Thursday, February 23, 2012

How to win at cards, love and Bartertown

A better place to be from than go back to.

I love my FLGS and even the CLGS. I love my Local GW store and patronize Neil over at The War Store. In terms of swapping, trading and buying, nothing beats Bartertown. If you have the time, you can find just about anything for a song.Bored with your Space Wolves and want to try the new shiny of Grey Knights? Swap your army at Bartertown. Need that critical OOP bit? Find it at Bartertown. Want to buy some minis for 50% or more off retail? Bartertown!

I need this shirt so hard.
There are some hard and fast and unspoken rules about dealing over there. You are dealing with a strangely honorable segment of the wargaming community. Most folk do what they say and say what they do. A BTer lives and dies by his rep. Have too many sketchy trades and it is easy to get blacklisted.

There are a few common types of people that you will meet on BT. There is the person that is always looking to trade a big army for the new shiny. Weeks after an army comes out, this person is clamoring for the new shiny. then a few weeks after that, the person is looking to offload. You can use this person to pick up some awesome stuff for cheep.

There are some stores on BT and I find them annoying. The Wargamer's Cave is one of those. Every week, you have to see a post from them about what they have to offer. I would be more for this if they offered anything better than the 20% off that most places can offer. It's just an ad for a gaming store. If I am going to support a store, then I am going to support a local store. If I am going to buy off of the internet, then I am buying from Neil.

General Rules:
1. If someone has a low rating, like <10, handle with care. Make sure that they pay or ship first and that you are completely happy before you send your stuff.

2. Lower rating ships first. Most people abide by this rule but it is not hard and fast. For the most part, I'll ship to someone with a comparable rating once I have a tracking number.

3. Always ALWAYS get tracking on every single package ever. The person that you are shipping it to should accept it in the shipping costs.

4. Be clear and specific. Take nothing for granted and assume nothing when you are talking with people over private messages (or PMs).  Say exactly what you want and what you expect.

Is this Will or his girl? I can't tell through all the fail.

Personal Rules:

 1. Never pay retail. If it is brand-spanking-new, then it is worth at most 30% off retail including what it takes to have it show up at my door. For just a little more than that, I can get minis from Neil, a trusted source. There has to be a damn good reason to pay more than 30% off on BT. If it is assembled, even partially, then it is not worth more than 50% off at most.

2.  Never make a big post. Keep them short and sweet. If you make a post offering a wide variety of things then you will get lots of responses. This can make thing very confusing and chaotic.

3. Never pay for paint. I am a pretty good painter but I am lightyears ahead of most folk on BT. People will try to talk up how awesome their paint is and try to get you to pay more for it. Skip it. In fact, have them strip it for you.

4. Don't deal internationally. It is a pain in the butt. It is expensive and you can't track your packages well. Stick to the USA.

5. Never trade something valuable. That may seem like a big duh but it is important. Only ever offer to trade things that you have no use for. I am not advocating that you only offer worthless stuff. If you do that then you will never get offers. Rather, do not trade anything that you will miss.

6. Never trade retail for retail for minis. That is a zero sum game. Unless you really really want the other thing and could not care less for the thing that you have (see #4), you might as well have just bought the other thing. There is no sense in it.

7. Every trade should be in your favor. this is the summation of most of these rules. When you make a trade you should always come out ahead of where you started. I aint saying that you should try to screw people over, but you should come out ahead. If someone is trying to get something you want, then you are in the position of power. Do not let something valuable go for an even trade.

That last little bit makes me sound kind of a douche but there is a reason behind it. A while ago, I posted a big list of things and got a ton of responses. I was weak on my bartering and ended up trading retail:retail for much of things even though I was holding on to some valuable Forge World and other things. After the trading was done, I had some new stuff but missed my FW minis. Also, I was out the shipping costs. In the end I came out behind. I set these rules up to make sure that this never happens again. I want to come out ahead but I also want the person I am trading with to be happy. If they feel like they have come out ahead, then we're all happy.

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