A few recent incidents have reminded me of an inappropriate comment I witnessed a few years ago in a Facebook group dedicated to buying and selling lighters. While these groups can be a lot of fun, some individuals seem to feel compelled to comment on posts where they have no business chiming in.
Understanding the Purpose and Dynamics
I am a member of several groups that utilize the Deal Or No Deal (DOND) format for selling items, but one particular group is exclusively focused on cigarette lighters. The rules of these groups are generally straightforward, yet individuals frequently find themselves in violation. Here’s how it works: a seller posts one or more lighters they wish to sell and establishes the terms of the sale, including shipping preferences, whether they are willing to sell individual items or only as a lot, and so on. Interested buyers then make offers, and the seller can respond with either a resounding “Deal!” or a rejection of the offer saying, “No Deal.”
This format allows for a more relaxed and informal experience compared to traditional eBay listings. Additionally, it provides sellers the opportunity to bypass eBay fees and buyers the chance to avoid PayPal fees by using the Friends and Family payment option. However, it’s important to note that opting for this payment method comes with certain risks for the buyer. Ultimately, the success of these groups hinges on trust between buyers and sellers, although PayPal Goods and Services payments are the only means for buyers to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, as much as I would like to share posts from the vintage lighter DOND group I’m a part of, the group’s privacy settings prohibit sharing.
Essential Information to Disclose
I firmly believe that every seller should disclose any imperfections or alterations that may have been made to a lighter. Regardless of the platform where an item is being sold, it is crucial to provide a thorough description that highlights any maintenance performed or known to have been carried out on the lighter.
Now, I don’t expect sellers to possess absolute knowledge about every single lighter they offer for sale. However, there are certain basic aspects that any serious lighter enthusiast would be aware of. Therefore, it is essential to mention any scratches, scuffs, dings, dents, replaced wicks, additional embellishments, evidence of polishing, custom finishes, engravings, and so on.
When it comes to selling old Zippos, I would never attempt to sell a lighter with a hinge replaced by the Zippo Repair Clinic without explicitly stating it in the listing. To me, that’s non-negotiable. At the same time, buyers should also develop the necessary skills to identify signs or indications of a repaired Zippo. After all, purchasing old Zippos requires some level of expertise and background knowledge.
Seller Integrity and Honesty
Just because a seller overlooks certain information that keen-eyed buyers may notice immediately does not automatically make them dishonest or fraudulent. It could simply be a result of their ignorance about a particular detail they should have been aware of.
Of course, if a seller consistently fails to disclose crucial information, it might be a sign of laziness or a lack of professionalism. While I have no issue with sellers stating that the photos are part of the description, a proper and comprehensive written description should always accompany the visuals.
Selling vintage items online demands a minimum level of research. Sellers cannot afford to remain uninformed when it comes to appropriate market comparisons. However, buyers must also understand that sellers can’t possibly possess boundless knowledge. There will always be some aspects or background details that may elude even the most knowledgeable individuals.
The Incident That Exemplifies the Issue
Comments on posts within the vintage lighter DOND group can occasionally become absurd. In essence, the purpose of a DOND page is not to engage in random discussions; it is primarily for buyers to participate in the bidding process while sellers respond with “deal” or “no deal”.
However, there was one incident that unfolded a year or two ago. A seller had listed a very old Zippo lighter and explicitly mentioned in the listing that the hinge had been repaired by Zippo. It was evident to anyone with even a basic knowledge of Zippos that the five-barrel hinge on the lighter was not original. In fact, anyone interested in purchasing old Zippos should have educated themselves beyond blindly trusting the seller’s claims. But I digress.
Although the seller had accurately described the Zippo repair, a well-known collector and dealer decided to express his opinion about the lighter, uninvited and without any prompting. Let me clarify that I am not particularly fond of old Zippos with five-barrel hinges when they originally should have had three or four barrels. However, it is not my place to comment on every post or especially dissuade potential buyers from acquiring such lighters.
Yet, this well-known collector/dealer felt the need to share his negative opinion about the repaired hinge on the listing. One can imagine the impact that a comment like that can have, particularly when it originates from a respected individual within the community.
It is vital to remember that the repair had already been acknowledged by the seller and did not require any further mention. The comment was uncalled for and had no place within the DOND group. I sincerely hope that anyone reading this will remember this incident and treat others with the same respect, courtesy, and kindness that they would expect for themselves.
Always Be Kind and Follow the Golden Rule
As far as I’m concerned, the moral of this story is clear: treat others as you would like to be treated when participating in a DOND group or any other platform for buying and selling lighters. If a seller fails to provide sufficient information about a lighter, it is perfectly acceptable to seek clarification. Sellers may genuinely lack knowledge about specific details, such as the original packaging, accompanying embellishments, or appropriate finishes.
However, the scenario with the renowned collector/dealer’s comment was entirely different. The information he addressed had already been explicitly mentioned by the seller. Yet, this individual felt compelled to express his personal opinion for all to see. Such comments go beyond the boundaries of acceptable behavior within a DOND group or any similar setting.
Let’s strive to be considerate and kind, adhering to the golden rule of treating others the way we would like to be treated. Remember, a small act of kindness can go a long way in making these communities enjoyable for everyone involved.
Until next time… ✌️