Within minutes of posting this Amiga, I had a responder, which was a future problem. “Ben” was interested. He would drive across town to pick up the computer. I was so ecstatic to get any offer that I agreed. Others then started reaching out with their interest and offers. One person was also willing to drive across town, but since I had promised it to “Ben,” I told this anonymous other it was already sold…
I was happy selling the item to “Ben.”
Even after talking to someone more knowledgeable about retro computers that found the price I had posted the ad at to be drastically under its market value at $20, which was why I got so many responders within the first few minutes, I still felt I would take the honorable route and sell it at a perceived loss. Why else? What would I do- repost it? Tell the pseudonymous “Ben” off just to possibly make a few more bucks later? It seemed like too much effort and the reward was minimal. Even if I got $30 more profit on it, later on, it would take time and effort to repost everything.
I made my bed and slept in it.
Both physically, in terms of going to bed, and metaphorically. I wasn’t going to make a profit on this one, I thought, and I was OK with that because there is a sense of wanting to do the right thing in life that always dissuades us from making terrible decisions. Don’t hurt someone because it’ll hurt them, not because it hurts us, but we can pre-emptively take on that perception of hurt, [this is defining empathy here so if it feels obvious or weird, that’s why,] we can internalize it, and not do it to them because we don’t want them to do it to us.
I was just happy to get any responses at all.
Everything I’d posted lately had received no responses. Of course, they weren’t with the swanky new backdropped selling table with the good lighting, wide shots showing the table so there would be nothing from the buyer’s perspective to hide- even if there was nothing to hide, and multiple photos. But getting so many responses so quickly felt like reward enough. I’d go to sleep, wake up, meet up with “Ben,” make the transaction, and move on.
I kept seeing emails pouring in, so I checked them.
Most said they were interested in buying them without much more ado. Some were willing to drive out to meet me and most were just as interested as “Ben.” The thing was, all these others had reached out through craigslist, rather than the social media peer pressure app I’d installed. Even after setting up a burner email account to finish configuring, there’s still some degree of social accountability there.
It wasn’t worth burning “Ben” to sell it to “Claire” or “Chuck” for the same price.
In one of these emails, however, another buyer we’ll pseudonymously name as “Dan” said, “Hello! Man I want that Amiga. You’re not even asking enough for it. I’m sure you’ve already got interested people. I’ll give you $50 for it!”
Let’s consider where we’re at before we continue.
We have two morally-ambiguous routes where both are right and both are wrong. If we sell to “Ben” at the price we listed, we lose out on that fair market value that we had goofed on but we keep our social standing. If we sell to “Dan” at his high-ball offer, which goes completely against the low-ball offer schema most buyers go with, we lose out on that social standing but we keep our fair market value. If we sell to “Ben,” we continue on with our promise, but we know that we could have got more from “Dan.” If we sell to “Dan,” we break our promise, but we got what was fair if we’d researched the market more. Which route would you take?
I have a way of going about tie-breakers like this.
For me, this isn’t a moral decision. I am not killing either person. One buyer will be mad, while the other is glad. There is no way to split the goods and there aren’t enough eggs to go around for everyone. Someone will have missed out on an opportunity. I was in this situation, headache-riddled, having been in bed approaching sleep, but being awake enough to feel ready to make the decision properly.
I flip/spin a coin or go with a yes/no generator.
“Yes” was deciding to sell to “Dan” and break the promise with “Ben” at the price I set, to go with the high-ball offer immediately. “No” was remaining with my decision from before to sell to “Ben” at the price I had accidentally low-balled myself at, and live with the regret of having sold it for drastically under the value of the item, but saving face.
I always trust in “the decision” of these sorts of chances.
If the answer was “yes,” then I go with “yes,” and if the coin spin lands on “heads,” then I go with the direction that “heads” heads me toward. These are the situations in which there is enough ambiguity on either side that I must be decisive, and I usually am once I have made the decision. However, if I’ve collected as much information as I could prior to making the decision, and the results are still not clear – say “Ben” was a reseller on that same app or say “Dan” was a reseller on another site – then letting the decision be handled by some external arbiter helps guide me toward my path. Sure, that does mean I can go and blame that yes/no generator, but I chose not to do that. I make the decision to go with the decision. It is my conscious that must be guided by the decision of my actions.
Answer: “Yes.” High-baller “Dan” bought it at $50.
|Quotes:  This was “Dan’s” opening email.|
|Sources: My selling experience.|
|Inspirations: This is the moral climax of this 6-part essay series. I didn’t want to delay the reveal any longer. This has been a fun practice in storytelling by not revealing, even in foreshadowing, the results of an event. Since I experienced the event, my experiences interweaved throughout the text. Making “Ben” a more empathetic character made my betrayal of some agreement online to “Dan” all the more poetic of a conclusion. There are two more essays. How did it go and how did it feel? Stay tuned!|
|Related: Besides Selling Zeal?
Amiga Clearance A01/06 – Introduction
Amiga Clearance A02/06 – Posting
Amiga Clearance A03/06 – Fitness
Amiga Clearance A04/06 – Selling 1
Amiga Clearance A05/06 – Selling 2
Amiga Clearance A06/06 – Rats
|Photo: “Dan” said in person, “oh, it looks like the case is damaged. Oh well.”|
|Written On: 2020 January 03 [41 minutes, from 8:11am to 8:52am while listening to the FF7 soundtrack, written in WordPress.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 January 03 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|