On Halloween of 2007 I did a little trick or treating, Genesis-style. I hit up a collectibles shop with no games and a pawn shop. I knew the shop was a nicer one because I bought a Technics turntable there for $50 a few months ago. I went inside and I looked at the games he had behind the glass counter. They were next to gold watches and the like… funny stuff! He had N64 games for a fortune (Super Mario 64 $15 loose!) and a $45 NES toaster with SMB/Duckhunt. How nice of him to include a ¢.75 game.
With no Genny games in sight, I had to ask “Got any Genesis games kicking around?.”
“Yeah, we got some, hold on a sec…” he said, disappearing into the back. I stood there for awhile and I could hear him lifting what sounded like heavy milk crates. Another guy came in the store and went straight for the games. Fool! Unless the clerk knows you only buy games you should never walk straight to them. I always meander around the hi-fi equipment and VHS tapes for awhile if they don’t know me. The reason is twofold: make it look like you are there looking for something else and occasionally find wicked deals on rare tapes. I went into a place looking for NES games once and walked out with a Street Fighter (Sonny Chiba mind you) box set for $15, although it was a few years before DVD made the VHS market super cheap.
I looked over at the guy who just came in and he was eyeballing the N64 games. It was weird. All I could think of while looking at him was “I don’t look like that do I?” Some haggard weirdo in thrift store clothes pushing his slipping glasses back up the bridge of his nose? The guy drew the same conclusions I did and quickly departed. I decided later on I was nothing like that guy. I was at least a foot taller than him, not as heavy, and I don’t wear glasses. And I’m not haggardly.
Eventually the store owner comes out from the back with a huge box of games. It reminded me of the episode of The Simpsons where Homer goes to pick up his Mom’s care packages from the post office. The box was loaded! There was stuff in there I have never seen! 32X games (no Doom or Star Wars Arcade though), Sonic & Knuckles (which I though was just a loose adapter for something), Game Genies and… games, around fifty of them, about half of them boxed. There were mostly sports titles of course, but some oddball ones were in there. I picked out a copy of FIFA International Soccer. That’s the one I have a box for but no game. I put it back in because it already had a box. And then… what the hell? Streets of Rage 2! In box! No manual and the box was in the worst shape I’ve ever seen, but still it was one of the games I was directly hunting for! I played it cool, set it aside.
“You like sports games?” he asks.
“Not really, just some soccer ones” I say, jumping for joy on the inside. Then I just about blew it by saying “Holy shit!” out loud because I found a copy of Lethal Enforcers 2. A friend told me that I would probably like Lethal Enforcers, so Lethal Enforcers 2 must also be pretty good. I set it aside, cart only. I also wrangled Sonic Spinball (complete) and Earthworm Jim (complete). The guy tried to sell me a copy of WWF something-or-other, but I wasn’t interested. If I could go back in time I would let him sell me a little more, playing it so dead faced might have blown my cover but I was lucky.
“How much are these?” I asked.
“They’re priced,” he responded.
Oh shit. That means he’s probably looked them all up on eBay… and then somehow the skies opened up because he had only priced the sports games. I guess because the console was the one to have for Madden and the like, he never even bothered looking up the non sports titles.
He looked at all the games side by side like people who have no idea what they’re looking at do. It’s a look I’ve seen a lot lately right before they look at you to judge how much money is probably in your pocket. The other day I went into a place and got a different look instead, I made an offer first and the guy looked at me to see if I was trying to cheat him. I got the deal that time, but this time the store would have to make an offer.
“This game is really popular” he said regarding Sonic Spinball. I knew immediately that he didn’t know what he was talking about, he just recognized Sonic. I nodded and he said, “OK, because you’re buying a few lets make it $20 for all.”
Let me tell you, he is good at being a pawner! I had exactly $20 in my pocket, he nailed it on the head, but what he didn’t know was it was a ten and two fives, not a twenty. That was something I learned not too long ago, always carry an assortment of denominations. It is not good when someone says it cost $10, you haggle them down to five and then try to pay with a $10 bill. It ruins your chances with that dealer if you ever return. But, $20 was what I was willing to pay. The way I see it, those games are at least $6 each If I won a cart only auction on eBay after shipping, and two of them were complete. I know for a fact that Streets of Rage 2 usually brings $2-6 before shipping if loose, so that made the deal seem fair to me.
I definitely plan on going back, so paying what he asked also probably helped me there. Next time I will haggle and he will be less inclined to think that I am trying to rip him off, because I paid full price before. And he will be more likely to give me deals, like a free game when I buy a couple or give me a game at half sticker price every once in awhile.
So, a good day all in all. I made out like a bandit, a handful of good games that are hard to find in the wild for $5 a pop. I would have gone as high as $8 for Streets of Rage 2 alone, so it worked out that he quoted me for the group. I’ll wait at least a week or two before going back and for Sonic & Knuckles…