Well, I ended up passing on this game. Sometimes when buying a game you just get a vibe from the seller. In this case, I wasn't getting a good vibe during the conversations/email that happened before I stopped to look at the game.
My feelings that there was something "not right" about this guy were confirmed when I stopped to look at the game. In previous conversations he had told me that he was down on his luck and needed to sell some games so his utilities wouldn't get shut off. He told me that the TMNT was a home use only game and that he bought it about 3 or 4 months ago. He had other games and apparently had bought and sold a fair amount of games and also had done a playfield swap on an 8 ball that he owned (apparently he loves this game so much he's had to do the playfield swap twice). With that, you'd figure he'd know a bit about pinball.
The more we talked the more it seemed like he didn't really know pinball all that well. His story didn't seem to be making sense either as it took me almost 4 weeks to get over to his place and look at his game. For a guy desparate to sell a game, it seemed like he was putting all of his eggs into one basket.
Anyway, I decided to stop and take a look at his game and while the game was in reasonably good shape, there were a few things he "forgot" to tell me. The biggest of these was that the main ramp had been broken and repaired (poorly I might add). It looked like it was about ready to break again. I told him that I didn't think a replacement ramp was available.
I then took a look under the playfield. He had previously told me that the sling shot coil was bad on one side. Well, it was hanging there when I put the playfield up and I asked him if he was aware of the fact that the bracket was broken. He argued with me about this and said it's the coil that's bad. I then showed him that there was a bracket on the other side and that the one in question was definitely broken. You'd think a guy that's done a playfield swap would be able to see a broken bracket.
Throughout all of this, he was telling me that being out of work he was now forced to sell his stuff to the "rich man" would could afford it. The more we talked the more agitated he was getting. He eventually lit up a cigarette and said "you buying this or what?" Obviously, with him smoking in his house I knew the game was going to stink. Just another strike against buying it. I had also noticed some cobwebs on the playfield of this game while looking at it so it obviously hadn't been played in a while. In addition, it was pretty dirty so it was definitely going to need a shopping.
At that point, I told him that I couldn't pay the price we originally agreed upon because there were just too many other things wrong with the game and that I wasn't sure if the parts would even be available and that I'd rather not make a decision without the information I needed. He said that he was desparate for money so make an offer. I made an offer and he immediately shoved the game back into its slot, told me to get out of his house, called me Mitt Romney and then made some other remarks about the rich man trying to steal his stuff, etc. I hightailed it out of there and hopped back in my vehicle. My wife, who was with me for the first time on a pinball run, said "are you buying the game?" Nope, and we need to leave now...
Something definitely wasn't right and my instinct was correct. I'm remind of the adage that "no deal is better than a bad deal" and I'm glad I wasn't pressured into buying this game.
So, if any of you guys in the Madison area are contacted by a guy named Bart selling a TMNT, I'd think twice before going to look at the game or at least take a buddy with you, just in case.