Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cats, dogs... and barracuda

So I was playin Mabd yesterday... takin a break from my cares, a rough week at work, and my house guest.

When I get an in-game tell from a level 1 BE warlock. Named Teej.

It wasn't pretty. I'm being stalked again. Worst is her conviction that *I'm* one of her "devoted followers."

"If you're not, why can't you stop thinking about me?"

"Cuz you threatened my life. And the roaches. But mostly that life threat me thing. Besides, you're on MY SERVER now... who's following whom?"

Tomorrow, I'll try to explain why TJ doesn't even get into the top 5 list of my most annoying stalkers.

Sneak peek.

Number 4. While working at the c-store, there was a neighborhood family that was just screwed up. The mother weighed about 80lbs, and when she wasn't shoplifting in my store, she was begging outside. She was 50-80 years old. Her son got outta prison... still on crack. Came into the store, limping painfully... from what my police friends told me was from a vicious series of beatings and rapes by fellow inmates.... anyway... he came into the store, looked me up and down, came in close, and said in a soft voice... "I wanna git wid you, big boy..."


Anyway, I thought I'd spend today bitching about my favorite subject... absolutely idiotic WoW players...

The anglo-american culture has some very interesting divergences from the rest of world practices... several of these can be pointed to as an element in the relative success of the western business model. One that gets overlooked a lot, but is still incredibly important...

We are culturally inclined not to haggle.

Now, this is kinda key to the sucess of a lot of western marketing practices. First, it saves insane amounts of time. Supermarkets are impossible if you have to argue over every price. Modern accounting depends on precise details of sales and expenditures... an "average" amount of money you make per sale will kill you in business. As well, it allows people with minimal personal skills to sell things for you. All they need is the basic math required to run a register.

In some fields, this model breaks down. Mostly high ticket items. Cars, houses.... some restaurants follow the health care model, not giving you an idea of cost until after the meal/operation... One reason high end restaurants, like hospitals, are outta control price wise.

I spent two months in China. I learned how to haggle. However, another training ground has opened up in America. WoW general trade.

Now let me break for a little guild chat gem. One of my guildies was compaining about the greed of enchanters in demanding mats plus a tip. "It just takes a click of a button.. not even a cooldown..."

Look people. If you depend on strangers doing you favors for free... you will live a brief, brutal, and unsatisfactory life. "Free" is NOT the beginning position to haggle from when you want someone to volunteer a service.

Arms&Fury got his BS up to 350, got the mats for his axe, made the axe. There he was, with the epic axe... and no gold and no savagery enchant on it. So Majeure, outta the goodness of her blackend blood elf heart, spots him the tons of large prism shards and arcane dust for the enchant. AND gives him 30g for the tip.

A&F starts spamming trade for the enchant, promising a "LARGE TIP." (after the first 5 tells in general trade over 60 seconds, he started getting desperate.)

He gets the enchant, then brags to me... "I only had to tip 10 gold!"


Some clues for the clueless... before you advertise "LF healer and tank for (whatever instance) and GTG!".... really... think again.

And don't just say in general... "Need port to shat!" WITHOUT offering a price. I assure you, the vast bulk of mages will simply ignore you. Even if its just offering the portal rune, you'll get a better response. I can occasionally be generous enough to port people who are considerate enough to make sure it doesn't actually cost me anything. But I'm not gonna pay 20s for the honor of helping a noob.

What brought this on? Some fool was spamming trade chat looking for a crystal pulse shield.

Now I have one, sitting on my shammy, waiting on the proper level. My shammy ain't hitting 70 anytime soon... however, the refusal to even begin to offer a price made me reluctant to respond. However... I gotta deal.

"I know I'm gonna regret this... but how much are you offering?"

"For what?"

"The crystal pulse shield you were spamming trade for..."

"Hey, WTB means want to buy... I'm not selling it, I want to buy one..."


