Beware the cherry picker!

Posted by Mike Eley on

Beware the cherry picker!

The term 'cherry-picking' is derived from the concept of harvesting only the ripest fruit; the picking of the best at the exclusion of the rest.

At MrPottery, when we are asked to provide a quote for the purchase of someone's preloved china, we have a strict policy of NOT cherry picking. We believe that to do so is unethical as it nearly always leaves the seller in a poorer position than they would have been had they been left with a full service to sell. 

Of course, this does mean we will not always quote on a selection of china if there are not enough items to peak our interest, but at least the seller has the option of trying to sell it elsewhere, e.g. Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or eBay. And that will be easier to do if they have not sold the best bits to a less scrupulous matching service, putting their profits before service.

Typically, most matching services are interested in the same items. Contrary to popular belief these items are not the pieces which were the most expensive to buy when they bought the set new, e.g. teapots, casserole dishes and gravy boats. We get far more excited about the everyday things; the pieces that get used all the time, e.g. dinner plates, breakfast plates, bowls, and mugs. 

Here is an example of the sort of thing that happens...

Betty decides she wants to sell her part dinner service. Amongst it are 7 dinner plates. She approaches 3 china matching services for a quote. 

The first company offers her £100 for the whole set.

The second company offers her £120 for the whole set.

The final company offers her £45 just for the dinner plates. They are very encouraging, making the point that this is a generous offer for these 7 items and she will of course be able to sell the rest of the set elsewhere without any problem.

Betty thinks she will easily be able to get £80 to £100 for the rest of the set from one of the other two companies so accepts the offer from the 'cherry picker'.

When she goes back to the other companies and asks for a new quote without the dinner plates, they both withdraw their interest. She tries to sell the rest of the set on Gumtree but as there are no dinner plates, not many people are interested and she ends up letting it go for just £30. 

In total she makes £25 to £45 less than she would have done had she sold the whole set to one of the other matching services. 

This is a simplified example, but we see this happen everyday and it's really frustrating when we have to explain to the seller that we are no longer interested because the best bits are no longer available to us, and you hear the realisation in the seller's voice that they have made a mistake. 

If you have received an offer for only part of your service, always check that you will still be able to sell the rest elsewhere. Don't accept the cherry-picker's word for it. 

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