Thanks to Bad Wax for this idea.
For the record, I do not trade on message boards anymore, its just too frustrating. I encourage you to do the same. The number of douchebags and idiots vastly outnumber the nice people who actually want to trade. Of those nice people many of them still idiotically trade by book value rather than actual value, so that leaves me with such a miniscule amount of people trade with, I just don’t do it anymore. Despite my rules, sometimes I get random PMs from people who have found old cards or lists on sites and figure I am worth a chance. Not often do I respond, but when I do, sometimes its just to have some fun with people who are stupid beyond belief. This is one of those stories.
Two days ago I get a PM from someone who was interested in card I posted a long time ago on a message board I never go to anymore. It was one I still had, and he actually had some stuff I was somewhat interested in. I PM him back and say that I was interested, and then it starts:
Book Value Idiot: So, what does your card book?
Me: Considering that I havent bought a Beckett in years, I have no idea.
BVI: Well, ill see if I can find out and let you know.
(at this point I know I am just going to continue the conversation to fuck with this guy)
Me: Okay, let me know when you find out.
BVI: It books at 155 or something like that, mine books at 250, do you have anything else to trade?
Me: Here is the link to my photobucket, help yourself
BVI: I found some other stuff, but the combined BV comes to 230, can you throw in 20 bucks to get this done?
Me: What other stuff did you find?
BVI: I liked the Mauer, the Peterson RC, the Garnett RC and maybe one other card. Those BVs come to 230 total with the other card, so 20 bucks should cover the rest of it.
Me: Well, considering that your card books at 250, but sells at less than 100 on numerous occasions, here, here, and here, I think that we should ditch the book value conversation all together. The card you Pmed me about sells at About 90 give or take, and the other cards you want bring the actual price to about 70 bucks over what yours sells for. How about we just do a 2 for one, you pick which one of the cards you want from the others you picked
BVI: Sorry, I don’t go by sell value. eBay is too crazy when it comes to pricing. I would like to work this out via BV.
Me: Well, if you look back over the three month listings, your card hasn’t fluctuated THAT much. Maybe 5-10 bucks here or there.
BVI: Yeah, but the card has an up arrow in the new Beckett. And is on their hot list. I cant let this go unless I get a good deal or at least equal BV.
Me: Okay, so if we were to figure it out where things were even, minus five bucks on your end, you wouldn’t do it, even though you searched back 6 months on the forum to find me with this card?
BVI: Sorry, it needs to be exactly even, otherwise you get the better deal.
Me: I just showed you that in terms of actual value, you would be taking me to the cleaners. Is that fair?
BVI: Book value is the way we price on this board, it makes things even. So yes, its fair.
Me: I always say that something is only worth as much as someone else will pay for it. As crazy as you may think that sounds, no one will pay the prices you want for your card – as I showed you. It only shows how ridiculously arbitrary the prices are in your bible.
BVI: I have traded and collected for 20 years. You are an idiot if you think that BV doesn’t mean anything.
Me: 20 years ago it may have, but that was before the internet, before people could actually communicate at the drop of a hat. Now, we can find out how much something is actually worth for free. Its called eBay. The price guide is obsolete.
BVI: Well everyone else on here seems to think you are wrong.
Me: I see that, and that is why I havent posted here for a long, long, looooooooooooong time. This place is filled with people like you who think they know everything about value, when in reality they cant seem to fathom that a price guide makes no sense – IN ANY HOBBY. See, this trade should be like this. I have a card you desperately want. You have a card that I want. I want your card more than I want my card. They are similar in value. I will trade you.
BVI: People like you just try to rip people like me off. I see it all the time.
Me: YOU CONTACTED ME FROM A SIX MONTH OLD POST! Why would I try to rip you off? In fact, I showed you how I was NOT ripping you off via actual value. Its not my fault you want to use arbitrarily selected prices deemed “appropriate” by some harem of douchebags in texas who know nothing about cards.
BVI: F off, go somewhere that accept trolls like you for who you are – idiots.
Me: I love how you think I am the idiot. Have fun trying to find this card again, I havent seen it anywhere since I got it.
BVI: I will.
(end of PMs)
I loved every minute of this conversation, looking back, he said some of the craziest things I have ever seen. Up arrows? This guy was amazing! It really sucks that stupid people are EVERYWHERE and it is beyond frustrating to work with them when you need to. I swear to god, this hobby would be a better place without the price guide around. 20 years ago it was advertised as a tool to help people avoid getting ripped off by dealers who had the ability to set their own prices. In reality, it probably just furthered the façade they were displaying, because then they had widely accepted price justification to sell cards at what they wanted.
Now, since the advent of the internet and ebay, price has become a completely different ballgame now that people can communicate world wide. The privilege of information is no longer something you have to be on the inside to have. You can get it FOR FREE pretty much anywhere. Hell, most of the time you can get Beckett pricing without paying just by asking someone. Regardless, the line stands: “something is only worth as much as someone else will pay for it.” If you arent living by this in the hobby, you and I will never get to tradin’, because you are lighting fire with sticks and I am walking around with a lighter. Its that simple.