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View Full Version : People who'd throw out hardware if they can't make a profit



glitch
February 16th, 2010, 10:07 AM
A Macintosh SE in untested condition recently showed up in one of my eBay searches. I watched it, to see if it'd get any bids at (what I thought was) a high starting price. It didn't, so I contacted the seller to see if it'd be relisted. Got this reply back:


I will relist the SE, but not with a lower starting bid. If I can't get
at least $25.00 out of it, I'll thow it in the trash as it wouldn't be
worth my time to sell and ship.

Thanks,
<Name removed>

Stuff like that really burns me.

MikeS
February 16th, 2010, 10:19 AM
A Macintosh SE in untested condition recently showed up in one of my eBay searches. I watched it, to see if it'd get any bids at (what I thought was) a high starting price. It didn't, so I contacted the seller to see if it'd be relisted. Got this reply back:

Stuff like that really burns me.Well, FWIW people like you who think everything should be free and that a person is not entitled to a measly $25.00 for the time, hassle and materials to pack and ship something like that really burn me... It's his stuff and it's his call after all.

Chuck(G)
February 16th, 2010, 10:21 AM
It shouldn't. Finding home for old gear is quite an undertaking and years may go by before you get a taker. Mac SEs aren't particularly rare in the universe of old gear. I understand the seller's point of view perfectly.

I dispose of old stuff on a regular basis. I've gone to listing things once. If there are no takers, the item is recycled (sometimes components are scavenged, sometimes not). I have no moral responsibility to hold out hope that someday, someone might want an item and be willing to pay to have it shipped.

glitch
February 16th, 2010, 10:59 AM
I can understand not wanting to deal with eBay fees when trying to sell something that doesn't seem to gather interest -- I run a part-time (well, more like hobby) electronics store on eBay, selling components from a warehouse closeout. But if something won't sell after two listings, I usually try to give it away on the forums I frequent, or through craigslist, rather than just throw it away. If nothing else, it goes to our local YMCA, which recycles electronics and applicances so they don't end up in landfills.

I guess if you're a full-time eBay seller, you probably don't have time to do that with every little thing that doesn't sell. And no, I don't think everything ought to be had for free -- but one's time in packing and shipping something should be included in shipping and handling charges.

Lorne
February 16th, 2010, 11:33 AM
I'll toss stuff too.
I try to give it away to someone who might need it (via the forum), but I'm not going to build a 500 or 1,000 sf addition to house a bunch of stuff I don't want or need, just so someone else, two years down the road, can have it for free.
And that shipping and handling does cost money, even if you're using USPS provided supplies, and having USPS come pick it up.
There's tape for the box, printing of the shipping labels (paper and toner), and your time to do all that stuff.

tezza
February 16th, 2010, 01:03 PM
Yes, I agree on the others with this. It's frustrating to see items you want going for a song where the seller won't ship but you have to look at the seller's point of view. Packing and posting is a hassell. Even if the shipping fees will cover the time and effort spent, you may have better things to do with your time.

I've got a few items here which will go on our local TradeMe auction site soon. One of those is a broken Mac SE. I'll put it on the site for 50 cents, pickup only. I'll be lucky to get $2 at the most but I'm not interested in the money...if there is someone who wants it and can come and pick it up. Great. There is no way I will be shipping it though. Even if it was going, and I might get $20, I still wouldn't ship it. It's just not worth the effort.

Tez

vwestlife
February 16th, 2010, 01:32 PM
I saw a similar thing happen with a rare Atari 8-bit computer game (the cartridge version of "Spy Hunter"). It was listed for an already-outrageous $59.99 (or "Make Offer"). It didn't sell, so the seller relisted it for $79.99. Maybe the $13,000 Nintendo on eBay gave them delusions of grandeur. Overall, prices for old video games on eBay are arificially inflated. There is no way that loose Atari games that are not at all rare are worth $20 each.

Unknown_K
February 16th, 2010, 05:00 PM
I can see the sellers point. I recently shipped a mac Classic II to a fellow collector and finding a box that was the correct size and packing it so it gets there in one piece is a pain (bubble wrap, foam padding etc NO PEANUTS). I get packages in every week and it is still hard sometimes to get usefull packing material so that I can ship out something once in a while. All that material costs money and takes up space. These days working people just don't have the time to get to the post office before closing for an item that they will not get much money for.

For small items that fit into the free flat rate boxes its not a major issue. You can print a shipping label at home and just dump it in a post office box (or at work) without having to wait in line or go out of your way.

If you ebay for a living you cannot afford to sell items that lose money or take too much time (away from profitable things). If you just want something gone and don't want it trashed (and don't do it too often) $.99 ebay auctions would work. I find giving things away on freecycle can be a pain with no-shows wasting your time.

The reality is quite a bit of common computer items end up recycled every day, there is no real need to save it all. If the rarities do not command some decent money then don't expect them to get saved either.

Dms12444
February 16th, 2010, 05:21 PM
With the rising prices I'm not surprised. many would find it too troublesome to go through the work and labor of shipping and taxes for minimal profit. Ebay, one of the major suppliers of computer stuff for collectors has fees that are usually extremely high, and many sellers loose profit if they do sell too low. There isn't much motivation to ship a vintage computer which under most circumstances will get less than $200 (often today under $100).

Unknown_K
February 16th, 2010, 06:13 PM
With the rising prices I'm not surprised. many would find it too troublesome to go through the work and labor of shipping and taxes for minimal profit. Ebay, one of the major suppliers of computer stuff for collectors has fees that are usually extremely high, and many sellers loose profit if they do sell too low. There isn't much motivation to ship a vintage computer which under most circumstances will get less than $200 (often today under $100).

Thats just stupid. You are trying to tell me some people who probably average $10 an hour at work are not motivated to spend an hour at the most to box up and ship something they already have for $200 (20 hours of work plus they don't pay taxes)? I can understand a lawyer or doctor who makes $50 an hour not wanting to spend an hour at work boxing up a package to make a $10 profit ($40 loss), but most ebay sellers are not making a that much money.

