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The Psychology of buying and selling a piano

I was hanging off the Gravitron at gym, as I shared inquiries about my FOR SALE Steinway with a personal trainer. Anonymously wrapped, my adventures seemed woven with psychological threads.Steinway upright reduced by 75 75 75 75

In the first place, BANNER ads with MODEL AND PRICE were easy to digest, even without a DIGEST to memorialize all the details surrounding my fine instrument. And if a visitor to any number of the marketplace websites I’d posted at, was literate in the English language, he or she would amply absorb information about the piano, all embedded in a well-fashioned HEADLINE and sub-text.

That is, if the inquirer was NOT making a glaring attempt to bargain down the advertised price tag, demeaning the instrument’s value, and by association its owner.

One mom, confessed that she had a very gifted youngster, perhaps 5, or so, who needed a piano, and thereby noted my ad. When I told her the Steinway was an “artist” type piano, she produced a string of Ebay links, asking me which instrument matched mine? It was clear that my piano matched one with the same model number, though this was the only discernible connection. My upright was about 20 years YOUNGER by date of manufacture, making it the NEWER piano. (did I say “NEWER” FOUR TIMES over?)

A $1000 console was added into the Ebay mix which probably threw mom for a loop. I had to explain that the small piano, was not in the league of a professional Steinway studio upright. (And I spoke from experience)

Interest waned. The call ended.

Still another inquiry came from a movie maker– Oscar nominated. (I always GOOGLE names for my personal protection in these sales undertakings. Should a caller be interested in SEEING/HEARING the piano on site, I would need to know who’s about to cross my Bezerkeley threshold)

This time the party’s email had a PERSONAL ring to it. “Here’s me, Elijah and Esther, seeing your piano. We’re interested in buying it. How much are you asking?”

How many reiterations of price were needed????

Or perhaps this was a documentary-in-progress?

…How to make a piano owner feel guilty for NOT SELLING a memento to dearly loved relatives with common roots in the Old Country.

The cultural connection to the inquirer produced an imagined script of Biblical proportion:

Moses intones from the mountain top: “Goest Thou to Donate your piano to the Shule and do a Mitzvah. Give your People an opportunity they have been deprived of for thousands of years.”

On cue, the piano-buying prospect directs me to the biggest prop on the movie lot–a ritual sin-soaking bath, with no release until after Yom Kippur.

It’s a mega-guilt-produced masterpiece with price refrains ad nausea three times over, and a choir of grieving family members sitting shiva.

Then the gripping denouement. The film-maker makes a cameo appearance, decrying her lack of interest in the piano, saying, “We’re just shopping around–the kids have had just a year of piano.”

(I feel unswerving remorse for advertising a fine piano when this poor, but richly creative woman has no pressing need for it. As punishment, I’m sent to hell)

It’s her wish fulfillment! My move down below will “free” up the piano for a “quick sale.”

One last ditch email arrives with the following forwarded message: “Here’s Shirley Kirsten’s ad about the piano. You should speak to her about it since you’re looking.”

No surprise. It turns out to be another bargain hunter in disguise. After I quote the price plastered all over the Internet, the woman, who initiated a piano blog, registers “zero” engagement with the instrument. (“We’re considering a 61-one key, electronic self-starter.”)

Finally, against this psycho-pathological buyer/seller backdrop, I still remain optimistic that the right person will purchase my Steinway. He/she will love and cherish this musical treasure until death do they part.

Post-Script: The film-maker is not predisposed to this Happy Ending unless she gets the piano “for nothin,'” (bupkes) (Not an option)



4 thoughts on “The Psychology of buying and selling a piano”

  1. Why not offer it here, on your blog. Aren’t we more likely to appreciate the instrument? (If I lived in California, I would certainly consider it…)


    1. Thanks for your suggestion. Generally, unless I own this domain, selling is not option at WordPress. I have linked to the various sites. Basically the piano is selling for 9k with a reserve Best offer of $8500. I played the piano and posted videos at “My Singing Steinway studio upright is a parting sorrow.” (Fur Elise and Chopin Waltz)


      1. Comment from a reader:
        I enjoyed the humor in your plight immensely. Selling something as esoteric as a valuable artistic instrument (that is going out of style and not yet an antique) to a cost-conscious audience is quite daunting.

        Perhaps I should ask my niece if she is in the market for a Steinway while working on an experimental aircraft for NASA as an intern? I don’t know if she is even playing piano anymore.

        Good luck on your saga.



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