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Online marketplaces such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and others have exploded in popularity. However, traveling to a stranger’s house to pick up an item can make you think twice. Luckily for Birmingham—there’s another option. Meetup spots for Internet purchase exchanges! Read on for the details.
You’re scrolling through your online marketplace of choice when you stumble across the perfect item. Maybe it’s a table small enough to fit in your apartment’s minuscule breakfast nook. Maybe it’s a designer handbag for an unreal price.
You contact the seller and say you’re interested. They want you to pay in cash. Ok, fine. You have to go pick it up at their house. Or maybe they want to meet in the back of a very dark supermarket parking lot, and they’re only available between 10PM-12AM.
Ok, so maybe not. Internet purchases can be a great way to find deals, but it can also be dangerous—for more than just your wallet!
So, What’s the Solution?
I’m glad you asked. Have you seen these green “meetup spot” signs popping up around town?
They go by a few different names: safe trade spots, internet purchase exchange location, community meetup spot, or more. It’s all the same idea: designated locations at police or fire offices where buyers and sellers can meet—in public, under surveillance—to complete in-person transactions.
They’re always well-lit and many times are covered by video surveillance. Several are even in police station lobbies.
How Do They Work?
It’s simple! All you have to do is pick one of the designated meetup spots that works for both buyer and seller, and decide on a date and time. The service is completely free to use.
While many of the locations are police precinct stations that are open 24 hours a day, it is recommended to meet up within business hours or at least daylight hours.
Locations are available from Gardendale to Alabaster and everywhere in-between. If you work in Birmingham proper and want to meet during your lunch break, the Birmingham Police Department has set up safe meeting zones in each of their precinct lobbies.
Where to Find These Meetup Spots
Check out these 11 community meetup locations all over Birmingham.
Online marketplaces are quite popular in Birmingham—one of the largest, Mountain Brook Trading, has over 57k members. Shelby County also has a marketplace group with over 47k members. Let us know your favorites!