I was set a challenge a few weeks ago to buy the eight Fleetwood Mac albums from the Buckingham / Nicks era onward for £32 or less in just 14 days. With the challenge accepted the first place I went was online to investigate if it was even possible.
I wanted to try to buy all the CDs new; after browsing Amazon, Play (and their Marketplaces) plus a visit to Find-CD.co.uk I found the cheapest copies of each album that I could. I was in trouble, the total was £41.21. Time proved the most expensive at £6.75 (ignoring the fact that one site wanted over £30 for a copy of Say You Will!). At almost £10 more than my challenge allowed it was obvious that I needed to look at ‘almost new’ as well as scour record shops, the internet and eBay.
I had to start somewhere and from my original scan of the titles I noticed that Tango In The Night was only £3.58. This was brand new and as each album had to cost no more than £4, I picked it up immediately. I had started off on a good foot and now had £4.06 for each remaining one!
In today’s world of iPods and digital music, often ‘almost new’ really means ‘opened, ripped to MP3 and traded-in’. If the CDs showed no obvious signs of being badly handled (or even used) then I would be happy buying them. Back on the Marketplaces of Amazon and Play, then on to eBay I got the price down to £37 in total. It still looked hopeless so I sent a flurry of tweets out to Record Shops asking if they could help with my challenge. I believe it is good to support the independent stores, yet I never got a single reply. So much for a mutual love of music-buying…
The response on Twitter from our own followers was great – I had a girl who worked in HMV checking her store, someone else checked his local independent, and many suggestions came our way. The game-changer was a tweet suggesting I try Zoverstocks. They don’t have their own site rather they sell the spoils from the CD trade-in website MusicMagpie on Amazon and Play.
Here I found Behind The Mask, Tusk and Say You Will for £1.96, £3.99, and £3.65. This was fantastic, I had completed half of my challenge and was only 3 days in for an average of £3.30 each. It also meant I had £18.82 for the remaining four, a healthy £4.71 per CD.
Three days searching went by when a “Watch Email” from eBay notified me that Time with a Buy It Now of £2.99 was newly posted. This was exactly what I needed; well below my original £4 ceiling. When I went to the listing I noticed they had added the “Make An Offer” button. I have used eBay for years though have never gone through this process. Ignoring the fact £2.99 Buy It Now was well within limit I couldn’t help myself. I cheekily offered £2 (a third off). Two days later the offer was rejected – I’m not surprised. Oh well £2.99 was acceptable I guess; no sooner had I thought it, the Seller counter-offered my £2 with £2.60. I should’ve just hit “Accept” but there I was typing in £2.49 to make another counter-offer. What was I doing? I needed this CD and the price was already more than acceptable. The following morning the Seller accepted the offer, I had just bought Time for £2.49.
Left with £16.33 (or £5.44 per CD) to get three albums, I discovered a 2004 reissued Fleetwood Mac with 5 extra tracks existed. Additionally a remastered Rumours with 1CD, 2CD and 3CD versions had recently come out. The 2 or 3 CD version was surely a pipe dream, but it didn’t stop me wanting it though. On thatsentertainment.co.uk I found the debut for £5.99 brand new. There was no second-hand copy here, though the site stocked an original (second-hand) 1984 version priced at £1.99 – I took note, and carried on.
If I was going to get lucky, eBay would be the place. Not only did I find the remastered Fleetwood Mac for £2.99 plus £1.30 postage, I also found a 3CD version of Rumours for £3.74. Both had a few days to go, though there was a number of bids on Rumours.
I needed to know how much bidding money I had available, so I had to buy Mirage quickly. Back on to my favoured Zoverstocks there was Mirage for £4.15. This had been £5.29 and way out of reach, but now was well below the new £5.44 per CD limit (ironically the original price was within the new limit too). Clicking on the Buy button was becoming an exciting feeling.
I had two CDs to get and £12.18 (£6.09 per CD) to play with. The Rumours CD was the most ambitious but also the last to finish – I had a chance now. I picked up Fleetwood Mac for £4.29 (only bidder). Now my maximum price on the 3CD Remastered Edition of Rumours including postage was £7.89.
The current bid was £4.18. There was four minutes left and nothing was moving, I bided my time and felt wildly optimistic. With 15 seconds to go I punched in £6.39 – my highest bid less the £1.50 postage. With four seconds to go I was outbid. The CD went for £6.79 (£8.29 incl. P&P), I felt gutted.
Back to the drawing board. I knew I could buy an original version of Rumours brand new for £5.39 – the first price I found and still available on Amazon. But now I wanted the remastered version, and if I was really lucky the 2 or 3 CD one at that. Still licking my wounds from losing the auction earlier I went on the offensive with £7.89 in my pocket. Surely with that amount I could scrape a win here?
On my favoured Marketplaces all remastered editions were around £9, the multiple CD versions even more. Then on eBay I found a store called ‘Revival Books’ selling the 2CD edition, second-hand in “very good” condition with free delivery for £5.65. I immediately bought it. This was the Sunday night of week one!
I had succeeded in buying all the CDs for just £29.76 in one week though only Tango In The Night had arrived. I felt extremely pleased with myself. Over the next week all seven remaining albums arrived. The second-hand discs among them were in excellent condition except for Time. That said, all it needed was a new CD case as both disc and booklet were immaculate.
When Fleetwood Mac arrived I instantly deflated. It was not the remastered version with 16 tracks as advertised That’s Entertainment had sold this version for £1.99 and I had just paid £4.29 for it. Not happy I tripled-checked the eBay listing; the EAN number, release date and tracks listed all pointed to the remastered 2004 edition. I contacted the seller to raise the issue.
I had 3 days left. I had met the challenge set to me, but not managed to buy the remastered version I hoped. What did I want to do? Could I get my £4.29 back, add it to the £2.24 I had left over and try finding the remastered version? I certainly could buy that version for less that £6.53 but it would never arrive in time unless I headed out and started pounding the streets.
The Seller was extremely apologetic and claimed they didn’t try to mislead, rather it was an eBay auto-listing mistake. EBay states the Seller is responsible for the listing so they were at fault, but I also knew that to send the CD back would cost me money. I didn’t really wish to sting the Seller asking for that cost too; I believed their honesty.
In the end we agreed on a partial refund of £1.20 bringing the cost down to £3.09. The album ended up costing me more that I had originally found it elsewhere (though now not available). What was annoying was if I had bought the £1.99 copy I would have been able to bid higher than the winning bid for the 3CD Rumours!
Still, the refund meant I had completed the challenge for even less – £28.56, or £3.57 per CD. Soon the self-imposed additional challenge of buying the remastered CD faded away; especially since I had snared the 2009 2CD remastered Rumours; something I hadn’t expected as part of my £32.
Eight CDs in almost perfect condition for less than £29 – I was very happy! That’s a 30% discount over the first prices I found and 10% below the £32 challenge limit. It was a lot of fun getting here and not something I could do buying digital copies on iTunes!