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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000060.txt from 1999/06

From: Jack Kissinger <kissingerjn@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: [kl] Kasp./Ebay
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 00:45:10 -0400

Gregory Smith wrote:

> Maybe I'm missing something but are the Kaspars on the Ebay auction
> site returnable to their sellers?

Generally, if a seller is willing to allow returns, it is to his/her advantage
to say so explicitly in the ad. Because this shifts some risk from the buyer
to the seller it typically increases amounts offered. Some sellers allow
returns, some don't. Of the four mouthpieces recently sold on eBay, none
included a return option in the ad. While this may mean there was no return
option, it need not. The high bidders may have extracted a private assurance
before they bid. Also, some sellers do offer to accept returns after the fact
(it is my experience that many eBay sellers do care about their buyers'
satisfaction). I have bought a couple of mouthpieces on eBay in the past (but
only in the $30 range) and, in both cases, even though there was no return
policy stated in the ad and even though I didn't ask for one, the sellers
assured me that, if the mouthpieces were not to my liking for any reason, I
could send them back for a refund. If the buyer doesn't have any assurance
before the bid, however, s/he is at the seller's mercy.

> Why would one buy any mouthpiece sight
> unseen...let alone not having played it first?
> Is it perhaps for their potential resale value....in other words is this
> just another form of speculative buying?

This is speculation on my part (no pun intended), but why would anyone pay $700
for a beanie baby? I think these mouthpieces have achieved cult status. In
some cases, they appear to be valued as much (perhaps more) as collector's
items as (than) they are as a working mouthpiece. Also, given the demand for
these mouthpieces right now (for whatever reason) buyers may not perceive much
downside risk. The difference between what one pays for the mouthpiece and
what one thinks s/he can sell it for a week or so later is the price one pays
for the option to audition one of the world's legendary mouthpieces. One
should note that, in the case of each of these mouthpieces, there was a second
high bid within $5 or $10 of the high bid. Some bidders probably reason that,
if they don't like the mouthpiece they can sell it to the next bidder and only
be out a few bucks. In some cases, a legitimate second bid may be as good as a
return policy. Of course, if the second high bidder is a shill (which happens)
or someone bidding as a prank (for lack of a better word), or is worried that
the *third* high bid was $200 lower, the buyer may be in for a nasty surprise.
That's one of the risks of buying on eBay. (BTW, there is at least some
possibility that neither the $710 bid nor the $700 bid on the Matson refaced
mouthpiece was legitimate. The high bidder has no track record (feedback) and
the second high bidder welched on the only item s/he had the high bid on in the
past. Buyers do default.)

> It would be interesting to hear any facts that anyone may offer. I
> am truly flabbergasted considering that mouthpieces are such an
> individualized component of ones set up - whether they are made by a
> Kaspar or not.

Not alot of facts available, other than the descriptions in the ads, the list
of bidders on each item and their high bids. If you are registered to do
business on eBay, you can get e-mail addresses for the buyers and ask them why
they did it. I would love to hear their response but I don't have the ...er
nerve to ask them. Personally, I like Ed Lacy's theory.

Best regards,
Jack Kissinger
Who would not pay $700 to replace his Chicago 14 Kaspar if something happened
to it but would not sell it for $700, either. Go figure.

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