A bit more on hamfesting (buying and selling)

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Richard Hull
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Real name: Richard Hull

A bit more on hamfesting (buying and selling)

Post by Richard Hull » Wed May 09, 2018 8:11 am

I have an old posting in the files section on hamfesting.


I will give a few more tips...

Hamfesting is a great way to get some fusor parts, electronics, and vacuum pumps. I offer some additional observations in this post.

In general only big dealers at hamfests with a 5 to 10 table spread of goods will take plastic. Single table stands with old farts selling mostly garbage are strictly cash and carry. "Money talks, plastic and personal checks walk." I found a dealer selling Arduino UNO R3s for $10.00 each who would take plastic. I asked what was the price for cash on 10 of them. He said $7.50 each. Quantity and cash works across the board whether you are buying at a single table or a 10 table spread.

You never go to any nice large hamfest without a pocket full of cash. I typically pack a kilobuck in 1s, 5s, 10s, 20s and a couple of 50s. This is because I also sell now and need to make change. Yes, Virginia you can lose a sale if you can't make change as most of the dorks and doofuses only carry 20's, 50s and 100s. Likewise, many small sellers with a $65.00 item when given a $100 bill will often say I can't make change and they aren't lying. Many virgin or one-time sellers just do not prepare to really sell. (bring small bills)

On more than one occasion I have been at a table and notice a guy at the next table eye-balling something cool that I want. Naturally, I hope he puts it down and walks on so I can snatch it up. Often he offers a big bill 50 or a 100. The guy can't make change. The would-be buyer says he might get some change and return. I make sure he is well out of sight and step up to the table and buy the item with exact change. Cruel and devious, you say... Hamfesting, for winning hunters, is a true, blood sport and demands a certain amount of predation on the weak and ill prepared among the herd.

Yet for all the blood sport, there are unwritten rules among sellers who are honest among themselves. If you buy something early at a hamfest, you do not take it to your table and sell it for more that same day. It is honorable, however, at a future hamfest to sell it at your table for any price you can get. Those who break this rule will often not be sold another item in future and are told so buy the guy they are attempting to buy from.

Buyers who only carry large bills use a common ploy to force your price down if you have something they want. Let's say I have an item for $65.00....They say "I only got a single 50 for today", hoping to get it for $50. I have played this gambit for years, myself. It usually works! But not with me. I tell them when they want to give the sole bill they have to spend today........"Oh, I will always leave a man with at least $10.00 in his pocket, I'll never take his last dollar." Then he will say then $40? I say..."sorry"....... 50% of the time they are back an hour later with $65.00 as they really wanted the item. In good faith, I will usually lower my price to $55.00.

There are many more tactics, unwritten rules and gotchas in hamfesting, but the above gives a small overview from my 35 years of hamfesting, both buying and selling.

Hamfesting, whether buying or selling, is an art form.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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