That Time I Traded Theater Tickets on Craigslist and Came Out Nearly Two Grand Ahead

This weekend, we had friends over for dinner, and we were talking about funny experiences on Craigslist, and I was reminded of the time five years ago when my friend KC and I traded two tickets to a play at BAM for a week on the North Fork of Long Island.  Below, the long winded account of our victory.  (Never did get featured in the Times, though, I’m reminded!)

The Ad


2 tickets to Streetcar Named Desire (BAM)

Date: 2009-12-02, 4:03PM EST

Reply to:

Two twenty-something Columbia grads have two extra tickets to see Cate Blanchett (directed by Bergman muse Liv Ullman) as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire at Brooklyn Academy of Music on Friday, December 11th at 7:30 PM. Will accept exchange for personalized gifts, written works, tickets to other performances including but not limited to: ballet, opera, theater, private art viewings, movies, promises of grand gestures, beautifully crafted love letters, a delicious meal at a restaurant, etc. Be creative!

The Sweet Underdogs

From:  Tom Wilzer <>


Date:   Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Subject:           I want these tickets badly.


Dinner for two at the spotted pig, or somewhere else, if you’re vegetarian/vegan.

40% discount at Odin (men’s boutique) and Pas de Deux (women’s boutique).


My undying love and affection.


In person recitation of Queen Mab speech.


All can be yours if the tickets can be mine.


Thank you,

Grant Wheeler


From:              Elizabeth Knox <>

To:                  ID <>

Date:               Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 12:20 AM

Subject:           Re: A Streetcar Named Desire


Wow! Okay and thank you for the quick response. I thought I would also let you know that my best friend who I went to Interlochen with (who is a very gifted poet) somehow meant an artist who was a friend of Frida Kahlos when she was down in Mexico, and teamed up with her to write poems about her work. You said your friend loved Salvador Dali, and these paintings with poems inspired by the artwork are one of kind. I also make fun, charm bracelets on ribbon. But the most popular bracelets I make, and the ones all my friends have are cuss bracelets. I get lots of fun colors and beads like turtles, whales, teddy bears, you know like kid stuff, and then you pick out your favorite cuss word in bright letters. They’re the best! Just thought I’d let you know what else I have to offer…hope to hear from you soon!


A Lovely Story


From:              Andrea Pasternak <>


Date:               Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 5:04 PM

Subject:           2 tickets to Streetcar Named Desire (BAM)


You are very creative! Are you women or men? My boss is going to Streetcar tomorrow night because his daughter is organizing the gala at BAM. I am a legal secretary and could never dream of Streetcar, it is beyond my dreams.

I have never seen a live play before, though I read plays from the library and love literature. You must be brilliant to be Columbia grads. I admire your moxie.

I hope you find your hearts’ desire. I would love to know who you awarded them to, and what they bestowed upon you.


Andrea Pasternak


From:              ID <>

To:                  Andrea Pasternak <>

Date:               Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 8:33 PM

Subject:           Re: 2 tickets to Streetcar Named Desire (BAM)


Hi Andrea,

That’s sweet of you, thanks! We’re female grads. The Gala sounds incredible too! Not that you included details but hey, Streetcar, Cate Blanchett, BAM, gala… what’s not to love?

I’ll be sure to tell you who wins the prize. We’ve had some cool responses thus far.

Get yourself to a live play STAT!




From:              Andrea Pasternak <>

To:                  Itinerant Daughter <>

Date:               Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 9:07 PM

Subject:           RE: 2 tickets to Streetcar Named Desire (BAM)


Hi ID,


Thank you for your kind note. I am very lucky – I’m going to Streetcar! My boss, who is trustee of a philanthropic fund, asked the Development Director at BAM if she had a ticket left for me, and she did! I am absolutely thrilled. It’s so amazing.


All the best,




from    ID <>

to         Andrea Pasternak <>

date     Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 9:09 PM

subject Re: 2 tickets to Streetcar Named Desire (BAM)


Have a great time!



A Sketchy Reply


From:              Claudette Davide <>


Date:               Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 6:55 PM

Subject:           Tickets?


Our offer depend, partially, on:


are you men looking for women?

men looking for men?

women looking for men?


women looking for women?


Looking forward for a great exchange…




From:              ID <>

To:                  Claudette Davide <>

Date:               Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Subject:           Re: Tickets?


Ha… we are women, but we’re not looking for anything sexual, so the recipients’ genders are irrelevant to us…


Though we do prefer pretty people to ugly ones.


