(Topic ID: 100974)

The true meaning of the terms FIRM and OBO?


By Piparoo

4 years ago



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    There are 136 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    -10
    #1 4 years ago

    I've been thinking about how much the wording of a for sale listing can influence my willingness to make an offer at full asking price or to move on without attempting to buy. I've realized that, at least for me, the terms FIRM and OBO send powerful signals about the seller.

    I always pass by sales that include the word FIRM, always. Whether it's pins, craigslist, or the antique shop, when a price tag says FIRM, to me it signals that:
    (1) the item is likely overpriced,
    (2) the seller is very, very proud of it, and
    (3) the seller is likely a tool and won't be pleasant to work with.

    As for OBO, no matter how fairly it's priced, if the term OBO is included I'm not going to offer asking price. It signals that:
    (1) the seller doesn't know what the true value of their item is and they are fishing,
    (2) desperation to sell, pure and simple

    Am I way off base here?
    For me, negotiating is one of the more fun parts of buying/collecting anything and I think it's interesting that subtle cues in wording play such a powerful role in influencing my willingness to buy/offer.

    #2 4 years ago

    Don't really agree with the obo part but spot on with firm price guy.I think obo just says have some wiggle room or can be nagotiated with.

    21
    #3 4 years ago

    A firm price can be a reasonable price. Just depends on the person.

    41
    #4 4 years ago

    Firm can also mean the item is priced fairly to begin with and the seller has no desire to deal with someone who is going to do nothing but waste time with lowball offers.

    #5 4 years ago

    I hate the term OBO which means "or best offer". To me, that means the seller should be willing to sell it no matter what the highest, low ball offer may be. Almost no seller means this. Instead, the mean, OMO "or make offer". That means their willingness to consider offers lower than thier asking price but with no obligation to sell.

    #6 4 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    I hate the term OBO which means "or best offer". To me, that means the seller should be willing to sell it no matter what the highest, low ball offer may be. Almost no seller means this. Instead, the mean, OMO "or make offer". That means their willingness to consider offers lower than thier asking price but with no obligation to sell.

    Was going to throw in my two cents, but this is it exactly. I hate how people use OBO and don't come anywhere close to actually meaning they'll sell to the best offer they get, period.

    -4
    #7 4 years ago

    I agree with all of the above comments. For me though, when a price is marked as FIRM, it doesn't matter what the price is, fair or otherwise, I end up passing because of how I perceive the seller.

    #8 4 years ago

    Firm can also mean that the person just doesn't want to bother to haggle, or has x number of dollars invested in the item, and simply doesn't want to sell it for any less.

    OBO can also mean that the seller is willing to part with the item for a fair price, as long has it helps someone out.

    #9 4 years ago
    Quoted from sixpakmopar:

    Firm can also mean the item is priced fairly to begin with and the seller has no desire to deal with someone who is going to do nothing but waste time with lowball offers.

    If I price an item reasonably close to a give away price I haven no problem being firm about it. You would be a tool to pass on a deal of the century just because it was not free. Or would you still pass if the seller noted he was firm on it being free

    #10 4 years ago

    FIRM = Low ballers and negotiators stay clear.

    #11 4 years ago
    Quoted from Piparoo:

    I always pass by sales that include the word FIRM, always.

    Ha! So you'd pass right by a collector quality TZ priced at $2000, firm?

    Reminds me of this guy:

    Here's what I do when I'm selling stuff on craigslist: I figure out what I think market value is, lop off 10% for a quicker sale, and then add the word "firm" to my posting to indicate that I don't feel like haggling. If I overprice, I get no responses and repost at a lower price. If I price fairly (or too cheap) I get several offers at list price and sell quickly. Seems fair to me!

    #12 4 years ago

    meh.

    If I want a game I am more concerned with the pictures/video/description of the game. If a knowledgable person tries to gloss over the flaws rather than pointing them out I typically don't bother. If they are not knowledgeable then they can say all sorts of silly things. Even if they say FIRM, that can change once you provide them with some knowledge.

