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Trouble dealing with a local seller with a massive hoard


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21 hours ago, MrFahrenheit said:

How in the world do you talk straight into someone like this without losing your cool and without losing the deal.  Because I think in the end, she's going to discover it's not what she thinks, and either she's going to destroy them all 'looking for gold' or blowing them out to someone else for pennies on the dollar, or keeping them until they're wrecked from weather

I've given an offer that I placed an expiration time on, but it's a huge gamble.  Anyone else encounter someone like this ?

That's why there's only one Jeff Bezos in the world, and behind him, a really small group of other successful businessmen, yet there are untold thousands of unsuccessful nobodies with absolutely no business sense.

 

This sort of behavior/experience isn't limited to the world of vintage computers, either.

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8 hours ago, Dog Cow said:

That's why there's only one Jeff Bezos in the world, and behind him, a really small group of other successful businessmen, yet there are untold thousands of unsuccessful nobodies with absolutely no business sense.

 

This sort of behavior/experience isn't limited to the world of vintage computers, either.

I'm just curious, are you referring to the seller and their inability to logically negotiate, or me, unable to close the deal ?

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21 hours ago, MrFahrenheit said:

So I think about it, and I ask her what she wanted for the lot.  She tells me a man had shown up on Saturday morning with $10k in cash and she was insulted with the amount and told him to f-off.  ...okay... ?

This is the perfect example of my point. Anyone with a brain in his head would have taken the 10K on the spot.

 

That's a guaranteed sale. If you refuse, and say you want to hold out for more money, you may never get a better offer. Is is smart to take that risk? Even if you accepted a single dollar for the lot, you're still a dollar better off than you were yesterday.

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8 hours ago, Dog Cow said:

This is the perfect example of my point. Anyone with a brain in his head would have taken the 10K on the spot.

Right.  And remember, these offers (including mine) are 'no questions asked', everything untested, not looking at, etc.

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8 hours ago, LaPorta said:

That has got to be one of the most comprehensive letters I have ever seen.

Thanks!

 

I'm skilled in the form of written and verbal communication and thoroughly expressing myself and the position I have.  In 2013, the company I worked for had a customer call up and wanted to buy a large volume of something they really couldn't get anywhere else.  We were kind of the exclusive, direct from the supplier.  It was for $6 mil USD worth.  He was quite leary of us, because he was the CEO of a large US-based corporation (I won't out him to anyone for privacy) and he was calling some 'small' shop in Canada.  Bottom line is, he was as much untrusting of us as I was of him, at first.  After speaking on the phone, I got his email address from him, and we started exchanging communication.  I was then convinced that he was the real deal, and he really, really liked how detailed and organized I wrote and explained everything.  To the point that he placed an order and wired our company funds in advance for $6 Mil USD and then a few months later another $10 Mil USD.  I brokered $16 Mil between the two deals with him.  I was able to build a raport and encouraged him to check out my professional business references and call me back.

 

In 2014 I was doing a different job, and he texted me that he wanted to do a deal.  I phoned him and explained that I was no longer involved with that, and he told me it was too bad, and if I ever wanted a job, I should reach out to him.  He tried to buy another order, but he didn't like the person at the company he now had to deal with.  He actually called me and pleaded with me to act as the in-between, even though it wasn't my job anymore.  I did it for him as a favour. 

 

I still have his personal cel phone number, and text him from time-to-time just to keep in contact and see how he's doing.  To anyone reading this and calling BS, I really don't care what you think.  I personally dealt with someone who is on the level of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, etc. as examples of who this kind of person was.

 

I am a successful negotiator, when the other person is capable of also being successful. 

 

TL;dr  A multi-billionaire CEO in the US trusted me to the point he wired me $6 Mil USD up front for product he wasn't going to see for a few weeks.  And all I was to him was a voice on the phone and an email on his screen.