Darshevo
February 16th, 2010, 09:36 PM
Also take into account that on a sale price of $25 ebay will get about $5 off the top between their listing and final value fees as well as paypal. Anything I have that won't clear at least $50 either ends up here or in the recycle bin. Its got to be a pretty special piece for me to take the time to list, package and ship (considering the amount of care a computer takes in prep to arrive in one piece).

-Lance

barythrin
February 17th, 2010, 07:35 AM
Ok so ebay out of the picture, I understand both sides of the argument and just say it sucks in general. So without ebay though, we have folks here posting systems for free and they aren't getting hits. I'd love to save all the computers I can but I'm out of room and also can't store things for everyone else despite my love for the technology. The price factor is also just the shipping which is also inhibits my ability to save the items. One, it's ashame that anyone needs to resort to giving things away, two even for free we've had a system in Alaska, UK, and other places that are good working computers get no hits and probably end up as scrap because of that.

I'm starting to realize I'm more into the historical archival and desire to ensure these things aren't all gone for future generations to see and appreciate than monetary gain but again, I can't afford $60 to ship or save everything I'd like to.

NeXT
February 17th, 2010, 08:33 AM
I say they are just greedy bastards.
I know someone in Vancouver who worked at a computer shop (to which I'll name "Computer Shop X") and for a long time had a Lisa sitting in the front window of his shop and you could buy it...for a mere $3500 (and it was just the system, keyboard and mouse. Nothing else) and it stayed there so long that the back of the system which faced into the store was still that nice white/platinum/light yellow color Apple used and the front was almost pure yellow. Finally the shop owner took it out of the window and tossed it in the dumpster. When my friend caught wind of this he ran to his boss and offered $50 + he would pull it out of the dumpster.....and of course he said that he was STILL looking for $3500.
Some people just refuse to make sacrifices and/or are just too black and white. It's annoying.

linuxlove
February 17th, 2010, 08:44 AM
I guess he must have thought that Lisa was super-rare. If it was a Lisa 1 it might have been worth $3500.
Me? I'm selling stuff and while it doesn't take up much space, it takes up some. I'm selling parts out of a scrapped ThinkPad and if nothing sells, then I throw it out. I don't have space for stuff that may never be used again.

kishy
February 17th, 2010, 10:24 AM
I'm of the opinion that "what goes around comes around"...people should "pay it forward", etc.

People have been good to me...through free stuff, discounts, kind words, well wishes, common courtesy...the list goes on.

Someone like me who holds these sort of values looks at someone like that Mac seller and sees someone who doesn't participate in the "what goes around comes around" cycle and as a result does not deserve to have anything nice passed in their direction.

Before we go harping on me for the 'for sale' section of my website, consider that everything is $5 pre-shipping save for a few items of exceptional value.

Is my time worth more than $5? I like to think so.

Is the hassle of wandering out into the snow (or rain, or in summer the extreme +90 degree F heat) then onto a city bus to ship things worth more than the extra <$5 markup I put on shipping for transit costs? I like to think so.

People who seek only to profit...giving nothing else to their customers...getting the most return on their time...I have an issue with the way these people do things. Participate in society...give a little and see what you get in return. My kindness and generosity gets me all kinds of offers for this/that/the other interesting and potentially valuable piece of technology, but I turn down just about all offers where I'd turn around and sell the item. That damages the integrity of the original act of giving it to me, and it makes me look like a jerk to whoever tried to do something nice for me.

donutty
February 17th, 2010, 10:30 AM
The Lisa example seriously sucks, but I too have had the reaction, at a hamfest, of "I'd rather chuck it out than sell it to you for x" (x being probably half the price that they wanted, but still IMHO it's real value). It seems some people are just bastards through and through.

NeXT
February 17th, 2010, 11:24 AM
Oh god, don't start me with ham stuff.
Right off the bat, ham is a really expensive hobby.
Want this tube receiver? It likes to drift out of frequency and it has a nasty hum but you can have it for $400....

donutty
February 17th, 2010, 11:34 AM
Nah, it wasn't a radio item.. it was a vintage 'puter. You don't think I go to hamfests for the 'ham' do you? :)

barythrin
February 17th, 2010, 01:27 PM
lmao with the ham stuff, yeah that seems to have 180'd and my fondest memories were of kishy pointed out. While I hold on to my stuff generally (not for value/resale) but I had the humorous experiences of the HAM fests where old friends walk up to eachothers tables and the seller sees them touch something and suggests "Oh, you need that." (buyer: "What is it?") Seller: "Dunno.. got it 10 years ago for a project but never touched it. You definitely need one though.. here why don't you take that and this.". So used to be lots of deals to be had, hell I grabbed this really weird old rackmount system (I still have no idea what it is to be honest and should probably post pics sometime) but they just said it was a proprietary computer system and it was more for parts. I asked if it worked and the said it probably does but thinking I'm a regular user wanted to ensure me it does some proprietary task or isn't a windows like machine which I knew the latter of course. Either way, I think it was $35 with the giggling of I had to carry it (afterwards I found out why they thought that was funny and they lent me a dolly) but they threw in a bunch of old manuals which I also still have to go through some day lol. The manuals were worth the cost though, but yeah they just wanted me to take it.

Another ham fest (first one I went to) I met the professor at UT Austin of communications and some of his friends in a local ham group. Real cool guys and very friendly. He actually told me to hold out buying one and said "watch. By the end of today you'll get one for free." and later he helped me look. Now we didn't find one for free (close though) but it was so nice of him I went ahead and bought one of his for walking around and talking to me about stuff.

