We obviously take swapping very seriously around the halls at Swap.com. It’s in our DNA. Whether you call it swapping, trading, bartering, collaborative consumption, or something else, the basic concept should always hold true. Swapping is supposed to be an equal exchange of value from one person to another.
However, there are some companies out there facilitating swaps that really stretch the definition of equal value. Sure, there might be a lot of value for the company, but for the swapper it is anything but equal. When these other companies try to convince me that the swaps they facilitate are fair and of equal value, I get cranky.
Gamestop is a pretty well-known national chain where people can sell video games, as well as buy new and used games. I’ve bought a few games there for my son over the past few years before joining Swap.com. My family had a Nintendo Wii at home for a few years, so we built up a pretty good game library. For his last birthday, he got an XBOX 360 with only one game.
Of course, Sam asked for a bunch of games, but buying them new costs up to $60 per game. I had just bought the console and wasn’t really in the mood to spend more so we decided to list all of our Wii games on Swap to see if we could trade them for XBOX games. I must say, even I was pretty surprised with the results.
We listed 20 games, 8 of which we have already swapped for original XBOX games. We got Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, Madden NFL 11, DiRT, Pure, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, NBA 2K9, BioShock, and Namco Museum: Virtual Arcade. Not necessarily the list we would have chosen at retail, but we were pretty happy with it anyway.
The sum total of getting 8 used Xbox 360 games on Swap.com cost a total of $25.60 ($3.20 each for each mailing label). I did some research today to see how much it would have cost me to buy the same games at Gamestop. This is the part where I explain the crankiness. It would have cost me $121.92 to buy these games used (check their site).
Now, to be fair, I could subtract the amount they would have given me in trade for my Wii games (this ran from $2 – $15 per game). This totaled $52 (for those scoring at home, or an average of $7 per game when I spent up to $60 to buy it new). I now would have spent $69.67 to get the same 8 used games. This is a whopping 172% more than on Swap.com.
I don’t know about you, but to me this is pretty much the opposite of equal value. Gamestop asks gamers to trade in their games to get new-to-them used games. They then turn around and mark those games up more than 130%. That’s not a trade. That’s a swindle.
There aren’t suppose to be winners and losers in swapping – just winners and winners. Hard to feel that way at Gamestop. Don’t call it a swap if it’s not even for all involved. Pretty simple concept.
What do you think? Do you always expect equal value when swapping?