You Snooze, You Lose

Do you ever have those days where you can’t make a buying decision? Well, everyone has those indecisive days or moments on occasion, perhaps some more than others.

But, what happens when you visit a coin show and have one of those indecisive moments? Indecision can easily result in “you snooze, you lose” the coin you almost but couldn’t quite decide to buy.

Several factors contribute to the “you snooze, you lose” scenario. Let’s take a look at some situations (based on true stories obtained from dealers at coin shows).

First, Victor Vacillator takes 30 minutes to look at 20 different versions of the same coin or collectible. Victor decides one very nice coin could be his choice, but he tells Dealer A that he wants to look at other dealers’ coins on the bourse before making a decision.

Now, while Victor was engrossed with Dealer A, other business walked on by the dealer’s table. They saw the dealer was too busy to work with them. These missed opportunities could walk  back later, but in most cases, the lost business is gone.

Dealer A could be busy or could be having a bad day, but when Victor comes back to look at the coins again, they are gone. They may have been sold, or the coins may be hidden on Dealer A’s back-up table as part of a group to be sold later. Either way, Victor cannot buy the coin he wants.

Is hiding the coins right? Fair? From a collector’s perspective, this may seem harsh. On the other hand, have you heard the saying, “Time is money?” Victor Vacillator not only took up Dealer A’s time, but he also prevented other business transactions for the dealer. Will Victor take up even more time on his return without a final sale? Dealer A determines his best action based on Victor’s lack of decision earlier and the known sale as a group.

Next, let’s look at Harry Haggler. Like Victor, he spends a lot of time looking at several currently popular coins from Dealer B. He finally decides on the one he wants to buy.

Harry asks, “How much?” Dealer B quotes a price. Harry starts to haggle at a number that removes all profit from the deal. Dealer B counters by slightly lowering his price, and he lets Harry know that is the best price he can offer and that Harry can find on the bourse. But, Harry cannot decide to spend that amount and pushes for a lower number. Dealer B does not budge from his altered price.

Harry walks away. After visiting several other dealers’ tables, he finds Dealer B is right. Not only is Dealer B’s second quote the best on the bourse, but so was his first. Plus, there are not very many of the coins available.  In fact, Dealer B had the most of those coins. Harry goes back to Dealer B to buy the coin he chose. But, while Harry was searching the floor, Dealer B sold all of his coins of that popular type to one buyer.

Along with Victor and Harry, similar stories exist for Dudley Ditherer, Wally Wavering, Henry Hesitant and Freddie Falterer.

Most dealers enjoy collecting and discussing coins with their customers. As a dealer they also need to do business to pay for their expenses and to make a living. So, they want to work with customers while at the same time doing as much business as possible.

Of course, indecision is, in a way, a decision. Just be aware that when you walk away from a dealer’s table, the coin you just looked at with interest may not be there later should you decide to return to buy it.