Consider this your PSA for the day: Craigslist is a wonderful resource for finding many things, like jobs, apartments and that beautiful bearded man who smiled at you on the G train. But sometimes, we see things up for grabs on Craigslist that make us cringe, like ads for free and/or cheap mattresses and beds.
Let’s talk for a minute about bedbugs, because I (and many, many other Brooklynites) have had personal experience with these fun little creatures. They are real, they bite you in your sleep, it takes goddamn forever to get rid of them and you will bag and wash all your clothes and personal belongings until you never want to look at a quarter or clear plastic bag again. But what’s more frustrating about them is that they’re pretty hard to detect, and you could have them hiding in the crevices of your box spring for a month or two before bites start showing up. A friend of mine picked up a super cheap IKEA bed from someone in Bushwick when she first moved to Brooklyn, and she was assured multiple times, in writing, by phone and in person, that this person did not have and never had bedbugs. But, lo and behold, she started getting little red pinpricks on her back about a month later ended up with an awful, full-on infestation on her hands that took three months to beat. Turns out that, unbeknownst to him, the person who sold her the little bedbug haven had the bugs for a while. So, though the man selling a $250 mattress and bed frame might ABSOLUTELY SWEAR he’s not handing you a ticking bug bomb, he really might be.
Not every mattress comes with complimentary parasitic surprises, and we’re not saying that Brooklyn’s filled with twisted souls trying to make a buck or two by selling contaminated furniture. We’re just saying that bedbugs are everywhere (everywhere! just look at this map), and an easy way to protect yourself is by not bringing infested furniture into your home. That goes for tables, chairs, sofas and other wooden or fabric-covered furniture you might find online (or in a thrift store). But it’s less likely a kitchen chair will harbor bedbugs, since they prefer to congregate close to sleeping humans. As in, your bed.
So, while getting a $200 Serta mattress or free Malm bed in mint condition from a friendly Craigslist stranger might be tempting, we really think avoiding the laundry bills and cost of a Xanax prescription (and, if your landlord won’t pay, extermination) is more economical in this day and age. Feel free to share similar buggy experiences in the comments, or champion cheap Craigslist mattresses if you must: if you do decide to go with an online mattress deal, do yourself a favor and spring for a good encasement.