Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

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Tal-
Posts: 182
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:41 pm

Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by Tal- » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:11 pm

I'm looking to find a personal shopper to help me buy two gifts for the wife. There seem to be hundreds of personal shopping services, but all of them seem to focus on fashion, or on errand-type services (e.g. groceries). I'm looking for help to purchase a couple custom gifts that are not easy to come by. Specifically:

1: 60 minutes with a genuine Stradivarius. My wife is a classically trained violinist, and talks about them like they are one of the seven wonders. Her playing one for a bit would be a lifetime memory for her. I've contacted various musicians, shops and museums with no luck at all. My budget for this, including the personal shopper's fee, is around $2K - but this may be flexible. We can also travel to anywhere in the US to make this happen (not included in the $2K).

2: An old CD from a garage band that lasted just a few months. The band was 20 20 Faith, before becoming Eleventh Hour (not the Eleventh Hours that's still around) and were centered out of Arizona around 2002. My wife had a 20 20 Faith CD that brings back memories of summer internships, but misplaced it years ago. Budget for this, is around $300.

Any suggestions on a personal shopper/service who might help with these? Have any of you used a similar service for hard-to-find items???
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

denovo
Posts: 3465
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by denovo » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:20 pm

Tal- wrote:
1: 60 minutes with a genuine Stradivarius. My wife is a classically trained violinist, and talks about them like they are one of the seven wonders. Her playing one for a bit would be a lifetime memory for her. I've contacted various musicians, shops and museums with no luck at all. My budget for this, including the personal shopper's fee, is around $2K - but this may be flexible. We can also travel to anywhere in the US to make this happen (not included in the $2K).




I have a suggestion for this. Look for ones for sale, hopefully near you. Let them know the situation and ask them if you could rent it.

psteinx
Posts: 2637
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by psteinx » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:23 pm

Perhaps you're using the wrong search term(s). I'm not sure what you really want is a personal shopper, because, as you've found, that term is associated with a different service. What you want is something more like an internet concierge - someone savvy enough to search and interact with parties to pull this off.

There used to be (and may still be) stuff along these lines that I think were primarily fulfilled by cheap off-shore talent - in India or whatnot. That likely wouldn't work well for your situation.

If you can't find the right service in 15-30 minutes of internet searching, then perhaps you can find a neighbor or friend with a son or daughter in college or perhaps late H.S. who can be set to this task - perhaps $200 for the Strad task and $50-100 for the CD, with a performance bonus (if they succeed in pulling if off) equal to the original fee.

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prudent
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Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by prudent » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:24 pm

I just want to say your idea of renting the Stradivarius for an hour is genius. I always marvel at folks who can come up with great gift ideas like that. Have you considered contacting some larger orchestras to see if they have a violinist who owns one? Their PR person might realize there's some good press coverage in a story like that.

ResearchMed
Posts: 5322
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:26 pm

Tal- wrote:I'm looking to find a personal shopper to help me buy two gifts for the wife. There seem to be hundreds of personal shopping services, but all of them seem to focus on fashion, or on errand-type services (e.g. groceries). I'm looking for help to purchase a couple custom gifts that are not easy to come by. Specifically:

1: 60 minutes with a genuine Stradivarius. My wife is a classically trained violinist, and talks about them like they are one of the seven wonders. Her playing one for a bit would be a lifetime memory for her. I've contacted various musicians, shops and museums with no luck at all. My budget for this, including the personal shopper's fee, is around $2K - but this may be flexible. We can also travel to anywhere in the US to make this happen (not included in the $2K).

2: An old CD from a garage band that lasted just a few months. The band was 20 20 Faith, before becoming Eleventh Hour (not the Eleventh Hours that's still around) and were centered out of Arizona around 2002. My wife had a 20 20 Faith CD that brings back memories of summer internships, but misplaced it years ago. Budget for this, is around $300.

Any suggestions on a personal shopper/service who might help with these? Have any of you used a similar service for hard-to-find items???


Do you happen to have an Amex Platinum card?

Their Concierge service can be great for things just like this.

Years ago, they helped me find some classical "disks" for an antique Swiss music box.
(The disk had little bumps, and the player had prongs. Previously, I'd only seen that on a music box with a cylinder with the "bumps".)
This was in the era before everyone Googled everything - and you should at least try that, too :wink:

Anyway, they found an assortment in a *tiny* shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and I NEVER would have found such a place.

