I don't mean to come off as crass or as an a55h0le, but what bothers me most about Andro is the insinuation that it's wrong to ask for money for stuff in lieu of trades her. ....
So, for those of us who live in the Bay Area or LA Basin or NYC area, what's philosophically wrong with asking for $5 + cost +shipping on stuff we post here? Isn't it still in the "spirit of this thread" to offer someone something for $20 or $40 that might cost $200 or $300 if purchased at discounted retail? I'm all for trading where it works out, but there is absolutely nothing wrong in my book with cash.
I don't think anyone would have an issue with that scenario. But it's rarely that clear.
I should probably let Andro speak for himself, but I think Andro 's purpose in offering these items free, and offering something he received as a gift is to call attention to the selflessness of some traders and encourage more of that spirit. Generosity is a universally good thing, I think.
I for one got a Tom Ford tie -- TOM FORD -- as a free gift -- as in, he didn't ask for anything for it, never told me it was coming, and just threw it in without being asked purely on faith that I'd get him back some day -- from the same guy I suspect gave Andro that Oxxford. For me, this makes me more willing to do nice things for others on this thread, and I don't see anything wrong with encouraging a generous spirit.
But part of the problem with this debate is the variability of costs and price budgetary expectations. So I might offer a $5 + cost + ship, and it won't feel like a "hookup" to someone in other parts of the country.
As usual, empathy is the first step to the answer. Buyers should remember that sellers have invested time, effort and cash outlay. What they can or choose to offer is their own decision. You can always express your disapproval by declining to do business.
On the other side of the equation, sellers need to remember that buyers have, for their own reasons, price tolerances. Just because someone is unwilling or unable to justify the number you have in mind doesn't make them a bad person. It just means they can't justify the expense, whether the price is objectively a good one or not.
As if things aren't complicated enough, it seems like nobody uses the same system for judging what the "right" price is, and where to go to look for comparables -- are we judging based on NMLC or TJX prices? Ebay sold? Other sellers here on StyFo? All of the above?
And trading can be just as tricky, if one side or the other thinks it contributed more to the transaction.
But getting back to first principles: Generosity is good. Let's all try to give each other the benefit of the doubt, and aim to see things from the other person's perspective.
And chill the freak out; it's effing Christmas.