A couple of months ago, I wrote on the Rookie Moms blog (where we write about whatevs, as opposed to this site which is just activities) about my husband Ryan using RSS feeds to find Tickle Me Elmo and Wii. A few people wanted more details. Here they are as explained by Ryan:
An easy way to keep an eye on Craigslist for stuff you are looking to buy is to set up what they call a “personalized RSS feed”. That way you’ll be able to keep an eye on new items being listed on Craigslist directly on My Yahoo, iGoogle, Bloglines, or whatever you use to look at to RSS feeds on your PC, Mac, or Iphone. (Editor: I use Google Reader)
Simply go to Craigslist.org for your local area, and search for the thing you want (make your search as specific as possible so that you only see what you care about; you can also include a price range when searching). In the lower right you’ll see an orange “RSS” button. Click it.
At this point, your browser should help you add this search to your RSS reader, but you can also do this manually by copying the URL up in your browser’s toolbar, and then pasting it into your feed reader yourself.
Once that’s done, keep an eye on the results as they come through. Once you’ve found and bought what you needed, just delete this feed from your reader and all is forgotten.
Really Hard to Find Stuff
For that extra-hard-to-find item (video game consoles like Wii, Elmo craziness, etc.) there are services, many free, that will send you a text message or instant messaging alerts once the item you want becomes in-stock at some online store.
Good example for Wii is http://wiialerts.com/
… but be careful not to start convincing yourself to buy things that you don’t need!