Other premium cards might have similar Concierge/search services.

Good luck.
It sounds very much like the special gift I was seeking back then.
(Brought many tears to an adults eyes, it was so very special. Turns out one of the disks had a song my friend's grandmother had sung many decades earlier. "Priceless" - except it wasn't MasterCard or VISA or whoever has that...)

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

Tal-
Posts: 182
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:41 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by Tal- » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:23 pm

psteinx wrote:Perhaps you're using the wrong search term(s). I'm not sure what you really want is a personal shopper, because, as you've found, that term is associated with a different service. What you want is something more like an internet concierge - someone savvy enough to search and interact with parties to pull this off.

There used to be (and may still be) stuff along these lines that I think were primarily fulfilled by cheap off-shore talent - in India or whatnot. That likely wouldn't work well for your situation.

If you can't find the right service in 15-30 minutes of internet searching, then perhaps you can find a neighbor or friend with a son or daughter in college or perhaps late H.S. who can be set to this task - perhaps $200 for the Strad task and $50-100 for the CD, with a performance bonus (if they succeed in pulling if off) equal to the original fee.


Altering my search terms to include concierge is a great suggestion. I played around with it for a few minutes, and haven't found a perfect fit yet, but it feels like I'm on the right path. Thank you.
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

Tal-
Posts: 182
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:41 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by Tal- » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:25 pm

ResearchMed wrote:Do you happen to have an Amex Platinum card?

Their Concierge service can be great for things just like this.

Years ago, they helped me find some classical "disks" for an antique Swiss music box.
(The disk had little bumps, and the player had prongs. Previously, I'd only seen that on a music box with a cylinder with the "bumps".)
This was in the era before everyone Googled everything - and you should at least try that, too :wink:

Anyway, they found an assortment in a *tiny* shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and I NEVER would have found such a place.

Other premium cards might have similar Concierge/search services.

Good luck.
It sounds very much like the special gift I was seeking back then.
(Brought many tears to an adults eyes, it was so very special. Turns out one of the disks had a song my friend's grandmother had sung many decades earlier. "Priceless" - except it wasn't MasterCard or VISA or whoever has that...)

RM


I don't have a Platinum card, but my employer actually offers a service along these lines. I've never used the service as I've typically been able to (and prefered) do things myself - but this is a good stone to turn over. I hadn't considered it, so thanks!

And great story on the disks. That's exactly the type of outcome I'm shooting for!!!
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

ResearchMed
Posts: 5322
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:39 pm

Tal- wrote:
ResearchMed wrote:Do you happen to have an Amex Platinum card?

Their Concierge service can be great for things just like this.

Years ago, they helped me find some classical "disks" for an antique Swiss music box.
(The disk had little bumps, and the player had prongs. Previously, I'd only seen that on a music box with a cylinder with the "bumps".)
This was in the era before everyone Googled everything - and you should at least try that, too :wink:

Anyway, they found an assortment in a *tiny* shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and I NEVER would have found such a place.

Other premium cards might have similar Concierge/search services.

Good luck.
It sounds very much like the special gift I was seeking back then.
(Brought many tears to an adults eyes, it was so very special. Turns out one of the disks had a song my friend's grandmother had sung many decades earlier. "Priceless" - except it wasn't MasterCard or VISA or whoever has that...)

RM


I don't have a Platinum card, but my employer actually offers a service along these lines. I've never used the service as I've typically been able to (and prefered) do things myself - but this is a good stone to turn over. I hadn't considered it, so thanks!

And great story on the disks. That's exactly the type of outcome I'm shooting for!!!


Yup, it was "priceless".
I just sent you a PM.

Don't stop with the first line Concierge.
Ask for a supervisor.
I've found that too many of the entry level (at Amex Plat) don't do much other than the same Google search I had already tried (for whatever it was i wanted), and then pass along that. Not helpful these days.
The right experienced Concierge there might enjoy the challenge, and also the gift idea itself.