Now adays yeah, I go just for computer stuff and kicks but I see the same thing. You find an old piece of equipment that hasn't had much love and the guy selling it now wants $800. Maybe it's vintage or collectible now I don't know, but it certainly seems like the same stuff that had no value $10 years ago. Like wandering around I find some green box with lots of slots in it, turns out it's some sort of modular military radio system. I should have picked it up but it was cobwebbed and I couldn't tell what radioactive fluids would be leaking into my truck bed.

"People are bastard covered bastards with bastard filling!"

edit: can't... resist.. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTbgvYPVdXE)

Mr.Amiga500
February 18th, 2010, 07:51 AM
Although I cringe at the idea of somebody throwing out vintage computing stuff, I have often wondered why sellers would waste their time packing and shipping something that only gets them a couple bucks.

I bought a Model M keyboard for $4.That $4 probably wouldn't even cover gas money the seller used to drive to the post office to ship the thing - not to mention his time listing it, responding to emails, packing it and waiting in line to weigh it for shipping. I wonder why people even bother. (...but I'm glad they do)

Unknown_K
February 18th, 2010, 09:47 AM
Although I cringe at the idea of somebody throwing out vintage computing stuff, I have often wondered why sellers would waste their time packing and shipping something that only gets them a couple bucks.

I bought a Model M keyboard for $4.That $4 probably wouldn't even cover gas money the seller used to drive to the post office to ship the thing - not to mention his time listing it, responding to emails, packing it and waiting in line to weigh it for shipping. I wonder why people even bother. (...but I'm glad they do)


Probably because of some items they sell raking in a huge profit to offset the others. If you do it as a business some things sell cheap and some sell for quite a bit more then you figured, you never know. All that matters is that after buying inventory, getting supplies, figuring in your time and gas money, you make enough profit over time for it to be worth it.

Ebay auctions can be funny, I won a removable floppy drive for a Thinkpad T23 for $.26 with free shipping. It arrived well packed and it does work, for cheaper then the price of a postage stamp. In that case paypal and ebay were the only ones getting paid.

MikeS
February 18th, 2010, 02:23 PM
I'm of the opinion that "what goes around comes around"...people should "pay it forward", etc.

People have been good to me...through free stuff, discounts, kind words, well wishes, common courtesy...the list goes on.

Someone like me who holds these sort of values looks at someone like that Mac seller and sees someone who doesn't participate in the "what goes around comes around" cycle and as a result does not deserve to have anything nice passed in their direction.

Before we go harping on me for the 'for sale' section of my website, consider that everything is $5 pre-shipping save for a few items of exceptional value.

Is my time worth more than $5? I like to think so.

Is the hassle of wandering out into the snow (or rain, or in summer the extreme +90 degree F heat) then onto a city bus to ship things worth more than the extra <$5 markup I put on shipping for transit costs? I like to think so.

People who seek only to profit...giving nothing else to their customers...getting the most return on their time...I have an issue with the way these people do things. Participate in society...give a little and see what you get in return. My kindness and generosity gets me all kinds of offers for this/that/the other interesting and potentially valuable piece of technology, but I turn down just about all offers where I'd turn around and sell the item. That damages the integrity of the original act of giving it to me, and it makes me look like a jerk to whoever tried to do something nice for me.So, because of your "kindness and generosity" you deserve $20.00 for a Pentium 4 CPU that one can find at the side of the road most days and your time to slip something into a padded envelope or small box is worth at least $5.00 on top of shipping, but someone who thinks his time to pack and ship something big and awkward like a Mac is worth $25 is (presumably) a greedy bastard who doesn't deserve anything nice?

I really don't get this attitude that a person is not allowed to set whatever price they want on something they're selling; if you don't think it's worth it, just don't buy it. I don't see why the seller has to set the price at what the buyer thinks it's worth (usually $0.00 by the sounds of it).

And if somone decides to just scrap something instead of having the hassle of posting it, answering a lot of questions and probably haggling over the price, packing it and lugging it to the post office to get a shipping cost, etc. etc., just to be told that that's not worth $25. then I say that's his/her prerogative.

Seems to me that often the people who bitch the most rarely step up themselves; the seller 'should' sell it for $X and although they themselves aren't willing or able to pick it up or pay the shipping, 'someone else' definitely should.

Sure, we all hate to see things that we value get scrapped, but that's our problem because we're not willing or have the time/money/space to acquire them ourselves; the person who owns it doesn't have any responsibility to hang on to it or spend time and money just to get rid of it. I've got Cromemco S100 systems that I'll probably be scrapping; when I mention that, there are always replies of, "no, you can't do that," but when I reply, "fine, pay the shipping plus a few bucks for me," there's silence.

And don't get me started on the folks who, after you go out of your way and possibly even spend a few bucks to help them out with something, don't even acknowledge that they received it, never mind saying "thank you." (You know who you are ;-) )

In the end this hurts the whole community. Here's someone who thinks that instead of just throwing his Mac in the garbage he'll offer it to someone who might appreciate it and give him a lousy $25.00 for his time and trouble; what's the reaction? He's called a greedy bastard more than once; if he'd read these posts you can be sure that the next time he won't bother to offer it at all and just scrap it in the first place.

I also know at least two people who don't respond any more when someone's looking for something that they have, whether it's parts, documentation or just knowledge, because too often in the past they didn't get any acknowledgement whatsoever and it was just taken for granted; it's just not worth the bother any more for them.

kishy
February 18th, 2010, 02:37 PM
Actually, the P4 CPUs are priced like that because I'm selling them for someone else, doing the legwork on the deal as repayment for all sorts of wonderful stuff that particular person has given me, connections I've made because I know him, and knowledge he has provided me with.

I've already been paid for those chips...in IBM PS/2s.

A seller is free to set whatever value they see fit on something they're selling...but if they actually want it to sell within ANY particular amount of time they should consider buyer interest vs actual value.

MikeS
February 18th, 2010, 03:06 PM
Actually, the P4 CPUs are priced like that because I'm selling them for someone else, doing the legwork on the deal as repayment for all sorts of wonderful stuff that particular person has given me, connections I've made because I know him, and knowledge he has provided me with.