    #13 4 years ago

    Not sure I understand any distaste for "FIRM" in a listing, unless you're just saying that it tips you off that the seller is a crass jerk or something. If the price is right and you're happy with it, what does it matter if the seller doesn't want to haggle?

    #14 4 years ago

    If a FIRM price is a price I think is reasonable for the pin, I will buy it. If an OBO price is within a couple hundred of what I think is a decent price, I won't bother haggling. It is worth a couple hundred to avoid that.

    I always put obo if I sell something. I price it at what I think is the right price to get someone to drop what they are doing, and come get it. I rarely want to wait more than a day for something to sell, so if someone offers a lower price, I will most likely take it. For example, if I list an arcade game for $750, I wouldn't have a huge problem selling it for $500 if that is what it takes to get it out of my way. Once I decide that I don't want something anymore, it loses value to me very quickly.

    #15 4 years ago

    To me, FIRM just means the seller is tired of all the low-ball offers he has gotten in the past on stuff.

    #16 4 years ago
    Quoted from fosaisu:

    Reminds me of this guy:

    Don't ya want to haggle

    #17 4 years ago

    A lot of "negotiating" is time wasting on behalf of both parties involved in a lot of transactions who see the idea of a sale, and probably many other situations in their life, as an event that they have to "win". Let go of the pompous posturing and it can all be a lot more pleasant and gentlemanly for everyone. I bought a part today from a gentleman. We both knew it was worth about 12 bucks. He said he'd sell it for 10. I said, "how about $15?" and we both then checked out his awesome machines and had a bit of a chat and a pleasant transaction and time for all.

    -2
    #18 4 years ago
    Quoted from fosaisu:

    Ha! So you'd pass right by a collector quality TZ priced at $2000, firm?

    Well, TZ is not my favorite game, so I would have to say yes, I would pass on that. Thing is, in my experience, the majority of sellers indicating FIRM in their listings, and I'm not just talking about pin sales, are priced high to begin with. It is seldom that a FIRM price is a cheap or fair price--again anecdotal experience.

    Quoted from flashinstinct:

    FIRM = Low ballers and negotiators stay clear.

    Who sells or buys anything without some expectation of negotiation? It's not a hassle to negotiate. In the end, a successful negotiation makes both parties feel better about a transaction than otherwise. It's a scientific fact

    #19 4 years ago

    I usually don't reply to FIRM offers unless I want to pay that much and it seems fair. Probably what they intended

    For the OBO I always assume they'll listen, but won't necessarily take an unreasonable offer even if they could be waiting a year for a better one... Maybe a good term would be OBRO (or best reasonable offer) when you really want to sell something, but aren't willing to let it go dirt cheap?

    #20 4 years ago

    "Firm" can be fine if it's priced fairly. I see far too many "firm" prices languish for months on end because someone has overvalued their item.

    #21 4 years ago
    Quoted from Piparoo:

    I always pass by sales that include the word FIRM, always. Whether it's pins, craigslist, or the antique shop, when a price tag says FIRM, to me it signals that:
    (1) the item is likely overpriced,
    (2) the seller is very, very proud of it, and
    (3) the seller is likely a tool and won't be pleasant to work with.

    So if I listed my Tron LE for sale at $4000.00 FIRM you would pass it by?

    That makes YOU the tool, not the seller.

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    #23 4 years ago
    Quoted from RobT:

    So if I listed my TRON LE for sale at $4000.00 FIRM you would pass it by?
    That makes YOU the tool, not the seller.

    How many FIRM sales do you come across that are priced well below market value? My experience has been that those types of sales are the minority.

    #24 4 years ago
    Quoted from Piparoo:

    Who sells or buys anything without some expectation of negotiation?

    Plenty of people, called professionals, when they have an idea of fair value.

    #25 4 years ago
    Quoted from Piparoo:

    How many FIRM sales do you come across that are priced well below market value? My experience has been that those types of sales are the minority.

    I've seen my share of FIRM sales that were listed at very fair prices.

