My Turn

Macs No Bargain!

Martin Spenceley - 2001.11.30

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

I thought you might like to hear about my experience in trying to purchase a bargain Mac.

This week I went to a liquidation auction in deepest Dorset (UK) in order to purchase one of three G4 Mac's going in the auction. Two of the three G4s were 450 MHz machines with 128 MB memory, internal Zip drives, and a basic 15" beige monitor. The other was a 400 MHz, 64 MB machine with a basic monitor.

I got to the auction early to see how auctions work and to see how much the multitude of PC' also at the auction were selling. Since there were so many PCs being sold, I thought no-one would be interested in purchasing the Macs, so I would get some ridiculously cheap bargains! (Here in Dorset, Macs are not very popular computers with local schools and businesses all standardized on PCs).

The auction started and some no-name PCs running at 233 MHz selling for around £70-80. This was encouraging! Next came two Dell dual-processor 533 MHz servers; these looked like big machines but only sold for £375 apiece. Next up were some Compaq 450 MHz PCs with loads of RAM and disk space and 17" monitors; these were difficult to sell, with the best attaining £240 (the auctioneer started bids at £200 and refused to take bids for anything less). Then some Dell computers running at 600 MHz came up; these were the best specified machines at the auction, but these too reached only £275!

Finally the G4s came up for bidding. Based on the PC prices and the general ignorance of Macs in Dorset, I had visions of buying all three G4s really cheap, perhaps as little as £250 apiece! After a dry description from the auctioneer, he suggested the starting bid should be £500! There were loud gasps around the room. No-one could believe the starting bid; whispers and disbelief abounded. How could he suggest such a price for one of those Mac things?

Suddenly, someone accepted the bid and the price took off! 520, 540, 580, 600, 650, 680, 700. The final price was around £750 (I did not hear the final bid, since there was so much chatter and disbelief by the PC users around me). If you add the 10% auctioneers payment and the 17% VAT, these were far from the bargains I had hoped for.

The other two G4s went the same way, and I left empty handed. Still, it was great to see the PC users learn the lesson that a secondhand Mac is worth a lot more than a secondhand PC (especially from the likes of Dell and Compaq).

The moral of the story?

If your company goes into receivership and you need to clear your debts, make sure you have Macs to sell instead of PCs!

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