Jan 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm #1312443
just Justin WhitsonMember
nmJan 25, 2014 at 5:12 pm #2066181
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
>> what you folks think about selling gear at gear swap for more than you paid for it later on down the line?
In your shoes, as the buyer, I wouldn't care.
The "value" of an item is what I'm willing to pay for it. For me, that's based on the current new retail price, the condition, and maybe the age. How much the seller paid for it at one time doesn't affect the value *for me*.
But I think, for you, the value does include what the seller paid for it. So you made a counter-offer for what it's worth to you… and the seller, as is his prerogative, declined your offer.
IMO, I think that's exactly how "gear swap practice" is supposed to work.Jan 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm #2066189
I don't see anything unethical about the price.
Lots of people make their entire life around buying low and selling high. That's the way that the stock market works, at a minimum. Besides, some people buy a commodity at a market price, then hold onto it until the value goes up, perhaps in a different season.
–B.G.–Jan 25, 2014 at 5:32 pm #2066197
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
It's a free market. BPL does not have any official position on this.
PS: the stock market analogy is a good one.Jan 25, 2014 at 5:39 pm #2066201
@aggroLocale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
Buy low sell high whatever. I do that with some aspects in life but when it comes to gear and backpacking and this forum I don't. I feel if I can pass on a deal to a fellow hiker then I will. Sometimes I will opt for Ebay to off an item. So on principal I don't agree with it and as a seller I can and will choose my buyer. If I look at your posting history and it is only in gearswap buying many similar and redundant items, plan for me to skip right over you. My items, my decision etc…Jan 25, 2014 at 5:47 pm #2066208
@nedjursekgmail-comLocale: Pacific Northwest
Justin – Sadly, there are a lot of Adam Smith, Ayn Rand laissez faire types that see the Gear Swap Forum as "market place" and not part of the BPL "community." I wish they would all go to Ebay where they belong. I feel that the Gear Swap Forum is part of the BPL community and I am not looking to profit off of fellow BPL members when I sell gear. I think having quality light weight gear available at low prices aids and enriches all BPL members as we fiddle and experiment with our kits. I say shame on those members seeking to profit off of other BPL members.Jan 25, 2014 at 6:13 pm #2066216
Agreed Sumi. Something costs what people will pay for it. Stuff can be difficult to find, has long wait lists, is discontinued, whatever…all those things make a difference in what something will sell for. If you don't want to pay that then don't…your prerogative.
Speaking for myself, I've had a few catch and release items and to be honest, I frequently don't remember what I paid for it. So I guess…based on what I think I'd pay for it. No malice there at all…just a lack of desire to look up what I paid for it.Jan 25, 2014 at 6:23 pm #2066217
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
Granted, I don't know how close the price was to what the last buyer paid, but since you said the asking price was close I would say it may be to cover shipping to you so he/she doesn't lose money.Jan 25, 2014 at 6:25 pm #2066218
@scwcollinsLocale: New England
[edit: apparently as I was writing this others made a lot of the same points, so sorry for the repeat!]
The economics major in me agrees with Sumi. It's just two parties doing a transaction. What price the seller is willing to sell for is his choice, and it's up to you whether you want to accept it. The past is the past; doesn't matter if he acquired it for free or paid $1 million for it.
Compare swapping gear to the stock market, where buy-low sell-high transactions take place all the time. One person will buy a stock at a certain price, say $10 per share, and then sell it for a higher price later on, say $20 per share. No one I'm aware of questions whether this is ethical.
HOWEVER I think Justin brings up a good point about this being a community. It's not the stock market or any other typical market. And personally, buying low from one BPLer and selling high to another BPLer strikes me as pretty sketchy. It doesn't sit right in my stomach.
But circumstances can vary, and I think intent matters.
If, for example, someone came in here and bought a bunch of 3-season tarps and clothing in the dead of winter (when demand for 3-season stuff is lower) without the intention of ever using them, and then sold them at a profit in the summer (when demand for 3-season stuff is higher), that might strike a lot of us as unethical.
In comparison, if someone buys, say, a stove 10 years ago for $25 and now it's a rare and coveted stove, would it be ethical for him to sell it for a profit? Personally I would have no qualms whatsoever with that.
Even in the first example, where someone is buying stuff with the sole intent of profiting off it, I think there's an argument for it being ethical. The guy is providing a service to the seller by taking it off their hands, and providing a service to the buyer by selling them something that's worth it to them at that price.
