The Wild West
Online Transactions Reinforce the Need for Integrity Over Price
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
I have been selling online since late 1999 and RePlay called me the “online ambassador” in a 2002 article. Who knew about the internet(s) anyway? Today, there are so many places to buy and sell online.
Recently, I saw an ICE Super Chexx game listed locally for $995. I know the game must be worth more than that, so I asked the seller if it’s available. Yes, comes the Facebook marketplace reply.
Okay, I’ll buy it. I ask the seller if he wants the money now. “No, call me,” he writes, giving me his phone number. So, I call this guy, who ends up being the CEO of some cyber security firm. (It turns out you can see the buyer’s and seller’s entire Facebook profile and pictures. He has some yacht, too!)
I tell him that we’ll pick up the game the next day and pay him at that time. (For that price, I’d love to have one myself.) He tells me he’s moving to Boca Raton and everything has to go. I reiterate that I’ll have it picked up in the morning.
Uh oh… A few minutes later he texts me that he got a better offer at $1,200. Still thinking it’s a good deal, I tell him I’ll go up to $1,200 to match the offer.
The next text from him, tells me that this new buyer “Venmoed” the money to his daughter already (Venmo is a mobile payment service owned by PayPal). He followed that up with a “Hey, sorry, tough luck…”.
Seeing how he handled this transaction for $200 more, I can’t help but wonder how he runs his cyber security firm?
Today, it’s a real Wild West show out there buying and selling on the internet. Should I have paid him in advance and run the risk of getting nothing? Getting ripped off for nearly $1,000 seems like an equally plausible outcome of this transaction to me.
Years ago, it was common practice to trade our games back to our distributors as we bought new ones. These days, everyone is selling their games online in one place or another. Caveat emptor, for sure.
I recently had a customer send beautiful pictures of a game for sale, but when we showed up, we found the game didn’t match the pictures. What a waste of time and effort.
Yes, price is important, but integrity and who you buy from is even more important, especially when it comes to deals online.
The moral of the story? I guess it’s to be grateful for a good deal that didn’t go through. While I never did get my Super Chexx for $995, I didn’t face that other likely outcome: that I’d lose $995 and not get the game.
At the time of this writing, my cybersecurity CEO guy has a ton of leather furniture and other stuff still listed for sale. Good luck to him moving it all to Boca Raton.
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011 he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at [email protected] jerseyjackpinball.com.