I have seen a lot of discussion on this in the forums. What do you do when a kid walks in with a $40 Legacy staple, wanting your Standard junk rare?
This was the wrong thing to do, even if it felt right at the time. I will do my best to explain why this isn’t even good for anyone.
The Trade May Not Be Worth It
The first possibility is that he tells someone about the trade. If this happened at an LGS, chances are other people know you there, and you can get anything from dirty looks to a store ban. No one thinks that you saw this as a fair trade, and losing access to an LGS is not worth $39.50 profit.
Traders may also have a very negative cultural stigma, people viewing us as scam artists. Traders walking up to a binder are seen by some in the same manner as short change artists to the checkout lane. If you scam people, it helps add to that, and more people will dislike us for it.
You May Have Lost a Player
That kid may have been trying to get into competitive play, and that foil Iona, Shield of Emeria may have gotten him 2 Thragtusk or a playset of Silverblade Paladins. He may have won his first game with those cards.
Honestly, the binder without Iona was probably worth $5 on buylists. He may never get into playing, and he won’t bring his friends with him. you're better off offering him some Standard rares worth $40 and so that he can build that deck. You still be doing very well trading a foil Iona for Standard cards.
So, What Rules Should We Follow?
Well, it can be very situational for sure, but we can follow a few rules to make sure that we are being honest with our trades all of the time, even when making a profit.
- Always offer more if the trade is uneven. A great way of doing this without hurting yourself is making the suggestion yourself: “This Deadbridge Goliath is a dollar, and it goes great with Silverblade Paladin.”
- Some cards are just worth more. But make sure your trade partner understand that beforehand. “If you want a Tropical Island, I have to trade it at 140% if I’m getting Standard cards, because it is much rarer.” Of course, you can also buylist trade a Tropical Island, as long as the other person understands why and agrees on pricing. Trader Tools can help a lot with this.
- If you see someone scamming kids for their cards, cheating in a game or just being generally terrible to everyone at an LGS, feel free to attempt to take them for anything they’ve got. It is true that what goes around, comes around. Also, if someone is sharking binders, they should know enough to not get sharked themselves.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes – Even When They Don’t Fit
Would you be happy with this trade if you were them? Knowing the worth of the cards, you should say yes every time.
This can't always be true, however. Some people don’t think like we do. I traded a Silverblade Paladin and a Gale's Redirection for a Thragtusk last week. I quoted prices and asked him to grab more. He said, “Those are the only cards I need for my deck. I don’t mind losing the difference.”
Some people just want to play with the cards and don’t care what they get them for. They don’t see the cards as cash value. They don’t see a $5 Mythic, they see Nicol Bolas, the most badass Planeswalker out there.
Don’t take advantage, but it’s okay to make a profit if you’re honest about it.
Don’t Kill The Game
Taking every bit of value from people at an LGS can make you some money. But if we all take that approach, as opposed to buy/sell list arbitrage and wise investments, we will damage the game as a whole. Our income from this game relies on community, and that community needs to keep growing or we will all lose money.