Good luck.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

flyingbison
Posts: 1363
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:52 am

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by flyingbison » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:07 pm

Tal- wrote:2: An old CD from a garage band that lasted just a few months. The band was 20 20 Faith, before becoming Eleventh Hour (not the Eleventh Hours that's still around) and were centered out of Arizona around 2002. My wife had a 20 20 Faith CD that brings back memories of summer internships, but misplaced it years ago. Budget for this, is around $300.

Any suggestions on a personal shopper/service who might help with these? Have any of you used a similar service for hard-to-find items???


Is this it? http://www.cduniverse.com/checkout/cart ... id=9964152

Tal-
Posts: 182
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:41 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by Tal- » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:48 pm

flyingbison wrote:
Tal- wrote:2: An old CD from a garage band that lasted just a few months. The band was 20 20 Faith, before becoming Eleventh Hour (not the Eleventh Hours that's still around) and were centered out of Arizona around 2002. My wife had a 20 20 Faith CD that brings back memories of summer internships, but misplaced it years ago. Budget for this, is around $300.

Any suggestions on a personal shopper/service who might help with these? Have any of you used a similar service for hard-to-find items???


Is this it? http://www.cduniverse.com/checkout/cart ... id=9964152


No, but the site provided some information about the Eleventh Hour band members that I hadn't seen. This led to a search on names, and then to an old LLC, and then to a new way to searching for the band. And alas, we may just have something!

Much appreciated - thank you!
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

Bonanza77
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:42 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by Bonanza77 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:53 pm

I could totally do this job, but until I make it official, here's some free information that might help with the Stradivarius search:

http://www.5election.com/2010/01/24/sta ... ill-exist/

Apparently there are 512 extant.
Last edited by Bonanza77 on Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

campy2010
Posts: 852
Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:01 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by campy2010 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:57 pm

Tal- wrote:
flyingbison wrote:
Tal- wrote:2: An old CD from a garage band that lasted just a few months. The band was 20 20 Faith, before becoming Eleventh Hour (not the Eleventh Hours that's still around) and were centered out of Arizona around 2002. My wife had a 20 20 Faith CD that brings back memories of summer internships, but misplaced it years ago. Budget for this, is around $300.

Any suggestions on a personal shopper/service who might help with these? Have any of you used a similar service for hard-to-find items???


Is this it? http://www.cduniverse.com/checkout/cart ... id=9964152


No, but the site provided some information about the Eleventh Hour band members that I hadn't seen. This led to a search on names, and then to an old LLC, and then to a new way to searching for the band. And alas, we may just have something!

Much appreciated - thank you!


Maybe consider donating the difference in your $300 budget and the price of the CD to Bogleheads.org as a finder's fee?

wilked
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:50 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by wilked » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:37 pm

Tal, what's your nearest large city?

SixAlpha
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:01 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by SixAlpha » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:16 pm

Tal- wrote:
ResearchMed wrote:Do you happen to have an Amex Platinum card?

Their Concierge service can be great for things just like this.

Years ago, they helped me find some classical "disks" for an antique Swiss music box.
(The disk had little bumps, and the player had prongs. Previously, I'd only seen that on a music box with a cylinder with the "bumps".)
This was in the era before everyone Googled everything - and you should at least try that, too :wink:

Anyway, they found an assortment in a *tiny* shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and I NEVER would have found such a place.

Other premium cards might have similar Concierge/search services.

Good luck.
It sounds very much like the special gift I was seeking back then.
(Brought many tears to an adults eyes, it was so very special. Turns out one of the disks had a song my friend's grandmother had sung many decades earlier. "Priceless" - except it wasn't MasterCard or VISA or whoever has that...)

RM


I don't have a Platinum card, but my employer actually offers a service along these lines. I've never used the service as I've typically been able to (and prefered) do things myself - but this is a good stone to turn over. I hadn't considered it, so thanks!

And great story on the disks. That's exactly the type of outcome I'm shooting for!!!


Visa Signature cards also offer a similar service. I've never used it, but worth a shot.

Nearly A Moose
Posts: 555
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:28 pm

Re: Personal Shopper/Service for Complicated Purchases

Post by Nearly A Moose » Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:30 pm

For the stradivarius, what about reaching out to a university with a good art history or musical arts department, or to a performing arts school? I know this is legwork and not a personal shopper tip, but I could see a music professor or university museum curator being really into the idea of helping with this. And they probably are the people who know where these things actually are.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

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