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You Think You’re Better Than Me?

I’ve started trading heavily online again because I have very little time to trade in person, and only the same 5 or 6 people to trade with in person. For the most part, it’s a positive experience and one that I recommend. However, as with all trading, you hear ridiculous stories from people trying to  rip you off. What follows are the most ridiculous things I’ve been told which should serve as a guideline both as what you should avoid saying yourself, because you’re not fooling anyone, and the kind of crap that people will say to try to trick you into undervaluing your cards or overvaluing theirs. These are things people have actually said to me when trying to get special treatment for their cards:

It pains me to lose value on cards cause of [condition] when I value them the same.” Cards have prices for different conditions for a reason: better condition cards are worth more. You are not losing value on your VG (very good) dual lands because of condition; they are worth less because of condition. If you traded for them at NM (near mint) prices, that’s your problem. If you value them the same as NM cards, that is your ignorance. These people have the same mentality as those who want full retail value for cards they sell to our store: you’re trying to make money off of me.

In neither case is this correct. In the case of played cards, I’m simply trying to get the cards for the correct price. In the case of selling cards to a store, I’m trying to make money off of my hard work, man hours, and knowledge. Just because things aren’t going the way you want doesn’t mean everyone’s out to get you. Fortunately, people with this kind of trading mentality can normally be reasoned with as they’re not actually trying to take advantage of you and simply want what they misconceive as being fair. Just be sure not to sympathize with their position or you can be taken for a ride.

I had to pay a lot to get these.” So? This one (or subtle variations) is heard most frequently right after rotation. The last time I heard it was when I was trading for some shock lands after they left extended. There’s not much to this argument either: they bought cards at their peak and now want to recoup that full value because they don’t know how to properly manage their inventory. My answer last time was rather curt, but a nicer version of it normally gets the message across nicely: “I can’t value these cards higher just because they used to be worth more.” This scenario can go either way: the person knows that they’re trying to get more than their cards are worth, and now they know that you know it too. They may either pull their cards off the table and try to find someone less informed, or, if you have cards that they’re interested enough in, will accept fair value on their cards.

These aren’t worth anything.” This one pisses me off more than anything other thing people say when trying to rip you off, and it’s also the one you hear most often. It’s normally used to describe cards that are a small step above bulk rares (as in playable and popular in casual play, but worth normallly $0.50-1.50), and only used to describe your cards, never theirs. Describing my cards as being literally worthless is a surefire way to have me take my cards off the table, and it’s really the only correct course of action. Afterall, these people are not only calling your cards worthless but actually treating them as such in the trade. “Worthless” is not a mean way of saying bulk to them; they will insert these “worthless” cards into whatever trade you’re working on and give nothing in exchange.

And now for Bill O’Reilly’s most ridiculous item of the day:

I had pulled a foil Volcano Hellion out of someone’s binder, because it was one of the last foils I needed for my foil Planar Chaos set. Because it was one of the last ones I needed, I was willing to go as high as $3 on it just to get the set done, at which point I was told this: “I need more than that; that was the foil rare in a really bad box I bought, so I need to make up the value somehow.” I don’t even need to explain what to do if someone tries treating you like this on the trade tables. (Hint: Physical violence is encouraged!) [Editor’s Note: We do not encourage violence. Please see here and here for background.]

Alright, I’m done ranting. Go forth into the world and trade!

Post categories: Finance, Free


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Dr Jeebus

Dr. Jeebus is the most electrifying man in intellectual sports entertainment. He has been playing all forms of Magic since early 1995, and was recently voted the angriest Magic personality on Twitter. Though Jeebus does not have the time or money to go pro, but he's still really good and understands both the intricacies of play and of design, so you should listen to him. His notable accomplishments include beating a pro player so severely as to make him cry while at the age of 13, and defeating 5 multiplayer opponents using a single Thoughtlash.

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9 thoughts on “You Think You’re Better Than Me?

  1. Unfortunately, just as you can’t fix stupid, you cannot rectify greed. There’s always going to be those that try your patience, that want something for nothing, and/or desire to be throat-punched. 🙂

  2. An article I totally agree on Jeebus, I am a very lax (but shark lax) trader and frankly im not out to rip anyone off but I find it insulting when someone realizes I (or others) know what they are doing and tstill try and rip them off, worst one we have at our shop is this guy who always wants to trade with the new kids I feel like once you lose morals its just not worth the value you can make. Wish more people had similar views but as always there has to be con artists.

    1. Funny. While I can see that link's web address (and now know what it is), it comes up as 'not available in [my] country' (I'm living in Germany at the moment). To whichever editor added it, you may want to choose a different clip.

      I am, however, reasonably amused by a rick-roll link in a Dr Jeebus article. Seems fitting somehow.

    1. Great article! People will try to take advantage of you day in day out in any deal that requires haggling and negotiation. It is imperative that you speak your mind plainly and not give a crap what the other person thinks of you.

      One of my favorites is this: "Im loosing (money, cards etc) on this deal!" Response: "Well I dont want to rip you off" *packs up and starts to walk away*

  3. Thanks for the article. I think I generally find myself a little too nice with trades and let them go sour for me in the end. Later on I usually feel ripped off and have no one to blame but myself. Thanks for giving me the ammunition to stick to my guns and make sure the trade that starts fair, ends fair.

  4. Good article, i enjoyed it.

    When it comes to trading, the first example pertains a bit to me, because i normally do value full price for cards with slight wear damage/chipping, be they my own or the other party's.
    I can switch over to more card condition determined prices, but then it's for both parties involved.
    So you'd be able to trade with me.

    As far as the second example is concerned, i have experienced this a few times, a trader telling me that he wants the value back, even though the price of the card had fallen dramatically.
    I even had it that someone wanted to have a really high value for a card because he bought it from a store a few months before and wanted to recoup the value.
    Some traders…

    As far as trading bulk is concerned, sometimes it's best to sort the untradeable bulk out and ditch it to a local games shop.
    I'm lucky i know one that is a goldmine for bulking away stuff.

    The last example is something i never experienced, though i have experienced traders having their pet cards in their binder and not wanting to trade it away.
    Annoying, to say the least.

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