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It's a very useful skill to be able to get folks to trust you sight unseen and something I can attest is not a skill enough folks possess, especially in my world.  Any company that has a need for specialized FF&E knows that at some point they may have to deal with smaller/boutique type companies.  It's understandable that the company you dealt with was cautious on a $16MM sole source contract.

 

Unfortunately for both you and the seller, she's dead-set in her thinking and no amount of evidence you present to the contrary is going to change her mind.  The times I've dealt with sellers like that in the past I just made my offer and left it at that.  Some came back later on and asked if I was still interested, others alleged they had other buyers lined up who would pay many multiples more but then I continued to see what they were selling advertised for months/years to come.

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If she is offended by your offer and is giving you that much hassle, given that a number of the choice bits have been nicked already, it's probably safe to say there's not much in there worth your time anyways. From her point of view she's probably set some kind of price point and isn't willing to state what it is so she can uphold her half of the bargaining table.

 

As for the email, I like it. I also think that Rule 11 (All your carefully picked arguments can be easily ignored) applies to it, which is rather sad.

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My prediction:  She's going to sit on that lot of computers for potentially years as all the rodents move in, until there's nothing left but a depressing, rusted heap of vintage computers not worth the $500 she'll have pay to some Junk King 5000 company to haul it all away as scrap.

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Reminds me of the movie The Ninth Gate.  The main character (a book collector) arrives first, picks all the choice books for pennies on the dollar, then purposefully left the impression to the sellers that the remaining books were worth a fortune, screwing over any other potential buyers.

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I agree, there's an element of diplomacy that's necessary for the deal... I certainly don't have it to the degree necessary to negotiate the belligerent seller. Truth be told, I really only have enough to know when to back out, but that doesn't really net me anything... I have a threshold—and it's not the same for everyone else—of when it stops being worth the talk. ;) 

 

I haven't dealt with anything nearly on the scale MrFahrenheit recounted, but I'm familiar with that temperament. There have been a few local listings (for one or two items at most) where I've made offers, but thankfully they've been decent. But the old standards "I know what I have" the "don't low-ball me" and the most puzzling "let me know what it's worth to you".

 

Like, I just did... a non-powering SE/30 which needs a recap and may have unseen battery damage is worth X to me unless you let me open it up. <—specific example... But, as has been said, they have it set in their mind, or they have an attachment to it (i.e. they're the original owner). Even if they won't ever use it, and family have been pressuring them to divest themselves.

 

I think further down the extreme line you have the "gimme what I want, or no one gets it—it goes in the bin" type. Many times, it seems, they have no attachment to the tech itself—they're in it for the money, and they'd rather see it destroyed rather than someone (potentially) flip it for more, or some bizarre machination... I've never even bothered to contact the local listing for a $1,900 52xx AIO Mac that has literally been up for years and budged not one dollar in that time. My assumption is that they will not budge, they will not talk beyond them accepting the full cash offer, so it's not worth my energy to investigate.

 

8 hours ago, olePigeon said:

Reminds me of the movie The Ninth Gate.  The main character (a book collector) arrives first, picks all the choice books for pennies on the dollar, then purposefully left the impression to the sellers that the remaining books were worth a fortune, screwing over any other potential buyers.

This... I agree with this :) 

Here's the thing, unless the remainder of that lot is literally just parts/broken, someone is going to want them. But the people who genuinely want them for what they are don't register as any different as someone who just wants to flip them; see the "gimme" seller persona above.
 

Edited by jessenator
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I think the fact that somebody offered $12K cash proves to her that it is worth much more which is why you should have low balled at 4K and worked your way up if needed. If you look too eager you won't get a good deal.

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22 hours ago, joshc said:

Walk away. She will be in touch again after the collection has been sitting there for months unsold.

 

I would also be very careful paying out that kind of money for a collection unless I saw everything in person and opened up every machine - how do you know half of them are not PRAM battery disasters or have other major problems?

Occasionally you'll see a "collection" that is all the machines from a former service/repair store, which could not be repaired.  In other words, they all had a serious enough problem it wasn't worth it to the owner to pay the diagnosis fee to get them back.  Or they just let the repair place have them rather than dispose of the machine themselves.

