I cannot even begin to express the feelings that I have after something that happened this weekend. My boyfriend and I collect video games and have been doing so more seriously since moving in together a few years ago. You might call me a bit of a collecting junkie: I’m always looking through ads online and contacting people to see what they have. Most of the time though, I miss the boat. There are faster people than me out there, and they normally lay claim to awesome deals first. In true Canadian fashion, people selling are loyal to the first people they speak with unless the deal falls through, and are exceptionally kind at letting you down gently. This weekend, I had a truly awesome experience with a man who wanted to sell his entire retro video game collection for $100.
I read the ad early on Friday morning while having a coffee. I realized that I was the first visitor according to the visitor counter at the bottom of the ad. I froze. This guy was claiming to have NES, SNES, N64, Dreamcast, Atari and Intellivision games, plus consoles and accessories, all for the low low price of $100. I was entirely skeptical and it took me a few minutes to realize that if I didn’t act soon, I might again be the one standing on the sidelines while someone else scooped this up. I noticed that the person had listed a phone number along with an email, so I called. After four rings, I heard a voice on the other line that sounded like the most contrived elderly man’s voice I’ve ever heard in my life. After asking a few questions and not getting much of a reply from the man, I thought for sure that this had to be a joke and hung up the phone. I felt defeat wash over me, and after refreshing the page again to see that a few more visitors had stopped by, I decided to call again.
This time, I ended up speaking with a man who sounded in his 30s or 40s (I will abbreviate his name to A.S.). He sounded a little bit shocked that I was calling so soon because the ad had just gone up about 20 minutes prior. I told him that I was extremely interested in his ad and wanted to know when I could come by to see /pick up his lot. A.S. started telling me about all the things that he had, and my eyes grew wider and wider in disbelief: he had everything in the ad and more. He said I could come by the next day to pick it up, and my heart was set a-flutter… it was going to take everything I had not to dwell on the idea that he might change his mind (this had happened to me recently with another potential purchase of someone’s collection, and those wounds were still a little throbby.) I made plans with my boyfriend to drive to the next town where this guy lived, and the countdown to go-time began.
Although I busied myself with other things during the day, I couldn’t stop thinking about this collection because it seemed far too good to be true. After many failed acquisition attempts locally and a few over-priced gaming events, I was feeling a little worried that somehow it wouldn’t work out. Around 4:00 that evening, I got a phone call from A.S., and he sounded a bit frantic. My heart initially sank when I saw his number on my phone as I anticipated the worst, but much to my surprise, he was asking if we could pick it up that night instead of the next day. He went on to explain that he had gotten an obscene number of phone calls from people asking for the items in his ad. Some had been accusing his ad of being fake — who on earth would sell their entire collection for $100? Others were trying to push him into selling to them for more money and to abandon the original deal he had struck with us. He was receiving offers of double and triple what we had agreed to, and the stress was getting to him. To ease the pressure, I promised we would be on the road shortly and would take everything off his hands as soon as possible. We gathered a ton of boxes and set off for the next town.
A while later, we arrived at A.S.’s house. My boyfriend went in to see the massive amount of stuff while I gathered boxes from our vehicle. When my boyfriend emerged from the house with the first box in hand, it was like we had reached the Gamer Promised Land. I was in total shock at seeing an entire milk crate full of NES games, a shoe box full of N64 games, another filled with SNES games as well as console after console coming out of this man’s home. About 6-7 boxes later, a significant portion of this man’s collection had been transferred to our vehicle. A.S. mentioned that he was incredibly happy that we were going to give his collection a good home and told us of the ins and outs of some of his items, like what kind of work he had done on some, which ones needed a little TLC, etc. I decided to give him an extra $100 on top of our original agreed-to price at the end of it all, which A.S. seemed to really appreciate. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night knowing that he had been loyal to us and could’ve gotten more money from other people. That, along with his great attitude, cute jokes and welcoming demeanour sealed it for me, not to mention the sheer volume of items we were receiving from him. We thanked him profusely and backed away slowly, waiting for “the catch” to come up. Either that or for the sky to fall, for lightning to strike us, or to see a letter in one of the boxes outlining our eternal debt to the man in the form of washing perpetual dishes. None of this happened. It was real, and we had essentially just doubled our current collection of games for $200.
The ride home was a bit euphoric. Despite the fact that our car now smelled like someone’s musty basement, we had boxes stacked in the backseat and trunk area with wonders we hadn’t uncovered yet (we promised ourselves we would only look when we got home so that we could see it all together). We arrived at home and hauled everything into the house. The piles and piles of stuff made me feel overwhelmed, but we soon started organizing and categorizing everything. We started with wiping down each NES and SNES cartridge until we had gotten through about 40-50 games and then decided to quit for the night.
We did notice the lack of Dreamcast stuff in our sea of treasures. My boyfriend was feeling particularly disappointed, especially because we had just recently acquired a Dreamcast console and were excited about finding some of the games for a reasonable price. Because Dreamcast had been specifically mentioned in the ad, I ended up calling A.S. the next morning to inquire about whether or not he had decided not to sell the Dreamcast stuff, or if he was still interested in selling it. He mentioned he had completely forgotten that he had put it in the ad at all and had been thinking about selling it separately for another $100 (he was clearly having some kind of remorse after the previous day’s sale.) I inquired if he would be interested in selling to us, and he agreed. He also promised to look into what else he had hanging around in his basement for us.
After another drive to the next town, we picked up a substantial number of Dreamcast games along with the console and accessories. He had also found a number of Gamecube games he had forgotten to send along with us the previous day, as well as a couple of PS2s that we were grateful to pick up.
This time, I decided to ask the guy why he had decided to sell. He told me that he had spent a great deal of time collecting these items and that he had put a lot of heart into his collection. He spoke of a friend who had passed away, and whose family had thrown his friend’s prized possessions into a heap at the side of the road for the garbage man rather than knowing their true value or what to do with them. He said that he felt he was nearing hoarder levels with his collection and didn’t want something to happen to him and see it all go to waste. With respect to the low price, he simply wanted his things to go to someone who would take care of his collection and give it a good home rather than to a reseller that would turn his merchandise around to make a quick buck. He reiterated that he thought that we were a good fit for his collection, and knew that we would take good care of his things for the long haul. He simply seemed grateful that it was one less thing to worry about. He also invited himself over to our place for the future date when we would have our Nerd Room set up in its entirety, and had managed to merge our collections.
Despite this man’s haunting reasons for wanting to purge his collection, I was extremely grateful and lucky to have been on the right site at the right time. We are still in the process of going through everything, organizing and cleaning it, but I’m hoping to post an update soon with some photos if anyone is interested in seeing what we got. Here’s a bit of a summary for those of you who want a preview:
Atari + games
Intellivision + games, accessories
NES + games
SNES + games
N64 + games, accessories
Gamecube + games
PS2 + games
Dreamcast + games, accessories