Many of us from time to time are unable to locate a specific title we seek, so we post wanted ads in the forums. This is a great way to locate games.
Recently I responded to a few ads because I had the game the poster was seeking (My collection is above 50, I haven't kept up adding them to my Pinside profile).
In all cases, my first question to the OP was "What would you be willing to pay for a fuly working machine in good condition?" - I ask this to determine if we are even in the same ballpark price-wise before I dedicate my time to taking photos and uploading videos. Obviously I wouldn't hold the OP to his offer if he was not satisfied with the pics and vids.
In two of the three cases, the OP was unwilling to even give me a ballpark offer "until he sees the pics". I explained that I was unwilling to waste my time sending pics unless I knew roughly what he would be willing to pay. In both cases I declined to send pics as I never recieved any idea of what the potential buyer would be willing to pay.
In the third case, when asked, the OP replied "I'd gladly pay $XXX for a machine in the condition you decribe, subject to seeing pics." I thought his offer sounded fair, so I sent him pics and a deal was made. It was a smooth transaction for both parties.
So the next time you post a Wanted ad, either say in your ad what you'd be willing to pay, or tell any responders who ask what you'd like to pay. Don't force the seller to send you pics first, because I'm sure I'm not the only large pinball collectoer who won't lift a finger for you if you can't say what you'd pay. You can always say the machine doesn't look like its in the condition you said (once you get the pics/vids), and at that time you can adjust or retract your offer.
There are at least two Pinsiders looking for hard to find games that never even got a chance to see pics of one that was available because of their approach to the deal. THere is an old saying in negotiations that the first person to name a price loses. Coming from a sales background, when someone acts this way with me its a good indicator the the buyer is a low-baller.
Don't be these guys! Get that machine you're looing for, and don't be afraid to say what you'd be willing to pay!
Peace and Merry Christmas to all!