He Who Dies With the Most Toys...

My good friend periL75 just landed the Transformers score of a lifetime. Diligently checking Craigslist every morning, noon and night, he was the first to respond to an ad placed by an older couple who had several boxes of vintage Transformers for sale. For only $500, my friend took home a near-complete G1 collection:

Frankly, it's almost fucking unbelievable. There are a couple notable pieces missing like Fort Max and Scorponok, but otherwise it's a 95% complete set of G1 toys. Pouring over them, I could hardly believe it. Look! Nightbeat! Roadbuster! Slamdance, Squawkbox, and a Ratbat with ears! All but one Headmaster! Gestalts galore! A complete set of Pretenders, including Thunderwing, Bludgeon, and even all the Monster Pretenders! Many of them are a little dirty and grimy from years of storage, but they're almost all there and they're almost all complete and undamaged. Insane.

And all for only $500! He'll make back nearly twice that just selling the Pretenders and the Action Masters (because he doesn't want them). I figure as a whole this take was worth about ten times what he paid.

Apparently the old couple he swindled had bought the lot of them some years ago during an estate sale of a reclusive neighbor of theirs who was pretty obviously the original owner. Daunted by the process of selling them individually, they put them in storage until they gave up and decided to just get rid of them en masse.

Who was this guy (the original owner)? For some reason, thinking about him made me a little mournful. I pictured an awkward recluse, living alone with only his toys for company, and after he croaks there's no one to care for and appreciate them. So much for "he who dies with the most toys, wins."

But now they've finally been unearthed and can be fully appreciated! And this guy deserves it. My friend had to sell most of his G1 collection a couple years ago when he was in dire straits and only recently was able to start re-building that collection. As you can imagine, he's completely giddy now. It's been almost a week and I don't think his euphoria has worn off yet.

And I benefit, too! Since he already had one, I was able to take the Autobot six-changer Quickswitch off his hands:

Dig that action pose! Just like his box art, right? Right?

So I no longer have the largest G1 collection of anyone I know in Portland. That honor now goes to periL75. I'm really happy for him!

And just in case he dies, I know where he lives.

Kudos to him! That's a really enviable find! I'm just going to sit here and envy some more.
» Posted 2.17.2012 8:14:42 by Tresob
I dream about stuff like that, every day. Then again, would I >want< that? The joy of collecting is in the hunt, the chance finds, the gifts from friends. A collection built over a lifetime.

Of course, I probably wouldn't say no.

Nice to see some Quickswitch love. He holds a special place in my heart, and remains one of my favourite toys.
» Posted 2.17.2012 14:45:40 by Adam Prime
That is absolutely amazing. How is the condition of the ones with GPS (Bristleback, Roadblock, Skyhammer, etc)? Definitely the find of a lifetime!
» Posted 2.18.2012 7:57:20 by Arkvander [Website]
So far I've only looked at the gold plastic and it looks real nice. I havent transformed them yet, but I'm sure I will sooner or later and hopefully none breaks lol. It's been a lot of fun sorting through all this stuff. I've got a lot of cleaning ahead of me. And have been swapping out this and that from my personal collection for better parts :)
» Posted 2.18.2012 10:32:18 by peril
congrats peril! A very awesome find.

Reminds me of the time I bought almost the entire Victory collection from this policeman by being the first to respond to his Classified ad back in 2002. It even had all the rare ones like a complete Liokaiser, Greatshot, Landcross, Dezzy and etc. He wanted $100 for the lot and I bargained it down to $80!

Now, if you happen to have a spare Doubleheader gun in the lot, I'd be very very keen... =)
» Posted 2.18.2012 21:59:19 by heroic_decepticon [Website]
H_D: I was reading that thinking: "What kind of Policeman would have a VICTORY collection in the US??" and then I saw it was you, lol.

Jeez! All you guys and your good deals!! JEALOUS RAGE!
» Posted 2.19.2012 9:43:34 by Arkvander [Website]
Yeah, slightly jealous, and I have almost a complete G1 set myself... but about those Pretenders????? Oh and Botch since we are all TF nerds here....I'm gettting ready to start my comic con season,and since you know I am a comics professional I get pretty decent deals at cons, so if you are looking for something hit me up.
» Posted 2.22.2012 10:23:13 by Michael Watkins [Website]
The price I pay for never, ever, using Craig's List. (Seriously, that place <i>scares</i> me!)