For example, say I posted a tent on gear swap this week and really need the cash. I wait a week and no one is biting. Then some guy comes in out of the blue and buys it. I'm relieved. I got the cash I needed to buy those new winter boots I wanted. Fast forward six months, summer is here. Guy who bought my tent hasn't used it once and posts it on gear swap again. He ends up selling it for $100 more than what he paid for it.
Is there anything wrong with that? I'm happy because I got the money when I needed it and no one else was biting; he's happy because he made $100; and the buyer in the summer is happy because they got a tent they wanted when they wanted it at a price that was agreeable to them. And put yourself in the poor gear swap profiteer's shoes. He lost the opportunity cost of the money he paid me for the tent and took a risk. He had no guarantee that he'd be able to sell the tent for a profit.
That being said, it still strikes me as kinda skeezy to take advantage of the goodwill of community members who are willing to sell their stuff at a good price for the sake of giving other members a good deal. So think what you will…Jan 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm #2066219
I recently had a bad experience with a dishonest individual regarding the return of a stove. I googled the persons name and several listings on the google page showed that person to be here at BPL. I then searched his name and the only forum he has ever participated in was the gear swap. Buying and selling is all he did. In one of the threads a member was in disagreement with him on a sale. It was mentioned the individual was also using other website sale forums. I'll be watching closely his sales format from now on. PM me if you want the name of the individual.Jan 25, 2014 at 6:29 pm #2066220
I will add to my previous statement and say that I, a liberal commie pinko, also think it's not necessarily NICE to jack up prices. I get it, I understand why people do it, but I like being part of this community. I also kind of feel weird when people's only participation is gear swap. This is NOT ebay or craigslist, and I appreciate the folks here quite a lot.Jan 25, 2014 at 7:11 pm #2066231
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Both ways like if someone bought it for $100 and was offering to sell it for $50? Would you then offer to pay $100 so he wouldn't lose? I think not :)
Other things to consider: were improvements made to the product, like seam sealing, adding guy lines and stakes? Do you know that actual selling price? You really have no concrete idea what kind of deal or trade was made.
In this case how much are we really taking about? I can't imagine there being some huge amount involved with an item that sells for $135 new. There can't be much room for villainous profiteering with an item like that.
Good bargaining tactics would dictate that you make an offer from your informed position. If you know what he paid for it, make a counter-offer based on your knowledge. Taking someone to task on what price they bought it at just makes them defensive and sours the deal as appears has happened. There's a little poker playing in all of this.
I think the real issue to be concerned with is the integrity of the seller: is the item in the stated condition, shipped promptly, etc? If there are issues, will the seller back it up? The market will level out the asking price if it is too high.
If this is all so bothersome, why not support SMD's good work and buy a new one?Jan 25, 2014 at 7:24 pm #2066236
While you may not find anything wrong with upcharging on something you got at a discount, I think there is something to be said for the choice you make. I'd rather help one of you folks than try to make $50 off of you.
I like the idea of cooperation and kindness more than profit. I like the idea of giving what you don't need to those who do need it. Hiker boxes, free boxes, Really Really Really Free Markets, and gifts are good examples.
I really appreciate the folks here who try to help people and sell their stuff at cost/below cost or PIF instead of just trying to make money off of trade. Of course, some people have to recoup their losses or whatever, no problem, but it's the really blatant profiteering that is unfortunate.
The whole idea of the Gear Swap board being full of arbitrage and not community members helping eachother out is a sad one.Jan 25, 2014 at 8:36 pm #2066265
OK, so I am trying to sell a $600 down jacket for $400 (I don't like it/need the money, who cares why)
Now Joe Citizen is advertising the same jacket for $200 because he bought for that from someone else here ,however it does not really fit him very well.
Eventually Joe Citizen does sells his for $200 (because he is a nice and ethical guy) so by doing so he forced me to drop my price by $200.
(why are you asking $400 when J Citizen just sold one for $200? question from concerned BPL member)
I am starting to dislike that Joe Citizen and all of his nice ethics.
Note that by now 3 of those $600 jackets have been sold for $200, so that is the going price.
So now, the original seller, Joe Citizen and myself are heros in the eyes of some and villans in the eyes of others.Jan 25, 2014 at 8:48 pm #2066270
"Eventually Joe Citizen does sells his for $200 (because he is a nice and ethical guy) so by doing so he forced me to drop my price by $200."