I've already been paid for those chips...in IBM PS/2s.

A seller is free to set whatever value they see fit on something they're selling...but if they actually want it to sell within ANY particular amount of time they should consider buyer interest vs actual value.I've probably scrapped or given away around 20 or so P4s in the last little while (right, Ric?) so I personally don't think the CPU alone is worth $20.00, but I have NO problem whatsoever with you or your friend setting whatever price you like on them; if someone pays it, good for you, if not, it's up to you whether to lower the price, give them away, or toss 'em in the garbage. The fact that *I* think they're practically worthless is irrelevant.

I have a problem with the hypocrisy that it's OK for *you* to set a price on your time to pack and ship something but someone else who's quite possibly not even interested in old computers or a member of "the community" is not entitled to do so.

And especially the sense of entitlemement where someone who won't sell you something for what *you* think it's worth, or better yet for free, is a "greedy bastard." ("you" in the generic sense, not you specifically).

kishy
February 18th, 2010, 03:28 PM
I've probably scrapped or given away around 20 or so P4s in the last little while (right, Ric?) so I personally don't think the CPU alone is worth $20.00, but I have NO problem whatsoever with you or your friend setting whatever price you like on them; if someone pays it, good for you, if not, it's up to you whether to lower the price, give them away, or toss 'em in the garbage. The fact that *I* think they're practically worthless is irrelevant.

I have a problem with the hypocrisy that it's OK for *you* to set a price on your time to pack and ship something but someone else who's quite possibly not even interested in old computers or a member of "the community" is not entitled to do so.

And especially the sense of entitlemement where someone who won't sell you something for what *you* think it's worth, or better yet for free, is a "greedy bastard." ("you" in the generic sense, not you specifically).

I see no hypocrisy. I have a problem with the "if you don't buy it at this price I'll throw it out" cheap marketing tactic. Sellers are free to assign whatever price they like but if they start, in essence, bribing you to make a purchase at a particular price within a particular time period...that's wrong.

barythrin
February 18th, 2010, 03:29 PM
MikeS I know what you mean.. it's tough too with the lack of funds to save all these machines (sigh.. I already said that too). But yeah, just as you mention it I think in my head NO! DON'T TOSS THEM! How much? and then I too would end up finding the shipping and weight probably bigger than I can afford :-( That sucks. Maybe if shipping costs were lower lots of hardware would be saved. I guess I also have relationship pressures on "why is there another computer on the porch?" and I'm running out of *hilarious* responses.

I'm not sure if everyone just says they want it once it's gone but the price conversation didn't happen so it sounds like it would have worked or what. I'm quite surprised with your Cromemco's though.. (pm sent lol) but I'm also probably not smart enough to fix them or use them as a true enthusiast could. That's my current excuse not to jump on too much gear until I get other gear sorted through (I'll probably have to sell some duplicates soon but I can't do these "as is" sales and feel right so they're on my 100 page to-do list).

MikeS
February 19th, 2010, 06:17 PM
MikeS I know what you mean.. it's tough too with the lack of funds to save all these machines (sigh.. I already said that too). But yeah, just as you mention it I think in my head NO! DON'T TOSS THEM! How much? and then I too would end up finding the shipping and weight probably bigger than I can afford :-( That sucks. Maybe if shipping costs were lower lots of hardware would be saved. I guess I also have relationship pressures on "why is there another computer on the porch?" and I'm running out of *hilarious* responses.

I'm not sure if everyone just says they want it once it's gone but the price conversation didn't happen so it sounds like it would have worked or what. I'm quite surprised with your Cromemco's though.. (pm sent lol) but I'm also probably not smart enough to fix them or use them as a true enthusiast could. That's my current excuse not to jump on too much gear until I get other gear sorted through (I'll probably have to sell some duplicates soon but I can't do these "as is" sales and feel right so they're on my 100 page to-do list).
Well, I'll measure and weigh one of the small ones (funny you should mention the porch; two ea. System 300 and 420 have sat on my porch for a couple of years now ;-) ) and see about shipping (they're HEAVY - Cromemco didn't use wussy aluminum, everything's steel!). A bunch have already been scrapped and a couple found new homes but there are nine left; no reason why they shouldn't all work and there are lots of spare parts; also boxes of manuals etc. It does seem a shame.

But I have sort of decided that it's a lot less hassle and will probably bring a few bucks more eventually if I scrap the big and heavy chassis and just keep the cards to sell some day; ya don't sell them every day, but the last two cards I sold went for $150 ea. Guess that almost puts me in the same class as those evil scrappers who crush irreplaceable cards for the gold content...

Actually this thread and especially Kishy's attitude are helping me to make up my mind; I'm not a 'collector', I just have a lot of stuff that's accumulated in close to 40 years in the business and I couldn't bring myself to throw out. With a couple of exceptions I have no use for most of it myself and most of it isn't worth much either, so the main reason (other than laziness) I haven't thrown it out is because someone else might see some value in it.

But I gotta say when I read the reaction of some of the folks on here to someone like me who says, "I'm throwing out a ..xxx; you want it, give me $25 +shipping and it's yours, otherwise it goes to the curb," I say to myself why bother. If, instead of trying to do someone a favour I'm seen as a "greedy bastard," then I don't see the point at all; I sure wouldn't pack and ship any of my PC/XT boxes and monitors for a lousy $25; I've offered them for pickup but no one close is interested, so what am I supposed to do with them?

Mind you, now I won't feel bad asking 'real' money for some stuff; if I'm going to be a greedy bastard anyway I might as well make some money...

My 'normal' friends just see a pile of old junk, don't understand why I take up valuable space with it and waste my time on forums like this; in fact, more than one has offered to pay for a dumpster in my driveway and to help me fill it up, and I'm beginning to think that they're right. Sometimes it's really easy to see this stuff as just so much useless old junk, and life is short...