    I just think it's silly to say that you ALWAYS pass those sales up simply because it has the word "firm" in it.

    #26 4 years ago

    Good points on both sides. At the end of the day, Buyers want to buy pins, products, whatever for the cheapest possible price they can and sellers wish to get as much as they can for their items. I have labelled items as FIRM on fleabay because, a) I have done my research and have a fair idea what the particular item goes for in a certain condition and b) I am used to how people operate on selling sites like these and KNOW that people will message you with unrealistic offers (as has been already mentioned). To go into b) further, quite a lot of the people making unrealistic offers are in the business of flipping items for profit, NOT buyers that wish to have the item for their use. I also personally have listed an item as ONO (nearest, tis an Aus thing i guess ) but have added a bit more to my wanted price to "accomodate" the expectation of people haggling on price.

    #27 4 years ago
    Quoted from RobT:

    I've seen my share of FIRM sales that were listed at very fair prices.
    I just think it's silly to say that you ALWAYS pass those sales up simply because it has the word "firm" in it.

    It may be. I'm not trying to argue that my behavior is right or another person's behavior is wrong. I'm observing that when a seller indicates FIRM it conjures up for me perceptions of the seller--none of which are particularly favorable.

    #28 4 years ago
    Quoted from SilverballNut:

    I usually don't reply to FIRM offers unless I want to pay that much and it seems fair. Probably what they intended
    For the OBO I always assume they'll listen, but won't necessarily take an unreasonable offer even if they could be waiting a year for a better one... Maybe a good term would be OBRO (or best reasonable offer) when you really want to sell something, but aren't willing to let it go dirt cheap?

    This is also true for me.

    #29 4 years ago
    Quoted from Piparoo:

    It may be. I'm not trying to argue that my behavior is right or another person's behavior is wrong. I'm observing that when a seller indicates FIRM it conjures up for me perceptions of the seller--none of which are particularly favorable.

    I think we are suggesting you might be forming preconceptions that are harming you. Oh well. More deals for the rest of us.

    #30 4 years ago
    Quoted from BC_Gambit:

    I think we are suggesting you might be forming preconceptions that are harming you. Oh well. More deals for the rest of us.

    That's exactly my point.

    Like the phrase "cut off your nose to spite your face".

    #31 4 years ago

    I would much rather deal with a seller who has priced an item fairly and "firm", rather than someone who has radically overpriced the item as OBO with expectation that there will be a haggle.
    If I see an overpriced item as "firm" I know not to contact. If I see an overpriced item as "OBO" I have to wonder what offer makes me a scummy lowballer in the seller's eyes.

    #32 4 years ago

    When I'm ready to sell something I'm ready to sell it, I'm not a business and don't have time for bs. I usually list something for a fair price and say "FIRM", to weed out all the people that want to waste time haggling when I won't haggle. It's completely reasonable to not want to negotiate on something you have priced right. On the flipside I actually appreciate it when people list machines at a fair price and say "firm". I don't like when I go to buy an item and make an offer and they always say they've had better offers, but won't tell you what number actually takes the game. Stupid and don't have time for that kind of stuff.....

    #33 4 years ago

    The act of transacting is separate from whatever underlying asset or hobby or interest is being transacted. Lots of people know a lot of stuff about stuff, so they naturally may feel, and in some cases rightly so, that they know a thing or two about their field or hobby or trinket. The thing at which most of those people are still poorly skilled is actually buying and selling. So a lot of funny behaviour goes on in the theatre of buying and selling since most people are absolute amateurs regardless of their level of knowledge on the actual commodity being sold. If you want to get good at buying and selling, and I don't define good as always ripping the other party, I mean good as in it going smoothly, quickly, pleasantly, then you simply have to do a lot of buying and selling, like anything else. Practice.

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from Piparoo:

    Who sells or buys anything without some expectation of negotiation? It's not a hassle to negotiate. In the end, a successful negotiation makes both parties feel better about a transaction than otherwise. It's a scientific fact

    Well it depends if I'm selling a nice Fish Tales for $2K and there is no cabinet fade with a nice playfield and I say FIRM. Then I'm eliminating the folks that want it at $1500.

