Paul Gamino's Parlor Rollers

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Reprinted with permission from Ms. Alice Roche.  Also appeared in the American Pigeon Journal January 1979, Page 13.

How to Buy and Sell Pigeons

By Robert Roche

        About once a year I place an ad in the American Pigeon Journal that not only produces the result of selling my surplus birds but it also produces inquires that gripe me right where I sit down.  For instance, I will get several letters or I should say notes that say, “I read your ad for Parlor Rollers.  Please send colors and prices.”   So you say, “What’s wrong with that?”  Well, I could write a book on what’s wrong with a letter of inquiry like that.

        Perhaps I am a little peculiar but I want to know something about a person that expects to get his hands on some of my birds.  Like most sincere fanciers, I have spent a fortune in time and money obtaining my stock initially and improving upon them.  Why should anyone who is proud of his stock release any of them simply upon request?  Having the necessary funds for purchase does not qualify a buyer for any of my birds.  I want to know how long he has had pigeons which will tell me if he knows quality when he sees it.  I want to know what breeds he has raised which will tell me if he understands performing breeds.  I want to know how old he is which will tell me if he is settled down and will stick with it.  Yes, I am one of those who is reluctant to sell to juniors.  My experience has been that too many of them come down with a gland problem at about 16 years of age.  They give them to the neighbor kids who in most cases will roll them to death or at best, the poor things will look like they have rolled 10 miles on pavement.  I do recognize that some juniors do stick with it and I will sell to those that can convince me of their sincerity. 

        I want to know if he belongs to a club, which will indicate his interest in the Fancy.  I want to know if he is a show breeder or a performance only breeder, which will tell me whether or not I want to sell to him at all.  To sum up, I think that any breeder of quality stock wants to know the new owner will appreciate the birds as much as the man who raised them.

        Then we have bargain hunter who wants to buy your best birds for $10 a pair.  You have spent hundreds of dollars obtaining suitable stock, which is bad enough, but if charged a penny an hour for the time you spent improving them you would never sell any.  The bargain hunter is usually the same guy who wants a guarantee in blood that the bird he buys will win at the Pageant or the National or maybe both. 

        In the case of a local buyer, I agree to exchange any birds that are unsatisfactory or buy it back at the selling price.  For those who buy through correspondence I ask the buyer who is unhappy to kill the birds and send me the band intact and I will refund the buyer’s money.  Generally, you will find that a knowledgeable breeder will not kill a good bird so it makes it impossible for him to cheat you by simply claiming the birds were not as represented and asking for his money back. 

        So, what is a good bird?  In this case, it’s not a show winner because we are talking about birds the average person can afford to buy.  It’s certainly not a breeder’s stock bird since they are priceless.  We all know that no one wants someone’s culls.  That only leaves one-category of birds left.  These are the 10 to 30 percent of what a fancier raises that are truly quality birds but since no fancier can keep every good bird, he must place them on the market.

        The problem of disposing of them is cured by placing an ad in the APJ.  Now we have come full circle.  The funny letters start rolling in and the fancier is face with how to deal with each letter.  That is why I am writing this article.  If you really want someone’s birds, try to appreciate the time and effort he has put into his stock, don’t try to buy his birds for peanuts.  Let him know what kind of fancier you are by telling him about your experience and loft setup.  This doesn’t mean you should try to be his new pen pal since most reputable breeders have trouble keeping up their mail as it is.  Enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope as a courtesy since you are the one requesting a reply. Expected to pay shipping charges and the most important thing of all is if you are not happy with what you receive, contact the seller and I bet you will reach a mutual understanding without too much trouble.  After all, when that shipping crate left his place, it not only had his birds in it, it also had his name right on top. 

        If you are selling birds, by all means answer all inquires.  Let the fancier know what he can expect if he buys from you.  Indicate how you prefer to ship.  Be sure each of you understand what, if any guarantees applies to the transaction. The most important aspect to consider as a seller is what if you misrepresent you stock, you name will suffer and be remember long after the birds are gone.  The key to successful selling by correspondence is to deal in good faith and give full value for value received.  A satisfied buyer is you best advertisement.   

Paul Gamino's Parlor Rollers