The Strangest Responses


From:              Hillary Norris <>


Date:               Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Subject:           2 tickets to Streetcar Named Desire (BAM)


Hi there,


I suspect you’ve been flooded with all sorts of colourful offers for those highly prized tix – but if not, consider the helpful services of an Australian veterinary pathologist (in training)! Do you have any dead pets you’d like an opinion on? Or live ones…? I’m looking for a reason to head to the city in a couple of weeks (and escape rainy Ithaca). I missed the Sydney Theatre Company’s Sydney shows of STND as I was on my way over here and would love a chance to see Cate Blanchett on stage. Let me know! And enjoy the show!






From:              S. B. Summers <>


Date:               Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 2:55 PM

Subject:           Streetcar Named Desire





I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have the two Streetcar Named Desire tickets you have for next Friday. Not to toot my own horn, but I happen to be an incredible baker and make a (vegan) ginger, macadamia, coconut carrot cake to die for! I’m also a public defender in the Bronx Family Court and would be happy to represent you in a child neglect or abuse case. 😉 The gentleman who would be accompanying me is a scientist and could meet any of your chemistry needs (not an offer to make illicit substances, btw). That’s all I’ve got. If you have any specific requests, let me know!!





A Really Annoying Response


From:              Allen Parks <>


Date:               Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 12:03 PM

Subject:           Streetcar tixs?


I’m not very creative unless you consider this as an opportunity to make a young woman/my incredible girlfriend a very happy person for Christmas. 🙂


If that does anything for you, please let me know.




A Funny Response


From:              acyoung <>


Date:               Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Subject:           street car tickets


I am willing to clean your house completely naked for these tickets.


The Curveball


From:              Sasha Attenberg <>


Date:               Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 8:42 PM

Subject:           Streetcar offer…


Hello, I saw your offer on Craigslist…so how about this: I published a book on Tennessee Williams’ later plays some years ago called The Politics of Reputation, and have also edited and introduced a new volume of his later plays for New Directions Publishing titled The Traveling Companion, previously unpublished work from the 1960s, `70s, and `80s that came out last year…I can get you a copy of each, signed. I have been trying to get tickets to this production, and Tennessee’s last assistant and companion, John Uecker, has been trying as well…with no luck. We both think it’s important for us to see the play, and do want to go desperately.

Please let me know what you think…




Five Runners-Up


  1. From: alyssa lampisi <>


Date:               Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Subject:           Streetcar named desire tix


We are two employees at the United Nations on short work assignment in NY and would love to see this play! We are stationed in countries that do not offer much in the way of cultural events, especially with award winning actors! This would make our NY visit the top of the pops! In exchange we can offer you two tour tickets to the United Nations building and we will take you to lunch in the private staff only delegates dining room as our guest where you can eat with UN dignitaries, possibly even the Secretary General will be there too.


Kindly let us know if our offer interests you!





  1. From: Nevalle Horace <>


Date:               Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 7:13 PM

Subject:           Streetcar


Here’s my creative offer: I write crosswords for the NY Times (you can

google me to see my work). I will create for you and your seatmate a

personalized crossword puzzle all about you. Great for proposals,

anniversaries, etc. And I’ll put the word “Stella” in it too.


(I’m also a lawyer, so if some free legal services are more your speed…)





  1. From: Chung, Stephanie <>

To:                  “”

Date:               Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Subject:           Tickets to Streetcar Named Desire (BAM)


How about a day of sailing any day you choose? Our 30 ft sailboat is docked in City Island (1 hr drive from the city).


Includes champagne and lunch on board (again your choice of food).


  1. From: Alanna Glass <>


Date:               Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Subject:           2 tickets to Streetcar Named Desire (BAM)




I work at the American Museum of Natural History. I can get you unlimited free tickets to every show at the museum (planetarium movies, IMAX movies, special exhibitions, and behind the scenes tours of the exhibition department) for one full year!   My friend and I working here would love love love the tickets, and I really hope you like this museum so that this deal is enticing. Please let me know soon!!!!


Thank you very much!




  1. From: Delora Wieting <>


Date:               Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Subject:           Tickets to Streetcar Named Desire (BAM)


Yes!!!! I love that you are looking for a creative trade. We are creatively willing to trade you a photograph of a dog named Stella AND a week (without us) in our house in Burlington Vermont on Lake Champlain… Or if you don’t care for travel, you could have two pounds of Small World coffee shipped to you every month for a year. We have a 3 bedroom place on Lake Champlain that you could enjoy almost any week of the year (except the week between Christmas and New Years). It’s a joyful place to be any time… But if you prefer to get jacked up on the best coffee in America (that’s right, we roast it!) we will happily share our beans for a year in exchange for theater tickets for a night. And, ofcourse, a photo of our four-legged Stella. What do you say? Say yes, and make new friends.


