Buying knives- from the buyer’s perspective

Weekend Edition

ecommerce_shopping_cart_buy_computer_purchaseOK, I know not everyone is “tech savvy,” but come on…buying knives isn’t only done in person anymore.

Today, most knife dealers and shops are set up to do business electronically. In fact, many are set up for a buyer to “click and buy.” For sellers it is easy money and speeds up the sales cycle allowing them to make sales with less of their time invested in the transaction; for the buyer, it is quick and easy.


Last week I had two non-buyer friendly buying attempts. In one case, I followed through and put the energy into it anyway and bought the knife, but the second one- I never did.

From a buyer’s perspective there are two issues to buying online or long distance- our comfort level with the dealer/seller and the ease of the transaction.

I know we are hesitant to buy when we can’t “see” the knife but there are dealers and other sellers who have built a trustworthy reputation where we are OK buying without seeing the knife first. Also, some dealers are “set-up” to sell online- true e-commerce, where the buyer can “click and buy” right then and there.


I found a knife online. I was comfortable with the seller, his description, and the price. His website was well done and provided me ample photos. I decided to buy it. Then, instead of being able to “click and buy,” I was instructed to contact the seller via email (Frustration #1). The next day I get an email back from the seller instructing me to call him (Frustration #2).

mcAs well done as this website was, I was disappointed he didn’t have it set up to complete the purchase online. I didn’t want to have to call the dealer. So, I emailed the seller back to ask if he was set up to accept online payments. The seller emailed me back later to say, he wasn’t set up for online payments and for me to please call (Frustration #3).

I emailed him back to ask if he accepted credit cards. He replied that he did (why didn’t he tell me that in his earlier email?). So, I asked him if I could email my cc number (and any additional info he needed). He agreed and the rest of the transaction went smoothly. I got the knife in a few days later and it was just as expected and I am happy.


stoneage_reconst_rec300webThe second situation was more difficult. A dealer had a particular knife I was interested in. A friend sent me the dealer’s email address, so I shot him a message asking if he still had the knife, and if so, would he send me a couple of photos and a brief description.

A couple of days later, I get an email back from the dealer’s wife-

“My husband does have the knife. We do not have any photos but if you are in the area we can arrange for you to see it. Please call XXX-XXX-XXXX for a price and  description. My husband does not use the computer.”

Tell me I’m out of line here

I know I may be more of a geek than most folks (I’ll accept that), but my gracious, it would seem to me someone in business today would have made himself learn certain skills to help sell knives.

….In the area…what area? This is the worldwide web, ya know. And I am not going to drive however many hundreds of miles just to see a knife (well, 99.9% of the time anyway) Heck, my dad is 80 years old and gets online everyday. He may not know how to get a picture into the computer, but if it would help him make money, he’d learn. 

Wrapping up-

Tell me I”m out of line here and I’ll back down. Knife buyers are not just down the street anymore;  in fact, we’re online and feel it is reasonable to expect knife sellers to be too, and I would have expected a dealer to have already bought and learned to use a computer and digital camera.

Published in: on December 13, 2008 at 6:21 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dude!… You, a “Geek”?

    I think you fall well into the category of “Uber-Geek”!

    The dealer you mentioned is almost from an older and nearly extinct, “time-space-continuum”. It’s a wonder you two can still communicate at all.

    OK, enough of the ribbing. Yes, the world wide web has made it very easy for us to buy and sell knives. We have become very accustomed to doing business this way and we really like it! In fact, about 95% of my modest collection has come to me via the internet.

    However, I would like to point out that these dealers with an older style of doing business can be great resources. Even though you might have to “kiss a lot of frogs” before you’re done.

    A while back I picked up a very rare knife from an older dealer who does not use the internet. And, I got it for a great price.

    Yes, it was much slower to do business with him, but that worked to my advantage. His style of doing business makes him a little inaccessible to most buyers (which means he has fewer customers).

    The knife I was interested in had been in his inventory for many years at a fair price.
    I just happen to ask him what he wanted for it on a day that he was in the mood for some cash and I ended up with a great deal.

    If he had been an internet buff, that knife would have been “long gone” and out of his inventory years before I ever got wind of it.

    So yes, it was slower than usual to do business with him, but I ended up with a knife that I think is one of a kind. Plus, I met a new friend in the process.

    Derek Smith
    Salt Lake City

  2. Excellent Point(s) Derek! Thanks for the healthy perspective.

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