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13 hours ago, LaPorta said:

I'd never heard of this Gold thing...amazing what people think.

 

It was quite the fad a decade or three ago.  With people setting up home gold extraction systems and poisoning themselves....

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While your letter is comprehensive and well written and makes several good points, if I might offer a bit of criticism...

 

These two phrases in the first paragraph:

 

" your personality prevents any reasonable negotiation."

 

"You come across as knowing everything. "

 

Are likely to offend her to the point where she pays no attention to the rest of the letter.    It might have been better to omit items that could be considered personal insults.  On the other hand, I fully understand wanting to point out how those behaviors were affecting the transaction.

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9 hours ago, Unknown_K said:

I think the fact that somebody offered $12K cash proves to her that it is worth much more which is why you should have low balled at 4K and worked your way up if needed. If you look too eager you won't get a good deal.

The fact that she said she laughed and was insulted by a $10k cash offer already, proves that any offer below that is pointless.  Why bother?

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9 hours ago, trag said:

While your letter is comprehensive and well written and makes several good points, if I might offer a bit of criticism...

 

These two phrases in the first paragraph:

 

" your personality prevents any reasonable negotiation."

 

"You come across as knowing everything. "

 

Are likely to offend her to the point where she pays no attention to the rest of the letter.    It might have been better to omit items that could be considered personal insults.  On the other hand, I fully understand wanting to point out how those behaviors were affecting the transaction.

I totally get that the tone and wording could come across as insulting, and quite honestly I didn't care and also I wanted to be upfront and let her know that these two reasons were really hindering any sort of negotiations.  I had tried on numerous occasions since Saturday to justify what I was saying, to legitimize my position, etc., but she wouldn't hear any of it.  At all.  She had her mind made up, and nothing I could say would convince her otherwise, even though I could easily prove her wrong in a few instances, she didn't care.  She literally looked me in the eyes and said she knew more about this than I did.  Meanwhile, she actually knows nothing about vintage computing.

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That's a pretty reasonable letter @MrFahrenheit but I feel you have only wasted more of your time - it's the same thing as telling an eBay seller that their item is not going to sell for $2k, they don't want to know better.

 

(nitpick: we're close knit, like a woollen article)

Edited by aeberbach
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8 hours ago, aeberbach said:

That's a pretty reasonable letter @MrFahrenheit but I feel you have only wasted more of your time - it's the same thing as telling an eBay seller that their item is not going to sell for $2k, they don't want to know better.

 

(nitpick: we're close knit, like a woollen article)

It was more for my benefit, to get out what was bothering me.  If she reads it, fine.  If not, I really don't care.

 

RE:  close knit, my spell check said it was correct.  I haven't really used the word written before.

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You've written a pretty emotive and insulting letter to someone who won't change, and you can't change - I wouldn't have bothered.  Pretty sure you won't be on her Christmas card list :)

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8 hours ago, Byrd said:

You've written a pretty emotive and insulting letter to someone who won't change, and you can't change - I wouldn't have bothered.  Pretty sure you won't be on her Christmas card list :)

Actually, I just received a fairly long email from her apologizing and wanting to start over and as a gesture she’s come down lower than her “absolute firm price”. Maybe it worked. 

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Congrats!  Really good to hear that.  I thought I wasn't going to say this so soon, but because of the good fortune I'm going to... as long as she's still healthy and well, nothing is final and the end yet.

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Update:  that deal did not proceed. 
 

The seller would not allow me to open any machines, test any machines, or even very the machines that are supposed to be there. Just selling as “one lot of stuff” but no verification of what the stuff being sold is. 
 

There could be legal issues after because she could easily change her mind and say no it only included X or they could move stuff out after the deal is made and it disappears. It’s not worth it for me. 
 

Plus she was firm on her ask of $13,500 for what is supposed to be about 150 Macintosh computers. 
 

The seller is unstable. Not the type of person that should be negotiating a sale this big. 

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