Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Craigslist Kelp

Not a model wannabe this time, but a photographer wannabe.

So I have this extra light that I keep meaning to sell but haven't really put any energy into it. I should probably just list it on eBay but because of fees and just the pain of shipping it I've avoided it. I did however finally get my butt into gear and list it on craigslist.

Being an honest guy I mentioned this noisy fan and discounted the price $25 below what they're going for. And my God it brought out the bottom feeders. One person wrote this detailed table with the cost to ship it back to Alien Bees, fix it, and ship it back. Well, first off if the fan's going to bug you, and you want a totally new one... buy a totally new one. Especially since they go for only about 10-20% lower than new so it's just not that much cheaper. I'm not sure why they go for so much but they do. But more interestingly - he just made up the numbers. The amount he quoted was about twice their standard service charge - which includes shipping back! And he was clearly lying because he said he checked with the company but the prices are very clearly stated on their website.

Another guy said, well, the price for a new one is such-and-such and argued down from there. The thing is - he started with a price about 10% lower than they go for on the companies website (which is the only place you can get them - there are no dealers), left out shipping, rounded a couple of times (dropping $9 at one point), and made it look like I was asking some crazy price. If I were math challenged and didn't know what the actual price is I might have believed him. It was very convincing... except that none of the numbers actually added up.

I'm in no rush so I'm just ignoring the lowball offers, and actually it's been kind of fun reading them, but it amazes me that people spend the time to justify what's basically a crazy number, hoping that the person selling hasn't spent 5 minutes searching completed items on eBay to see what they're selling for.

Last time I sold one of these it went in a few hours, and it's too early to tell if I'll get some good response. (If not clearly I need to open it and see what the fan's rubbing against and bend something because people are fixating on it). I wonder if it's real photographers who are trying to save money, or if it's people who know how much they go for on eBay and they're hoping to lowball people on craigslist and flip them? I bet it's flippers because it's just too devious otherwise.

Update: Sure enough, the very next day somebody wrote to me in the morning, we hashed out some details and he dropped by the local coffee place where I meet models on his way home from work. I brought my Vagabond unit which lets you run studio lights anywhere, showed him it works, got cash, and we went. No muss, no fuss.

He's in a similar circumstance to when I started - he's a photographer but hasn't done studio stuff and wants something to learn on. It'll serve him great for that and I also used it for the first couple of years of professional work as well until I had enough lights that I didn't need it. Nice to know it's going to a good home.

The cool thing about Alien Bees is that they really do hold their value. Because of the fan I sold it at the low end of the range, but it was still only about $50 less than new. So it cost me $10/year for that light...


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