September, 2020: Mark comes to me with approximately 300 records. I spend a few minutes with the records and find 51 that I want.
I spend another 35 minutes checking their shape. I offer him $784 for those 51. He declines my offer and takes all 300 to my competitor who flips through them for 5 minutes total and makes a low-ball offer. They negotiate a bit and my competitor peaks at $950 for all 300. Mark declines and takes the records home.
Mark gets back in touch with me and says he’s interested in my offer but asks, “What about the other records?” I tell him they’re worth $2 to $6 each, but not to me, as they do not fit my business model. Mark does not believe that the records I do not want are worth so much and that dealer number 2’s offer was so low. “Really?!” he asks.
I tell him, “Take them around town if you want. I’ll still give you $784 for those 51 and if you can’t find someone to buy those others for at least $2 each, I’ll buy them for $2 each on top of the $784 because I don’t want you to get screwed — but, I think they’re worth more than that so suggest you try some other dealers,” and I offer him some suggestions.
Unfortunately, due to Covid, no shop is willing to do a housecall. Tired of lugging the records around, Mark contacts another dealer unfamiliar to me who comes to his house and flips through the records, but they can’t come to an agreement.
Mark gets back in touch with me a week later and I buy all the records for the agreed-upon price.
In the first example, the 51 records that appealed to me would retail for 2 x $784, meaning $1568 (in my opinion).
My competitor — the second dealer Mark brought his records to, who goes to great lengths on their website to insist they are “fair” and “50% or higher” yada yada yada… was either a) telling Mark that all 300 records were worth $1900 (2 x $950) or, if they were going to price the fifty-one I wanted at market prices ($1568) that the other 249 records were worth 67 cents each ($950 – $784 = $166 / 249 records), or, if that’s half, that they will be sold for less than $1.40 each. As I already explained, I expected a reputable dealer to offer $2 to $6 each. So this other dealer was saying the retail value was less than I was claiming a reasonable wholesale value would be. Sorry, not sorry, but this is bullshit — and this is the problem when someone makes you a flat offer on all your records.
Records I pass on are not necessarily worthless. They just don’t fit my business model. In this example, I did a nice customer a favor by buying records I didn’t really want because I knew he had no options due to the pandemic.
It felt good to help him out, but in the end I regretted it because dealing with records worth $10 and under is not worth my time. Unlike my competitors with browsable storefronts, I can’t just slap a price tag on them and stick them in a bin. I have to photo them, crop the photos, write a description of each one, and then post them online and hope someone wants to book an appointment to visit to purchase an item they can probably find in most decent record stores. It just doesn’t make sense and I won’t make this mistake again. (Sorry if you were getting excited reading it thinking I’d take things I really wanted to pass on.)