I hate Craigslist.
I hate having my time repeatedly wasted by flaky people and “professional” negotiators. People who say they are on their way to pick something up, but they’re not. People who email you interested in an item and then flake when you say “let’s meet” and my favorite… people who say “Sure, I’ll sell it to you, let’s meet in the morning” and then when you go to follow up they say “ah, sorry dude, someone came by last night and bought it”.
Maybe I’m being too harsh on Craigslist. I’ve gotten some great deals on there. I’ve often purchased pro audio equipment on Craigslist and ended up selling it for double or triple the amount I paid months or years later. If I tried to make a career of that, I would surely drive myself crazy but for recouping hobby money to spend on other hobbies, it’s been great.
None of this is really what I’ve chosen to zero on at the moment though.
Lately I’ve been looking on Craigslist for arcade games. As much as I would love to find an environment Discs of Tron for $500 in Kirkland, it hasn’t happened yet. That being said, I have seen other interesting things. There is an odd phenomenon that I have noticed and the easiest way to explain it is via example.
There is a mint looking 4 player Simpsons arcade machine on Craigslist right now. The seller wants $650 for it and it’s in Bellevue. There is no point in me linking you to the ad because it will be long gone by the time you read this. Whatever the case, a friend of mine offered the guy $550 via email and got no response at all.
There is also a wanted ad on Craigslist “looking to buy a 4 player Simpson’s arcade cabinet. Must be in good condition. Reasonable price. Thank you.” That person is in Redmond which is geographically next to Bellevue.
These guys sound like a perfect match up but there are so many things that could be at play here…
Simpsons arcade machine seller:
- Maybe he’s firm on the price an isn’t responding to “lowball” offers.
- Maybe the ad is fake and is designed to screw with hungry and pathetic arcade collectors.
- The wanted ad may have been there before the seller posted the game for sale and he may not have looked.
- Perhaps he listed the machine on Craigslist and left town or hasn’t checked his email since he listed it.
Guy who placed the wanted ad:
- Maybe this guy isn’t willing to pay $1 over $300 (unrealistic expectations)
- Maybe he didn’t look on Craigslist before posting his wanted ad although this is extremely unlikely.
- Maybe the game listed for sale was not listed at the time this wanted ad was placed.
- Perhaps this guy saw the game when it was first listed on Craigslist for a higher price and felt it wasn’t even worth attempting to negotiate the price since it was so far from what he was willing to pay.
- Perhaps he’s a flake and tried to buy the machine listed on Craigslist currently without following through.
- Perhaps the wanted ad guy does not like the for sale ad guy and is just trying to screw with him for some form of revenge.
- Maybe this is just part of an odd social experiment.
On Craigslist, sometimes it’s easy to lose perspective. For instance, you can look on there and find “the deal of the century” and all of the sudden you decide that you are only willing to pay THAT price for another copy of the same thing. This can skew your view of value drastically. Remember that even though it’s on the Internet with a price tag on it, it’s not necessarily for sale or obtainable by you (or maybe anyone).
As far as the two gentlemen with ads on Craigslist… I’ll leave you with a simple question, would the wanted ad exist on Craigslist at all if the for sale ad wasn’t already posted on there? I have seen this situation many, many times before on things like cars, bicycles, houses, etc, etc. My thought is that the person who suddenly covets this item didn’t know they wanted or needed the item before seeing the “for sale” listing on Craigslist. Once the seed is planted though and they decide that the original item that sparked their interest does not meet their needs, then they set out on a quest to obtain this item.
What does the guy who placed the wanted ad expect though?!? Is someone susposed to come out of the woodwork with a NICER copy for LESS money and deliver it to him?