Vintage Seller’s Notebook: “I’ll Take a Pass”

I am starting a new series–Vintage Seller’s Notebook–that will encompass topics of interest to vintage sellers but also, hopefully, to buyers as well. And perhaps it will amuse those of you who are neither!! Here we go…

“How Much Do You Want for All of It?”

When you’re shopping at an estate sale, flea market or yard sale and you see a collection, it can be a great strategy to ask the seller how much he/she would want it you bought all of it–particularly if it is the end of the day. Sellers at in-person events are often motivated to cut you a fabulous deal so they don’t have to pack it up and deal with it later.

But for the first time as an online seller I received a query from a potential buyer who wanted to buy ALL my scientific lab glassware and wanted to know how much I wanted for all of it. At the time I had nine listings totaling $420 with shipping costs extra. And while I was willing to work with him, I suspected he wanted a really low “make it go away price.”

But here’s the thing…it’s not like he would be swinging by to pick it all up and paying me in cash. I would still have to carefully bubblewrap and package all these breakable glass beakers, flasks and bits (hours of work) and haul them to the post office, and pay all the fees associated with the sale. A lot of work, time and packing material expense for a reduced profit.

This kind of buying strategy just doesn’t make as much sense in the online environment–at least not for the seller. I did follow up with him asking a supplemental question and two weeks later he replied and reiterated that he would buy it all for a “great price” though he never floated a price.

But here’s the other thinglab glass sells for me. In the past 12 months I’ve sold 10 lots. And since the time he had originally contacted me two weeks ago two of the lots he was most interested in have sold and others are in “carts.” I feel I have it priced fairly and competitively and don’t need to reduce my prices for it to sell. Nor do I need to sell it all quickly. [A few days after I published this another lot sold!]

Additionally he wanted me to continue our communication by text or phone call instead of through the Etsy message system. But YIKES that’s a big no-no in most online selling platforms. The assumption is that you will broker a deal outside of the platform to avoid paying the fees–which can get you kicked off a platform. And I sure don’t want that to happen!

This whole situation didn’t feel good to me. In the end, I told him I was going to take a pass.

Could he have gotten “a deal” purchasing ALL of my lab glass? Possibly. At least some sort of discount. But I suspected the “great deal” he wanted involved a radical price reduction and that just wasn’t going to work for me.

Would love to hear if you’ve had a similar experiences.

Happy hunting (and selling)!


P.S. The meme is from the movie “Office Space.” A goofy but entertaining movie if you’ve worked in a big office.


  1. Hello Karen,
    That’s quite a story and you made the best decision to give the “offer” a pass 🙂 just the shipping would have been an awful task for very little money.
    I never had that type of request myself. I had the low ball ones though .
    Thanks for the new series.
    Have a lovely weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

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