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.)
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