Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor (kistaro) wrote,
Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

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Cutting out the middleman

Nobody here wanted to buy my DSi, so I sold it on CraigsList. It was an interesting experience, and I fully intend to sell off some of my other stale electronics that way, given a chance. Partially because I think it honestly gave me the best return I was going to get for the system, but also because meeting a complete stranger in your city for the purpose of a brief commercial transaction is simply a fascinating thing to do.

I agreed to sell the system to the first person who responded (who simply agreed to my asking price, no haggling was attempted), but she delayed it by several days, so I talked to the second person, who had a certain immediacy about wanting to buy it; I thus met a middle-aged Hispanic man by the Raven statue at the library, and we were unable to agree on a price. I suppose I'm not very sympathetic to last-minute attempts to haggle; I'd've been a lot more open to them over e-mail before we both went out of our way to be somewhere. I was at the library anyway because it's air-conditioned and it was a hot day, though, so it didn't put me out much.

Walking away from that deal was good for me, both financially and from a personal standpoint. I'm not very good at saying no to people, but I already had my own opinions on last-minute haggling in mind, and while I was sympathetic to his remarks that it would be a meaningful financial burden for him, I really had no obligation to sell at anything other than my arranged price. I also had quiet concerns about his ability to afford actual software for the system- as did he, when I explained more about it. I think he'd be better served by an iPod Touch, honestly.

So that put me back to the first person, and I sold her the system this evening. It was, in a sense, the complete opposite of the (failed) negotiations of the previous attempt. We got to the Transit Center (where we agreed to meet) within minutes of each other, I recognized her bandana, she recognized me gesticulating with the DSi itself, and exchanging the system for the pre-agreed on amount of cash took less than a minute. I confirmed her count of cash, she confirmed the system worked, and we went on about our lives.

Not without some interesting exchanges of information. Apparently, she was in the market for a console because her mother's abusive ex-boyfriend threw hers in the toilet, shorting it out. (Which is why she already had games of her own to test the system with!) Which is a pretty shitty thing to have happen to a person, so I'm glad I could provide my system for a reasonable price. She spent $35 less than GameStop would charge, I got $35 more than GameStop would pay, and I seem to have simply set a reasonable price. She took a bus home immediately after the transaction- apparently, the timing was just plain spot on.

So, I intend to use CraigsList again for this sort of thing. (Possibly soon. How much should I charge for an ancient market failure of a Wacom-driven pen-input Linux-based eink-display ebook reader?) It's not just that I got a good price for my superfluous electronics while providing a good deal for a person. It's that it provides a brief, constrained, focused, fascinating opportunity to talk to strangers. It's everything my mother told me not to do on the Internet, and (with appropriate precautions taken) it's simply an interesting experience to have.

I've migrated to DreamWidth. The original post is at View comment count unavailable comments at; go ahead and use OpenID to post your own, or you can comment here.
Tags: gadgets, talking to strangers

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