    Of if I am selling a NGG at $4K with clearcoated playfield and new cabinet dcals decals with LEDS with all the metal pieces polished in a tumbler or with a buff motor and don't expect $3500.

    FIRM to me is just a way to get the unwanted buyers out of the way.

    #35 4 years ago

    My time is my most valuable asset. Plus i hate haggling and negotiating, it's all just ego BS. I'd much rather set a fair price, find an interested party, and move on. But everyone's gotta start out with lowball offers so they don't feel like they're getting taken. Such a dumb dance.

    #36 4 years ago
    Quoted from Piparoo:

    I agree with all of the above comments. For me though, when a price is marked as FIRM, it doesn't matter what the price is, fair or otherwise, I end up passing because of how I perceive the seller.

    So I should price it high and expect to come down to what my firm price would have been? Maybe I will land at a higher price after negotiating with you

    ck

    #37 4 years ago

    I think the OP sounds close minded and too hung up on the subtle meanings of words. You see something you like? They can say they are FIRM all day long. You can make an offer anyway, if it's not completely insulting, they might still negotiate. What's the harm in throwing a number at someone.

    Honestly, if it's priced fair. I don't tend to haggle. Do you go into Macy's or Walmart and haggle for lower prices? Pull up to the drive thru and ask for the taco at half the price? Those prices are pretty firm. So because the owner isn't a brick and mortar store, you want to nickle and dime him? If it's priced fair, I give them what they are asking for. Not too worried about saving a hundred or so.

    Ryan

    #38 4 years ago
    Quoted from SilverballNut:

    I usually don't reply to FIRM offers unless I want to pay that much and it seems fair. Probably what they intended
    For the OBO I always assume they'll listen, but won't necessarily take an unreasonable offer even if they could be waiting a year for a better one...

    Yeah, FIRM seems designed to limit the number of responses you get to only those who aren't gonna waste your time, while OBO seems designed to open the floodgates to all tire kickers. Just depends on your goals I guess.

    #39 4 years ago
    Quoted from RCA1:

    If I see an overpriced item as "OBO" I have to wonder what offer makes me a scummy lowballer in the seller's eyes.

    Funny you mention that. There was an item (non-pin related) that popped up on my local craigslist. Seller was asking about double the going rate with an "OBO", so I made an offer of 1/2 of what he was asking and was called a lowballer along with a couple of choice expletives. I replied with links to the same item at more reasonable prices (though beyond the distance I was willing to drive) and I got a "FU" for my efforts. Some people...

    #40 4 years ago
    Quoted from pezpunk:

    My time is my most valuable asset. Plus i hate haggling and negotiating, it's all just ego BS. I'd much rather set a fair price, find an interested party, and move on. But everyone's gotta start out with lowball offers so they don't feel like they're getting taken. Such a dumb dance.

    I think I may've sidetracked the conversation by mentioning that I enjoy negotiating. My question, for those of you who are using the word FIRM in your sales, do you think it helps you more than simply indicating the price, without indicating FIRM, OBO or anything else?

    If the item is priced fairly, you're going to get full asking price anyway, so why bother to indicate FIRM, which may send some people an unfavorable signal?

    #41 4 years ago
    Quoted from Grinder901:

    I think the OP sounds close minded and too hung up on the subtle meanings of words.

    Why get personal? I think it's interesting to discuss how these terms may influence buyer/seller perceptions and behavior. I also recognize that others may not be interested or may completely disagree.

    #42 4 years ago

    When you list something for sale on CL for example, you end up with tons of tire kickers and people who want to play games. Not people I feel like dealing with, it's a way to simply get a serious buyer, I typically sell as "firm" and I've never had any problems selling that way. Now if I was unemployed with tons of time and felt like playing games with people who felt like they had to "win" by negotiating, then I would overprice my stuff and deal with the brain damage.

