How Not to Sell Me Your Old Technology
As a hobby, I enjoy collecting and restoring old computers and video games from the 70's and 80's, sharing them, and displaying them at the Vintage Computer Festival in Atlanta.

For many years, I've posted a "Wanted: Old Computers and Video Games" message on Craigslist. I've met some very nice people and heard some great stories, and also (as you might guess) *tried* to deal with a lot of crazy people.

I thought I would write a guide about it that someone might find, but normally you can't reason with these people. I've tried the friendly nurturing approach, the "alternate evidence" approach (show sold examples of what they really have, and discuss fees, shipping, etc.). None of this ever works. They just decide I am trying to rip them off, when really it's the opposite. I will pay a fair price for nice equipment, but rarely will pay anything much for dirty untested junk. Unfortunately, most people just don't understand the difference.

Please excuse the overuse of sarcasm here. I know it bothers some people.

How *NOT* to Sell Me Your Old Technology

  • You don't know or remember exactly what it is you have, and you can't send me pictures. You don't have a camera or a way to send pictures to me. Now, I know some people are "poor" and supposedly not everyone has a smart phone, but it sure seems like it. They seem to usually have nicer ones than mine.

  • I don't want to "just come by the house" in a sketchy neighborhood where your heavily tattooed family member will be waiting in the front yard to lead me into your scary house "to look at it anyway". It won't matter, and you are making me uncomfortable.

  • The blurry pictures you sent me appear to show a very dirty computer (?) with broken keyboard and/or missing parts. It's hard to tell, though. Are you trying to sell the old dirty high-chair and filthy stuffed animals and clothes with it?

  • What you have is not a collectable or rare computer. A 1987 Apple IIe with black marker writing on it from an elementary school is not the same thing as that 1977 Apple II that went for thousands, and especially the Apple I that went for 300k. Even if you are only asking for half that, which absolutely is a "great deal" and you are practically giving it away.

  • No, really. The one you are comparing it to on eBay is a completely different model that is more sought-after, is fully restored and working, but still is not "sold" - it's just the silly high price they have been asking for months. It has no bearing on this at all.

  • Your 2007 Macbook or Madden 11 for the PS3 is not an "old computer". (My ad says before 1990 please)

  • We agreed to something in text/email, but your boyfriend showed up with only half of it, and even wants more money than agreed. I'm pretty sure he is on meth and couldn't be hurt even if I was forced to try to defend myself. Thanks- glad I had my kids with me to pick up this lot.

  • Some other guy already offered you twice what I did. Please take that offer- it is an awesome deal. Can you give me their number? I have a lot of stuff they might want to buy.

  • Please, when we agree on a time and place to meet, don't disappear and not respond to my text message. I will wait 20 minutes longer than the time we agreed- sometimes people underestimate how long it takes to get somewhere. I will text you one time after that, then I am gone and your number banned. Why did you waste both our time? You texted me several times and took pictures...

  • No, I will not respond back only by e-mail to 100percenthomegrown (at) gee mail dot com.

  • I don't believe that you already sold it, but I can get another one like it on beezid.com.

  • I am very sorry to hear about your troubles taking care of your sick/old mother/father/kids/grandkids. This is not how I give to charity.

  • Do not send me a message asking how much I would pay for something, with a snide remark like "oh and I know what I have". Do you really think I will respond to this positively? I gaurantee you don't know what you have.

  • That's most of the common bad stuff. Here is what I do look for if you want a price that is fair to us both.

    How to easily sell me your old computer

  • It's still in the original boxes. This may not mean it's "new" or "never even used" but I will look at it and give my opinion.

  • It still works, and you set it up to show me the games you loved as a kid and told me interesting stories about it. (Except now you might want to keep it to show your kids. Trust me, they won't care, but they might tell you it's worth a bunch of money. Obviously they would know best.)

  • You have all the parts, cables, software, and manuals! Cool, you even still have the receipt. What you paid back then has no bearing, unfortunately.

  • It was very well taken care of, and then stored away properly for the decades of slumber. This means it's not filthy and rusted inside from sitting in the shed next to your lawn mower.

  • Bugs, mice, or anything further up the food chain have never taken up residence in it. If I am afraid to put it in my car behind me on the drive back home, I won't buy it.

  • It belonged to an enthusiast, so it comes with many uncommon and possibly valuable and/or interesting accessories.

  • It's a rare or sought after computer, even if just to "me". If it's something I don't already have, it is more valuable to me, and less if I do already have one. This might not be fair, but I'm sorry. Supply and demand. I don't need another Commmodore 64 or an Atari VCS with Combat and Pac-Man at this time, but someone else might. However, there's not a lot of us interested in buying these anymore.

  • You will take a reasonable price for it. If you want eBay prices, and it's an identical setup in very nice working condition, I might pay the average of some recently sold auctions, taking into account all the fees and shipping costs. You may not understand it, but I am saving you a lot of hassle from auctioning it yourself. It's kind of a pain in the butt, even if you know what you are doing. I have cash *right now* and you don't even have to help me carry it to my car if you don't want to.
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    All content copyright (c) 1971-2061 by Peter Rittwage. All programs mentioned are copyrighted by their respective owners.