"The sofa is for sale but the cat sleeping on it isn't."
So read one of the hilarious tweets stapled to a sprawling thread on Twitter late last month that revealed a hidden truth: Pet owners were using their cats and dogs as proxies for tape measures when listing items for sale on Craigslist (the better to communicate said item's dimensions).
It all started when a woman named Sara shared a photoset of her friend's pup standing on, in, and around a white wicker desk and table set:
"My friend is selling a desk and chair and didn't know the measurements so used her 12 pound chiweenie for scale."
As is so often the case on the internets, others found the observation v. relatable and began adding similar experiences that aligned with the original post.
"Sold a bed the same way," wrote one woman of her dachshund doin' a snooze.
"I have done this. With my 4.5lb long hair chihuahua vs the new animatronic toy dog my son hates & I was trying to get rid of since it was brand new," quipped a second.
"I too have one of those measuring devices," joked a third.
On and on and on it went, a never-ending parade of pets conscripted into service as models for their humans.
"I did the same with my 20 pounds on a bed. The buyer was not satisfied with the measurement."
"Just found this. Literally today, I used my cat to show my sister how big my guitalele is."
"Advertised some plastic netting for sale. Didn't have a tape measure so I used the dog. It was approx four shepherds wide. [sold] 😁"
This being the social web, though, some of them called an audible at the line of scrimmage and twisted the concept to, let's say, more comedic ends and more literal interpretations.
"I’d like my light switches Great Dane head height."
"OK.. The measuring device isn't working so well here! 🤣 I'm a big chap, nearly 8 US stones.... those boxes are huuuuuge😲"
"My mom using my dog, Kirby, to compare this giant pack of liquorice to 😂"
Well played, my friend, well played. 🏆 🏆 🏆
But this surprising trend isn't just limited to the microblogging platform with a 280-character limit: Digging into related hashtags at Instagram turns up oodles of folx using their critters for ecommerce or just to re-home unwanted stuff.
"I don't think I ever shared the beautiful print my daughter bought me for my birthday. It's just waiting for me to decorate my bedroom so it can be hung in pride of place. #catforscalenotsale"
"Anyone need a microwave? Free to a good home ! It's too big for our place so we need it out. #dogforscalenotforsale"
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL (the resemblance is striking, no?).
"Community garden plot for the win! #catforscale"
"Only 12 hours left to purchase ATLAS Tapestry, woof! #dogforscale"
Back on Twitter, the consensus seemed to be that standard units of measurement were hereby cancelled.