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Woodworkers are honest folks?

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Forum topic by Marcus posted 07-22-2015 12:38 PM 1016 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Marcus

1149 posts in 1487 days


07-22-2015 12:38 PM

So most of the woodworkers I chat with seem just like honest good guys (and gals). I was talking about this with a buddy and how I previously had bought a veritas hand plane off of craigslist from the wife of a guy, but paid her way more than she was asking because she had no clue what it was. He said I was definitely the exception, so decided to test it out. I took a couple pictures of some of the nicer stuff in my shop and posted them on craigslist with the following description:

“My father in law passed away a while ago and its time to start cleaning out his house. He like to make stuff out of wood and had a bunch of tools. Im not a wood guy myself, so not sure what the stuff is. Here are a few things for sale:

Festool Shop Vac and Round Sander – Looks like its in good shape. He kept it upstairs. $100
Festool boxes. One has a router in it called a domino, one is full of sand paper, one has a bunch of little sticks in it. $50 for the router, $25 for the other 2. They seem to attach to each other, so maybe they go together? $80 if you take all 3.
Jet Sanders on home made carts. The one has a bunch of screws and nails with it, $75. The one one is just on an empty shelf, $50.
Yellow Dewalt Radial Arm saw. Looks pretty big and is on it’s own stand. $250
Table Saw. It’s pretty heavy, but looks like it has wheels on it. you’ll need to have someone get it up the stairs though. $250.
Wall mounted shop vacuum. Pretty big, say Oneida on the side. $100.

There are a couple other big machines in the pictures, not sure what they are. Make me an offer if you’re interested.”

I assumed the majority would be like me, honest guy, trying to do the right thing especially with a death in the family and obvious ignorance of the seller (I intentionally tried to be dumb, calling stuff shop vacs, radial arm saw, and the like). Boy was I disappointed.

I had the ad up for 4 hours. Here are the stats on communications:

Number of emails received: 72
Number of distinct people who emailed: 55
Number of people who said that I was way under price: 2
Number of people who offered condolences for my loss: 1 (This was one of the 2 people above)
Number of people who tried to haggle me down further on the prices: 17!

That last one was surprising as most of the stuff I listed there holds it value pretty well used and I was offering about $8k in retail for under $1k.

The item that got the most interest was the domino “router” (I chuckled as I wrote that). I had 14 emails that asked to buy that and only that. I emailed all 14 of those people back and said that there was a lot of interest in this particular item and wondered if I had priced it too low. 12 people either said my price right or about right, 1 person did not respond before the ad was pulled, and the final person said I had in fact priced it too low and offered me the paltry sum of $300 for the Domino kit and systainer of domino biscuits (retail value, $1295, I would say used in my market, easily could get $750-$800).

So what does this prove? Not a damn thing really. I was just bored and wanted to see what kind of people were out there. I’m a little disappointed that there were so many vultures out there ready to take advantage of an obvious idiot (that’s me!), but I suppose that’s just the hippie woodworker in me who believes in karma!


20 replies so far

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2228 posts in 1914 days


#1 posted 07-22-2015 03:24 PM

My first reaction would be that the ad is nothing but a scam to get my personal information.it is too good to be true even to the most optimistic opportunists.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

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Marcus

1149 posts in 1487 days


#2 posted 07-22-2015 03:29 PM

I suppose you’re more pessimistic than the vultures here in Colorado! But please send me your credit card information and I will send you a TS-55 tomorrow, I promise =)

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 953 days


#3 posted 07-22-2015 03:54 PM

if you don’t do the research before you sell something the. It’s your own fault. Who doesn’t want a deal. I bet 3/4 of the responses were people that just wanted to double their money. You listed it so you can’t blame them in this day and age with all the information at your fingertips. That’s why deals like these are rare.

Now, my brothers father in law passed away and left a bunch of rusted vintage tools. I’ve purchased most of them for more than what they were probably worth simply because I know she has no clue and is fine with whatever price I throw out there.

But, if she posted a boatload of tools for 20$ on Craigslist I’d offer her 30$ take em. It’s not our fault that someone doesn’t take the time to do their research.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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DKV

3940 posts in 1971 days


#4 posted 07-22-2015 04:16 PM

You need to leave your wife with a list of tools, date purchased and price. Most folks will take advantage of a stranger. How else would we ever have our gloat threads…I don’t know how this happens in a supposed Christian society. Take advantage of your brother Monday thru Saturday and attend church on Sunday.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

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DKV

3940 posts in 1971 days


#5 posted 07-22-2015 04:30 PM

To answer the thread title question:
Blue collar woodworkers, not so much. It all depends upon whether they attend church or not.
White collar woodworkers, never ever.

