I was browsing my old posts and found a semi-promise to relate a story about a massive keyboard I didn’t want anymore. And the thought of that coincided with something I’ve given thought to in the past with collections.
But first, the story. At one point in my studio, I had five keyboards. Two 88-key and three 61-key synths. On one rack, behind my desk, I had the General Music Equinox and the Casio CZ-1.
On the wall to the right of my desk, I had the Roland RD-600 and a CME UF6. The CME did not have any sounds; it was just a performance controller. Sadly, the computer drivers went out of date before I could ever use it. I’ve actually forgotten where it went or what I did with it.
And in storage was an old Ensoniq ESQ-1, my first professional-grade keyboard. It was awesome to the end. That keyboard was eventually sold for a pittance to a guy I was in a club with. I should have just kept it in storage.
Anyway, I didn’t have a real use for all these keyboards, especially two 88-key controllers. The Equinox had to go. I wasn’t looking to make money on it, I thought it would be a fair trade for a mixer, which is something I did need at the time.
I have a Guitar Center in my town, so I loaded up the Equinox in the GF’s car and we headed down to make a deal. This keyboard is a beast, all metal case, weighted keys, hard drive, floppy drive, sequencer, the works. But when I get to the equipment guy at Guitar Center, he looks it over and just says, “nah.” Not literally, but he said as politely as possible that they did not want it. I explained that I didn’t want cash for it, I wanted to do a trade. That didn’t change his mind. So I was bummed out and got ready to pick the monster back up to haul it outside again. But then the guy asked, “What were you looking to get for it, anyway?”
And I can’t definitely explain why that question caused me to see red. Maybe I thought he was mocking me after telling me my keyboard was worth nothing to them. It was a pointless question, completely unnecessary. Like, if I said, 50 bucks, he would change his mind? Did he want to see just how desperate I was? Was he looking to either take advantage of a low price or laugh at me for an unrealistic price? All these thoughts rushed through my mind and I just snapped at him. “Nothing, if you’re not interested in taking it!” And things got awkward, partially because my outburst didn’t really make any sense.
I stormed out of Guitar Center carrying my massive anchor under my arm and the GF followed me out, silently and probably sheepishly. I’m not one for making a scene (unless someone forgets my SPOON), so it was just bad all around. And you know what kind of hurt the most? I bought that keyboard used from the Guitar Center in Plymouth Meeting before I came to Florida. They’ll sell it, but they won’t trade for it.
So fuck Guitar Center. After calming down and reassessing, I decided to try the other option, Sam Ash Music. This would require a longish drive, like an hour away. So I loaded the Equinox up and headed out solo. This sales guy tried to set my expectations low. He said that nobody really wanted these old synthesizers anymore and the best he could do is try to sell it as a MIDI controller. Yeah, yeah, I hear ya. He said he could give me $150 for it.
As insulting as that was, I pressed on. I asked if I could do a trade for a mixer and he warmly agreed. We walked over to the mixers and I reviewed what I could get for $150. There was an ok model, but a much better one was there for $200. So I asked him if I could get the $200 mixer. He said yeah, we could do that. We had a deal. (Spoiler: we didn’t.)
The sales guy gets the mixer, does up all the paperwork for the keyboard trade and he sends me off to the cashier. She punches everything in and says that’ll be $54. Excuse me? This was a trade. She says yeah, the keyboard is a $150 credit and your mixer is $200. The sales guy gets called back over. I ask him what’s going on and he reiterates that we agreed the keyboard would be $150. I explain that I thought when we were looking at mixers and I asked if I could get the $200 mixer, we were negotiating. Nope, we were not negotiating at all.
I didn’t want to storm out of a second store in a blind fury, so I sucked it up and bought my $200 mixer for $50 and unloaded an anchor. In hindsight, I should have kept the keyboard in storage. I could have gifted it to someone who really wanted to play music.
So that’s the story of the Equinox. I said that that the circumstances of that story made me think of collections. The other night I did a quick Craigslist search for CDs and found someone selling his collection of “over 750” CDs. First of all, you don’t have an accurate count, that’s strike one. You don’t have a list of albums or even artists, strike two. You can’t make out any titles from the photos you posted, strike three. And for your strikeout, what were you looking to get for it, anyway? $2,250? hmmmm. Ok. $3/CD is fair, if I want ALL the CDs. But at this point, from what I know about the collection, I want zero.
This is the curse of all collections, that the bigger they get, the less aggregate value they have and the more individual value they potentially have. It’s the same problem with thrift shops and many flea market dealers. They make the incorrect assumption that every CD is worth the same. Any intelligent person would agree that is not true at all. And as the valuable CDs are snatched up, you are left with nothing but junk that is worth far less than the price you are asking.