By Steve Hill — RattlingChains.com Staff
As readers of this fine website may recall, I have battled plastic addiction for quite some time now.
However, over the last couple months I have been navigating the road to recovery, and it is all due to making the plunge and selling discs online.
As a member of the forums over at DGCourseReview.com, I have wasted plenty of time posting about discs, courses, and other nonsense. Luckily, some of my time there has now been productive, as I am using their Marketplace forum to list my discs that were otherwise collecting dust.
It is quite easy, really — you start a thread listing your discs, then give each a little description, rating of wear, a photo, and price. People can then message you to arrange payment or trades.
The best part of the Marketplace, though, is the feedback you can give on transactions, much like on eBay. Since it is the Internet and you have no clue who you are dealing with, you can use each buyer’s feedback ratings to guide you in the process.
The First Taste
At first, it was pure laziness that kept me from dabbling in the Marketplace. Taking all the photos for the discs, listing the prices, making multiple trips to the post office … It all sounded like a lot of work.
But, when you are on a budget, and have a bunch of discs you aren’t using just lying around, you reach a tipping point.
One quiet night, I decided to log on to the Marketplace and create a thread with multiple discs in it, but no photos. My caveat in the description for the discs was, “photos available on request.” I didn’t find the sense in taking a bunch of pictures and uploading them if the interest was going to be lukewarm, at best.
Then, it happened.
No more than 10 minutes after I listed my discs, the first message came asking for photos of my Westside Swan2 putters. I happily obliged, uploaded the photos, and quickly sold the discs.
Then it hit me — I just earned money! For discs I don’t even need!
I was hooked. I spent the rest of the night photographing the remainder of the discs for sale so that I could get them all sold and get some more of that sweet, sweet money.
Acetone Headaches and Compromise
If I was going to sell all of these discs, though, I was going to do it right. I wanted to gain positive feedback and be known for selling a quality product, so I needed to clean up my collection a little bit.
Enter my new friends, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and acetone nail polish remover.
The bald guy and his sponge-like creation work like a champ to remove little scuffs and dirt that look otherwise embedded into the plastic. I was able to make my white discs look white again, and overall it helped make everything look a little newer.
The drawback, though, was this odd feeling it left on my hands, which I kind of equate to the physical sensation of nails on a chalkboard. So, whenever I was done with the Magic Eraser, I was always grateful for its service, but happy to be done.
The acetone, though, was a whole different animal.
I did a little research on removing permanent marker from discs, and I have come to this conclusion: There is a reason it is called “permanent.” However, in my Googling, I found that acetone nail polish remover would help to dim Sharpie ink and, with enough elbow grease, remove it altogether.
Uh huh. Sure.
The only thing acetone nail polish remover actually removed was breathable air from my house. Even after leaving the windows open all day, I could still walk in from outside and think my wife had taken part in a mass manicuring. Sure, the marker was a little dimmer, but nothing worth the stench. The people I sold my discs to would just have to suffer a little, and I might have to lower my prices a bit. Worth it.
Envelope Aftertaste and Lucky Guesses
Now that I had a system of prepping the discs, I had to figure out the best way to ship them off. I didn’t want to spend an exorbitant amount on shipping, because I would end up making less on the discs. So, I went to the local grocery store, grabbed some 9 x 12 inch envelopes, and gave them a go. Success, minus the horrible envelope glue taste.
Now, armed with the confidence of money in my PayPal account and the addresses of my customers, I headed off to the local post office to see what the damage would be on shipping. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I figured it couldn’t be too much, since there are a few disc golf retailers that offer free shipping.
And I was right. For one disc, it costs about $2.65. But that wasn’t the most impressive part of my trip to the post office.
That honor belonged to the clerk at the post office. Laying down my envelope on the scale, she kindly interrogated me about its contents (making sure I wasn’t sending anything liquid or flammable), then picked it up.
“Frisbee?” she asked.