The Winner:


From:              SAVANNAH THOMPSON <>


Date:               Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Subject:           Tickets to Streetcar Named Desire (BAM)


We would love to offer you a week at our waterfront cottage at Breezy Shores in Greenport, NY. It’s an adorable two bedroom looking across the water at Shelter Island. Fridge will be stocked with North Fork wine and cheese. (Obviously to be redeemed when the weather is warmer and you can really enjoy it!)




From:              Suborov, Pam <>


Date:               Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Subject:           2 tickets to Streetcar Named Desire (BAM)


How about brand new books from my publishing company? Would make great Christmas gifts. Think of the money you’d save!


You can call me at 646xxxx or at work at 212xxxxx




The Rejection


From:              ID <>

To:                  Pam Suborov, and others

Date:               Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 5:47 PM

Subject:           Streetcar Tickets


Hi everyone,


Thank you so much for responding to our exchange offer so thoughtfully and creatively! Unfortunately we’ve had to narrow down the contenders and thus are writing to tell you that you were not chosen. I highly recommend doing something like this if you find yourself with spare tickets; it will renew your faith in the communal artistic spirit! And forward it along to me, if you do, so I can return the favor with an epic poem!





The Challenge


From:              Pam Suborov <>

To:                  Itinerant Daughter <>

Date:               Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 9:33 AM

subject:            Re: Streetcar Tickets


Thanks and what a kind note! Just curious… what offers did you get?

All the best for a happy holiday season,




From:              ID <>

To:                  “Suborov, Pam” <>

Date:               Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Subject:           Re: Streetcar Tickets


Hey Pam,


Thank you! This has really been so much fun. Funnily enough, I work for a writer (am an aspiring one, myself) whose last two books were published by your company, so I have a hook up there already :). Right now we’re deciding between a year free at the Museum of Natural History (including all planetarium and IMAX shows!), a week at a house on the North Fork of Long Island, a week at a house on Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, and a personal tour of the UN with lunch in the staff dining room. Also, Tennessee Williams’ final assistant and “companion” responded and wants to come, along with a scholar friend of his who wrote a book about Williams. This presents a bit of a literary moral dilemma, don’t you think?


Happy holidays to you!





From:              Suborov, Pam <>

To:                  ID <>

Date:               Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 12:03 PM

Subject:           Re: Streetcar Tickets


I just love it! I am going to tell someone I know at the Times about this—I think it’s an article in the making.


Who do you work for that is published by HC? No moral dilemma really. Maybe you can get an autographed copy of something by Tennessee Williams…I’d take the North Fork (if it’s not in winter and after you see photos of the house) or the Museum of Natural History for a year. All IMAX and Planetarium shows? That’s worth a lot.


Books from HC seems like a wimpy proposal compared to what you’ve been offered! But if you’d like any books anyway for Christmas presents, let me know. Just because you sound like a good human being!


A Genius Idea


From:              Edith Thompson <>

To:                  Kelsey Osgood <>

Date:               Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 3:50 PM

Subject:           Re: re


Your angle could be something about wanting free swag, tone down the artistic/altruistic endeavor & ramp up your curiosity in seeing what people might offer




Total cost for four tickets to Streetcar:                                                          $160


Total cost for one week in July at a sample 2-bedroom, 1 bath house in Greenport, Long Island, property 186858 listed on                                           $1950


Total cost for four bottles of 2007 Merlot from Bedell Cellars Winery in Cutchogue, New York:                                                                                                                          $25


Total cost for a “Picnic Special,” which includes 2 cheese selections, box of crackers, plastic utensils, plates, napkins, and a chunk of goat milk fudge from Catapano Dairy Farm in Peconic, New York:                                                                                                $20


Total cost:                                                                                                                   $1995


Profit =                                                                                                                       $1835



The One For Which We Would Be in the Most Debt


From:              Jasna Gorcik Miroslav <>


Date:               Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 10:51 PM

Subject:           tickets fro Streetcar named desire



I just saw your ad, it is exceptional! I missed the play in DC and I would love to see it. Please let me know if tickets are still available. I can offer to pay for them, or can be your guide in Belgrade, Serbia, one of the cities everybody falls in love with, and/or in Herceg Novi in Montenegro, the city on the coast of the Adriatic see.


Best regards,



Total cost for Streetcar tickets:                                                                                  $160


Total cost (including tax) for round airfare to Belgrade, Serbia in May via                                                                                                         $1,153




Profit =                                                                                                                       $-993


The Product








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