The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 08

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Ban All Commercial And Auction Posts
Message #1 Posted by J.C. Randerson on 5 June 2002, 9:39 a.m.

The administrator of this site should ban all posts from commercial operators and references to Ebay and other auctions. This should stop multiple posts and the fraud that often accompanies auction sites.

J.C. Randerson

Re: Ban All Commercial And Auction Posts
Message #2 Posted by Christof (Davis, CA) on 5 June 2002, 2:35 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by J.C. Randerson

Well, there are two seperate issues here-

First, banning "commercial" ads would drasitcally reduce the amount of stuff I can find. Not that I can afford most of it. :) So, selfishly, I'd rather not see "commercial" posts banned. From a community standpoint- do you really want to make it harder for people who spend a lot of time finding and selling the calculators we are all nuts for? It may very well be a proftiable business- but I'm extremely loathe to force that business to go elsewhere simply because it is profitable.

As for auctions- Looking at the auction listings, I don't see anything blatanty offensive in any of the posts. I admit I tend to skip over them as I'll never find a "deal" on ebay these days. But those auctions I have looked at have been well put together, by people who post in the forum and "support the community by interaction" (to use OSS speak).

Sure- if there is some specific auctioneer who has been proven fraudulent, tell us- we can ignore him/her or remove postings. But banning because fraud often accompanies auction sites is a bit like killing your pets because ticks carry lyme disease.


one clarification.
Message #3 Posted by Christof (Davis, CA) on 5 June 2002, 3:00 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Christof (Davis, CA)

And no amount of trolling or flaming on the part of *one* ebay seller is going to change my mind :p

Be righteous
Message #4 Posted by Nico on 5 June 2002, 3:18 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Christof (Davis, CA)

Nor trolling or flaming on the part of HP-collectors and users. "Never start a fire, 'cause the backdraft might hit ya"

can u define "commercial op" for me?
Message #5 Posted by barry on 5 June 2002, 4:13 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by J.C. Randerson

just wondering where i fit in. i have profited from my sales here. tnx, barry carson city, nv

Re: Ban All Commercial And Auction Posts
Message #6 Posted by Spice_Man on 5 June 2002, 4:30 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by J.C. Randerson

I wouldn't ban "commercial" posts, since there's no way to clearly distinguish between a collector who just happens to buy and sell frequently, vs. a "commercial" advertiser.

Re: Ban All Commercial And Auction Posts
Message #7 Posted by Christof (Davis, CA) on 5 June 2002, 7:30 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Spice_Man

But- even if a person is an admitted commercial seller, why ban his ads at all? What's the point? Are we trying to force everyone to go the educalc route?


Just donīt help ebay
Message #8 Posted by Renato on 5 June 2002, 11:24 p.m.,
in response to message #7 by Christof (Davis, CA)

It is supposed to be fun. Do you think current prices at ebay are fun ?

ebay sellers parasite the museum. My suggestion is to keep all references to ebay out of the museum pages.


Re: Just donīt help ebay
Message #9 Posted by Christof (Davis, CA) on 6 June 2002, 1:20 a.m.,
in response to message #8 by Renato

Actually, I'm kinda lookin at one of those 41 series calcs (true, there's the non ebay posting, too).... I need something with printer and hpil eventually to fully convert the data gathering on the van....

But, what's the U word? -Christof

Re: Just donīt help ebay
Message #10 Posted by Iqbal on 6 June 2002, 6:23 a.m.,
in response to message #9 by Christof (Davis, CA)

Renato it's fun alright. Check the cost of this 32SII

Re: Just donīt help ebay
Message #11 Posted by Renato on 6 June 2002, 11:24 a.m.,
in response to message #10 by Iqbal

I think it is sad, not fun. Searching the web produces NIB 32sii at lower prices. I don't think it is fun to watch people spending money that way. I don't think it is fun to watch people making money that way. IMO, this kind of behavior produces a significant part of suffering in the world.

Re: Is eBay really THE problem?
Message #12 Posted by Paul Brogger on 6 June 2002, 2:36 p.m.,
in response to message #11 by Renato

If I might suggest (seriously), if it's not fun to watch, don't watch. If you want to cure one of the world's ills, e-mail the bidder so they learn and don't repeat what seems to you an obvious mistake. But people have a right to act (even though uninformed), to make mistakes, and even to be just plain stupid -- and neither we nor the MoHPC should do anything to circumscribe that right.

eBay, for all its faults, seems to me a great example of market economics. Unfortunately, wider interest in "collectibles" has cased the market to increase prices on what used to be known and sought-after by only a few. On the flip side, that market is making available at any moment a much wider selection (again, at higher prices) than had been attainable previously.

eBay has made calculator (and other item) collecting simpler, quicker, impersonal and more expensive, where it used to be complex, longer-term, person-to-person and relatively inexpensive. Those of you (I don't count myself a member) "true, long-standing users and collectors" may bemoan the advent of eBay and its money-grubbing sellers, but it seems to be the most influential development in collectors' avocation at the turn of the millennium, and we have no choice but to adjust to its reality.