MikeS
February 19th, 2010, 06:50 PM
A "small" Cromemco:


3146

Unknown_K
February 19th, 2010, 07:33 PM
For the most part we are junk collectors, we collect things that 99% of society no longer has a use for.

The people who say pay $xxx for my junk or it goes in the trash are just using clever marketing, no different then if you act now you get 2 for the same price advertisements you see at 4am on tv.

I could be wrong but most collectors could care less about what a persons time is worth or if he walks your package 20 miles in the snow uphill both ways barefoot to the post office or if he just mails it from work using company money. The bottom line is what condition is the item, how bad do you want it, and what is the final price. If the item is worth that final price you have a sale.

I don't see the need to get people upset over what things are "worth" since like all hobbies everything is worth something different or worth nothing at all depending who you talk to at any given moment. People around here give valuable stuff away for free, or charge more then you can get something at any time shipped on ebay and every increment in between.

There are too many people going hungry, animals being put to sleep from over population, and other issues that are more important to worry about then complaining about one mac SE out of a million made somebody wanted too much for.

Bobthearch
February 20th, 2010, 01:44 AM
I will relist the SE, but not with a lower starting bid. If I can't get
at least $25.00 out of it, I'll thow it in the trash as it wouldn't be
worth my time to sell and ship.

Thanks,
<Name removed>He's right.

If it's in good working condition and you really want it, the least you could do is toss in the lousy twenty-five bucks.

If it's not worth $25 to me, it's probably not something I need.

Of course there are community members who generously offer freebees and trades, but you can't expect that from just some guy halfway across the country. It's quite thoughtful of him to offer it on eBay in the first place instead of just tossing it in the dumpster.

MikeS
February 20th, 2010, 07:34 AM
Nice to see some more reasonable perspectives.

I still don't get the problem with "If no one wants it enough to make it worth my while, I'll throw it out." Maybe it does add a little incentive to save it, but cheap or clever marketing tactic? What else is he supposed to say/do? Even the thrifts don't take this junk any more.

You read this every day here and on other forums: "I have to get rid of xxx; if no one wants it enough to make it worth while to pack and ship, it goes to the dump next Saturday;" what is it about this that bothers you so much, OP, Kishy et al?

How about this current post from Linuxlove:
--
One Game Gear with game: PARTS ONLY, $5
Game case is in very rough condition but works fine. If you want it separate, let me know. The game is "Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble" Power brick will be $5
If nothing sells, into the bin they will go.
--
Is he a "greedy bastard" using cheap or clever marketing tactics?

I really would like to know.

glitch
February 23rd, 2010, 08:36 PM
I suppose the problem lies in the "worth my while" part...I figure that less than what I was hoping for is better than carting it off to the recycling center anyway. There's certainly nothing wrong with getting rid of something if no one is interested in it, but in my case, I'd expressed interest, just not for what the seller was asking.

I ran into a similar seller recently, who had a lot of old EPROMs and discrete logic ICs (4000 CMOS and 74LS stuff) that he was asking $300 or Best Offer for...I offered what I thought was a fair price ($50 for the lot), and got a reply back that if it was going to go for that little, he'd rather throw it away than let someone get it cheaply. It didn't sell, and nothing ever came of my offer, so I guess it went into the trash. I don't understand people who think they're sitting on a goldmine and refuse to accept that the price the market dictates for their item is all they're going to get for it, if they can sell it.

Sure, it's their stuff, and they can throw it out if they want to...I just don't understand the mentality, if there is actually someone interested in the item.

MikeS, I agree completely that it's unreasonable for people to ask you not to scrap something, when they're unwilling to pick it up or pay to ship it. That's not the situation I was in. The seller would have gotten the same shipping and handling regardless of the sale price, so why not take a lower sale price than none at all?

MikeS
February 24th, 2010, 05:08 AM
I suppose the problem lies in the "worth my while" part...I figure that less than what I was hoping for is better than carting it off to the recycling center anyway. There's certainly nothing wrong with getting rid of something if no one is interested in it, but in my case, I'd expressed interest, just not for what the seller was asking.

I ran into a similar seller recently, who had a lot of old EPROMs and discrete logic ICs (4000 CMOS and 74LS stuff) that he was asking $300 or Best Offer for...I offered what I thought was a fair price ($50 for the lot), and got a reply back that if it was going to go for that little, he'd rather throw it away than let someone get it cheaply. It didn't sell, and nothing ever came of my offer, so I guess it went into the trash. I don't understand people who think they're sitting on a goldmine and refuse to accept that the price the market dictates for their item is all they're going to get for it, if they can sell it.

Sure, it's their stuff, and they can throw it out if they want to...I just don't understand the mentality, if there is actually someone interested in the item.

MikeS, I agree completely that it's unreasonable for people to ask you not to scrap something, when they're unwilling to pick it up or pay to ship it. That's not the situation I was in. The seller would have gotten the same shipping and handling regardless of the sale price, so why not take a lower sale price than none at all?With junk like this the selling price often *is* the handling charge; the way I see it he's saying "I'm willing to find a box, proper padding material, tape, etc. and spend the time to pack this Mac properly and cart it off to the post office or wherever for $25.00, anything less and I'd rather just haul it out to the curb. That "really burns you" and makes him a "greedy bastard" etc. because you didn't get it for *your* price, instead of appreciating that he offered it at all instead of just tossing it.

If this were a garage sale or a hamfest where there's no extra time or effort involved it would be a little different, but even there if he'd rather scrap it than sell it for an insulting price, that's his business.

