Quoted from Pecos:
I don't look at Craiglist for pinballs anymore. I don't have the money or the room for more pins. But for some reason I checked the Tucson Craigslist last night and found a game on my wishlist, Flash, in Tempe, that I have been wanting for years. It was a Project Pin but priced right, too right, at only $300.
Red Flag - Yellow Flag #1: Priced well below market value. I should change this to 'Yellow Flag' because I have found some amazing under-priced Project Pins here in Arizona.
The ad had been up for eight hours already so I was expecting it to be sold already. But I replied to the ad by email and to another ad that he had for a Silverball Mania.
I received two emails in the morning saying 'I do' which was rather bizarre since I wasn't asking if he still had the machines. I was offering to buy them.
Red Flag #2: Email answered with what seemed like a canned reply, as if he hadn't even read my email.
One of the ads had a phone number so I called him up and told him that I was looking for a Flash. I told him that I was driving from Tucson and would he hold them for me? I offered $100 more than he was asking for the two machines. He told me that he couldn't do that and that he had someone there wanting them/it. I told him that I had to go to my Credit Union to get the money.
Red Flag #3: Telling me that he had someone there but the games were still available?
I offered to put $100 in his Paypal account if he would hold them for me. I wasn't about to drive almost two hours to Phoenix to find that he had sold the game(s) to someone else. I have learned that this promise is important!! He told me he didn't want that!
Red Flag #4: Why wasn't he willing to work with me? I was offering more than he asked? I was offering a down payment, sight unseen.
Red Flag #5: I got the feeling that he wanted several people to show up so he could have a 'Flash Auction', pun intended.
I then asked for his address and he told me that he would text it to me after I had the money in my hand. Huh?
Red Flag #6: What kind of games were this seller playing? Why wouldn't he give me his address? Why did I have to waste the time to drive to my Credit Union?
I went to my Credit Union. I really wanted Flash. It is one of the games in the great early Williams solid state games trilogy. I already own Firepower and Black Knight.
I called J**** again and told him I was at my Credit Union. He told me that someone was coming to look at Flash which seemed to contradict his earlier statement that he had a possible buyer already there. I told him that I wasn't coming up to Tempe until he accepted or declined my offer. He told me that it was probably better that I not come then.
Apparently this was a 'cash in hand' seller. Or was he looking for more money? He has the right to accept or not the offers that come his way. But what was with all the games? I did not take money out of my Credit Union and I did not make the hot drive to Tempe. I have no hard feelings, sometimes Craigslist sales go like this and I am certain that I made the right choice by passing on this rather strange Craigslist Project Pin opportunity.
That seems like a lot of steps for what should be a simple, "If you still have the games, I'll be on my way ASAP with cash in hand." No need to bore him with details of what errands you must do or whatever trivial stuff is going on before you're on the road. A seller only needs to know if you're on your way and you intend to buy. Sure, it's nice to leave yourself a way out of the deal by not committing 100% to buy in case the item isn't as described, but it sounds like this was a high level want that would not cause you to walk away unless the machine falls apart on itself once it's moved. Also, I don't understand why you were bidding against yourself and pre-paying...seems like the whole deal was more complicated than necessary.