Thursday, September 10

A Call To Video Dealer "In-Betweeners"


In the tiny realm of VHS collecting, there's two predominant seller camps. On one end, those who either don't know or care about a tape's rarity or worth. It goes without saying these fine folks are the best to run across, usually with boxes of titles at a mere buck or below a piece. Shit yes, let's start digging. On the opposite end, we have those who way overshoot the value of tapes. This is how we get severely cut boxes of Psychopath for $400 on eBay. Both groups have their place, with the former garnering joy while the latter confused glances.

But then we have two camps of in-betweeners. The sparser are those that know their stuff and price accordingly and fairly. Then there's this really odd bunch that I run into sometimes on my swap meet travels. These guys seem to have little concept of which way is up in the tape marketplace with simply awkward pricing schemes as if it's fifteen years ago.

Meet "Frank", I don't know his true name, but he's a familiar "in-betweener" tapehead that snaps perfectly right into his category who hustles cassettes every weekend (both days) at one of my haunts. Frank has strange quirks and I've even seen him in action buying tapes (his eyes lit up like Christmas morning at the sight of Spider Baby?!?). First, if a title isn't generally known to virtually every horror fan on the planet, he doesn't sell it. He doesn't seem to care for big boxes or clamshells (you know, the types that usually carry a value) with rows of cardboard slipboxes. The physical condition of his tapes also has to be bordering excellence for Frank to sell them. Needless to say, a giant area is left untapped, and the dude's prices don't help matters. Everything hovers around $8, even those shitty gold-bordered Starmaker tapes. It's sad when he holds up a copy of The Evil Dead or Horror of Dracula and says "hey guy" to ask if I have it. I just nod and he replies "of course". No shit, Frank, you're talking to a fucking master. Though I did essentially steal a Wizard Video edition of Zombie from him for a measly $6 a few months back.

The point is you in-betweeners only hurt yourselves and bewilder nearly everyone browsing your flicks. Normal people will just scoff at such prices, DVD know-it-alls with just see a bevy of stuff on disc, and learned tapeheads will wonder where's the beef? I can only assume such dealers are aiming for the older and unaware "I haven't seen this movie in ages!" crowd, but it is really worth lugging all those heavy boxes and set-up time each weekend to run across one or two of these folks? Bone up on your stock people, but don't become rip-off artists.
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1 comment:

John said...

Absolutely. This is a problem that applies to pretty much all second-hand stuff it seems.

Depending on where I go, there seems to be a mix of people who just want to get rid of old boxes of movies and miscellany and sell them for 5/1.00, or you have those with ridiculous prices because they've either dropped the price 10% from what they paid for it 20 years ago and think that makes it a good deal, or they're the sort of second-hand dealer that just doesn't understand the fine line of quality difference that slightly separates the concepts of "old trash" and "antique."

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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