Rant time again: why is the retro market such a shady place compared to other collectables markets?
How often has this happened to you as a collector:
You take a system to a local shop and you walk up to the guy behind the buy counter, and this happens: “well I guess i can offer you $20 for the NES, and say $3 a game..”(all the while their already looking up the games on ebay).
You look around you and see systems for sale for 80+…you inquire about getting more, which is always met with: “I wish we could but our profit margins are so small already”. Are you kidding me? Have you assumed I just don’t understand basic math? Now to be fair, a lot of these places count on people who don’t know what they have or just want to get rid of their stuff for some quick cash.
Obviously it’s in a pawn/2nd hand stores best interest to buy low and sell high, but it’s a deterrent to people to sell to them.
Ok, you say “don’t take your stuff to pawn shops then, go to your local kijiji, game store, or flea market”.
Ok, let’s do that.
Now before I go off, I will say there’s some honest resellers out there who are in it because they love games, but are trying to make a living off it. This is not about those people.
Resellers also benefit off buying as low as possible, but often offer a bit better in trade. This is where things start to enter into the shady side of the world of games. You bring in some good stuff, looked up a fair market price on pricecharting.com, hand your stuff over, and the fun begins.
The dealer has 2 windows open on their laptop, pricecharting in 1, and ebay in the other. Once the highest prices have been determined, the prices on pricecharting are usually halved and offered. So the game you know is selling for $30 all day is garnering an offer of $6, $8 if you’re looking to trade for credit.
Do they think you never look up your own games? Everyone knows how to use ebay, but instead of waiting for it to sell there you’re trying to keep it local, but want to see some credit you can use. Yes I know games are expensive, but we’ve not only allowed the pricing to continue, but all contribute to the market continuing to explode keeping this cycle going.
Another thing that irks me is the vultures: you’ve seen them, their on every auction site, always involved in every post about games, but you never see them bidding. As someone who’s listed game systems online I’ve seen what it’s all about: back door deals. You can almost set your watch as to how long after posting it takes to see this email show up: “hey, if this doesn’t sell I’d be ok with giving you X amount for it” (usually far lower than you were asking, whether your price is fair market or not).
A lot of these guys also have other people enlisted to aide them, sometimes to watch bids, sometimes on the shady side, trolling a sale post to put off others from bidding. The best part is once this is successful you can count on someone pointing out reseller X (who you already know) would probably buy this from you. The interesting part is the people who help the vultures are so varied, and you have to wonder what it benefits them…you see a girl shilling for a reseller, you think ok, maybe its his girlfriend/wife/sibling helping him out, you check their profile: just friends, and their only hobby is instagram and pumpkin spice.
So it gets annoying quick when you realize you have armies of people shilling for maybe 3 resellers and you see things you would use as trade fodder go to people cheap and you’ll see it in their store or posted again at top dollar. Ok, ok I know what you’re thinking: “but auctions are controlled by the sellers and they can do what they like with their stuff”. Fair enough, but don’t put up an auction only to shut it down knocking out real gamers looking to bid on the item.
There’s nothing quite like being around to see a shady transaction going down: Some hapless guy brings in a box with an NES, a stack of games and walks away with $50 thinking they made a killing, only to have the reseller turn around to gloat that they just got a bunch of rare games in that deal. Ok, so you inquire about buying it knowing what they just paid, without missing a heartbeat you’ll hear: “I’d have to look it up”. Dude! I just watched you hose that guy…but that’s how shady goes.
This is why you need to dig in on getting deals: they don’t pay retail, so why should you? Don’t just accept prices, or like I’ve said before: trade with other collectors who are usually more open to face value trades.
Game chasing is fun, but if you’re going to make it a hobby: be ready to get greasy or be ready to pay ebay.
It is what it is and isn’t going to change anytime soon.