In article <e1d20d630901151744r7a086540sd4ec7af166392aaf at mail.gmail.com>,
"William Donzelli" <wdonzelli at gmail.com> writes:
Yes, we know that the initial prices for the tube were
too much, and
yes, we also acknowledge that you are the go to guy for terminals
around these parts. But, consider the seller. He likely has no idea
who you are, or what sort of qualifications you have, when you tell
him he is way off the mark.
All true. When I emailed him, I introduced myself as a collector of
serial terminals. On ebay I have written guides for collecting serial
terminals. I think I also edited my personal profile there to say that I
am a collector of serial terminals. When you browse my buying feedback,
you'll see that pretty much all I buy are terminals :-).
In this particular case, I told the guy that when he gets tired of trying
to sell this particular terminal for a high price to contact me about
selling me just the boards and then scrapping the tube and enclosure.
(The 2647A has BASIC in ROM, so having the boards is not an unreasonable
proposition; I could put the boards into a 264x enclosure that I already
have with a reasonable tube and get an "upgrade". All the 264x terminals
are essentially interchangeable as far as the power supply, tube and
enclosure are concerned; what's different are the board sets and possibly
slight variations on the keyboard. For this particular item, the guy
doesn't have the keyboard either, and they are custom made for this
particular terminal with a funky connector that's not standard either.)
Surplus dealers are often told the item X
in their inventory is way too expensive. Yes, sometimes it is, and
some honest customer is really just telling the truth. But, for every
honest evaluation are one or two cheapskates trying to lowball and
walk away with a super deal.
Yep, that's understood. But its ebay. I expect a little haggling as
part of the transaction. Of course, ebay has set up the haggling to
pretty much work in one direction only: increasing prices.
There was one of these 2648As for sale by a surplus dealer based out of
Boise. He listed it twice, the second time reducing the price. It was
still a little pricey for me. After it didn't sell the second time, I
contacted him privately and said "hey, I'll drive up to Boise and pick it
up from you on a Saturday for $XX cash." (He had regular business hours
on Saturday, so this was not me asking him to open up just for me.) I
don't know what he had planned on doing with it after listing it twice
and having it fail, but I drove up there and met him in person and put
the cash in his palms and took home a nice 2648A. He was a reasonable
guy about it.
I understand the "surplus dealer" pricing mentality. There's that guy
we've talked about before (he keeps changing his ebay handle recently, so
I don't know what he's going by now) that is located in upstate NY. You
can always tell his listings because they always include the same boiler
plate text "This item will look good in your vintage computer
collection.". Now that guy does have some rare stuff and he does move
items at his price point, so from a business perspective he's not an
idiot. However, the Visual Technology terminal that I bought from him
was so poorly packaged for shipment that it arrived as a smashed pile of
plastic. That tells me that he is still an idiot, particularly since he
is obviously trying to appeal to collectors. Nobody collects smashed and
damaged goods. Based on that experience, I won't be buying from him
again, no matter how rare it is, nor will I recommend him to anyone else
and in fact, just the opposite, I will caution people in buying from him.
Since I'm a vocal member of the community he's trying to market his goods
towards, that's just plain stupid. Again, its the idiocy.
There seems to be a recent trend on ebay for places that collect
electronics for recycling to have someone who picks out the "old" items
for sale on ebay. I don't begrudge them wanting to make a buck off
something collectible, but they seem to have nothing but dollar signs in
their heads when it comes to pricing. $800 for an HP2621A *without* the
keyboard, and the keyboard listed separately for another $200? I watch
these items that have "buy it now or best offer" and make a best offer
each time the listing expires. They, of course, refuse my best offer
because they want an order of magnitude more than what these items have
sold for in the past (I save off completed listings to build a price
history). But hey, maybe eventually a sucker will come in and buy it, or
maybe they'll eventually realize that they're charging more than the
market will bear. Serial terminals are a bit odd in that they are not
irreplaceable one-of-a-kind units. You can easily replace them with a
commodity PC and a serial port running a terminal emulation program.
When serial terminals break down in a working vintage computer setup,
they don't need to spend $800 on a vintage replacement when $20 from the
local used computer store will do the job.
Sometimes its different with Tektronix graphics terminals, though,
because they *do* have a specialized function and at least for the raster
based terminals, there isn't a readily available terminal emulation
program for a PC. (The 401x series is such a standard protocol that it
*is* readily emulatable by almost any terminal emulator program.)
I've bought many terminals from surplus dealers on ebay, most of the time
I'm the only bidder. There's a few dealers that have been a joy to buy
from and most have been just ordinary transactions. A
few are downright
clueless and those are the ones I would say are idiots.
"The Direct3D Graphics Pipeline" -- DirectX 9 draft available for download
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