Thursday, April 13, 2006

Collector's Code of Ethics

If a fellow collector confides in me that he is trying to quit buying a certain collectible, or possibly switching from one to another, is it my ethical responsibility to support him in his time of weakness? Maybe that’s not my role, but what if I openly did just the opposite and actually suggested that he continue with his addiction? Would that make me evil?

Awhile ago I sold some Ed Brubaker comics to Bob from the Collector’s Society forum. Despite feeling extreme grief from the transaction, I decided to try it again. I talked to him and found he was interested in making another large purchase. However, through our conversations, I discovered he was trying to move away from buying monthly issues and dive more into trade collections.

One of the sets he was looking to buy from me was a recent Wonder Woman arc called “Sacrifice.” Another was a recent JLA storyline. But he mentioned his reluctance because he was trying to slow down on the monthly comics. In the same email he also wrote:

“Having said all that, I was planning on picking up the Wonder Woman ‘Sacrifice’ and JLA ‘Crisis of Conscious’ in TPB, but if the price was reasonable I wouldn't mind getting those. Sheesh. This is crazy. One minute I convince myself I am going to go all trades and the next minute I am thinking about buying singles again.”

Did I support him and suggest we cancel the negotiations? No. Instead, I laughed and told him I’m the same way and that I’ve been trying to kick the habit for months.

His response was resigned to the fact that his next move was inevitable. “Yes, it is a sickness I think. I don't know if there really is any cure.” The very next email we had solidified our deal.

Here I am writing regularly about the struggles I have as an obsessive compulsive collector. I’m trying to learn about myself and possibly come to terms with what some jokingly consider a disease. Yet while I’m doing that, I openly undermine a fellow collector’s attempt at getting out of the life. Or if not that, at least fixing himself up enough that he’s not a slave to the Collector’s Mentality.

Was I wrong in going through with the sale? Or was I simply doing my part in maintaining the status quo and ensuring that collecting lives on?

Maybe cashing his check and hunting for more books will help answer that question, but I doubt it.


Bob said...

Hah. I guess I have no one to blame but myself for my weakness.

James W. Powell said...

Yeah. If we really wanted to quit, we would, right? But maybe there needs to be a support group somewhere. Then again, imagine all the collector's standing outside, waiting to buy collections for cheap.

Bob said...

Then again, imagine all the collector's standing outside, waiting to buy collections for cheap.

Ha, I'd be the first one to jump sides and try to pick up some books cheap.