Saturday, October 20, 2012

My four-dollar figure

I'm kind of a cheapskate when it comes to buying stuff on ebay; I try to pay less than retail, even when I'm dealing with out-of-production items.  When it comes to your typical wargaming/RPG miniature figure, I try to spend no more than about $3 per fig.  I will pay more when I have to, but I don't like it.

One thing you have to be careful about is shipping--what seems like a bargain price might have a postage surcharge that's more than the cost of your purchase.  I realize that's unavoidable when buying low-cost items, so I try to amortize the shipping & handing by grabbing multiple auctions from the same seller to combine the postage.

So last week I bid on almost a dozen figures to expand my Nightmare Legion army for Hordes of the Things.  They all had shipping listed at $2.99 or more, so I wanted to spread that cost among several figures.

Well lo and behold, I get outbid on everything except this one mini, which I might use as a standard-bearer for another element of skeletal spears.  I won the auction for 99 cents, but then you add the three bucks postage, and I paid about twice what I had wanted to shell out.  Sure, four bucks ain't bad for a vintage Warhammer figure (and I do like this mini; it's got a lot of character), but I don't like paying all that shipping--and I normally wouldn't do so for a one-dollar purchase.

Still, a bid is a bid, so I went ahead and paid for the auction.  I just wish shipping wasn't three times the price of the purchase.  Anyone else ever make an ebay purchase without taking into account the cost of shipping?


Tim Shorts said...

Shipping is trick as hell. Like what happened to you, if the shipping is more than the item I usually pass unless I can get a multi shipping deal.

That fig looks vintage though. It looks to have a few hundred hours of play time on it.

pancerni said...

I think you've got to be realistic when you bid. There use to be a reminder, "Is this trip really necessary?" So it would be "Do I really need this figure, especially if I win the bid?"

Also, consider that from a seller point of view, I'd feel very disadvantaged in a transaction where I was selling a figure at a loss (which is what your 'discount' represents) and had to underwrite the actual shipping cost. I put up several lots of old items on ebay, some with reserve amounts of five dollars. None moved; but the ones up for the regular auction went for $1. Even with the extra for shipping I had listed, the transaction was not worth the time or the gas money to post. As you did, I honored the auction. After a few more no response auctions on pretty low dollar reserve prices, (usually one quarter of the original, several years old prices) I decided the transaction fees, etc were not worth the exercise. I no longer ebay. If it does not trade or sell on one of the two or three forums I use, it's junk to throw away.

Might just as well just chuck the figure, or melt it down, or use it for target practice on a one to one scale. If the economy is this bad, or the item is of so little appeal, it might as well be swept clean from the inventory to get rid of the clutter.