Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Buying used whistles rant, a cautionary tale
In acquiring whistles for review, I have naturally purchased allot of used whistles via ebay and the chiff and fipple forum. In doing so, I have discovered that the old adage, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, definately holds true. When you go to buy a used whistle, make sure to ask very specific questions about the condition of the whistle, like does it have any nicks, dents, how many scratches does it have (because a used whistle is going to have scratches. Aluminum whistles especially scratch if you look at them sideways!) Photos can often be deceiving, and may not show damage, especially on black whistles. Some people seem to think that a certain amount of damage is acceptable, and will say that the whistle is in "excellent" condition, when in actuallity it's liberally covered with scratches. This has happened to me so often that I have just come to expect it, and take it into account when I decide how much I want to spend on a used whistle. My worst case incident was when I purchased a chieftain gold low D from a guy who said it was in "perfect" condition. When I received the whistle it actually had a thumb sized dent and a deep gouge (not a scratch, a gouge, you could feel the depth of it with your finger)! When I pointed this out to the guy, he refused to take the whistle back or refund my money. Now I understand that when someone wants to sell their whistle, they naturally think they won't be able to sell it or that they won't get as much for it if they disclose it's actual condition. But you need to stop and put yourself in the buyers shoes for a moment. How would you feel if you paid money for what you thought was a "perfect" whistle only to find that it really wasn't? Most people expect and understand that when they go to buy a used anything that it's not going to be "new", and many are fine with paying less for a slightly dinged instrument rather than paying full price for a new one, but no one likes to be tricked into buying something. I later put that same gold low d on ebay and fully disclosed the damage. Not only did I sell it, I came very close to recouping all my money as well.