Did E-bay kill the swap meet guy?

img_0096.jpgRecently a few friends and I went to Fathers day Roadster show and swap. We were selling in the swap area and had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of buyers. I was selling some small items and a couple of old car bodies and a motor. One of the bodies was a fairly nice and complete 29 Model-A coupe. I had it priced with a marginal cushion for the inevitable haggle session but otherwise fairly priced. Well, every one and I do mean everyone who showed any interest had but one thing to say either to me or their friend, “I saw one on E-bay go for $1000 less than this one”. Let me tell you car swap hunter guys this, STOP DOING THIS! Did you take into consideration when you saw that tiny E-bay picture that you might not be getting what you think you are paying for or that there might be hundreds or a thousand dollar transport fee in store for you. This one you could touch and see and talk face to face to a real person and usually not the guy selling for a friend. And that this might set the seller in an defensive position, what happened to the sweet talker. Maybe I’ll write a how to blog on that next time.

As for you sellers, you’re not off the hook either. We don’t want to hear “I could sell that on E-bay for X dollars”. This is a SWAP MEET and the people shopping are usually bargain hunters not retail shoppers and us shoppers will usually not mind if the price starts high but leave the buyer some room to haggle leaving him feeling like he got a deal. Hears a hint, if you sell to me at a fair price I will probably scan your booth hard for another item or two to buy as well, if your price is unreasonable and firm I will walk briskly away. And just because when you quote a price on a rare or unique object and the customer doesn’t rip his pocket getting the money out to buy could mean that he wasn’t familiar with the value or was just curious, not that your price was to high. Ok, enough venting and on to the question.

Did E-bay kill the swap meet guy?

It all depends on your point of view. 20 years ago the stuff you were looking for was newer and less desirable. Vintage and rare speed equipment was kept in small circles of friends or builders and you were limited to geographic location. In other words you were less likely to know that a guy 3 states away had that ultra rare and much needed part for sale. E-bay filled a demand. Made the world smaller, and made hard to find parts easier to find and sell. On the flip side it has turned the swap meat sellers into hard sellers always on the defense and looking for the Max dollar and quick sell. The swap meat used to be fun, YES FUN! It was like a treasure hunt and you went home feeling like you got the bargain of the century or if selling you made out like a bandit. Now most quickly feel like they spent too much and have buyer’s remorse or that I didn’t sell enough to cover my swap space. Is E-bay to blame, I personally don’t think so.

So what have we learned? The last thing a buyer wants to here is “I could sell that for more on E-bay” and the seller “I can get that on E-bay for less” so please don’t do this any more, If you can sell or buy that item on E-bay save your gas and do so, But please put the fun back in the swap meet. Thanks, Mr. Freeze.

What do you think? If you’re a regular at swaps, or frequently sell on Ebay, do you agree with Mr. Freeze? If you’re a member, feel free to leave a comment below.


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