By: Yosef Friedlander  | 

Go on, Try to Buy Something

Every student of Yeshiva University knows about the infamous YU Marketplace. A Facebook group composed of over 4,000 members from the YU community, YU Marketplace was designed for students of YU to have a simple and efficient way to sell and buy objects. Well, at least it may have started off that way. Now it appears to have blossomed into something much more, not only having posts pertaining to useful transactions, but expanding out to cover information on the YU campuses, required transportation, and a slightly ridiculous surplus of a variety of memes. Yes, YU Marketplace has reached full bloom, but the following question strives to be perceived through the suffocating assemblage of memes and ignored school text books: what kind of flower did YU Marketplace bud into?

The YU Marketplace seems like a gift dropped from heaven, at least during the first few weeks of the school year. You need that accounting book that you were too lazy to buy over the summer by tomorrow? No problem; YU Marketplace has got your back! A quick, simple post on the Marketplace, and you have dozens of people trying to sell you their books from the previous semester. The first-time-on-campus students aren’t the only ones happy with these types of transactions; what’s a better way for returning students to make some much needed cash than on students in desperate need of their supplies?

“Starting at Yeshiva University this year, YU Marketplace was super helpful to me for finding out about cool events and discovering helpful tips about the YU world.” These are the words of first year student Rivkie Reiter, known to her friends as Riv, when asked about YU Marketplace. The Marketplace certainly seems to help assimilate new students into the ways of Yeshiva University, furnishing useful tidbits of information pertaining to YU supplied by the one and only Jacob Herenstein, or by giving a means of acquiring textbooks for that class tomorrow. There are also those consistent posts of “unwanted food, library 5th floor,” that you can count on if you ever get too desperate. Oh yeah, and by giving you the option of buying that moldy, shredded sofa chair you have always desired for a mere $750.

Rivkie’s first words summed up what you would expect to hear from a first year student describing a Facebook group designed to alleviate a small portion of stress from the average college student’s life. But, after a pause, she described how “coming into the YU Marketplace this year was weird. It feels kind of like a zoo, and not just because of the Harambe (Y’know, the gorilla shot down in the Cincinnati zoo) memes. There’s a lot of stuff you have to sift through, like eight exhibits on clown fish or fourteen posts about mattresses, and the information centers are really hard to find.” Here she paused and wondered aloud why the ten-dollar barber costs fifteen dollars. Resuming, she went on to say, “but there’s a lot of cool stuff once you know how to find it. Just make sure you REALLY like gorillas.”

Well said, Riv.

It seems that every time someone actually is looking for an object or piece of information, it is never to be found in the convoluted mess of the Marketplace. And here arises one of the more prominent aspects of YU Marketplaces disorder: the memes. Not just any memes, but the good ol’ cheesy Jewish ones. Shout out to the ever so popular Why Open Orthodoxy Is Not Orthodox, by David Rosenthal, a book which nobody seems to have read yet but seems to have become the brunt of all of YU’s creative witticisms. By witticisms, I mean repeated variations of the same joke, which is more irritating for its lack of originality than anything else. And one must not forget Harambe, who by now should just start his own religion. Judging by the fanatical number of memes about the dead gorilla, the majority of YU Marketplace will be worshipping his shrine in no time.

Any possible advantage YU Marketplace gives is pretty much limited to the beginning of the year until a mere few weeks in, when supplies are necessary. School goes into full swing in the blink of an eye, and that is when YU Marketplace arguably begins to lose the small amount of shine and luster it had in the first place.

Students who have been on campus for multiple years, exposed to the constant barrage of unheeded spam, appear to be just about fed up with YU Marketplace. Just ask Matan Horenstein, head resident adviser of the Wilf Campus, who is in his final year of Yeshiva University. What did he have to say about YU Marketplace? Simply, “I think the YU Marketplace is truly no longer a marketplace. It’s a free-for-all ranting and meme-posting outlet for YU and the Washington Heights community. Sure, it can be amusing at times, but it’s mostly annoying. I rarely go on it to buy things anymore because it’s full of spam. I think some students should create a new marketplace and regulate it so students can actually sell things.”

The memes and arguments sporadically provide a distraction from the daily stresses that come with the college life, but the vast majority of time they are just irritating. Forget the memes for a second; most of the posts on YU Marketplace seldom pertain to the average person in the slightest! The only reason it’s not worth disabling the notifications in the first place is because of the occasional sliver of useful information that infrequently happens to gets posted.

So a new Marketplace? Hmm. With rules to regulate the spam, so students can actually use the group?! Sounds like an actual idea brewing over here…

There is at least a portion of the Marketplace that is undeniably helpful, albeit it doesn’t really fit into the scheme YU Marketplace was designed for. Transportation requests become secondary only to the memes in frequency near vacation times, flooding the Marketplace. These posts are usually answered fairly quickly, which is great for those in need. During the school year itself, lost objects are habitually found, and, if the owner is unknown, a simple post to YU Marketplace will either grab the attention of the possessor or a friend who knows him. Indisputably helpful, these posts. But again, it can get annoying unless you happen to be in need of a ride or have dropped your ID card somewhere.

It is apparent that YU Marketplace has bloomed into a rose, thorns and all. At times it can be helpful, easing away situations that would normally cause a hassle and turn hairs prematurely grey. More often than not, though, it is the thorny segment of the Marketplace that pricks the fingers. Is Yeshiva University’s Marketplace an overall helpful Facebook group? That is purely a matter of opinion. So go on, buy away! Or at least attempt to...