But periL75's bravery has clearly paid off in spades! Excellent find!
» Posted 2.22.2012 18:03:33 by Mark Baker-Wright [Website]
» Posted 3.03.2012 0:43:44 by Ryan
You lucky bastard
» Posted 3.08.2012 21:38:03 by mrgalvaprime
» Posted 4.10.2012 19:06:23 by Bastid
Hope he feels good ripping off an old couple. Karma is going to get him one day.
» Posted 4.21.2012 0:01:59 by Mikedog
Only problem is that karma doesn't really exist.
» Posted 4.21.2012 2:20:05 by Botch the Crab - WEBMASTER
@Mikedog - how is it ripping off if the couple wanted $500 and the buyer paid $500? Sounds like offer and acceptance to me.

Don't forget that the couple didn't want to list them separately (and might not know how to). There is value is selling them all at one go for what is to them (subjectively perhaps) a tidy sum of money. Did the couple rip off the buyer then?

Oh, wait a moment, sounds like you're just jealous.
» Posted 4.21.2012 2:38:30 by heroic_decepticon [Website]
@heroic_decepticon - couple ripping off the buyer? Where did that come from? Probably the same place as the jealous statement! Sounds like you only one jealous here to even state anyone is jealous.

The article states its an older couple, thus are likely not to have any clue what the value of the items are. So an honest buyer should feel bad that because they would know what a fair price would be (yes of course having a bundle is better value than buying individually). If it were a younger seller who is more tech savvy looking for a quick sale I would say great buy, but knowingly low ball an older couple(who may well be retired) to me is morally wrong, but I guess you would sell your own grandmother to get that transformer you wanted.
» Posted 4.22.2012 20:48:32 by Mikedog
It isn't the buyer's responsibility to educate a seller on items they have for sale. Just because they are an older couple doesn't mean they are any less capable of doing a little research (and it wouldn't have taken much) to find out what their things are worth. More than likely it was just a case of them wanting to be rid of the stuff and they were probably happy someone took it off their hands. Just because something doesn't sell for what you think it should sell for doesn't mean someone got ripped off.
» Posted 4.23.2012 5:13:42 by Arkvander [Website]
No doubt they wanted just to get rid of the transformers, and with so many they likely couldn't be bothered going through and trying to price each one. I just have this picture of a collector with $ signs in their eyes and a poor little old granny missing out on a reasonable price, I would just feel bad and have to offer a higher amount than $500 as I think that even double that it would still be a bargin.
PS thanks for the adult discussion rather than the crazed frenzy the previous poster worked themselves into.
» Posted 4.23.2012 19:28:29 by Mikedog
@ Mikedog –

I just had a picture of this person (you) who was (1) taking potshots in the dark without sufficient information, (2) making a sarcastic sweeping off-the-cuff statement and then (3) cursing the buyer by saying karma is going to get him one day. Pretty poor choice of words if you intended for an “adult discussion”.

Then, saying I’m the one who is jealous because I first said you were jealous. Reminds me of the kid in the playground with an over-inflated ego, but little imagination, who argues by saying ‘back to you’ all the time; or if someone says “you dumb kid”, this kid says “no, you’re the one who’s dumb”. And then you took another cheap shot about me selling my grandmother, again, kid in the playground comes to mind. Pretty juvenile, really.

Since your last 2 posts have a semblance of logic, I think we can begin to have that “adult discussion”. First, I’ll apologise for the tone in my previous post, but I do get displeased with sweeping statements with no grounding in logic. Sorry.

Arkvander is absolutely right that in an arms’ length transaction of this nature, it isn’t the buyer’s responsibility to educate the seller. Seller asks for $500 (the offer); buyer says “yes, I’ll take ‘em for $500” (the acceptance); buyer hands over the money, seller hands over the goods, they’ve got a deal, which is the way capitalism functions, more or less. In this types of context, it’s both caveat vendor and caveat emptor and without more information I fail to see the “moral wrong” you’re crying about. If for example, the buyer knows that more money would help the couple pay the rent, yet tried to BARGAIN the price down, then arguably, there is a moral wrong (arguably, even if the buyer just paid the ASKING price, it’s hard to see a moral wrong).

If seller asked for $500 and buyer says, “I’d love to take ‘em for $500, but what about I give you a $1000 instead?” – this is not really a deal, this is CHARITY.

