Haggle or no haggle

As I’ve mentioned more times than I care to count, I love shopping for BDSM toys.  But I also like a good bargain when I can see one, or create a deal from someone offering something that they no longer have a use for.  About 90% of the time, I pull the trigger and manage to come away with something useable, and acceptable in price to both sides.  Today, that didn’t happen.  I’m a bit sorry it didn’t, both for me and for the seller, but sometimes you just can’t come to an agreement on price.

This all took place on Fetlife, where I tend to haunt the Kinky Items for Sale and similar groups for bargains.  This morning I happened to notice a new post from someone in NY saying that they’re in the midst of spring cleaning and want to part with some of their toy collection.  “Great!” I think to myself.  “Let’s see what they’re offering.”

It’s a small list, but at least there are references to pictures on their profile.  Anymore, people who list items forget that a picture really is worth a thousand words.  There’s so much more to see in a picture of what you’re offering than you can accurately describe in words.  I click over to their profile and look over the proffered pictures.  Already I can see there are interesting items that I might have an interest in.  A pair of heavy leather padded restraints with locking buckles, a pair of interestingly designed wooden paddles, that are described as being made from tiger maple.  Hmm, never heard of that type of wood before.  But maple is a hardwood, and anything that’s crafted from it will be hardy and sturdy.  The last item was a quirt, or what some might call a dragontail.  The seller was calling it a mini-whip, in that it only has two ‘tails’ off of the main belly of the whip.

Of all the prices that the seller was listing, about the only one that seemed out of whack was the padded cuffs.  2 wrist cuffs for $100 seemed a bit much.  The nice part about the listing was that the seller did seem interested in haggling since she put at the end of her listing in larger red type OR BEST OFFER.  That to me suggested that she wasn’t quite as firm in her preferences of price than she was listed originally.  It’s good when there’s wiggle room. 

I thought to myself about how much I should offer for all the items I was interested in.  When I mentally tallied up what she was asking, I found it to be $180.  I thought $150 might be acceptable as a counter-offer, and since I was going to be paying for the shipping, that might add in another $10-15 to the price.  I typed up a message through Fetlife’s communication system, sent it off and went about my day.  About 2 in the afternoon I checked my messages and sure enough, there was a reply.  Though not quite the reply I was expecting.  She didn’t seem to think much of my counter-offer.  She stated that all the items I was interested in were going to be $200, not $180 like she’d listed.  Eh?

I thought about the reply before writing back.  It could be that she’d added in the shipping and came to the total of $200 that way, or maybe there was some other hanky-panky going on.  In my reply, I reiterated that she’d clearly stated prices and that there was wiggle room in them when she’d stated that best offers would be accepted.  However, if she wasn’t interested in being flexible, then I wasn’t really interested in overpaying for her used items.  Popped off the message and had a reply within about 20 minutes.  She confirmed that the price she’d quoted had included the shipping.  No wiggle room, she was being firm.  Too, she informed me that she had originally paid $300 for the cuffs, so she believed she was making someone a good bargain.  Personally, at that point, I honestly believe someone had sold her some magic beans if they charged her that much for 2 locking leather restraints.  No matter what sort of leather they might be made of.  None of which I’d mentioned to her, I didn’t wish to be rude.  I made my final reply saying I was no longer interested.

All in all, I think I made the right decision.  Don’t get me wrong, I really would have liked to have everything I originally mentioned, but the prices were just too out of range for what I would feel comfortable paying.  Yes, there have been times when I’ve overpaid for items, but as I recall, it was because of who had made the items in question, they were established artisans so the prices might have been considered a little excessive by some, but as with things like a painting by Picasso, you don’t get it for a song, you get it for what the market will bear.  Even if the finished product is basically canvas and ink.

Better luck next time!

Almost forgot.  I did a little research on tiger maple and discovered it’s not anything really special, it’s a by-product of red maple, just sometimes how the striations are in the wood when it’s cut.  It’s also called ‘flame maple’ because of the stripes.  So in theory, I could make my own paddle with the woodworking tools that my father left me.  Something to be aware of.  Interesting factoid.

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