“Wow, that’s pretty good,” I said. “You’re right, it’s for disc golf. Lucky guess?”
“Nope, I’ve been doing this awhile,” she said. “Plus, another guy was in here the other day selling his, too.”
Well-played, postal clerk. Well-played.
Wait…You Can Trade, Too?
The discs kept going out, and money kept coming in…then going out rather quickly. In fact, there were a couple times where I would spend the money I had earned before shipping out the discs! (Don’t worry, they all went out the next morning.)
That is the best part of selling items on the Marketplace, though. Instead of feeling guilty about buying a bunch of new discs and having old ones sit, I was getting rid of the old ones and using the money to try all the new ones I wanted! Why I didn’t do this sooner, I will never know.
Soon, though, something even more exciting (to me, at least) happened — A trade inquiry.
I had only posted the possibility of making trades in my sale thread because I thought it was just what you do. I never had any intention of trading because there is an inherent risk involved.
With selling, you get the money, then ship. With trading, you are trusting that the other individual is going to actually send you the disc you are set to trade. Until that disc comes in the mail, you never really know what is going to happen, especially when you are working with someone who is new to the Marketplace and has little to no feedback.
But, when you are sitting on some old plastic, and you are greeted with the prospect of something you want, sometimes you have to go for it.
Case in point — a trader with no feedback wanted my Latitude 64 Opto Line Striker for his Latitude 64 Opto Line Pain.
Ah, the Striker, one of the first discs I bought when I started playing, not knowing what the heck I was getting myself into. It was marked as “stable” and I picked it up at max weight. That combination made it fly more like a concrete slab than a disc for me, and I had no use for it.
The Pain, on the other hand, was something I was quite interested in, as a controllable, yet slightly overstable mid-range disc. I needed something for that spot in my bag.
After exchanging a couple messages to the prospective trader, I had an epiphany — even if I sent off the Striker and never received the Pain, it really wouldn’t be too big of a loss. So, I went through with the trade, and that Pain is now a staple of my bag. I have since gone on to make some other trades (Striker for Roadrunner, Roc for River), and have really found that trading can be almost as valuable as selling.
Reshuffling My Collection
As a result of my dabbling in selling discs, my bag has undergone a major overhaul in the last three months. I had been itching to try some more Latitude 64 discs after checking out the River, and this new Marketplace money was the best way to do it. I added a Fuse, then followed it up with the Opto Line Pure. I have since gone on to convert almost all of my bag to Latitude, minus one mid-range disc by Westside Discs (which is molded by Latitude, so they are family). I never would have been able to do this without selling my old, unused plastic and letting it find better homes.
Even better than having new plastic in my bag, though, has been the opportunity to try discs virtually risk-free. For example, I have read various musings on the wonderment that is the Discmania PD, a control driver that is, according to some, more versatile than a Swiss Army knife. So, I hit the Marketplace and found a couple. Fantastic disc, but not exactly what I need right now, so I listed them back in the Marketplace. It’s a win-win situation.
Connecting Around the Country
Beyond acquiring plastic, though, what I have been most entertained by through this process has been thinking about the fate of my old discs. I have shipped plastic all over the country now, and even to Canada, and it leaves me wondering if they are being well-loved, or sitting in a garage as a backup.
Is someone enjoying the old Valkyrie they bought from me, or is it living at the bottom of a lake after an errant throw? How about the Yeti Pro Aviar I sold a few weeks ago? Is the buyer splashing chains with it and feeling more confident than ever, or is it floating around on the Marketplace again, looking for a new home?
I know it sounds silly, but it is fun to think about. My old discs are seeing more than just the golf course now, and in a roundabout way, part of me is traveling the country with them.
I just hope they are hitting more aces than I am.
Steve Hill covers all angles of the game for Rattling Chains, even if he can’t hit those angles himself. Contact him at steve [at] rattlingchains.com and follow him on Twitter @OneMileMore.