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Guidelines for being a successful trader

by Flake Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:08 pm

A Guide to Selling Your Childhood: updated 2 Feb, 2011

The Buy, Sell, Trade is an amazing place. With that ebay middle man out of the way, everyone stands to get some great deals. It has come to my attention lately that some people might not completely understand the process of being a good trader. Here are a few things to think about when you prepare to unload that pile of Sega CD games you still have in your closet:

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Hobie's Shipping Weight Guide

International Money Conversion Guide

Leave Meaningful Feedback – You just got that copy of Bible Adventures that you have always dreamed of having. The spot you had reserved on your game shelf is now occupied by one of the greatest Christianity Based games of all time. It arrived beautifully packed and way faster than you expected. Your prayers have been answered; SmokePot&Play12 just made your day. So tell everyone that! In the feedback section mention how great the game looked when it arrived. Mention the incredible packing job. People DO read those comments and they are not just looking for the -1's and the drama that ensues. We are all of us planning our next trade. Help your fellow traders and say something more than just +1 if someones good conduct needs to be pointed out.

Do not Gouge – Girlgamer68 gives you $5 to ship your beloved (but suddenly expendable) Genesis games to her. Pro Tip: Use all of the shipping money. This is not ebay or amazon. There are no standard pricing schemes for shipping. That said, people are going to know if you gouge them. And that polite +1 you receive might not be a promise of return business. So spend that shipping money! Get the bubble wrap, ship priority, use something better than duct tape. Get it there fast and safe and Girlgamer68 will give you more of her hard earned money.

Ship Quickly! - There is little to no protection for the Buy, Sell, Trade; The entire thing truly hinges on mutual respect. That said, it is important that you put a little priority on getting your buyer / traders end of the deal out as soon as it is reasonable for you to do so. If you are not able to ship their item within 2 business days, make a point to contact them and let them know when to expect it to hit the mail. A buyer who has become frantic wondering if you have ripped them off probably will not be coming back for your next thread bump.

Do Not Guess - You just sold your heavily discounted Sega Saturn so that you can buy your girlfriend a pint of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream (good call, btw) and you need to quote a shipping price. Do not play this by ear. Either use flat rate priority boxes whenever you can or click this link here to check a shipping weight chart put together by our very own Hobie-wan. Asking for more shipping money after receiving payment is not kosher. Having your entire profit margin eaten up by negligence is also not cool. Check before you quote.

Pack Securely – Do you remember when you bought your first Nintendo/Sega/Sony/Gizmondo from the store, brand new? What was the biggest pain in the butt? Getting it out of all of that packaging. Why do you think all of that was in there? A lot of the items we trade on the site are older than some of the moderators. They might not need to be handled with kid gloves but you should make sure that nothing you mail can shift significantly within its envelope or box. You might think you are saving some cash by just tossing SonicLovesAmy's Master System into a priority box and hoping for the best – kiss your entire profit margin goodbye if that thing breaks en route.

Secure your DVD / CD based media – NES carts, Genesis carts; these are things that are indestructible. They will last until the end of days. CD and DVD based games are not so hardy. They need to be cared for. When you mail a disc, you should do a few basic things:

    Make sure the case is clear of debris. No pebbles or potato chips or anything that might bounce around and scratch the game.

    Secure the game to the spindle. The world our games enter when we give them to the USPS is pretty hellish. Games come loose inside cases all the time. If you take a small piece of bubble wrap and put it between the disc and the manual, you greatly lower the chances of the disc coming loose or spinning wildly en route.

    DO NOT USE TAPE. I have lost count of how many games I have seen ruined because some well meaning seller used cheap scotch tape to secure the CD to the spindle. If that tape takes ANY of the art off the top of the game, the game is effectively ruined even if it still plays. Disc rot is a big enough problem for collectors without helping it along.

    Use Cardboard – This is more an issue for CD games with odd boxes (Sega CD, Saturn, PSX) than DVD media. As these types of cases are becoming increasingly rare, take a little time to cut out lengths of card board to cover the games jewel case. This will give those fragile pieces of plastic a better chance of making it if you mail in an envelope instead of a box.

Tell People Who You Are - 14 days have passed since you registered and you are ready to open up a store. Guess what? We do not trust you. We do not know who you are. We do not feel safe giving you our money. Do not just come to Racketboy to sell your junk. TALK TO US!! Get to know people on the boards. Weigh in with your opinions. Tell us we are right. Tell us we are wrong. Give us a reason to trust you! Failing that...tell us who you are on ebay. Or Sega-16. Or Nintendo Age. Make your potential buyers feel at ease.

