This is really two stories: selling the bicycle, and buying the guitar. “But Collin,” you’re saying, “I thought this was a trading project.” And indeed you’d be right, faithful reader. But I do reserve the right to bend the rules from time to time, and when an item languishes for too long without getting any good trade offers, I’m fine with selling it and purchasing something for that price that’s more tradeable.
I do have a steadfast rule: I won’t buy something for one price and sell it for more. I’m not here to flip things. I will sometimes buy something and trade it upward, but I won’t make a cash profit on an item. That’s something I’ll keep to.
The bicycle was sitting. I was getting offers but they were all for cash. Every time someone asked me what I was looking for in a trade, I’d tell them (“Oh I’m pretty open — musical instruments, electronics, home appliances, kitchen appliances, antiques, other bicycles… anything in good condition that I could trade onward”) and I just wouldn’t hear back. After a couple months of this bike taking up a good amount of space in my new apartment, I was ready to move on. That’s when John (not his real name) wrote me. His girlfriend’s bike had just been stolen, the first day she’d had it!, from inside her workplace’s parking garage. They were looking around for a replacement and wanted to try mine out.
They came by and she rode it around my street. They made some adjustments to the seat, explored the various gear settings, rode up and down the hill I’m on, and circled a nearby dead-end. It’s still surreal to be standing around and talking with people, whether strangers or friends, in masks. But there we were. And after maybe 15 or 20 minutes of really testing it out, they agreed to the cash ask.
And to be real, that money was burning a hole in my pocket. I want these trades to happen as fast as they can, though I also want them to be smart and strategic. Since the guitars and amps seem to move so well, I started immediately looking there for something I could pick up and trade. I was talking to a guy with a seriously metal-ass guitar, and to another with an amp head he was having trouble selling, but that I might be able to trade. Guitar guy was out in Concord, and it didn’t even come with a case, so I was less enthused, and the length of time that the amp had been posted without selling gave me some pause, too.
And lo, one weekday morning, this beauty showed up on Craigslist. A lunch break find.
This is an almost-new 2019 Gretsch G2657T Streamliner Center Block Jr. Double-Cut with Bigsby in candy apple red. The story is that the owner took up guitar in January, bought this as his first guitar (!!!), played it for a week or so, then bought a stratocaster (?!!!), decided he liked that WAY better, and let this one just sit. So he listed it for sale, practically untouched and brand new.
I didn’t even ask him for a video. I just wanted the guitar, and I just wanted it to remain as untouched as possible. We made plans and I made the drive down to glamorous Milpitas to meet him in a Starbucks parking lot. He was coming from San Mateo, so it was sort of in the middle. Anyway he showed up in a late-model Miata with the top down, so I guess that explains why a $550 guitar was his first.
We were masked up, did our wipe-down, keep-distance, Venmo ritual, and went our separate ways. I grabbed breakfast for the road and made my way home. (Stopped to pick up some new succculents on the way!)
The next day Walker was their gracious self and made me another dope video. This is a gorgeous guitar and Walker does a really impressive job pulling some beautiful sounds out of it. They seem to love playing these finds, and it absolutely makes it easier for me to trade them, so this feels win-win, too.
Just posted it today and the offers are rolling. I’m having fun with this.
Digital movie projector line:
Original item value: $250
Number of trades to date: 2
Latest trade: 1994 Specialized Stumpjumper Chromo Steel Mountain Bike ($450) for $cash for 2019 Gretsch Streamliner ($550)
Total line value dollar increase: $300
Total line value percent increase: 120%
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