    #43 4 years ago
    Quoted from Piparoo:

    I think I may've sidetracked the conversation by mentioning that I enjoy negotiating. My question, for those of you who are using the word FIRM in your sales, do you think it helps you more than simply indicating the price, without indicating FIRM, OBO or anything else?
    If the item is priced fairly, you're going to get full asking price anyway, so why bother to indicate FIRM, which may send some people an unfavorable signal?

    Firm doesn't signal "unfavorable" to me.

    #44 4 years ago
    Quoted from Piparoo:

    I think I may've sidetracked the conversation by mentioning that I enjoy negotiating. My question, for those of you who are using the word FIRM in your sales, do you think it helps you more than simply indicating the price, without indicating FIRM, OBO or anything else?
    If the item is priced fairly, you're going to get full asking price anyway, so why bother to indicate FIRM, which may send some people an unfavorable signal?

    I disagree that pricing the item fairly will stop people from low balling you. But stating "firm" might reduce the number of such offers. That would be why I used it. Disclosure - have not sold a pin myself yet so what do I know!

    #45 4 years ago
    Quoted from Piparoo:

    Why get personal? I think it's interesting to discuss how these terms may influence buyer/seller perceptions and behavior. I also recognize that others may not be interested or may completely disagree.

    Go back to your original post under number 3. Calling people tools for using the word Firm? Cool. I'll be removing it from my listing and can't wait to hear your offer.

    #46 4 years ago

    To me, the word FIRM means "take it or leave it" and has an standoff-ish, uncompromising attitude attached to it. OBO has more of an open, "lets talk about it," attitude. Doesn't mean either wording is right or wrong, and has no bearing on whether the item is priced fairly or not. But all things being equal, like the OP I'd rather deal with the more "talkative" poster. Just personal preference.

    Regardless of the seller's intentions, the wording of any ad is going to generate preconceived notions in the buyer. A good seller will recognize this, and word their ad as a kind of screening tool to attract the kind of buyer they want. It may narrow the pool of perspective buyers and make it harder to sell, or increase the pool, also making it harder to sell. The art is in getting the wording just right.........and I don't have it!

    #47 4 years ago

    here's the difference

    breast firm.jpg Oboe_modern.jpg
    #48 4 years ago
    Quoted from Grinder901:

    Go back to your original post under number 3. Calling people tools for using the word Firm? Cool. I'll be removing it from my listing and can't wait to hear your offer.

    I don't know how talking about the perception of "a hypothetical seller" is personally directed at anyone.

    #49 4 years ago

    I prefer listings with a reasonable price that is listed as firm. Then I don't have to deal with negotiations, worry about upsetting them with a lowball offer, or hearing "well, what would you give me for it" or "make me an offer..." I don't want to price their item and insult them or play mindgames. I just want to buy a machine at a reasonable price. Tell me what you want for it, and if the condition matches the description and it's a reasonable price, then we've got a deal.

    OBO just means there's room to negotiate, but basically I'm planning on paying the asking price or I'm not even responding to the ad anyway. My Stargate was listed as OBO, had a few more rubs on the playfield than I was aware of, and I got it for $100 less than they'd asked with a simple question but was willing to pay the listed price. My NGG wasn't listed as a firm price, but when we asked what the best price was the price didn't change, and it was exactly as described (maybe better) so I was happy to pay it and had expected to pay it.

    -2
    #50 4 years ago
    Quoted from Piparoo:

    How many FIRM sales do you come across that are priced well below market value? My experience has been that those types of sales are the minority.

    I have to agree with this. The only "firm" ads I tend to see are ones that are way overpriced IMHO. Those types of ads sit because someone overpayed for a pin, LEDs, mods, whatever and now thinks they should be able to pass that on to someone else and recoup all their costs. Seems the seller adds "firm" so they don't get people offering them what it's really worth since they tired of hearing it and would rather live in fantasy land. IMHO, if something is priced right, you don't need to add "firm" to it, the sale takes care of itself. I can't say I have ever bought a pin with "firm" in the add and I am not a haggler that has to get a lower price. If someone has something I want priced fairly, I will take it, not try to bust them down even more.

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