Be Honest ; Take Pictures – This is probably a no brainer but photographing your items will greatly increase you chances of selling. It also decreases your chances of running into an issue with your trading partners. You might be a little concerned that the scratch on your SNES controllers will hurt their sellability. Do not be. Everyone on this site understands that most of what we are buying is second, third, and fourth hand. Be up front about every little defect or imperfection and you will have satisfied customers lining up to give you money.

Be Flexible – The concept of a barter economy depends on the principle of mutual coincidence of wants. Sometimes things are not mutual enough to be perfect. You are trading 2 items valued at $40 and CloudLeonhartFTW has 3 things that you want worth $38. Be willing to communicate with your trading partner on the best ways to close that gap. And sometimes do not worry about that tiny gap at all.

Do Not Fear Foreigners NTSC-J, NTSC-U, PAL - these are not just wacky codes for what kind of mod chip / TV you will need. Each of the major regions has its own exclusives, variations, or hardware. If you want to be a serious collector, you will need to trade outside of your own region. Get to know trading partners from outside your geographic location. Use this chart to compare prices. Make sure you are doubly careful about shipping, though.

Do Not Leave Negative Feedback All Willy-Nilly – Okay so you get your copy of Sewer Shark and it is not what you expected. It is not in the original case, the manual is mangled, the disc has a few scratches on it ... It's just not as good as you thought it would be. Before you leave that -1 you should think about what you are doing. A -1 is essentially you calling out a member before their peers and saying 'this guy / gal is untrustworthy, dishonest, shady, and a thief. Avoid them'. It takes a LOT of good feedback to make people look past that -1. And that -1 will always be there next to their name. So talk to someone before you leave the bad feedback. Go back over your PM's. Maybe ABCsoupLaser told you that the game was a little gummy in a PM and you were either distracted or drunk and did not notice. And think about your own character. Did you ask the appropriate questions? Did you request pictures? Remember that it takes two to tango. And do not hesitate to ask a third party to help mediate the dispute. All problems can be resolved if both parties are willing to sit down and talk.

Fix Your Mistakes – Accidents happen. It might be embaressing to admit that you mailed Final Fantasy 36 DS to Ey3e4tp4int without the game card. Think about how the other guy is going to feel, though. As soon as you realize you made a mistake, PM your trading partner and explain what is going on. That explanation will do wonders for buying you time to fix your errors. That said, however...if it is your mistake it is up to YOU to fix it. Asking for more shipping money to send that DS card? That is not kosher. Sometimes you will have to just eat your losses and chalk it up as a lesson learned.

Take No For an Answer – You might think that your sealed copy of Halo 18 Special Edition is worth a lot. The other guy might not. So if you offer a trade and it gets refused, just deal with the fact that it was not meant to be. You might have to pony up some cash if HatesFPS surprises you and turns down your game.

I love trading things on this site. Sometimes I think I spend more time trading games than I do playing them. But this playground is only going to be fun if we all treat each other well and with a measure of respect. Be responsible and kind to the people you trade with and we will all end up with better than we started.
Last edited by Flake on Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:30 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Guidelines for being a successful trader

by noiseredux Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:14 pm

EDIT: oops, I read wrong, so my joke isn't funny.


Awesome guide Flake. Mods should sticky it!
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Re: Guidelines for being a successful trader

by Hobie-wan Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:37 pm

Good stuff sir. :)
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Re: Guidelines for being a successful trader

by sevin0seven Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:42 pm

it's beautifully written :cry:
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Re: Guidelines for being a successful trader

by YoshiEgg25 Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:58 pm

Excellent guide! Now if only people would read it...
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Re: Guidelines for being a successful trader

by 8bit Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:25 pm

Ah what horrible advice... everyone do the opposite of what you have just read!

j/k man. great guidelines! sticky!
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Re: Guidelines for being a successful trader

by Anayo Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:49 pm

I have never had a bad experience here on the BST forum, ever.
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Re: Guidelines for being a successful trader

by Czernobog Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:11 pm

Great guidelines!

If (more likely when) I decide to join in on the B/S/T portion of this site once I manage a steady income/have things to trade, I'll be sure to read through this guide every now and then as a good reminder of all the things I should do to insure good transactions.
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Re: Guidelines for being a successful trader

by jp1 Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:16 pm

Awesome job on this Flake. Love the little bits of humor mixed in with the (very sound) advice. Thanks for the effort. :D
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Re: Guidelines for being a successful trader

by bdlou Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:19 pm

Weird. I typed a big reply but it looks like it got eaten. At any rate, excellent writeup. Agree 100%.
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