Does Expertise/Experience no longer matter to be a dealer?
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At a show I went to recently, there was a Vendor who had a table, 3 full Slab Short boxes, a printout of the Slabs in the boxes with their grade and GPA prices and a Square payment terminal. I perused the print out taped to the table. Asked to see the book as he had the lids on the boxes. He got it out (putting the lid back on), I looked at it, the grade given on the slab was pretty soft as it was given a 9.6 and their were visible spine ticks, blunted corner and a crease on the back ( I had to ask him to take it out of the slab bag it was in). I made an offer that was within 15% of the GPA price he had listed as I thought the book was at best a 9.0-9.2 given the visible defects I could see. He smirked and said the price is as listed. I pointed out the defects. He said the slab says 9.6, the price is what the GPA for a 9.6 is. No Counter offer. I handed it back and walked away. The dispassionate way he went about this really rubbed me wrong. It just makes me feel that now the hobby has given power away to a third party its irrevocably become less human. It felt like I was making a stock trade. Anyone ever encounter something like this? Should we just have automated bot dealers?

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On 4/16/2022 at 1:21 PM, MattTheDuck said:

The upset seems misplaced.  Whatever book this was, you'll be able to find it in 9.2 at a 9.2 price elsewhere.  What you may not be able to do is pay a less-than-9.6 price for a 9.6 slab, and then sell it as a 9.6 later.

The slab didn't matter to me as I crack, read and Mylar all my slabbed purchases (that go directly into the Black Hole that is my collection). He was trying to sell the "9.6 Slab" and not the book inside. I think that's where my problem is with it. Like I said the experience was like purchasing a stock and not a collectible that's supposed to bring joy.

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On 4/16/2022 at 3:24 PM, Krydel4 said:

Having been buying from shows since the 80s there has has been a definite shift in the last couple of years to this type of attitude and set up at cons. The barter has always been part of a show ecosystem. Next door to him was a long time dealer who had the traditional set up of long boxes (open to go thru) dollar box, wall books, chatting with other customers. I bought a few books from him that we negotiated prices on (one of them was slabbed but graded accurately in his and my opinion) I ended up paying about 90% of his marked price on the books.  It was a good transaction and it made me feel like I was interacting in a human setting. The other was like I was buying insurance but even then the broker tries to get you a better rate.

I still don't really see how that's tied to experience or expertise.  If you're a "people person" as a dealer and like to talk/negotiate with your customers, then you overprice your wares so your customers get to catch the feels from "saving 10%" when they strike a deal with you, and if you're less social, you just set your prices at what you're willing to take and you don't negotiate.  Seems like the willingness to negotiate is the more salient factor than the expertise of the dealer.

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On 4/16/2022 at 1:32 PM, Axe Elf said:

I still don't really see how that's tied to experience or expertise.  If you're a "people person" as a dealer and like to talk/negotiate with your customers, then you overprice your wares so your customers get to catch the feels from "saving 10%" when they strike a deal with you, and if you're less social, you just set your prices at what you're willing to take and you don't negotiate.  Seems like the willingness to negotiate is the more salient factor than the expertise of the dealer.

Part of expertise is having knowledge of your product and your customers. In this case there was neither. No knowledge of how to grade and be honest about your product (and that there may be a need to budge on it) and no knowledge that every customer is different and needs to be approached accordingly. I know I got a deal on the books I purchased from the other dealer as I did my due diligence by researching those books and knowing what they were going for in the grades I was looking for. Dealers are at Cons to make sales, if that has changed I missed the memo. Everyone has a backend and needs to make money. If the future of the hobby is the former dealer instead of the latter, well then may be time to step away.

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On 4/16/2022 at 2:04 PM, alexgross.com said:

unfortunately, as @Axe Elf suggested, there are many dealers with lots of experience who do business this way. you're right that it is annoying, but that's why you just have to take your business to the good ones, like @blazingbob @G.A.tor @Bunky Brian phil from champion, alan from heroes comics, @ChickenWing jeff itkin aka goldenageguru on instagram, and plenty of others. most of these folks i listed are fair and very personable. dont sweat the jerks, just patronize the good guys.

Totally Agree. I have my go to dealers based upon positive past experiences. I had not seen this guy before but I'm always willing to give someone a chance. But the last couple of cons I've been to more guys like him seem to be showing up.

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On 4/16/2022 at 2:14 PM, KCOComics said:

 

I think it speaks to the changing nature of the hobby. The grade on the slab matters more than the comic in the slab. 

If you recognize the book as a 9.2 and offer to pay a 9.2 price, the reality is, the next guy will only understand the 9.6 on the slab and happily pay the 9.6 price.... So why should the dealer settle for a 9.2 price? 

 

 

Also the 9.6 GPA price he had the book at was an outlier price as there were 3 other 9.6 sales within 30 days that were significantly less. My offer was between the average of the other 3 and his price. So if you have gone to the trouble of having GPA you'll know what the other prices are and you should be flexible accordingly. That's what happened with the other dealer I bought a slab from. It was a modern book as well so it's not like it was a GA, SA, or BA 9.6 book that grading can be a little soft on. 🤷‍♂️

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On 4/16/2022 at 3:24 PM, Krydel4 said:

Having been buying from shows since the 80s there has has been a definite shift in the last couple of years to this type of attitude and set up at cons. The barter has always been part of a show ecosystem.

I couldn't agree more. I always ask for a discount when I buy a book. Sometimes the person is willing to work with you, and sometimes not. When I sell books here (and when I used to sell on Ebay), I readily offered discounts. If I am selling a 5-issue set of Web of Spider-Man and my asking price is $25, I'm not going to sweat it if it sells for $22.50.

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On 4/16/2022 at 3:48 PM, Krydel4 said:

Part of expertise is having knowledge of your product and your customers. In this case there was neither. No knowledge of how to grade and be honest about your product (and that there may be a need to budge on it) and no knowledge that every customer is different and needs to be approached accordingly. I know I got a deal on the books I purchased from the other dealer as I did my due diligence by researching those books and knowing what they were going for in the grades I was looking for. Dealers are at Cons to make sales, if that has changed I missed the memo. Everyone has a backend and needs to make money. If the future of the hobby is the former dealer instead of the latter, well then may be time to step away.

He had knowledge of his product. It was a 9.6. He has no obligation to barter with you.

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On 4/16/2022 at 3:00 PM, Lord Gemini said:

He had knowledge of his product. It was a 9.6. He has no obligation to barter with you.

He doesn't. But he didn't have knowledge of his product or simply chose to ignore the 3 other recent GPA sales that were for significantly less than what he was asking. If he had that knowledge perhaps he would have relalized my offer was a good one as it was higher than those other 3 but not quite his outlier number. The money in my pocket went to the other dealer. And his book was still there at the end of the show. I didn't lose out on anything as I got 3 great books at a price point the dealer and I were happy with and he got nothing. No skin off my nose.

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In a decade plus in the bar business, I never had a single customer offer me 20% off for his first drink.  If a business, large or small chooses not to haggle, it is their choice and I don't see how it calls their expertise into account.

The idea of slabs was to end grading disputes. Somebody dropped $50 or more to get the book slabbed so he wouldn't have to dicker over what to deduct for this tick and for that non-visable fault.

He has a 9.6 slab and wants GPA for it.  You want it for a discount.  Keep looking and hopefully you'll find a book you are happy with.  If the book turns out to be overpriced today, the dealer will have to adapt.

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