This whole “freight” / “cargo” thing started with my quest to obtain a Candy Cab. At this point in the game I had decided that I wanted to exclusively have a Naomi Universal style machine, it could be a driver, or a shooter, standup, or sit-down, I didn’t care! I VERY quickly learned that the name of the game in this scene was to advertise things you don’t have, and to subsequently tell people that you could help them find one. Either you have one in your own “warehouse” (many folks don’t actually have), or you know a friend with one, or two, or seven warehouses, perhaps you know someone that helps clean out defunct arcades, etc. Eventually you’ll find the captains auctions, and fall further down the rabbit hole in being able to *help* other people find what they need! This in and of itself is a legit hustle. Some folks are out being very dishonest in this hustle, unfortunately.
You can very easily pay $3000 for a machine that you could acquire on your own for $200 and a bit of patience. There is also of course a tradeoff on acquiring rare and sought after items for a premium rate. I very quickly learned that the second part of this hustle is the freight, and shipping alone! My first two cabinets came from Todd Tuckey TNT Amusements, and Koun Cheung aka KCArcade. or L A AMUsement INC respectively.
l got the first one from KC, It was a New Net City listed for $900 and “local pickup only”. I shot KC a message literally asking “I am having a hard time finding one of these, would you consider allowing the costs of a shipping company?” to which I got a simple “Yes $500”. I think in the end I wound up paying $520 over a difference in opinion over friends / family vs service / goods PayPal payments. It seems EVERYONE in this scene wants to be “friends”. The problem is although it removes the sellers tax requirements, it also removes buyer protection. If you get screwed, you may legit be out of luck because of your choice to pay as a “friend”.
The first shipment came in without a hitch KC has been a great seller for me, I was even able to talk the driver and his assistant into lugging the machine into my basement for an extra $100 under the table. STI is the company that delivered it, which I took note of for my own potential future shipments. At the end of the day I paid $1520 to get this machine from a warehouse in California via eBay into my basement. Please note this machine was not on a palate, it was simply wrapped.
Some of you are staring at the screen sideways right now after those prices, it should be noted that I am in Ohio, smack in the middle of the “Mid-West”, and basically subject to the “east coast Candy Cab drought”.
The second shipment, an 18 wheeler UK style upright, also went sans incident. The major difference is the fact that although the cabinet was the same style, it came with an additional pedestal, and a driving wheel, shifter, and pedals, as opposed to a regular control panel with buttons and sticks. This caused the shipping to vary slightly, instead of a simple wrap, it needed to be on a palate, as well as getting wrapped. This particular cabinet is a bit harder to find in the states, it isn’t quite *rare*, but it is not easy to find. American’s primarily got the deluxe, and theater style sit down version of this game. I heard from someone in Oklahoma that often truck stops had the UK uprights, due to a lack of space. The original ask on the cab was $1200 (down from a previously listed $1300), $475 to ship it to me, and another $50 to palate it. I had seen the same cab at a different seller for $1000 flat & $425 to ship, but they seemed less experienced generally speaking. It felt like more of a gamble. I talked Todd down to $1100 on the cab, and the rest remained. The total came to $1625 at the end of the day with TNT Amusements. At that point I didn’t really think to check the shipping carrier. Later I noted it was shipped via NEMF, through DLS Worldwide.
By now I needed ALL the Pokemon, and had went on the hunt to acquire a Crazy Taxi, I needed look no further than KC as he already had one in his vast warehouse. Without any haggling I simply accepted his price of $600, and called Beltmann and asked for the standard $451 pickup, and drop off. One more machine arrived without a hitch, more importantly it also arrived sans palate. This particular machine made me note, that if you wanted to be frugal, and risk minor damage, you could save $50 pretty easily.
Not long after that I got roped into a Captains Auction, and I snagged a Jambo Safari for $150, I’ve seen this machine sell for upwards of $1450 on AGS, to $2747 on CoinOpExpress. After the 18% “Buyer’s Premium”, and $13 in tax, the machine came to $190. The delivery was $451 via Beltmann (using STI as the carrier), and we incurred a $50 delivery fee for a missed attempt. This cab, at the end of the day cost $691.
Yeah, I was in deep already… not much I could do, but continue the hunt. I mailed all over high hell looking for cabs. Jade Jeux, Arcades4Home, US INDUSTRIAL CORP, CoinOpExpress, HighwayGames (aka Arcade Game Sales), Williams Amusements, NationalArcadeHire, DirectGameRooms, ArcadeGames.net, HomeLeisureDirect, CoinOpPartsEtc, ChooChooArcades, and many others all got emails saying I was looking for: “Confidential Mission, Ghost Squad Evo, Clay Shooting, Lupin the Shooting, House of Dead, Maze of Kings, Virtua Cop 3. I am looking specifically for Naomi Upright style. I am not interested in “DX” or “SD” cabs’.
This is when an animated fellow named Jonathan Thompson and I connected. Jonathan has most of what I want, as he lives in the original service area for the style of cabinets that I like. Sparing the nitty gritty details, Jonathan and I agreed to me purchasing a HOTDIII for $3000, $2000 for the cab, and $1000 for the shipping, storage, handling, etc. More or less this was an exercise between us, to see if we can work out a process of moving cabs from the UK to the US. On my end I owed another $397 once the unit arrived at the port, this covered Documentation, Stripping, THC (!?), Chassis Fee, Port Security Fee, Fuel Surcharge, Congestion Surcharge, Loading, and a facility administration fee. From there I also owed a port broker to handle the remaining logistics, taxes, and fees. I owed $2.05 in duties, $125 for preparation and filing of entry, and $25 for a document courier charge. To top it off because I paid with a credit card instead of a bank transfer there is added fee. The grand total was $167. One more person needed paid, rather than deal with Beltmann I decided to allow the port broker to try their trucker. Including the credit card fee, it came to $377 to get the cargo delivered to my door step. The driver tried to charge me an other $100 for an “inside delivery” simply for leaving it min my garage. I fought this charge however. The final total was $3941, of course making it my most expensive acquisition yet, albeit the most rare too.
We have three more cabs total inbound, one more from the UK, it deserves a story in and of itself as we’ve had to try to free it from a secure airport terminal that is not open to the public located at Heathrow. The other two have been slow, but not yet problematic, and are arriving from Italy. Once they complete their journey, their stories will be documented.