In fact, I think the Internet is most of "The Problem", and the MoHPC is ironically part of it. In providing the kind of communication necessary to establish a global market, and in simultaneously enyhancing the popularity of a collectible like calculators (which popularity is a by-product of the MoHPC's presence) the Internet has leveled the collector playing field, and made traditional person-to-person networking less decisive in the discovery, exchange, and profiteering essential to collecting.

(I'm obviously no economist, but I love to wax philosophical about current trends!)


Re: Is eBay really THE problem?
Message #13 Posted by Ellis Easley on 6 June 2002, 4:17 p.m.,
in response to message #12 by Paul Brogger

When I looked the high bid was $88, the high bidder had a feedback of 4 and the two next bidders had feedback of 0. Setting aside the possibility that there is some shilling going on, the high bidder is the one who bid at least $88 several days before the next two bidders. I found recent 32SII's that sold for up to $102. One seller with repeat auctions is the well known "Samson Cables" described in the auction headings as an Authorized HP Reseller. They got $77 on May 22, $78 on May 28, $81 on May 31, and $102 on June 4. All four auctions were for bubble packed brand new units with the new colors, and started at $1 with no reserve price.

I'm not an economist either, nor am I a psychologist, but from my own experience, I think the psychology at work on Ebay is that at a certain point a prospective buyer decides he's not going to be outbid again. He's tired. He hates Ebay, the sellers, the other bidders, his ISP and all other entities that have conspired to keep him from winning previous auctions. All he cares about is the item! He wants it, and once he gets it, he's never going to look at another auction! It's like in "The Shining" when Jack Nicholson decides he's not putting up with any more. So he places a really high bid, hoping it will finally be over.

Now, as for how high, I think that's where the low feedback number comes in. This bidder might have been watching Ebay for a long time, but I think more likely he's reacting to a flurry of activity associated with the discontinuation of the model. Anybody could have bought one for about $60 or less just a few weeks ago, when they were still available in some stores and websites!

Every transaction has a seller AND a buyer. Anyone who has $102 to spend on a 32SII must have a lot of "discretionary income".

Re: Is eBay really THE problem?
Message #14 Posted by Renato on 6 June 2002, 8:59 p.m.,
in response to message #12 by Paul Brogger

Of course, I donīt need to watch. Of course, seller and bidders can do whatever they want. My point is that *I* feel like Iīm being used, and *I* feel that this community is being used by sellers. Renato

Message #15 Posted by Ron Ross on 6 June 2002, 9:37 p.m.,
in response to message #14 by Renato


We could all boycott ebay for 30 days and see where the floor would fall for Hp calculators. Of course some of us would probably take advantage of the lull in activity to scoop up Hp calcs at rock bottom prices and after 30 days we would then immediated have to satisfy our addictions and drive the price right back up to where they are now. The fellow collectors who didn't participate in our boycott would of course benefit.

But it might slow down the escallating price of the newer Hp calcs. But Hp calcs are a commodity (perhaps not to us, but emotional buyers always pay top dollar), plain and simple. Some of us may have personnal distaste for the proffessional dealer of Hp calcs, but the reality is, they offer a product for a market. We would have less calculators available to us, if it were not for the professional Hp traders.

Most of you would not sell your precious Hp's (I don't) and therefore are horrible to deal or barter with. Cash at the market price is all you need to get the professional dealers to part with their Hp's. And we set the market price collectively. We are not a business wise smart crowd, but our collections and hobby has got the better of most of us. Therefore, we are at the mercy of ebay for the forseeable future.

Re: Are we?
Message #16 Posted by Christof (Davis, CA) on 7 June 2002, 12:52 a.m.,
in response to message #15 by Ron Ross

Sure- we help drive up prices- though I tend to end up being frustrated instead of having calulators (I've managed to acquire some, sure, but I'm totally unable to afford even one example of some series.) - but there is a certain amount of profiteering going on that hurts those of us who aren't "shelf" collectors. I don't want something to *invest* in, I want calculators to use- some of them for specific real world projects- some for fun.

And that's the part that sucks. If I find someone selling a couple decent older calcs for a reasonable price, I can't even share it with people, because some guy will buy everything the supplier has at once and make it impossible for me to get the second or third (3 is a reasonable number, IMO, for a real world using calc when there is no more production). That part does, indeed, suck.

