First there was eBay — a global community of buyers and sellers exchanging their wares. Then there was Craigslist, which broke the selling down into regions. Instead of buying a tchotchke from Hong Kong or Peoria, a buyer could drive to Medford or Huntington to pick it up.
But that wasn’t local enough for some East Enders. Now there’s Bonac Yard Sale — a Facebook page that boasts almost 1,800 members and offers everything from typical yard sale fare like children’s clothing, household items, and electronics to items with a more Bonac flair.
“Fresh local clams,” read a post on Thursday. “Harvested daily from the icy waters of Lake Montauk.” The molluscular morsels are delivered to your door.
A biology teacher from East Hampton High School was looking for a pair of waders on Bonac Yard Sale last week “for a Bonacker uniform.” Within an hour the request was filled.
“Who was looking for scrap metal?” a member wrote. “I have old galvanized steel gutters.”
The page is a closed group — one must send a request to join — and there’s the occasional back-and-forth that comes from familiarity.
One member had a skateboard listed for $25, but when another member responded that there was a little boy who would love it but whose family couldn’t afford it, the price immediately came down to zero.
There’s friendly ribbing as well. When an old fruit poster featuring yellow pears showed up for $10, someone suggested contacting “Keith at Golden Pear. He might like this.”
“In that case,” wrote someone else, “charge Golden Pear prices.”
Jesse Libath of East Hampton started the group “just after Christmas of 2010 in hopes of selling a few things to make up for the seasonal shopping,” he said. He has been amazed by its growth.
“We knew it was big when the ‘For Sale’ vehicles from the side of the road started appearing in posts on the group wall,” he said. The page has also spawned similar groups with different local focuses: Bonac Rentals, Bonac Autos, Hamptons Yard Sale, and the Bonac Work Force among them.
Mr. Libath had noticed back in 2010 that few people were using the “Group” function on Facebook, “so I decided to try it out.” He added a few friends, “and here we are today, with 1,750-plus members.”
Lisa Bonner of Springs has been using Bonac Yard Sale to sell the contents of her house, and applauded the efforts of the site.
“I think it’s awesome for the community on so many levels: accessibility, landfill issues, carting, economics, a new world commerce,” she said. “Over all, the concept and idealism behind it is perfect.”
“As with any sort of wonderful, brilliant concept,” she said, “it is only the people with self-serving greed that overextend boundaries of good-will agreements and situations that could possibly dirty a very useful commerce tool.”
There have been stern admonitions against “bumping” posts to the top too often. But besides the occasional overzealous seller, the group seems to coexist with similar objectives: to sell stuff or get a good deal.
Cheryl Smith has been a group administrator for about two years.
“I help Jesse keep the board clean from overposts and monitor the page to make sure everyone stays friendly,” she said. “I also add people to the page and they inbox any issues they may have. Thank goodness we have not had to deal with many issues on the site.”
She is not surprised by the site’s increasing membership. “It really is a great page,” she said. “I think everyone loves buying on it. It’s better than Craigslist. The locals love the fact that it’s local and personal with the items that they are buying and selling.”
Local, indeed. A post just this week featured a buyer desperately seeking a copy of the old “Montauk Guide and Cookbook.”
“I have this cookbook,” came a reply. “I’m not necessarily ready to part with it, but if you’re looking for certain recipes in it, I’d be happy to photocopy them for you.”