The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 15

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Coburlin's Bid Pattern
Message #1 Posted by Diogenes on 23 Apr 2005, 11:47 a.m.

Been doing a bit of eBaying lately. When looking at HP calc bid histories, time and again, Coburlin's bid is always at the bottom. The pattern is self-evident: he places a minimum bid, and nothing more. All he's looking for are those items where by some chance, no else bids, and he gets it for almost nothing. So, always outbid Coburlin - don't let this bottom feeder win a single item, whereby he turns around to hawk it for some outrageous price.

Edited: 23 Apr 2005, 11:50 a.m.

      
Re: Coburlin's Bid Pattern
Message #2 Posted by Unipalmer on 23 Apr 2005, 4:46 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Diogenes

He also contacts the seller of an auction asking for a BuyItNow price -- hoping the seller won't realize the value of his HP, and will offer a low BuyItNow price.

            
Great Tactic!
Message #3 Posted by Coburlin on 24 Apr 2005, 1:21 a.m.,
in response to message #2 by Unipalmer

You would be amazed at how many times this tactic works fine. Seller is happy to sell its stuff (most of the time, slightly damaged but working OK) and a few weeks later I sell it at a price ranging from $200 to $600. And since there are tons of geeks wanting these outdated babies (not realizing that the Casio's or the Sharp's at Wal-Mart are newer and more powerful), that means easy money! eBay life is great. Buy, geeks, buy!

                  
oh I've got a better one
Message #4 Posted by wouldn't you like to know on 24 Apr 2005, 1:37 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Coburlin

I think I might create some bogus ebay ids and bid on each of your BIN auctions and never pay. You pay the ebay fee, I pay nothing, and guess who goes out of business!!

ciao baby.

                        
Bwahaha, nice try but useless!
Message #5 Posted by Coburlin on 26 Apr 2005, 7:18 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by wouldn't you like to know

Learn your eBay basics. Before being able to buy on a BIN, you need to provide an PayPal account, to be linked to a verified CC number. Aaaah, engineers. Completely cut from the real, financial world. Do you know Dilbert?

                              
Re: Bwahaha, nice try but useless!
Message #6 Posted by bill platt on 26 Apr 2005, 9:22 a.m.,
in response to message #5 by Coburlin

Quote:
Aaaah, engineers. Completely cut from the real, financial world.

In fact is is not the engineers who have a hard time with finance. Engineers are far more money-minded and budget oriented than many other careers--in fact part of the "definintion" of engineering as a discipline is to "design systems/products etc to meet a set of requirements and to a budget" etc. In the "real world" engineers are always conscious of time and money--they lose their jobs if they are not mindful of the budget.

It is also a poor assumption that an "engineer" posted a comment. Many post here who are technicians, finance guys , students, computer programmers, artists even, mathematitians, professors. And furhter, this thread is emotional-not rationally driven.

I generally agree with coburlin's right to do business as he carries it out. If it does not meet ebay guidelines, that is his problem--aqnd he will learn of it. I hear a lot of sour grapes on this board.

Yet I am also put off by his attitude as presented here. He seems disrespectful and cynical--and that does not make me want to do business with him.

Let us get back to calculators and quit auction bashing---take it to some other place.

And coburlin, perhaps you can redeem yourself by telling us a bit about yourself--why you like calculators etc. You might even get some customers in the bargain.

---Bill

                              
If it's not us, what would you buy and sell? Stones and grass?
Message #7 Posted by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil) on 26 Apr 2005, 10:20 a.m.,
in response to message #5 by Coburlin

Mr. Coburlin;

maybe you don't know about this, but engineers design calculators so guys like you can make 'easy money' with them. The opposite...

Luiz, a proud Engineer

Edited: 26 Apr 2005, 10:27 a.m.

                  
That's my babe!!!
Message #8 Posted by $$$$$$ on 24 Apr 2005, 2:49 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Coburlin

$$$$$$

                  
No! That's MY boy!
Message #9 Posted by Greed on 24 Apr 2005, 4:32 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Coburlin

                  
Re: Great Tactic!
Message #10 Posted by Michael on 25 Apr 2005, 3:51 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Coburlin

Who, among the serious collectors of this forum, haven't found a screaming deal at a garage sale and bragged about it in this forum? Did you feel obligated to let the seller know of the true value of the calculator? If not, why should Coburlin when he offers a BIN? And how many folks have turned around sold some of those garage sale calculators at a later time? I don't know Coburlin and I don't understand the machinations of Ebay, but be careful where you draw your line in the sand.

            
Coburlin's tactics are not unique
Message #11 Posted by Hugh Evans on 25 Apr 2005, 4:37 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Unipalmer

Please accept my appologies in advance for the rant below:

Based on all that I've read about Coburlin, he sounds to me like an... Antiques dealer! Yes, even a 48GX produced 3 years ago qualifies as an antique because it is no longer in production and is valued due to its' attributes.