K... at this point I realize that I'm dealing with a grade "A" idiot. Did I mention that hesa pally? Can you imagine this guy healing for you? The only question left... is he an idiot with enough money to make it worth dealing with him? Experience tends to teach... no...


"Yes... how much were you willing to pay for the crystal pulse shield?"

"I dunno. Maybe 50g or more. Why, do you have one to sell?"

This is where the trade breaks down. I'm not really interested in selling the shield unless I can make enough gold to more than make up for the hassle of haunting the AH to replace it. 50g is low end for AH on this item... for the most part... with the number of pally and resto shammies being leveled as healing alts. And if you have to spam trade chat... the price goes up a bit. As well.. what the hell is he thinking? Why on earth would I still be talking to him if I, or someone I know, *didn't* have one to sell?

Just knowing the idiot didn't even set a firm price... who the hell says "xg or more?" indicates to me that I'd have a lot more fun spending the next few minutes killing allies in AB than bartering with the guy.

If you are the person seeking the sale... If you're the one asking for the item... you have to be firm, and have to be aggressive. If someone is holding onto the item, instead of putting it on the AH.. it indicates a personal opinion that the item is worth more than the AH would currently bring. It is your job to at least ask around for a good price before trying to lure one outta hiding, as it were. And you have to be generous. If ya wanna be passive... spam trade with the following..

"Was wondering, how much should I expect to pay for a crystal pulse shield?"

This does a coupla things... first, it gets input from multiple sources... if they respond in general trade, then you have established a price basis.. which is... a coupla people say.. 50g, 60g...

Now by this point, someone might have messaged you, declaring that *they* have one, which they will sell for something near the price basis or higher. (It usually wont be lower...)

If not...

"Well... that seems low... does anyone have one to sell for Xg?"

With Xg being something a bit higher than the high end of the basis (which didn't get you a tell...) but not outta the ball park. Say... 70g...

See what were doin? We're haggling, without actually haggling. The trick is to set a price before you actually start talking. Any responses should be close to the new price you set, fishing to see if you actually would go higher. A tip, for the most point, if you've got a response to a solid offer for an item... they'll sell it for the price you set. Plead poverty... one particularly loathesome trick...

"Well, I dont have any more gold till I can grind some more... but would you like 4 stacks of knothide leather scraps on top of the 70gold? I haven't been able to sell them at auction..."

If you offer trade goods instead of money... it will probably convince them that you really don't have anymore to spend. You always risk losing the sale, but that's half the fun. And at this point, they want to sell you the item. The longer the conversation, the greater the psychic investment.

Just to put the seal on it... when you pay for it... over pay... say 71g 57s... saying "I'm really sorry, this is all I have on me..."

They'll feel great, convinced they took your last copper. People are sick this way...

And I know sick people. Oh yes I do...

Tomorrow! Depravity galore!


Peashooter said...

Good guide on buying, I assume that selling has the same principles, what are your thoughts on auctioning something in general:

"WTS (blank), make an offer, highest bid wins!" or
"WTS (blank) for 300g starting bid, highest bid in the next 10 minutes wins it!"

Sonvar said...

If TJ isn't at the top of the list for your stalkers I'm quite frankly scared.

Viet said...

On buying of trade chat:
I generally spam trade for either the reason that the item is not on the AH, or I don't like AH prices and want something better. Therefore, I may ask for a lower price than AH prices. Just letting you know that there is more than one way of haggling, and playing an innocent dumbass is one fo them.

Anonymous said...

Good tips and stories. I'm a big WoW trader, both on the AH and /trade.

I also buy and mark up certain items, and pre-BC I even had a supplier who would farm them for me and CoD them to me for a pre-set price that was about half of AH. I would then take on the risk of actually moving them at that price. I think it was a good deal for both of us; it was definitely a profitable business for me! And I met this dude in /trade, selling those items...I told him I'd buy all he could sell me. This went on for probably a couple months.

<--- pally tank