Parenting

I Get The Thrill Of The Hunt From Facebook B/S/T Groups

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I swear to God, I was only going to try it. I had no intention of making a habit out of it. But one taste and I was sucked in. Remember that Killers song? Yeah, it was kind of like that — it started out with a dress. How did it end up like this? It was only a dress. It was only a dress.

Now, it is a full-blown obsession. Here’s my story.

I was talking to a friend about buying a dress for my daughter for her school pictures. I had something in mind, but I didn’t really want to spend big bucks on something that I knew in my heart she would only wear a couple of times. She suggested that I look on Facebook to see if this brand had a “BST.”

A what? A buy, sell, trade page. This is where people you know, buy, sell, and trade things. It could be clothing, shoes, purses, or toys. You name it, there’s a BST for it. I looked up the brand that I wanted and there were several buy, sell, trade pages. There were pages for adults, for kids, for specific sizes, for deals under $50. There were tons! So I clicked the “join” button. That was where it all went to hell.

Once I was accepted, I was instantly overwhelmed. I started to read the rules; every group has them, and they are all different. Let me tell you this, you do not want to break a rule. You can get publicly reprimanded — totally embarrassing, or muted — that’s where they turn off your ability to comment for 24 hours. Or you can get even get kicked out, the ultimate punishment. I was terrified to do anything, but I was there to get a dress! I finished reading the rules and went to the page to shop.

It is relatively simple. People post a picture — lots of times a collage — of what they are selling on “the boards,” this is a fancy name for the group pages. Then in the comments, they post the individual items with size and condition. Holy shit, the conditions. That is a whole new language. They are just letters, but they are the most important letters you’ll ever know. For example:

NWT-New With Tags

NWOT-New Without Tags

EUC-Excellent Used Condition

VGUC-Very Good Used Condition

GUC-Good Used Condition

Play-OK Condition, been worn several times

ISO-In search of; you post your specific wants

DOND- Deal or No Deal; they post a pic and you give a price, they accept the deal or pass

Once you’ve got that down, you are pretty much ready to go. You see something you like, you comment with your PayPal email. First to comment gets the item. Seems fair. But watch those fast fingers, because once you comment, it is a binding written contract to pay — no backing out! And you better not DD, which stands for “dirty delete”. A DD is when you second-guess your purchase and then think you can make it disappear without anyone knowing. Oh, but they know. They always know. There is a genius sleuth out there who is taking screenshots faster than you can type “sold”. You are not safe with the DD; you will be called out and blasted in front of thousands of people.

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So you are committed, no DD. Now you have to pay the invoice. Better pay that puppy quick because if you don’t pay within the group’s designated timeframe, you’ll also get roasted and you might even get kicked out. And if you’re the seller, better ship that sucker immediately, per the rules, or you are also subject to a nasty shoutout.

If you ghost someone as a buyer or seller, you could end up in the sister page “buyer beware” group. You DO NOT want your name in the BB. This is basically a public flogging where anyone who has ever done business with you can come and air the dirty laundry. They’ll link your profile and people will start blocking you so that you can never buy or sell again. You’ll be shunned like someone leaving an Amish community, or Cersei Lannister from “Game of Thrones” being paraded through town to a chorus of “Shame! Shame!” Most of the time if you end up in the BB, you deserve it. But on the rare occasion that it is a mistake, you better have Johnnie Cochran pleading your defense because this jury is tough!

OK, got it? Good. You’re now ready to hit the boards and make a purchase. Get your Diet Coke handy, turn on a Netflix serial killer documentary and start your search. I like the designs and prints of a particular brand and I am obsessed with their boards. Prints are seasonal and some are considered unicorns, hard to find, or Holy Grail: the ultimate find that garner big bucks. Sometimes I’ll just browse the pages and posts and if I see something I like, I’ll purchase. But that’s really a yawn. If you want the good stuff, get it on a live purge. This is when a member sells multiple items in rapid-fire succession

A purge is when my adrenaline gets pumping. I will type out “sold” and my email address and then copy it, so that if I find something I want, I just have to paste. Now you know my secret. I watch those posts like a hawk, particularly if I see something in the collage that I want. My palms will get sweaty and my heart will race as I wait for the romper to come up. I will paste that text as fast as my fingers can move. Sometimes without even looking at the way too much money I just spent that I will inevitably have to lie about later because, “Why in the hell do you need another one of those rompers that look exactly like the five others in your closet?” Uh, that would be none of your fucking business, so move on.

It can become a bit hostile.

These buy, sell, trade groups do not stop at the boards. Some of them have sister chat groups where people post pictures of themselves in their finds. They ask opinions on size and colors. They show off their “mommy and me” outfits and family vacation pics. It’s like a support group for women in bold prints. These women are building each other up and making one another feel good because they share the obsession of purchasing clothing on Facebook. And they’re all in, all the time, with their PayPal ready. It’s this wild and comforting sisterhood that I really dig.

I am BSTing every damn day. No, I don’t buy things daily, but I sure as hell am looking. I have even started to sell things myself and I am amazed at how quickly things go. There are thousands of women just like me sitting on their phones all day long waiting for the perfect top to pass through. I have to lie about what I am doing sometimes, like when I am supposed to be making dinner. “What are you doing?” “Oh, just finishing up some work.” Which is code for, “Waiting for the dress I saw in the collage to come up in the purge. Hold your fucking horses.”

I am not just in clothing groups. There is a doll group that I am a part of that gets pretty intense and holy shit, the beach bag people. They are crazy! The amounts of money that these women are paying for a bag made out of Crocs is beyond me. But I totally got sucked into the frenzy and I have one. Because I have “Hi, my name is Colleen and I am a totally impulsive sucker and if I think that I need it, I buy it without thinking twice or looking at the price. No, I will never DD because I don’t want to get banned. I am addicted to your NWT, NWOT, EUC, VGUC, GUC shit, and here is my PayPal, please invoice me” tattooed on my forehead.

I bought my daughter a dress the very first night. That was two years ago, and I have been addicted ever since.

I don’t remember my life before buy, sell, trade groups. Nor do I want to. I am a happier person sitting on my phone at 1 a.m. live shopping someone’s purge on Facebook waiting for a NWT dress to come up 50% off retail than I was just getting my clothes like a normal person at Target. It’s the thrill of the hunt and the glory of the kill that keeps me going.

I should come up with a really clever way to end this essay, but quite frankly, I don’t have time to think about it. There is a hot purge just starting with a few things I’ve got my eye on.

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