The Prodigal Altar Boy

Friday, December 16, 2011

T-15 Days to Go - Phrases to Ban on eBay and Craigslist

2011 – Last 100 Days
Prodigal Altar Boy Countdown
T-15 Days to Go
16 December 2011

Goal:  1 hour per day working on the film
Watched Karen Everett Story Doctor Kit Module  “Musical and Cinematic Solutions”
Period and Native music
Parallel, Contrary and Oblique music
Designing Soundscape wiht Sound FX
Visual Metaphors
Pick up Shooting
Hire a Graphic Artist
Use Animaton
Photo montage
Go against character
Reveal inner life with still moments
Total time:  1 hour

Goal:  30 minutes per day music practice
Warm up on the Fender Roland-Ready Strat
Pat Metheny etudes exercise #1 bars 1-4 25X
Total time:  30 minutes

Goal:  15 minutes exercise per day
Kettlebell - "Round Up From the Ground Up
Kettlebell Swings - 4 sets of 8/side - 50lb kettlebell
Kettlebell Squars   4 sets of 8  - 50lb kettlebell
Kettlebell Cleans  - 4 sets of 8.side - 50lb kelltlebell
Kettlebell Presses - 4 sets of 8/side  - 50lb kettlebell
Kettlebell Snatches - 4 sets of 8/side - 50lb kettlebell
Kettlebell Ros - 4 sets of 8/side  - 50lb kettlebell
Total time: 19:12

Goal:  15 minutes per day working on the score for the movie
Gospel Skillz R&B shord progression work
E – B/D# - C#m – A chord rogression work
“Granby Street” Roland-ready Strat - focus:  Lyric work, vocals
“Dies Irae” – 20X run-throughs of the entire piece on the Roland Ready Strat
Focus work on dyads and octave runs.
Total Time: 30 minutes

Notes: Fifteen days and counting.

Phrases to Ban on eBay and Craigslist

With the media focus on online retailing this Christmas season, I want to vent about my pet peeves concerning non-retail outlets, particularly eBay and Craigslist.  I will start by saying eBay and Craigslist are great resources and show how Internet commerce can evolve through self-governance. 

My rant is less of a rant about eBay or Craigslist, and more an open letter to the sellers on those sites.  Just like the late George Carlin’s routine on the “Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television,” I would propose, “The Four Words/Phrases You Can’t Use on eBay/Craigslist,” (and expect people to buy):

1.      “Cheap fix” – I put this one at the top of the list because it is never true.  One of the basic laws of reselling is that by the time a used item comes to market (auction or classified listing); all of the cheap fixes are done.  If it were that cheap a fix, the seller would have done it and raised the price accordingly.  It’s funny how “cheap” things can be when you are expecting someone else to pay.  Just looking at guitars alone, the going shop rate for guitar repairs is anywhere from $55 - $85 per hour.  Some shops will quote you a price for a job, but still expect to pay at least $25-$40 for minor repairs at a good shop. That’s not expensive, but it is not cheap and needs to be factored into the price.  A variation on this one is the “…it’s probably an easy fix if you’re handy with a soldering iron.”  I know there are buyers out there who probably are handy with a soldering iron, but what if the job is more involved than soldering a few connections?  Again, something that needs to be figured in the price.

2.      Right behind “Cheap fix” is the “powers up/seems to work” gambit.  This is usually accompanied with the “I don’t have the equipment to check it” disclaimer.  My beef with this is laziness.  Hey, if the most you can do to determine it works is plug it in, you should be paid the going “sold as is rate.”  Even though I see this with a lot of 80’s MIDI equipment, it’s not as though it takes a lot of work to determine if a piece of equipment works.  There are myriad online sites that give you the button-push codes to run the diagnostics for many machines, and even if you can’t find that, I’m sure you have one keyboard gearhead friend more than happy to run the MIDI out from his keyboard into your machine to see if it works.  Yes, this takes a little more time, but payoff is you have verified the piece works and that justifies your price.  If you want the higher price, then KNOW YOUR PRODUCT!
3.      “Vintage” – Okay, I went right to the dictionary for this one.  Once you get past all the winemaking definitions, “vintage” means:  “…representing the high quality of a past time.”  Tuck that away for later reference.  Looking at eBay and Craigslist ads over the years, I see sellers have changed the definition of “vintage” to mean, “…added to the description of an item for sale to jack up the price.”  Pull out the definition again; focus on the key words, “high quality.”  Just because something is old does not make it high quality.  Everything from a given era can be high quality.  If that were so, then pet rocks from the 70’s would be worth the price of gold.  To repeat, “JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING IS OLD DOES NOT MAKE IT “VINTAGE.” 
4.      “Rare” – Again, I went to the dictionary to find the following definitions:  coming or occurring far apart in time; thinly distributed over an area; unusually great; unusually excellent; admirable; fine.  While sellers on Craigslist and eBay could make a case for “thinly distributed over an area,” e.g., “This is the only ______ listed on this site, today,” more often than not they use it as a “descriptor to jack up the price.”  Rare can mean there aren’t many of them in existence, but believe it or not, there are situations where scarcity does not add value.  Further, when discussing mass-produced goods (such as guitars, electronic equipment, etc.), rarity is relative.  A recent gambit is to describe 70’s Japanese copies of Fender and Gibson guitars as “lawsuit: guitars, implying that once the American manufacturers sued the Japanese companies, production stopped and the guitars became collector’s items.  That’s a nice story, but if you tally the total Japanese companies sued by American instrument makers during that time and compare that with the number of guitars touted on eBay and Craigslist as being “lawsuit” guitars, the numbers do not match.  Do your homework.

5.      Finally, KNOW YOUR PRODUCT.  Everybody wants to make a killing, but not everyone is willing to put in the work.  If you take the time to learn about the piece of equipment, not only do you increase your potential to get the higher price, you also reduce potential hassles with the transaction.  If you know the capabilities of the unit, you can educate the buyer and prevent future disappointment.  I’m looking at an Adrenalinn III on eBay.  The price is right (I need a backup), but when I asked the seller what version of software the unit was running, he came back to me with an attitude.  He explained that this was “hardware,” not software and he did not understand what I meant by software version.  Then he went on to say he had used the unit and never had any trouble.  Just so you know, for the Adrenalinn III, the initial version of the software (v 3.0.0) has some known issues with the tuner as well as control issues.  If this unit has that early version, buying the upgrade chipset ($30.00) has to be factored into the price.  Later in the day, the seller emailed me to say he “thinks: he knows what I’m talking about and will check the version number (hold down the “UP” arrow while powering up will cause the version number to show in the display) when he gets back to the studio.  For me, the sale is over.  Yes, a new one from Roger Linn will be more expensive, but I’m guaranteed the latest version, shipping is free, and I get a free copy of the Adrenalinn III plug in. KNOW YOUR PRODUCT!

Okay, rant over.  To quote the Mortimer Duke at the end of “Trading Places,” “Get out there and sell, sell, sell!”  
Vintage Rare '79 Fender "lawsuit Strat"