Most antique shops seem to do well for themselves (ie they stay in business longer than crystal pepsi was produced). If you've ever watched antiques roadshow on PBS you have already seen why the business model is successful: Sellers who don't know what they have let items go for a fraction of their market value, the buyer can put it in their store or auction it and make a killing.

Coburlin seems to have become something of a scapegoat around here, but there are hundreds of people selling old calculators on ebay and using similar tactics. Contacting sellers and offering to pay far less than market value is something that anyone can do.

Little can be done to lower the market price. Good reissues actually can, and have, done this in the past. If HP decided to reissue the 15c and put in enough effort to make it indistinguishable from original units (if given a fresh reissue and a NOS machine from 1982 you could not tell a difference) the original machines would drop in price almost overnight. However, the chances of HP doing this are slim.

I think this also lends some insight into why OpenRPN was created. The 32sii tripled in price after retail supplies dried up, and in the worst case scenario it cost HP a small fraction of retail to produce it. A community based effort would eliminate almost all development costs, meaning profit margins could be razor thin and end users would actually get what they pay for (which is a lot more than they would expect).

Hopefully I've clarified what people are witnessing on ebay and elsewhere. Dealing in antiques can get somewhat sleazy and even ethically questionable, but these practices are widespread. I'm not endorsing or condemning anyone's business practices, just stating the facts.

If you have experience in embedded hardware/software design, industrial/mechanical design of consumer electronics, enjoy nothing more than writing in wiki-markup, or have some skill that might be tangentially related to designing and producing calculators please join in part of the solution to paying high prices for quality handheld calculators!

Best Regards,

HDE www.openrpn.org

                  
Re: Coburlin's tactics are not unique
Message #12 Posted by gene on 25 Apr 2005, 7:32 p.m.,
in response to message #11 by Hugh Evans

OpenRPN.org has been down for almost a week now.

?

Gene

                        
Re: Coburlin's tactics are not unique
Message #13 Posted by Hugh Evans on 26 Apr 2005, 2:24 a.m.,
in response to message #12 by gene

Yes, our main server had a HDD failure last week. I just spoke with our admin, who returned from a conference yesterday, and everything should be back to normal Tuesday afternoon.

I'll put up a new thread here and on the newsgroup soon. I'm aiming to define the hardware feature sets for two of our machines within the next month (think bill-of-materials and specifications), so there should be plenty to talk about!

HDE

                  
It's something else...
Message #14 Posted by K on 25 Apr 2005, 11:09 p.m.,
in response to message #11 by Hugh Evans

Michael stated,

Quote:
Who, among the serious collectors of this forum, haven't found a screaming deal at a garage sale and bragged about it in this forum? Did you feel obligated to let the seller know of the true value of the calculator? If not, why should Coburlin when he offers a BIN?

I think what galls me and others isn't the prices at which "coburlin" acquired the HP items; it's the exorbitant prices he repeatedly demands for them when he tries to turn them over. Many professional eBay sellers are "making a buck" on items they acquired for clearance-lot prices; coburlin is mainly trolling for suckers. He's exploiting this fine on-line auction service by flooding the listings with high-fixed-price non-auctions, which keep reappearing over and over again, until a willing victim is snared.

Just a case of buyers' ignorance? No -- a discerning and prudent buyer could easily review eBay sales of these mass-produced items to find their true market value. This is harder to do for unique or rare antiques.

BTW, he may not have acquired everything cheaply. Several years ago, some of us were marveling at his undiscriminating largesse in snapping up banged-up HP calc's for top dollar. He still has to outbid people today. If a seller terminates an auction early, that's his own fault.

Edited: 25 Apr 2005, 11:10 p.m.

      
Re: Coburlin's Bid Pattern
Message #15 Posted by Mark Lynch on 25 Apr 2005, 2:07 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Diogenes

Ugh. Get over it already. How does it affect you one way or another anyway?

Here's a thought: Get a life and quit losing sleep worrying about the fun someone else is having.

            
Re: Coburlin's Bid Pattern
Message #16 Posted by Pope Benedict XVI on 25 Apr 2005, 11:57 p.m.,
in response to message #15 by Mark Lynch

I agree with Mark Lynch. "Leave Coburlin alone". What does it matter and who cares what he does as a seller. I just bought a 42S for $329.00; my company has reimbursed the expense. This can be the case with a lot of buyers, they get their money back. Again, his business ethics do not affect my pocket. Are you also complaining about the current fuel prices?

      
Re: Coburlin's Bid Pattern
Message #17 Posted by doug on 27 Apr 2005, 4:37 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Diogenes

Well, the so-called "collectors" created so-called "business men" like "coburlin", not because they NEED something but because they want to HAVE something, no matter what the price is. They are responsible for this situation that honest man who NEED something (to do the work, for example) cannot buy anything (HP connected) on e-bay these days because of the high prices ...


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