Most people are only honest when they know they will be caught.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 953 days


#6 posted 07-22-2015 04:36 PM

Who has the fault for not doing their due diligence? The buyer? BS. The buyer didn’t make the post.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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DKV

3940 posts in 1971 days


#7 posted 07-22-2015 04:41 PM

Fridge, due diligence has nothing to do with it. Honesty has everything to do with it. Do we call ourselves Christians because we want to follow the crowd or do we call ourselves Christians because we want to be a Christian? Christians don’t rip their neighbors off…

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View upchuck's profile

upchuck

540 posts in 1132 days


#8 posted 07-22-2015 04:50 PM

Marcus-
Interesting read. I rarely sell stuff. I’m always willing to trade my extras. I’m a bottom feeder buyer trying to squeeze the most out of a very limited tool budget. It’s vintage hand tools for me. If an item is unmarked I’ll have a price in my mind before I ask, “How much?” If I’m thinking 1 unit and the seller says 5 units I’ll almost always just put the item back in their pile. If the seller says 3 units I’ll say, “I was thinking that it’s worth about one to me.” He says, “How about two?” And maybe or maybe not I’ll come up depending on what it is. It’s called negotiating. I won’t be a buyer and a seller both on the same purchase. How honest were you in posting that ad? That is not a criticism about you just a question.
chuck

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longgone

5688 posts in 2776 days


#9 posted 07-22-2015 05:04 PM

You said that you were bored… and you were obviously wasting the time of other people just to play your game

View Stewbot's profile

Stewbot

195 posts in 551 days


#10 posted 07-22-2015 05:14 PM

This is an interesting experiment

When you bought the hand plane, did you offer the woman more money before you arrived to buy it? or once you were holding it about to finalize the deal? I only ask because maybe some of these folks would have offered more money once in the door and were about to finalize the purchase. I know if it were me buying the domino for example, I dont think I would say “yeah i’ll be right over, by the way im bringing $100 extra for you” I would first make sure the product indeed was what it was supposed to be, then make the judgement on whether to include more money. Not trying to de-bunk your experiment, I guess Im just trying to be more optimistic about the results.

I think this experiment also has a lot to do with the perceived economic situation of the seller in the buyers eyes, the buyers own economic situation and the buyers mindset toward this disparity.

-- Hoopty scoop?

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DKV

3940 posts in 1971 days


#11 posted 07-22-2015 05:17 PM


I think this experiment also has a lot to do with the perceived economic situation of the seller in the buyers eyes, the buyers own economic situation and the buyers mindset toward this disparity.

- Stewbot

In other words, honesty.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

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Marcus

1149 posts in 1487 days


#12 posted 07-22-2015 05:19 PM

Hey Upchuck, I actually had the same question of myself when I was posting this information…actually made me chuckle a bit at the irony. I really was just curious as to what makes people tick.

I completely get TheFridge’s perspective, it honestly just not one that I follow when I am dealing with a fellow woodworker and had always just assumed the same back. When I go to target and they have a beach towel in September for 75% off, I don’t flinch. Eye opening for me.

DKV, I think you and I have the same philosophy on the subject, which I find to be very interesting because Im actually not a Christian and am a “white collar” woodworker (making an assumption on the difference between the two). I grew up in a cabinet shop and just know what a tool meant to my grandfather, so it’s more about that respect for me. The next time I see someone selling a LN plane for $25, I’ll happily call them up and explain what they have, listen to their story, probably still come away with a hand plane and a very reasonable price…AND have made a friend.

Greg, now apparently I am wasting your time…double win for evil Marcus!

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Marcus

1149 posts in 1487 days


#13 posted 07-22-2015 05:28 PM

Stew, I actually sent the person an email, explained what she had, sent her a link that she couldn’t access (she wasnt computer savvy, older lady), and then told her to give me a call. We chatted a bit, she was a widow, not in dire economics circumstances by any means, and was just clearing house. We chatted about her hubby for a while when I went to check out the plane. I think she would have just given it to me for the conversation, but I still offered her a fair price. As you mentioned, this probably has to do with my economic situation in that I mentioned I live a comfortable white collar life.

It would be interesting to see what would happen in person…maybe something similar to my situation in real life. I tend to think not since when I specifically asked people about it, they happily lied and told me it was a fair price. Or maybe to Fridge’s point, they just considered it a fair price…it’s all about perspective.

View Stewbot's profile

Stewbot

195 posts in 551 days


#14 posted 07-22-2015 06:28 PM



Stew, I actually sent the person an email, explained what she had, sent her a link that she couldn t access (she wasnt computer savvy, older lady), and then told her to give me a call. We chatted a bit, she was a widow, not in dire economics circumstances by any means, and was just clearing house. We chatted about her hubby for a while when I went to check out the plane. I think she would have just given it to me for the conversation, but I still offered her a fair price. As you mentioned, this probably has to do with my economic situation in that I mentioned I live a comfortable white collar life.

It would be interesting to see what would happen in person…maybe something similar to my situation in real life. I tend to think not since when I specifically asked people about it, they happily lied and told me it was a fair price. Or maybe to Fridge s point, they just considered it a fair price…it s all about perspective.

- Marcus

I would say the way you went about this transaction is the type of behavior that makes the world rotate a bit more fluidly.

-- Hoopty scoop?

View upchuck's profile

upchuck

540 posts in 1132 days


#15 posted 07-22-2015 06:41 PM

Marcus-
Good for you for asking the question of yourself. Honesty/integrity is an interesting subject. I expect people to place themselves in the best light. Is it dishonest to place a piece of tape with the price marked on it over the fatal crack on a hand plane? Was I dishonest when I lied to the muggers who had a knife to my throat about giving them all of my money? At the level of the tool market I operate at most people are just trying to get rid of stuff. It seems that I recently paid $5 for a plane that has some rarity to it. Condition aside an identical model sold for $250 on ebay with 10 bidders. If I bought it from a hungry widow does that make me dishonest? How about if I bought it from a reputable tool dealer? How about if I just thought that this $5 plane looked unique and interesting with no idea that it might be worth $10 much less $200 plus?
I appreciate your dealing with the subject. An interesting exercise.
chuck

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