Joe did not exactly force you to drop your price at all. His cheap sale put some pressure on you to drop your price, but you were not forced to do anything. Won't some buyers buy from you just because of your sterling reputation?
Besides, if a seller is seen continally lowering prices, then he gets a reputation for continually lowering prices, so his original higher prices all start seeming overblown and will be ignored.
I guess that is just a harsh reality of the free enterprise system.
–B.G.–Jan 25, 2014 at 8:54 pm #2066273
Franco, I don't think anyone is saying you'd be a villain for selling a jacket for less than you bought it for. I think that would be cool of you.
If people were just coincidentally deeply discounting the same jacket for no reason other than to help BPL members, and you couldn't/didn't want to sell it for less, then there are other options like eBay or GearTrade. I honestly don't see that really happening though.
I think that's sort of an exception that doesn't really disprove the general idea of an ethos of helping each other out.Jan 25, 2014 at 9:00 pm #2066275
No , Joe Citizen was gone by then.
It was Mr Concerned BPL Member that shamed me in dropping the price by pointing out in my for sale thread that the same item just sold for $200 less.
Just to make it clear for some, my example was just about how others may perceive these kind of transactions.
We have had here,within BPL Gear Swap, both people complaining that items were advertised at too high prices as we also have had others complaining that some were posting too low prices therefore devaluing what they had to sell.
The reason for the high or low price is not all that relevant
None of the above has anything to do with me, my way of thinking, ethics, ethnic background, religious affiliations or not, it was just an example.Jan 25, 2014 at 9:02 pm #2066276
Franco, get a new sales manager.
–B.G.–Jan 25, 2014 at 9:45 pm #2066282
This is a market of people highly aware of brands and what a given piece can fetch in terms of price.
I think it makes more sense to list a piece for sale at around "market price" and perhaps accept a lower offer (even if is garners slight profit) than to list a piece for a slash and burn deal which really only hurts other members trying to receive a fair price for their product (as opposed to a PIF which I think is awesome and should only be taken advantage of by people who will likely get good use out of the piece). I don't know if it's most ethical, or if it serves the greater good, but that's the way I would operate.
The one other caveat I will provide is that I would feel terrible, and would never take advantage of someone selling their gear because of some hardship they've suffered only to turn around and sell within the same community to turn a profit. I would prefer to pass on the deal to let another capitalize and benefit from the enjoyment of actually using that gear piece.Jan 25, 2014 at 11:14 pm #2066299
@tracedefLocale: Southern California
"End of rant, and i will leave this thread. So i guess i got my answer from and by the majority of folks, it's ok to buy something here for lower and turn around and sell for higher as long as some sucker is willing to buy it. Greed, it's what's great about America and the general Western mind set."
As adults, we're responsible for doing our own diligence and making our own assessment of what an item is worth to us. The beauty of a free market is that both parties have a CHOICE as to whether they want to enter into a transaction or not. Your opinion on the value of an item does not make a seller anymore greedy then it does the buyer a masochist or "sucker" for purchasing items that you deem to be over priced.
Community should mean that members help each other out, it does not mean that members are in any way expected to take less than what they deem to be their definition of a fair market value for items they are selling. By definition, if their items are truly over-priced, their likelihood of being sold is low. In short, just because you can't agree on the value of an item, doesn't mean the other person is greedy. One could argue that using your logic in the footsteps of the seller, you're the greedy one because you aren't willing to pay a price they have deemed to be fair.Jan 26, 2014 at 12:28 am #2066305
Hello all, I'm new to the forum. I've been lurking around for some time now and just decided to join as a forum member.
I personally would not list gear I wanted to sell at a higher price than what I paid for it because I would feel bad (self-conscious) about it. I think most people who post at BPL regularly would also feel this way. I think this is what Justin is getting at, and why he feels disillusioned. It's interesting to hear people defend this other guy with there hypotheticals, though these scenarios appear to be far more a reflection of posters' personal political philosophies than addressing the issue Justin has run into. Not that there's anything wrong with that. A major issue I see is that members of BPL have different interpretations of "community" and the moral obligations we have to each other as people who have come together (and across many boundaries such as age, economic standing, and political perspective; race not so much) under a common interest. Hence the idea that Ebay and Gear Swap are different and therefore we would expect more intimacy, more care, respect, trust, sincerity etc. to be present at BPL than Ebay but maybe I'm just being naive.