What burns me is the anger and name calling directed at someone just because he thinks something is worth more than you do and isn't willing to do business on *your* terms. It's not worth $25.00 to you? Wish him luck and move on; if it's such a worthless piece of junk that you're not willing to pay a lousy $25.00 then why does it bother you if it goes in the garbage?

barythrin
February 24th, 2010, 09:08 AM
I had a similar experience too with a local shop (one of our last) going under. Nice guy especially considering the circumstance but he had a bunch of SIMMs in the back and I knew they aren't worth much (they used to make them as a side nitch) so I asked hoping maybe they'd be free or super cheap but nope. He said "$10/lb. and there's 100lbs back there" so quickly in my head I calculated that to be more than free. I was gonna walk but I really did figure although I have some 30-pin SIMMs are probably getting hard to find if I need them so I picked through and at that charging rate picked mostly gold ones but some copper too (I started to look for whatever had more chips on it) and grabbed what I hoped was just 1lb (frustrating that I have no concept of what 1lb weighs). Either way he politely charged me just $10 for that and a handful of other stuff I found around the store so it was a good deal but yeah the problem with that and his IC barrel was he can get more for scrapping it. Unfortunately most of us can't pay that much as a scrapper can and when out of business that's what it turned to.

Bummer but certainly a reality check.

Mad-Mike
February 24th, 2010, 11:15 AM
I have an easy time seeing it from both sides,

One one hand, it does kinda' tug at the heartstrings to see some old, possibly forgotten, and most likely never to be produced again computer hardware being disposed of (and most likely destroyed). Some people make it sound like this stuff is everywhere for the taking, but even the Mac SE with millions made is not as easy to find as say, an old Pentium IV box. You can't exactly go walking into a Thrift Shop like it's wally world and expect there to be shelves loaded with Compaq Deskpro 386 like E-Machines at Wal-Mart. Remember, much of the machinery of our hobby was used in Commercial/Business applications more dominantly than sitting on someone's desk at home, and many businesses would rather see the machines (and the proprietary data on them) destroyed as opposed to be put into the questionably trustful hands of former employees or some stranger who wants to dig around in the company dumpster/recycle bin for an old Kaypro.

Also, there's the issue of such disposals. Since I started messing around with old computer equipment, I've lived in 2 completely different states, one state is a deep southern and dominantly agricultural state with a fairly low population and really lapse environmental laws. The other state has a high population and has an environmentally friendly culture, and therefore, laws against just laying your old computer down on a street curb for the garbage man to pick up.

In Alabama, computers could be found by the tons on street curbs sometimes. I knew guys who rescued whole STORAGE UNITS full of old Mac and x86 hardware, and people were often anxious to get rid of it regardless of weather they made a penny on it or not. Unfortnatley for the collector though, a LOT of the pickings were either non-functional or looked bad from all the gravel and mud slung at them by passing by cars. I never thought in my life I'd ever clean a motherboard with a garden hose, but that's sometimes what it came to. Thrift shops there get computer equipment in and often pay to you take it away, but some places don't allow testing (a lot actually, especially little mom and pop shops), and others charge an arm and a leg because they don't know an Apple II from a Core 2 Duo, it's a computer to them, and therefore, needs a hefty price tag due to all the media hoopalah.

In the Puget Sound world. Computer trash is either collected for free by the "Take it Back" Program, or in the case of Rubatino or other garbage companies, you pay them to haul away your "e-waste". Putting computers on the street curb will only get the wrath of your eco-conscious neighbors and possibly a fine from the local police department for "littering", and even though nobody will ever find out most likely, throwing away electronics in the garbage here is illegal due to the environmental issues of the materials. The shops we have more of then than not allow testing (Goodwill, Value Village, and RE-PC being three of them). Unfortunately, the numbers of vintage machines are lower because there are more collectors, most of the big businesses dispose of them via firms that specialize in E-waste, and some of the thrift stores, such as Goodwill, have some people on staff who do know what's "too old" to be of practical use to the mainstream end user, and this eliminates a LOT of machines, but it also causes the quality of what you find to go up. I have yet to find one Mud Logged and Critter Ridden IBM PS/2, which is more than nice.

I can also understand the perspective regarding sales. I used to sell computers on E-bay, often times as a LOSS. I bought a Compaq Deskpro 386 for $75.00 (really wanted one at the time), sold it for $25.00. I bought an XT Clone and had to refund the whole cost because the Postal Service destroyed it in shipping despite being aptly packed. I tried to sell a Pentium box and it did not even get one bid. About the only profits I made were on some old PS/2 machines I paid nothing for, and $10.00 Profit on an in-the-box TI-99/4a. I'm at the point now I just list them on here or Craigslist and give what I don't want to other collectors like myself, because one thing that drew me to this hobby is that I did not have to pay money for it, and when I did, it was not much. Back when I started, all of the machines I was after were considered "trash" and "Junk" even to people on here who were all more into the Hobbyist and Appliance machines of the 1970's and early 80's because they were all basically older versions of the machine on your desk now.

One problem is nobody has gotten a real serious guideline set for things in this hobby as opposed to others. In Guitar Collecting, we have rock stars who make particular models collectible, others because of their significance and impact on the market (Stratocasters, Telecasters, Les Pauls), and others are sort of a niche market (Offsets ie. Mustangs, Jaguars, Jazzmasters, Cheap 60's Teiscos). Tons of books have been written about the guitars, but there are very few books on a particular product line or a particular group of machines, or what's collectable. I've had one such book from the mid-90's.

That's why prices are so scattered. On one hand, you have the mainstream end user who thinks any computer prior to four or five years ago at the oldest is junk, plain and simple. It's too slow to run the latest version of Windows, the latest software, or do anything they want to do, so it's trash. They'll literally GIVE you the machine.

Then there are the people who think "oooh, old computer, these are rare, I never see them anymore, I can make bank", even if it's a ZX Spectrum chewed up by someone's dog and missing some important parts to make it function. Those are the fools you see on E-bay (albeit here played up to an extreme for example purposes) saying "SUPER RARE 1980'S COMPUTER ONE TIME DEAL!". And then play up the nostalgia, and how they'll throw it out if it does not sell for their price of $199.99 because their sole intent is to make money, and as much as possible.

