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Thread: Independent Selling at a Gun Show vs. Commercial/Retailers

  1. #21
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelsonted1 View Post
    Here is a question for the ages: what possesses people to put things out for sale without pricing them? The thought that has rolled through my head is are there different prices for different prospective buyers? Talk about a downer image!
    While I am like most others in this thread that said, if no prices, I usually just walk on by...but I am also like you and am wondering why someone would take the time to setup at a gunshow and not price items.

    One small show in rural Minnesota, many years ago, there was a table with nothing marked, there was a couple bullet molds I was interested in, so I asked the vendor, "how come you haven't priced anything?" He said it's all my late fathers junk, I just want to get rid of it and I don't know what anything is worth. I got the two Lee 2-cav molds for $5 for the pair...so I guess he wasn't lying.

    Another time, Same show, different year. A table had a couple guns with price tags, but also three large boxes of misc gun related items...nothing priced. I asked "what's the deal?". He said people like to dig around in boxes...he said it's like looking for gold. So I look in the boxes and picked up a leather holster that looked like it would fit a 6" N-frame and a scope mount in the package to fit something I had. I ask the price, he said how about $1 each.

    Lastly, and this is the best...At the local annual show I have a table at (for each of the last 20 years), there is a couple old guys (brothers they tell me), and I have become friends with them over the years. They never price anything. Everything they bring looks like it's been stored in a barn for decades ...they are old, so I wonder if they had some sort of gun business decades ago? I ask them for prices, they always counter with "what's it worth?". Since we are there all weekend, some of these conversations go on, and off, over both days. They usually want more than I am willing to pay. It is fun negotiating with them as a vendor, as it kills time during slow periods, but I would normally just walk by their tables if I was just a gunshow attendee. I watch them interact with customers, and they do sell some stuff.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  2. #22
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I used to go a couple hours before the show ended on its last day.

    I got a few great deals on used stuff that local/one time/occasional sellers had,
    not the regular dealers who sell at gun shows for their business.

    It was odd or unusual things that hadn't sold, or they just didn't want to lug it back home.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master
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    I can completely understand that action Winger Ed. Makes perfect sense to those with the stick-to-itive-ness to last through the long hours (or go later) and end the day in success as a purchaser with satisfaction too to the seller.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master

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    Yes, people who don't put a price on items are usually fishing to see what you'll be willing to pay. They usually have a price in mind, usually a higher than the going rate price, and want to chat with you for awhile, and have you make an offer. Who knows, the offer might be higher than they had in mind. They'll almost never come down. You're pretty much wasting your time to talk to them.

    I attended many gun shows, both as a shopper and a seller, and all of the advice given in preceding posts has been good.

    One show I attended with a friend as a seller proved interesting. He was a dealer with a fairly large inventory laid out on 5 tables. He had an end table and then two more on either side in a "U" arrangement. I had two tables connected to two of his side tables. He displayed all of his handguns on the end table. They were secured with a cable at night, but during the day they were not secured because he was a believer in "puppy dog sales" -- the idea that once someone who wants something picks it up and handles it they'll be unable to resist buying it. Same way little kids get rid of the latest litter of puppies in front of supermarkets. Pick one up and cuddle it, and you're a gonner. He knew how many handguns were there, so every now and then he'd do a quick count.

    Well, half-way through the first morning he started yelling, "One of my handguns is missing!" I asked which one, and he had to look at a list, but determined that it was a S&W Registered .357 Magnum revolver. He was a pretty sharp guy in a lot of ways, and it didn't take him long to figure out who had taken it--a guy in a wheelchair with a lap blanket. He had sat at the end table for quite a while examining all the offerings, and when the dealer's attention was diverted to another prospect he had stuck the revolver between his legs under the blanket. Apparently he had then moved the guns around a little to fill the space where the one he took had been lying so it wasn't immediately obvious that one was gone. The dealer reported it stolen to the Sheriff's Dept. which had jurisdiction where the show was held.

    The rest of the story is coincidental and strange. My friend had a shop in the next town down the highway from where the show was held. He had a couple of big windows on the front of the place, and about a week after the show he saw the guy in the wheelchair passing by on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. He called the police who went to the fellow's house and demanded the revolver. The guy surrendered it, and I don't know the outcome of the matter as far as he was concerned, but when the police officer came to the shop he informed the dealer that the gun had been reported stolen 2 1/2 years earlier in Portland, OR. So then my friend the dealer recalled that 5 S&W revolvers had been brought into the shop by a young (adult) female about two years earlier, and that he had purchased all of them. Turned out she had stolen them from her father's collection, but apparently only the Registered Magnum had been reported as stolen to the police. So the dealer was out the cost of the Magnum, but making matters even stickier, the other 4 revolvers had long been re-sold. Since there was no stolen report on them the matter ended at that point. However, Oregon has a requirement that when a dealer takes in a gun from a private party he must check it's status with the State Police, which he failed to do. He got a great tongue lashing from the State Police Records people, but the matter ended there.

    Now it seems, at least locally, that dealers have a main cable running down the center of the table, and each individual handgun is attached to the main cable by a shorter cable. The individual handguns can be picked up and handled, but what happened to my friend would be very unlikely to happen again. Not that it would happen to him--because late last year at age 82 he closed his business, moved to S. Dakota....and got re-married!

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