morgan location of the room because of the neighborhood's racial diversity. The ad continued: Rest assured, however, that this diversity does not extend to ideology and that you are sure to march lock-step with the prevailing sentiment ensuring that your most strongly held beliefs remain unchallenged.

It was an unusual advertising pitch, to say the least.

But to Colin Grabow, the 31-year-old author of the posting, it was just a joke. He does live in a group-house in Adams Morgan, and he is a conservative who voted for John McCain, but the ad was simply his way of poking fun at Obama-mania, Grabow said in an interview.

"I was annoyed at how crazy some of his supporters are," Grabow said. "I have nothing against him as person and I wish him the best, but the phenomenon is out of hand."

Lo and behold, Grabow said he got a half-dozen serious offers to rent his room--some offering as much as $500 for the week. "I didn't think anybody would take it seriously and, if they did, they would be so annoyed [by the tone] that they would not want to take the room," he said.


Then the blog Instapundit linked to the ad and another 25 to 30 people emailed him. "One person thought I was being a jerk and took me to task," Grabow said. "But everyone else thought it was funny." He posted the ad on his own blog togetrichisglorious and the page got 6,000 hits, he said.

Grabow grew up as an Army brat and moved around. He's been in Washington for the past eight years and recently got a master's degree in international trade from George Washington University. For the time being, he's working as a temp.

As for what he'll do with his room, he said the interest has convinced him to post a more serious ad on Craigslist.

"I would just go stay with my girlfriend for a few days," he said.

(Read Grabow's full advertisement here.)

By David A Nakamura  |  November 18, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Housing
Previous: Officials: Obama Crowd Could Reach 4 Million | Next: Souvenir Watch

Add Inauguration Watch to Your Site
Stay on top of the latest from Inauguration Watch! This easy-to-use widget is simple to add to your own Web site and will update every time there's a new installment of Inauguration Watch.
Get This Widget >>


the add was absolutely hysterical...I think liberals and conservatives alike should be able to laugh at that one

Posted by: rocotten | November 18, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Funny bit.

My favorite part was the last line "...ensure profit maximization on my part so that I can better weather the Bush Recession."

Posted by: tomswift96 | November 18, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, his posting was obviously sarcastic, but no reason to believe that just because he was poking fun at potential renters that his ad wasn't genuine.

This story doesn't reflect on the potential renters who contacted him as much as it does on him. Just because he put jokes in his ad, why should people think that his offer to rent his room was not real? Sort of lame and weak.

Posted by: waldmant | November 18, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Hi, I posted the ad. For the record, once I received serious inquiries and saw that people were actually interested I did get back to a few people and offered them the room.

Posted by: grabowcp | November 18, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Sorry grabowcp-

Didn't mean to call you lame and weak... pre-coffee. The unfortunate nature of email/web is to cement transient nastiness onto a webpage.

I just sort of felt that the tone of the story (which obviously you are not responsible for) was to sort of make fun of people who were stupid enough to think it was a real ad. If I had read it, I would have thought it was a real, but joke-filled ad, too.

Anyway, good luck exploiting the Obamacans for all their worth. Smart. I was thinking about doing it, too (and I'm one of them).

Posted by: waldmant | November 18, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Why is it a phenomenon as to why people supported Barrack Obama as President? Many people just don’t realize that many people are fully capable of thinking for themselves. It seems that a lot of people can not get over the fact that the man is qualified. They are just denying something that has been true for a long time where they thought they had a hold on this superiority idea, guess what? You're not! There are many qualified and competent men in this country and they happen to be men who are as diverse as you. They range in every ethnic background in this country. Why are you all so afraid to lose something that you thought you had,? It's called American privilege and every American has a right to have it and it‘s not just reserved for a few people. Why want something for yourselves that you don't want for others?

Posted by: msvon60 | November 18, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

msvon60: You are one of the very people he was making fun of. Stop chasing windmills, the man already won the election. No one in the article, actual craiglist ad, or in the above posts called Obama's abilities into question. I'm glad the election is over (I crossed party lines to vote for Obama), and am now officially sick of looking at the dude's face. Let's get the man sworn in and then let him do his J-O-B.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | November 18, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company