Monday, January 7, 2013

"Mom" negotiated herself out of a deal

Saturday was a slow day for yard sales, as this time of year typically is.  After all, who is sillier, the person having an outside yard sale in freezing weather, or the person attending said yard sale? I think it’s a toss up, actually.

Be that as it may, I was silly enough to visit a few sales after it had warmed up a bit, and happened across a box of video games and consoles, specifically a Gamecube, Nintendo 64 (with three games), and Super Nintendo (with nine games).  From previous sales experience, I know that Nintendo 64 games sell fairly well online, and after a quick search on my phone, I saw approximately $30 in value in the box.  It was too cold to look up every game, so I thought that if the entire box was cheap enough, I could just grab it, and take my chances.

The young couple running the sale had no idea about price, and had to call “Mom,” who told them that the Nintendo 64 was $30, and the Super Nintendo was $40.  That was too rich for me, especially since I only had $60 in my pocket, and had a couple of more sales to attend.  I asked what was the lowest that they would take, and, again, they placed a call to “Mom,” who said $55.  Better, but still more money than I wanted to pay.

I then countered with $50, wanting nothing more than to grab the box, and get in my warm truck.  Again, they called “Mom,” who then said the lowest she would take was $60.  At that point, I mentioned the lowest price quoted during the last call was $55, and reiterated my $50 offer.  “Mom,” who was still on the phone, declined.

So, I thanked them, and walked away, letting $5 stand between me and the box of games. On the flip side, “Mom” let $5 stand between her and a tidy profit on a cold Saturday when customers were few and far between.

As I always do, I second-guessed myself for a while, trying to rationalize my decision.  The known value of the box was $30.  The perceived value was a bit higher, and the additional $20 was a risk that I was willing to take to make a small profit.  Plus, despite their assurances, there was no guarantee that anything in the box actually worked. Consoles are hit and miss, and while games usually work, you just never know.

In hindsight, I realized that I followed the cardinal rule of negotiating: Set a limit, and be prepared to walk away.

At another sale, I picked up nine new blank cassette tapes for $3, listed them as soon as I got home, and had sold them within a couple of hours for $29.

Earlier in the week, I sold four packs of new microcassettes for $35.99.

The moral of this story is to always pick up new tapes since there are definitely a BOLO item.

Another neat sale this week was a set of “spare parts” from the Game of Life: Twist & Turns Electronic Edition.  I had no idea what they were when I picked them up for $.25, but took a chance.  After some research, I found that the game itself is fairly expensive, and figured that someone would need “spare parts.” I was right, but probably could have priced the set a bit higher.

Have a great week everyone.


  1. I would only have bought the 64 if it's a bright colored console, like bright green,blue, or red! we love old video games when they are so easy to take pictures and mail. (we also have a few different consoles so we can make sure they work, which also doubles as fun times...)

  2. My daughter has a Nintendo 64 with a bunch of games and she refuses to let me sell it. :(
    And, I don't know why, but I had no luck with selling blank cassettes. You must have the magic touch!

    1. About your blank tapes not selling, like many things on Ebay, it must be a case of right time, right place.

  3. I've had to walk away a few times like that. Sometimes I stew for a little while about "what could of been" but mostly I am just happy not to hand over my hand earned cash to someone so uptight!