Team Wet Dog

Team Wet Dog

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evening ii


The Value of Free:

I recently tried to give away a batch of stuff. It wasn't junk, and it wasn't really Not Junk. An old sleeping bag, a knife block, a cheap toaster, an aging chair. Things that, while they had some value, would have taken too long and yielded to little for me to want to sell.

So I tried to give it all away. I posted the batch on CraigsList, and said "if you want any of it, come and take it all."

I was shocked at how long it took (or is taking, depending on if a girl came last night to get the crap). I feel like, by virtue of saying it was "free," I implied it had no value. Had I offered to sell each item, I believe I would have gotten rid of things quicker.

Price is a funny thing, because what you're willing to pay for something is a direct indicator of how much you value that item. Now, some things are "priceless," though not in my "free junk" kind of way, but that's not really what I'm talking about here. By saying it was free, I devalued things that I could just as easily have sold.

This works with a lot of things, though art comes to mind. How an artist prices their work can effect sales in many ways. Pricing it too high, obviously, can kill a sale. But pricing it too low can do the same as well — almost as if the price you set on your work helps the buyer feel better about it's value, even though, especially with something like art, sometimes that's completely subjective.

Anyway. Hopefully the batch of free stuff is gone. If it's not, I'm raising the price.

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All Images Copyright 2006 -- Robert Walton