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Shopping for Genesis on Craig’s List

For someone who was barely aware of its existence just two short weeks ago, I have been hitting Craig’s List pretty hard. Over the past week, I’ve revolutionized how I go about purchasing classic games. To avoid having two consecutive articles that cover variations of the same topic, this feature will contain both a how-to for purchasing games on Craig’s List and a personal story about some of my luck thus far.

A How-To Guide to Shopping for the Genesis on Craig’s List

Craig’s List is a God-send for anyone looking for anything. This includes those in the market for video games of all sorts. The site functions as an online classified ad, but there are two distinct differences between these ads and those featured in your local newspaper:

  • You incur no fees for posting ads
  • More people than just your grandmother are going to be looking at these ads

Now, how exactly should you go about looking for your games? Surely, more than one successful method exists. But, given my success in such a short period of time (fingers crossed that it is not beginner’s luck), I will present my method for purchasing games on Craig’s List:

First, it is a good idea to check which regions in your area have Craig’s List sites set up. Generally, typing in the URL will take you to the home page of the site nearest your location (Craig’s List has hundreds of sites for various regions set up to keep things local). But since this is not always the case, I recommend using the location index on the right hand side of the home page to see if a more suitable site exists for you. While searching this index, it is also a good idea to see if sites exist for locations within a reasonable travelling distance for you. Hopefully, you will discover an additional region or two that you would be willing to do business with.

After you have chosen your location (and I recommend starting with your home site before branching off to alternate regions), you may now begin to scour the ads for some great deals. There are two main ad sections that feature video games, Games/Toys and Electronics. You may also have luck in the General section, but not nearly to the extent of the first two options.

When you do come across an item or lot that you are interested in, you simply click the provided link to contact the seller. In order to preserve anonymity, Craig’s List features a mailing system in which you email a database and the database emails the seller and vice versa. But obviously, if you and the seller agree to terms, you may then exchange contact information in order to complete the transaction. However, before you agree to the purchase, make sure you adhere to one principle: Never settle for the listed price!

This is not, so don’t conduct business in the manner in which you would on that site. Try to envision Craig’s List as an online yard sale or flea market. If sellers were looking to maximize profit, they probably would have taken their items to eBay. Most likely, video game vendors on Craig’s List have either lost touch with games and are looking to unload them quickly, or they are parents who decided to sell off old junk boxed up in the basement – at least a variation on one of the two.

With that in mind, make an offer that better suits you. You do not want to go too low, as that might alienate the seller. I would recommend starting with an offer that is 60% of what they are asking (if it’s still too pricey after the 40% deduction, the seller is probably too delusional to grant you a good deal anyway), even if what they are asking is a good deal to begin with. You just have to remember that they have the option of declining. And chances are, even if they say no to the 60% proposal, they will still counter with an offer that beats the initial asking price.

Now, there are always exceptions to the rule. For instance, don’t low ball someone who is offering Snatcher for $20. Just pay the man and run!

You might also find a lot of a system and games, yet you only want a title or two and that is it. Do not hesitate to inquire about purchasing a few game separately. Again, the seller always has the power to say no. But it’s more likely that they will be excited to make some money off of their lot and will gladly break off individual games for you. In fact, this is probably your best chance of finding a rare game or two for an insane discount. The Snatcher example above might not be the best for that type of instance, because someone selling a rare game individually probably has some idea of the game’s significance. But if a mom is cleaning the attic and she puts her son’s old Sega CD and his game collection in an ad, she will probably not hold Snatcher in any higher regard than NBA Jam.

The only down side to Craig’s List is that once you score that incredible deal, you become impatient waiting for your next prize. Do you have any recourse to this problem? Luckily, the answer is yes. The site also features a section for wanted items. While it makes it more difficult to come across an amazing bargain (the people that respond to wanted ads for games are more likely to possess a higher knowledge of the value of certain titles), placing a want ad ensures a steady stream of offers to occupy your inbox.

When posting want ads on Craig’s List, be generic as possible. Unless you absolutely have to have a certain game, it would serve your best interest to not name specific titles. Even if someone has no idea of how much money a particularly title could garner, you have already shown your hand by requesting it specifically, giving them the upper-hand in the process.

Another perk of Craig’s List: the ability to profit off of purchases. While it may seem sneaky to by games from ads only to place them on eBay at a higher price, you have to remember the yard sale philosophy. These sellers just want the games out of their hair. If they wanted to go through the process of profitable selling, they would not list the items on Craig’s List. Keeping this in mind, you can scour ads not just for yourself, but also for your potential eBay customers (or wherever you might sell games). If you become adept at this, it is conceivable that you could create a self-sufficient method of purchasing games.

I have just begun the process of manipulating Craig’s List to give myself a budget to buy video games that does not come from my paycheck. This leads us to the second half of my feature, a rundown of the success I have had on the website so far. I would like to note that the games I mention will not be Genesis/CD/32x games. Please don’t be offended, because as luck would have it, so far the best deals have been for other systems.

David Childers and Craig’s List, A Love Story

I really can not tell you what chain of events initiated the process of me becoming a Craig’s List addict. In all honesty, the main culprit behind all of this is probably boredom. I had nothing else better to do, so I started surfing the internet, ultimately ending up on the website that revolutionized my gaming habit. And it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the site, because I found my first deal instantly.

It was a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition for Game Cube. Asking price: $10. This baby easily fetches $40 on eBay, so I called up the seller, made the deal, and had it sold on eBay in less than twenty-four hours. In that short time span, I was able to turn a $31 profit, which I used for my next bounty.

A want ad that I placed attracted many offers, none more appealing than this: Super Smash Bros., Turok, Star Fox 64, and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (boxed), Super Mario Kart, Tecmo Super Bowl (SNES), an N64 rumble pak, two N64 memory cards, and an N64 controller–all for $40. I jumped at the chance to kill two rare birds (Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario Kart) with one stone, in addition to receiving some other moderately valuable titles in the same deal. I then was able to make almost $15 selling the N64 accessories on eBay. So for those keeping score at home, I received all the aforementioned titles and came out $6 ahead.

Now, I’m in the process of negotiating a couple of more deals (a few Xbox games for $10, a couple of PS1 titles for $5, and, last but not least, some Genesis games with the price still pending), but every single day provides a sense of optimism. At any time, that game could be posted online for an unbeatable price. What Craig’s List has done, for me at least, is breath new life into collecting games. It enables you to find great deals that seemingly come from nowhere, and it makes the entire process more enjoyable as a result. The site also allows you to get in touch with your inner entrepreneur, which in turn, alleviates the strain that buying video games places on your pocket book. For those who have never given Craig’s List a visit, I strongly recommend testing it out.

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