I had to wait because my government funded education only gets me certain amounts of spare cash here and there, and now it look like I won't be getting a backup 42s. I may not evne be able to justify a backup 32sii unless I find one on the web on monday for under $70

So- the profiteering sucks. I've no beef with maintaining a reasonable business (business is NOT seperate from community, and the idiots (IMO) that seperated community and ethics from "capitalism" did more damage to man in the the end than Stalin.) and I would not want- to get back to the original thread- to axe the postings of "professionals" in this community. I'm *still* not opposed to ebay listing in the classifieds page- the most I'd ask for is some form of registration or membership- maybe similar to hpcc.

-Christof (yeah, it's disjointed. finals are over and I'm *done* writing coherently. until monday, when summer term starts.)

Re: Are we?
Message #17 Posted by rsenzer on 7 June 2002, 11:39 p.m.,
in response to message #16 by Christof (Davis, CA)

The FRY's electronics store at the Thunderbird Road exit off of I-17 in Phoenix has at least 30 of these hanging on the ubiquitous metal pegs. These are the new green and blue versions. So if you can get to Phoenix, you can get an HP-32SII. That's as of today -- I was just there.

BTW, I have no connection with FRY's.

HP 32sII
Message #18 Posted by Nick on 8 June 2002, 12:03 a.m.,
in response to message #17 by rsenzer

How much are they selling for?

Re: HP 32sII
Message #19 Posted by Christof (Davis, CA) on 8 June 2002, 1:27 a.m.,
in response to message #18 by Nick

Argh- even at list price of 70 bucks it'd be worth it- except I no longer live in PHX!

if there's anyone local....


Re: HP 32sII
Message #20 Posted by David Smith on 9 June 2002, 4:25 p.m.,
in response to message #19 by Christof (Davis, CA)

I went to the Fry's in Dallas and bought every single HP32SII that they had... $49.95, in the box, old style keys. Well, before the whiners crank up, they only had the one unit.

Re: HP 32sII
Message #21 Posted by rsenzer on 9 June 2002, 2:48 p.m.,
in response to message #18 by Nick


They're selling pretty much at list price $69 and some cents if I recall.

Re: Is eBay really THE problem?
Message #22 Posted by glynn on 7 June 2002, 12:37 a.m.,
in response to message #12 by Paul Brogger

Amen, Paul;

I work most of the day, stuck in the shop five days a week, and many of you have more grueling schedules perhaps, but I have never found time to drive to all the places and shop for all the things I've wanted. I wouldn't be collecting ANYTHING the past two years if it weren't for the Internet, and in particular, eBay.

I love the stuff I get! And if I had to crawl thrift-shops and answer classified ads and make midnight dumpster dives, I probably would never have gotten any of it.

And my experiences with personal friends and sales is that sometimes the closer you become to the seller, the harder it is to make the sale a "clean" one-- I don't like people thinking they did me a favor or gave me a special deal. I want also to be free to walk away if the deal doesn't smell right or the terms are not equitable. I once bought a car from a next-door neighbor, never got the title, and felt like a fool pursuing him for it.

With eBay, while I have been burnt a couple of times in the two years I've used it, for the most part I KNOW what is expected of me, and what to expect from the seller; we play our roles and when we do, everything goes okay. I take some risks, and understand I am taking them. I often don't know how much I'll be asked to pay for shipping; I take that into account before I bid.

Lots of you were into collecting used calcs before they cost real money. You could trade them with colleagues for a ham sandwich. But the only two calcs I ever bought before I came upon MOHPC, I bought new, way back when-- a 33c and a 15c. I remember thinking at the time that they were expensive!!

So now, having bought a 97 and a 75d and a Russian RPN Elektronika and a 25c, all on eBay, as well as innumerable mountains of other gear, mainly computer stuff, my income is the only thing I have to trade-- not my sweat and not my working hours-- and this seems good to me.

Where I live, the garage sales are full of baby clothes and bad furniture, not computers. Thrift stores here have been known to junk the old computers rather than try to deal with them. (Now of course, they eBay what they think will sell there). And the newspaper classifieds here already have two or three "WANTED: Old HP calculators" ads running; so deals are gonna be a bit thin on the ground in THIS territory, no manna from the sky to a guy who can't hunt by day.

But here at my eBay screen is a smorgasbord of stuff to examine. If I want something, it usually shows up within a couple of weeks of searching-- even if it seems uncommon. I look at the prices of the examples I have seen: and decide if I want it that much. I guess I am at a disadvantage because I do not remember how much a HP 28s, say, was in stores a short time ago-- I only see what people are asking for it and paying for it Now on the Internet. And I think on it, read about it, then bid what I feel will get it, when I feel I *CAN* get it.