What about the picture you’re painting about an old, out of touch, out of date, not tech savvy couple? Frankly, that’s an insult to the old couple and again, you’re pulling this out of your behind, because we all don’t have sufficient information either way. Do you agree it’s possible that they know what they are selling is valuable ($500 is still a sizable amount) and did you forget that they probably have 20+ years more life experience than the buyer? Surely that has to count for something when it comes to negotiation right?

The last point is about value, which is what I talked about and what Arkvander mentioned too. Value does not equal cost in money terms, value is SUBJECTIVE to the individual person. Did you consider that there is VALUE to the couple at selling off the lot in one hit – perhaps $500 is enough for them and they see value is the time saving of not having to research or list the lot, and with the time saved, they can spend more time with each other and since time is money, there is value that is greater than $500, to the couple. Perhaps they bought the lot for $50 and 10 times profit is ENOUGH for them. Who’s to say. We don’t have enough information, you don’t know and I don’t know. Another question for you: what makes you think the old couple even NEEDS the extra money? You mean old people can’t be rich?

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s generally sensible (and responsible) for one to have sufficient information before one goes around all righteous and pointing fingers and cussing karma.
» Posted 4.25.2012 0:19:11 by heroic_decepticon [Website]
@Heroic_decepticon - what a read, very lawyer like or you have just had many hours trolling practice but these are comments are on a blog so its better to keep them short and to the point. You should also realise this is the internet are people are allowed to have different beliefs and opinions.

Yes I do imagine 'older couples' are not tech savvy, I would say older couples are over 70 years old (is that ok or should I check for an official definition?) and I dont know many who are down with the internet, but maybe in your world every older person knows exactly what to do with technology.

You're also implying older people should always be more knowledgeable in negoitations - I'd like to see you proove that.

It still comes down to the fact I would feel bad and you wouldn't. Simple.
» Posted 4.25.2012 21:49:55 by Mikedog
I enjoy these moral discussions. But I do think that both sides are making presumptions to fit their assumed moral stance.

Would it be more morally acceptable to pay below market value for the TF collection if the older couple were racists? If they were really rich?

What about if the buyer was trying to make some extra cash to pay for his sick daughter's health care? Or if he was going to donate some of the toys to a kids charity?

What if all he had was $500? Should he have taken only $500 worth and told them to find another buyer for the rest?

heroic_decepticon's stance is extremely rationalized, but I would expect that from someone who works in finance as he does. (Sorry, no offense, but it's true. Most all my friends and anyone I've met who works in finance is very good at rationalizing decisions that enrich themselves and disenfranchise those of lesser means.)

Conversely, Mikedog's stance is overly idealized. If we truly respect all adults as responsible adults, including "older" adults (whether in their fifties, sixties or older), then they have just as much responsibility to research the value of their merchandise as any other seller. Hell, they advertised them on Craigslist, they could just as easily have polled Craigslist to get a better ballpark of the value of the collection. Would it be somehow morally more appropriate if they were in their 20's? Then you might "assume" that they were lazy instead of tech savvy?

Morality is a curious and entertaining thing. Most people lack objectivity regarding it. Me? I'm objective to a fault.

And there's still no such thing as karma!
» Posted 4.25.2012 22:04:07 by Botch the Crab - WEBMASTER
@ Mikedog - Just because you feel bad doesn't mean periL75 has to correspondingly feel bad with you (and then karma is going to get him if he doesn't feel bad like you).

At no point did I say that I wouldn't feel bad, all I tried to say is that we don't have enough information to call it.

I recall even longer discussions (eg: http://www.BotchTheCrab.com/replies.asp?index=660#replyView and http://www.BotchTheCrab.com/replies.asp?index=686). For brevity, try Twitter.com.

[End of short section]

@ Botch - I think we're along the same lines, that there are a lot of "what ifs" that need answering before we could really make a call on whether its morally 'wrong'.

Let's reconstruct the situation - Couple lists stuff on Craigslist at a price that they set, which price is almost certainly not influenced by peril75, the ultimate buyer. Peril75 comes along and says, 'yes, I will buy what you have to sell at the very price you are asking'. Peril75 pays and collects the goods. That's it.

To then turn around and say that Peril75 is morally wrong is ludicrous. All he did was buy something at the price the couple was selling it at without trying to unduely influence or coerce them to alter the price. If that is morally wrong, then lots of people that do BINs on eBay would potentially be ping-ed as immoral.
» Posted 4.26.2012 12:40:22 by heroic_decepticon [Website]
As a seller, it is your responsibility to know what payment to ask for. Bottom line.
» Posted 6.06.2012 16:16:30 by doctorkent [Website]

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