For better or worse, Gear Swap is designed to function as a free market. People who participate in it acknowledge and accept that, and with it you've got to accept the presence of some scumbags. Unfortunately, a capitalist system has no soul so the people who, like Justin, are "nice" or would "feel bad" about charging more than they had paid for the product originally are the "suckers" or "sentimentalists". While I don't think BPL is the place to pick this fight (it's far far bigger than that), I will say that I share your disillusionment Justin. It's kind of a bummer to hear people argue that essentially because there is no rule saying it's illegal/not permitted it's therefore okay. Again, because I think we would all agree on a personal level that selling something for more than you paid for it to an ignorant buyer is being less than honest/genuine/transparent. And if not, if these anecdotes that have been offered up have actually taken place in reality, it would be interesting to hear some real accounts of people on this forum who have done this and feel justified in having done so. I'm willing to guess either no one has done this, or if they had, there not the kind of person who would share that story.Jan 26, 2014 at 5:29 am #2066314
I don't think many here could be classified as truly ignorant buyers. Many are gear heads, and many more are at the very least pretty interested in what is highly specialized gear in a niche market. As such regular market pressures such as depreciation don't always apply.
A better analogy (from the stock market analogy already provided) might be to consider that we are selling classic cars here, or better yet, dragsters. A dragster is the type of vehicle only a very small number of people may find valuable at the prices they go for. It also is the case that if we assume the condition is good, and all parts are in good work order that these items generally have a "bottom" price that is generally agreed upon in the community. They'll seldom sell for cut rate prices in a market full of people looking for and willing to pay for highly specialized gear.
That being said I probably wouldn't buy something within this community for a cut rate price to turn around and sell it at a substantial gain within the same community. If I say bought it on eBay for a steal I view that as slightly different, but that's a different topic altogether.
So I don think it's about "screwing" anyone so much as you know you have a product that is valued and that will always be able to bring in X dollars. Shipping is the only tax paid by the seller so in many cases they may try to build that into their set price.Jan 26, 2014 at 6:37 am #2066320
I like this conversation. I have, for many years now, been frustrated at what is considered rampant greed in America (I'm assuming all western societies, but I'll not generalize here…) and the worship of all things business and corporate.
Gear swap is interesting…yes, it is a community and I've been helped MANY times by people here. I've had people offer to cheaply sell me things, or lend me things that I've asked about in other forums…honestly it makes me happy and smile inside and feel good about the world. I've also done the same to others…including sending people things for free that they've asked to buy. It's my way of contributing to the community and again, it makes me feel good.
Are there "outsiders" here who just want to take advantage of the market/audience here to sell highly specialized and marked up goods? Yep. Do people sell things for more than they should? Sometimes. But speaking for myself, sometimes it's hard to come up with a good, fair price…and I know that some of my buyers may be those people just trolling for deals. I feel bad when someone I know and "like" chimes in for something I'm selling but I already promised it to someone else…and I wouldn't think twice about making sure a BPL friend got a good deal from me.Jan 26, 2014 at 7:51 am #2066332
Life isn't fair to everybody. It's just a fact. My thought is if own a piece of gear, I can sell it for whatever I choose to sell it for. If it's too high, it won't sell. The demand for the item will set the price. Everybody has a different price threshold, on an item that I think is worth $50, someone else may have no problem paying $75. Just look a the full retail price on most outdoor items. They are really high. Boutique style shops sell at full retail. I don't ship there, but lots of others have no issue with it. Im shopping the clearance rack. It's nice to pass along a good price to other BPL members, but it shouldn't be a requirement. I'm not a fan of more regulation on most things.Jan 26, 2014 at 8:13 am #2066335
The Gear Swap and Gear Deal forums are very informative for me as a latecomer to ultralight. I'd call myself a semi-ultralighter: interested, but I also buy and use non-UL. I have seen some good deals on Gear Swap, but no screaming' deals. And sometimes the prices are what I'd consider to be way too high for used items; so I'm glad there are GS participants who are willing to criticize. Just because it's fairly unregulated doesn't mean that it's okay to try to make money off of it, but it is okay to inform people of attempts to do so.
So far, I've made a couple of attempts to buy from GS sellers, but was always a little too late. If you look around the other BPL forums, you can usually find reviews or mentions of the item being offered. In this way, I've learned a lot about non-UL as well as UL.
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