Then there are some good honest people who want to make a buck, but won't be dishonest about, they may even sound like the guy above. $25.00 is not a lot in my opinion on vintage computer hardware, actually, if I found something I really liked at that price I'd jump on it myself (the Compaq Deskpro 386 above being an example) even at a mildly "extravagant" cost because it's worth that to me. Besides, I know what it's like to have your place busting at the seams with old machines nobody wants, and you really do eventually get fed up and dump them. I dumped a whole pile of "trash" before I moved, including an Amdek 286/a, several messed up but possibly fixable IBM PS/2's, and some empty shells from white-box AT towers, some that were not in such bad shape.

As far as how my friend's see this stuff, they all wonder if I'm completley crazy to collect this "old crap" just so I can go "geekin out" with old "crappy boring DOS games" and such. Of course, most of my friend's are musicians, so you do the math on what they consider fun (think red light district pubs). I could care less what they think, they don't have to deal with the old machines, and actually, they should be appreciative they don't have to pay fees to get rid of their 5 year old pentium 4, I take pride in knowing how sick they'll feel once they see their "old crappy slow computer" recording the whole band in 24-bit digital audio in studio quality whilst running like a cheetah on ups will surprise them. If the computing industry were based off of making the truth obvious and practicality the norm, it would be suicide for the industry. Like PT Barnum once said, "There's a sucker born every minute". And just as there are people who believe if they buy a new $28i0.00 netbook with a gigabyte of RAM and Windows 7 Starter that they can run the hottest most demanding new computer games at full tilt, there are also suckers who'll pay ridiculous sums just for an IBM PC 5150 in 2010.

Maybe not totally on topic, but that's the thoughts reading a lot of the posts in this thread raise.

Unknown_K
February 24th, 2010, 12:02 PM
I had a similar experience too with a local shop (one of our last) going under. Nice guy especially considering the circumstance but he had a bunch of SIMMs in the back and I knew they aren't worth much (they used to make them as a side nitch) so I asked hoping maybe they'd be free or super cheap but nope. He said "$10/lb. and there's 100lbs back there" so quickly in my head I calculated that to be more than free. I was gonna walk but I really did figure although I have some 30-pin SIMMs are probably getting hard to find if I need them so I picked through and at that charging rate picked mostly gold ones but some copper too (I started to look for whatever had more chips on it) and grabbed what I hoped was just 1lb (frustrating that I have no concept of what 1lb weighs). Either way he politely charged me just $10 for that and a handful of other stuff I found around the store so it was a good deal but yeah the problem with that and his IC barrel was he can get more for scrapping it. Unfortunately most of us can't pay that much as a scrapper can and when out of business that's what it turned to.

Bummer but certainly a reality check.

The reality is that if you cannot afford to pay a couple dollars for a bunch of RAM or cards then they will get recycled. I think the local scrapper told me he gets $1 a lb for circuit boards, I pay him about double that for the cards I want maybe a little cheaper if I get a stack. If he could not get 2x the scrapping rate he would not sell to collectors at all, why would he pay people to keep a shop open? Mostly he stays in business reselling laptops that need fixed or old P4 he upgrades.

wrljet
March 11th, 2010, 09:39 AM
Although I cringe at the idea of somebody throwing out vintage computing stuff, I have often wondered why sellers would waste their time packing and shipping something that only gets them a couple bucks.

I bought a Model M keyboard for $4.That $4 probably wouldn't even cover gas money the seller used to drive to the post office to ship the thing - not to mention his time listing it, responding to emails, packing it and waiting in line to weigh it for shipping. I wonder why people even bother. (...but I'm glad they do)

People lose a lot of money on eBay and don't even realize it. After roughly 400 sales, I never list
anything anymore I don't believe I can get $50 for. And never sell anything you can't hold at
arms' length unless it's really valuable.

Some interesting comments in here:

http://www.tinaja.com/glib/myebays.pdf

Bill

Chuck(G)
March 11th, 2010, 10:24 AM
One approach to "what's it worth?" is to do what a friend of mine did (not for vintage computers however). He compiled a DVD full of completed auctions showing prices for various items, then compiled them into a spreadsheet form that showed minimum, maximum and average.

He sold the DVD for $35 a pop and did pretty well.

For vintage gear, it seems that the "Computer Blue Book" is all anyone has to go one--and their prices are often unrealistic.

tezza
March 11th, 2010, 11:05 AM
One approach to "what's it worth?" is to do what a friend of mine did (not for vintage computers however). He compiled a DVD full of completed auctions showing prices for various items, then compiled them into a spreadsheet form that showed minimum, maximum and average.

He sold the DVD for $35 a pop and did pretty well.

For vintage gear, it seems that the "Computer Blue Book" is all anyone has to go one--and their prices are often unrealistic.

I've been recording vintage computer prices on our own Trade Me site for about six months now. After a couple of years, I might publish the results on my classic-computers.co.nz site.

Give the fact you can count the number of New Zealand vintage computers collectors using no more than two hands, I doubt I'd make anything out of selling that information :)

Tez

kvanderlaag
March 11th, 2010, 12:05 PM
Wow, it's interesting to see how much bad blood there really is on this topic - it doesn't matter what community you're in, this one is always a bit of a sore spot for most people. You either get sellers who feel that buyers are just being 'cheap', or buyers who feel that sellers are being 'greedy'. Western society generally tends to breed people who want as much personal gain as possible for as little investment as possible, and that works whether you're selling or buying. Buyers want something for nothing, and sellers want...well, something for nothing, I guess.

Not everybody is like this, though. I think it's silly to say that the guy who wanted $25.00 + shipping for a Mac SE was being unreasonable. I think the initial argument was that it was untested, but even still, $25 is an insignificant amount to pay on top of shipping, which you're DEFINITELY not going to get out of just because you don't know if it works or not. If it's too much money to spend on something of dubious quality, then don't buy it, it's that simple. But if you want it, it takes this guy time and effort and money to ship it to you, so it's just plain self-centered to call him 'greedy' for not wanting to just give it to you.

