6 thoughts on “Just Rambling

  1. I’ve thought about this a lot – sometimes the “value” is needed for insurance purposes and they just need a number in a believable range. I’m always curious about the original sell prices which we almost never find out unless they leave the receipt with it. I tend to get most of mine in the 5 to 20dollar range. Out of the bins they are $7.50.
    p.s. I got an underwood five for ten bucks on saturday. It looked like ithad spent at least 50 years in a basement that had flooded at some point. I’m just getting the carriage to move and the keys to operate with lots of liquid wrench.

  2. Mmmmyeah, I think I have to admit there is some hypocrisy in that double standard and I’m often guilty of it.

    Fact is, if someone asks $500 for an Underwood no. 5, we laugh and scoff — but then, perhaps, it sells. And that was a fair price for the buyer, because no one was holding a gun to the buyer’s head.

    All part of the fun unpredictability of this offbeat hobby.

    • Well, I think this phenomena extends to every other product category as well, whether goods or services, or whether used or new. I’m guilty as well of saying that thus and so is ridiculously priced. However, upon analysis, all I’m really saying is that I, personally, would never pay that price. Still, if you know of anyone selling an Underwood 5 for a sawbuck…

  3. I believe in two principles regarding this topic:
    1. The buyer sets the price.
    2. You can’t cheat the seller.
    The first one should be obvious: there is no sale at all until the buyer agrees to part with his money. The seller may _suggest_ the price with his signs, etc. but the price is not _set_ until the payment changes hands.
    The second one is a little more involved but basically, the seller has complete control until he accepts the price. He has all the time in the world to research the item and (usually) no _compulsion_ to offer it before he has researched it. If he decides to turn it over quickly, then a lower price is his reward for avoiding research effort.
    Now, the verbal swordplay of energetic bargaining may also affect then price but it does not override these two principles. Bargaining is largely a personality issue.
    Note that you _can_ cheat the buyer and probably the most common way is to misrepresent the item while contriving to limit the buyer’s research time. And there must be other ways, too.
    About sellers asking “too much”? No one is forced to buy and when they do, there is plenty of easy information to establish a ballpark figure.
    So relax and Have Fun!

    • I see no distinction between the object for sale and the currency used to buy it. Both buyer and seller has in his possession something he wants until he values what the other guy has more than what he has. In the end, the person least interested in the trade sets the price. So, for example, if someone offers me ten bucks for my house (my example is extreme to make the point), I will simply refuse until he offers a price which I deem more valuable to me than my house. In such a case, I, the seller, set the price, since I really didn’t care to sell my house in the first place.

      As for cheating, both buyer and seller can be cheated. Here’s a real-world example: I read of a person who purchased a typewriter at a Goodwill, wherein the store manager thought the machine was broken and marked it down. The reason the manager thought it was broken was because the keys and carriage wouldn’t move. The buyer knew that the carriage wouldn’t move because it was simply locked. And yet, rather than informing the store manager that the item was not broken, he bought the item at the marked-down price. Now I’m not judging anyone or trying to make anyone feel guilty, because I probably would have justified such a purchase by rationalizing that the seller is responsible for knowing what he’s selling. Am I right? In my gut, I know I’m just rationalizing a certain behavior for my own interest, and, to my shame, I probably would have kept quiet and jumped on the deal as well (hey, I try to be good, but I’m still a work-in-progress). The point, however, is that both buyers and sellers have some responsibility to deal honestly with one another and with others. I don’t favor one over the other, because neither are in a privileged position.

      Finally, I stink at verbal swordplay, but I think if someone is shrewd enough to negotiate a price in his favor, no one is in any position to complain about that, so long as every party is free to decide whether or not to engage in the transaction without coercion.

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