When I was first on eBay, I paid much too much for a few things. I was both impatient and combative.

I have since learned that everything shows up more than once... that nothing on eBay is a once-in-a-lifetime sighting, and that in fact I can usually afford to search a few weeks prior to making a decision on the first one I see. There WILL be more of them.

This is SO true, I only have two things on my "list" of hundreds of items that I have not been able to cross off after a year (a particularly weird guitar, a particular piece of esoteric calculator accessory gear). I sometimes suspect that if I searched long and hard enough on a regular basis, I would turn up old school assignments of mine or photos of my mother's prom night.... Things are bound to turn up THERE, eventually.

As far as being competitive, THAT took a bit longer for me to work out of my system. I was feedbsck 26 before I realized that always being on top of the list of bidders was not an honor-- it was stupidity. I was driving my own prices through the roof. A lot of auctions later, feedback 86, I had to buy an expensive network analyser I did not REALLY want in the first place. But, dangit, that guy who kept sniping me on all my other auctions was not going to win THIS time! LOL, I really taught HIM-- that was one he didn't snipe!

Today, at feedback 198, I am still somewhat aggressive, I hate to "lose". After all, I spent all that time and energy searching, turned down other chances, put a lot of thought into my selection and bid amount, arranged to have the money ready-- and I'm only able to win about one of five or one of six auctions I participate in, after all that. But I'm a bit more mellow than I used to be. I bow out of many auctions where I see people I know who will want the thing more than I; if I want it more than I think they will, I put them on notice by putting in an early bid, maybe raising the going price by a dollar... and then I figure they know I'll be in the mood to bid again.

I also don't clench up about losing quite as much as I used to-- partly because I know I'll live to bid again another day, and partly because some of my biggest losses turned out to free me to bid on things that I normally would not have been prepared to deal with. And also, partly, because I now have a small group of people who contact me when they have something they think I might be interested in, so I am doing trading on AND OFF eBay, thanks mainly to my eBaying.

So, there are many things I could catalog about eBay that I hate, but I am a regular user of it, and come home nights looking at it before I even read emails. Why? It has made collecting a practical matter for me, one who probably wouldn't collect or search the whole internet to find the things I am buying now.

To put it bluntly, eBay is useful enough TO ME that I guess I am one of those with more money than sense, though I am by no means rich OR stupid. Addicted, maybe-- and the atmosphere of auctions is old and storied and lures many like me to behave, on occasion, as if they WERE rich AND stupid.

I just saw an auction, by the way, where a seller botched the listing badly. He has a heading that attracted me: HP 1980b Oscilloscope... so I look and his description is of an HP 8481 Power Sensor (?)... and then his Pictures are of another, older model of oscilloscope altogether. What a mess! But guess what? He's already got a first bidder, some guy with a feedback of 20! It's like I told a co-worker a few months back: don't throw away your dead goldfish, just eBay them, SOMEONE may actually buy them!

Hey! maybe that guy knows something I don't, and he will get that HP1980 oscilloscope for only $20!! What a steal he would get! I can't let THAT happen, now can I? ;-)

Take care. grh.

Re: Is eBay really THE problem?
Message #23 Posted by Ellis Easley on 7 June 2002, 4:35 a.m.,
in response to message #22 by glynn

I agree that Ebay makes it much easier to participate in collecting. Consider the fuel required to shop "in person": with Ebay, not only do you save the fuel cost which you can figure into your bid, but also you are doing your part to reduce Global Warming! I appreciate the sellers who are going to garage sales and flea markets and surplus auctions and I frequently thank them for it. I like going to surplus stores and I made some good finds, including some hard to find calculators, years ago before I really knew what I had. I stopped because I always bought too much. I would go to garage sales to look for calculators except I know I will buy other stuff. I won't start until I am ready to commit myself to becoming an Ebay seller!

Another thing that makes collecting HP calculators easier is the MOHPC CD-ROM set. I told Dave this when there was a related discussion thread underway: having the manuals in hand (on the CDs) makes it easier to decide to buy a certain model if it becomes available, say on Ebay. The first old HP stuff I collected was HP85. At the time, HP still had some manuals available. I spent a lot of money on manuals - probably at least as much as I spent on the hardware. So in a way, the Museum CD's make me feel that I can afford to spend a little more for harware, since I don't have to search for manuals.

Re: Just donīt help ebay
Message #24 Posted by Renato on 6 June 2002, 11:35 a.m.,
in response to message #9 by Christof (Davis, CA)


Or you might try talking to the poster :^)

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