People who have a rare, out of production item in excellent condition - like the story of the shop owner with the Lisa, for example - who want a silly amount of money for it, and when offered less, or when faced with an offer after they've decided to just junk it, then declare that they "would rather throw it out than let someone get it so cheap"... Well, those people are a little different than the guy who doesn't want to lose money sending something to someone. That's just unrealistic, in my opinion.

But at the end of the day, in this game, if you want to play, you have to at least make it worth someone's time to sell you something that, to them, is just junk. If you're not even going to pay what they would get in scrap, why would they sell it to you? Presumably, that operation is a business, so business has to work for both parties. If it's another collector, or someone else in the hobby with no ulterior motives - well, I've worked it both ways. I've received things for free, and I've given things to people for free if they wanted them and I've had no use for them. I have no problem doing this if I know they're going to be appreciated, but if I'm not familiar with the person or their motives, I'd rather charge even a nominal fee than let it go for free - why do someone a favor if they're just going to turn around and resell it or recycle it for scrap?

Kindness begets kindness, sure, but we need to remember to be respectful of others' time and effort. If you expect something for free, why does it make sense to waste the seller's (and I use the term loosely since it's free, after all) time? No-shows, people who don't return PMs (and I am guilty of this one from time to time as we all do have lives outside of this) and people who give you the run around...I think it was MikeS who said it earlier, but if enough people do that to you, you just stop returning PMs and posting things in the first place, because it gets old really quickly. That hurts the hobby for everybody, because eventually, all the people with knowledge and resources are completely unwilling to share them with anybody, even for a profit. I've watched it happen in my other interests too, and it's always sad.

But seriously - $25 is unreasonable for an item that's going to cost $40+ to ship anyways? Lance (Darshevo) sold me my PowerBook Duo 2300c (which I was kind of a knob about, too boot, so already he didn't owe me a damn thing). I think it cost $33 to ship or something. Total cost $70, but I don't even really remember or care what that broke down into, because $70 seemed reasonable as a whole, so what do I care if it was a $20 item and $50 shipping, or a $50 item and $20 shipping? It is, again in my opinion, unreasonable to expect that things are going to be cheap to have shipped from somewhere else, when we're talking about big, bulky machines from 20+ years ago.

I think you just need to keep your chin up, and be polite and thankful, on either end of the deal. No sense bitching about people who you think are being unreasonable - just leave them to their own devices. A seller will either lower their price to something that someone will pay, or stop trying to sell the item - it's their property, they can do what they want with it, and I don't think it's any of your business whether they keep it or throw it away. (If you're really that upset about it, it's time to go dumpster diving - that, of course, is your decision, not mine.) A buyer...well, if a buyer is a particularly big knob, I guess they can keep harassing you about the item, but most sites have a block list or ignore function for just that purpose.

I think basically what it comes down to is something like "be respectful of other people and their opinions." If you find yourself about to send a nasty PM to a potential buyer who you feel has insulted you with an offer, maybe catch yourself and just send them a polite "No, thank you." If you find yourself about to send a PM to a seller who you feel is being unreasonable in their price and you notice that there's a defensive undertone in your writing that implies that this person owes you something, maybe stop and just let it go. In either case, if you think you can politely and respectfully explain your position to the other party, maybe give it a try. If that doesn't change their mind, just leave it alone. It's not worth everybody getting upset about.

Businesses excluded, we're all here for the same thing, aren't we?

linuxlove
March 11th, 2010, 12:17 PM
Nice to see some more reasonable perspectives.

I still don't get the problem with "If no one wants it enough to make it worth my while, I'll throw it out." Maybe it does add a little incentive to save it, but cheap or clever marketing tactic? What else is he supposed to say/do? Even the thrifts don't take this junk any more.

You read this every day here and on other forums: "I have to get rid of xxx; if no one wants it enough to make it worth while to pack and ship, it goes to the dump next Saturday;" what is it about this that bothers you so much, OP, Kishy et al?

How about this current post from Linuxlove:
--
One Game Gear with game: PARTS ONLY, $5
Game case is in very rough condition but works fine. If you want it separate, let me know. The game is "Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble" Power brick will be $5
If nothing sells, into the bin they will go.
--
Is he a "greedy bastard" using cheap or clever marketing tactics?

I really would like to know.

I'm not being greedy. All I was trying to do is sell the thing for at least something reasonably priced and since we're living in a small place, if no one wants it then I have no room for it and since Game Gear systems seem to be common, I wouldn't feel bad about throwing it out because no one wanted it. Now if it were a Lisa system then I'd be hanging onto it until it sells because those are rare systems. Enough got dumped in the landfill in the 80s, let's not put another one in it.

Also that Game Gear system I'm waiting on word back form the guy who wants it.

Unknown_K
March 11th, 2010, 08:33 PM
There are too many people online with different ideas of what reasonable is, which is probably why this topic got started in the first place.

MikeS
March 12th, 2010, 10:21 AM
Wow, it's interesting to see how much bad blood there really is on this topic - it doesn't matter what community you're in, this one is always a bit of a sore spot for most people.
...
<text deleted here to save space, but nevertheless right on the money>
...
Businesses excluded, we're all here for the same thing, aren't we?
Very well put indeed!

MikeS
March 12th, 2010, 10:29 AM
I'm not being greedy.
...
<snip>
Of course not! I was just responding to the folks who think that "If I don't get $xx for my xyz then I'll just scrap it" is some kind of cheap marketing ploy or blackmail, and using your post to (hopefully) show that it's in fact a perfectly reasonable choice, perhaps even the only alternative in these days when even most Goodwill and SallyAnn stores won't take this junk any longer.