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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Whiffle Pinball Machine

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Business is slowly picking up. Yesterday, I had a call to look at the contents of an old garage. It turned out to be mostly miscellaneous junk, but hidden in the attic was this really cool Whiffle pinball machine made in Youngstown, Ohio in the 1930's. This particular machine was in poor condition. It had been sitting in the old garage attic for as long as anyone could remember.

The wood was suffering from varying degess of dry rot, the base was very shaky and it was missing several pieces of trim work. Rodents of some type had decided that it made a great placeto hide their nuts for winter, it was full of nutshells. In spite of all of this I wanted it anyway.

I offered $250 for it based on its need for extensive repairs. They didn't sell it. My guess is they were unduly influenced by eBay. I checked on it after leaving and found that someone was trying to sell their Whiffle for $1,400. It was in far better condition (the one on ebay) and I suspect that they were fishing, hoping to get a higher than average price. The sellers most likely saw this and thought that my offer was to low.

It wasn't. One of the problems with inexperienced sellers doing their own research is they don't really understand how the business works. An asking price is not necessarily an indication of true value. In this case the ebayer was plain too high. Whiffle's in good working condition sell for $700 in the Youngstown area. Poor condition models like this one sell for $350. My offer of $250 was more than reasonable given its condition. Since I do Need to make something on my purchases I had to walk away.

This business can be frustrating at times. I wish that every deal worked out for everyone but sometimes you just can't make it happen.

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