You will sometimes get many responses to items you’re selling within the first hour you post it. You may sometimes for wait weeks to get even one response. That’s where I give it about a month: week one at full price, week two half price, then consider donating it. I posted this Quadra first for $40 then dropped it down to $20 and before I got to that donation consideration, I got two responses from interested buyers.
“Ahmed” reached out with clear contact information and times:
“I just saw your ad for the Quadra. I would really like to buy this from you. I have an IIsi and would love to have the next machine inline for restoration.
“I am available tomorrow pretty much all day or Tuesday – Friday I can meet up on my way to work. I am coming from [across town].
[cell phone] – text or email is best for me”
We agreed to a time and a place.
He found out soon after that his work rescheduled and he needed to work at that time. That creates an interesting conundrum, doesn’t it? That is something that if you’re selling one or two items it doesn’t matter much, but if you’re selling off vast chunks of your hoarded collections like I am, it’s important to consider where your sales honor rests.
Fortunately, it was the next day and the next buyer hadn’t reached out yet.
With that, sure, it was a minor inconvenience, but “Ahmed” rescheduled with enough time where I still figured it’d be fair to let him buy it. Now if some other interested buyer were to have contacted within that timeframe, I might have sold it to someone else. How long do you hold onto things for? As we discussed in my Amiga series, money tends to talk, so if you want something badly enough, you can highball.
I wasn’t feel great about the reschedule but I went along with it.
Part of it is gauging the buyer’s excitement and level of interest. If they’ve asked for a reschedule but seem interested, for one, they’re not going to show up without the money they said they would, and for two, they’re going to probably be more likely to be upright. I don’t mind dealing with shady people in certain situations, but when it comes to meeting strangers through selling sites, I tend to prefer not getting stabbed or shot.
Hasn’t happened to me so far and I’ve sold some things over the years.
My general life policy is that I’m good with one reschedule or one delay for general situations. If I’m running late, I’ll call as soon as I know I won’t be there on time, earlier if it’s more important. I thought I’d make it early to physical therapy here the other day but I was fifteen minutes late, so I called right when I was planning to arrive so they’d know, and probably should have called sooner but all that happened was I had fewer minutes of learning new stretches or practicing the ones I had learned. My work requires me to call more than one hour before my shift starts if I’m late or absent and I think that’s a good policy to have in general.
Rescheduling with more than a few hours of notice is fine.
For specific examples, if we’re meeting up at 7pm for me to sell something, if you’re letting me after 5pm, that’s a little too close for time, but if you let me know by around 10am, then it’s perfectly acceptable.
Besides, it goes back to that buyer interest thing.
If someone’s interested in buying the item, they’re not going to be inconvenienced by something if they’re going to want to buy it for around the price you’re selling it for without hassle or extreme haggling and without being a pain. If I say $20, and you want it, you’re going to bring $20 and not $10 because I will walk away. So not only are you going to bring $20, you’re also going to make your arrangements, too, where you’re not going to cut off an arm to make the meeting but you’re not going to mess around since that item may not appear again.
That’s where selling retro computers is almost a good practice ground for selling.
There is certain value for certain collectors of these things, and their disposition tends to be closer to the morally upright collector that wants to engage in a fun, hobbyist activity rather than someone ultra-competitively trying to make a profit. There’s less money, certainly, but it’s all about practicing with the small dollars first before you can have the confidence to sell automobiles for thousands of dollars. Those sales take longer and require more nuance because of the level of complexity involved.
Selling retro computers is a fairly straight-forward interaction.
Like classic cars, there’s only a certain number of them out in the wild, but unlike them, as a seller you only have to worry about being accurate based on what you posted in the ad, and as a buyer you only have to worry about comparing the ad based on what you see in person. If things don’t work for a computer, there’s enough of a market around where you can eventually buy the part you need, if it’s not readily available in the area.
I’m in the home stretch of selling off my retro computers now.
Other than this Quadra, which I’ll write a second essay talking about the actual sales transaction and maybe some conversations after the sale, I have a few more parts and a few more computers that I have no attachment toward. They take up too much space and might not have been worth the money I put in years back compared to the money received now, but I think it’s worth writing about these experiences.
If my essays will help readers get out there and try new things, then I’m all for it.
|Quotes:  Taking Ahmed’s email and pasting it is my way of introducing some flavor into the essay.|
|Sources: My selling experience.|
|Inspirations: I’ve been writing about selling stuff, but only when it feels substantial enough, or if I have any sort of thoughts that I might want to get out.|
|Related: Other Selling Zeal essays.|
|Photo: The leading shot of the sales ad.|
|Written On: 2020 February 22 [From midnight to “I’ve sold some things over the years” at 12:16am. From 12:35am to 12:49am. Gdocs.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 March 04 [Adapted from Gdoc, so, second draft; final draft for the Internet.]|