Flea market or serious audio deals?

Why everybody thinks about Audiogon as "Bargain Hunter Paradise"? I am at Audiogon for years and I think the idea was to allow people to find and try some very good, quality audio (in excellent condition)for good discounted price...but not give away!!! What do you think?
I was 'away' for about a year, and have noticed that it is not a bargain paradise anymore.
Used to be most stuff was at 50% of retail.
Now it's more like 66% of retail.
And a few items from the actual owners, that are the 'old' deals and get grabbed right up.
A few offers with lower prices, but most are from 'professional sellers' with a high price tag.
So many sellers are trying to just make money buying and reselling, jeez.(I hate it)
The problem I see with running the asking price off retail, or the imaginary 'what would it retail for if new today': is not that many people PAID retail.
Like an ad new today for a preamp (unnamed) for Hmmm changing the price to hid it, say $250. Now I bought that same preamp TEN to TWELVE years ago for $225, discounted, new. What goofy pricing is this, (it is no 'golden oldie either')
Same thing with these 'junker' old mid-fi receivers up for sale at twice the original sticker 20 years ago... and for junk too!
I found a decent (junk) (for a non-audiophile woman with a $100 CD player someone gave her) Marantz ??? 2470 ??? not sure of the exact model #, but I found it at a secondhand store for $25, in great shape. I bought it and gave it to her as a big improvement over the thing she had used before, for the price I paid. I works nice and all, but I see stuff listed just like it asking $375.
So??? are these people overflow from E-Bay? or just innocent, foolish people who don't have a clue as to the actual value of what they are trying to sell?
I don't want to start some sort of bit@hfest here nor get myself into trouble, so I really want to chill out on this topic now... WOOF
I have been using A-gon for a few years, and built almost my entire system from it. I think it all comes down to what the market will bear....

Case in point, I had a Linn Ikemi, which I sold for $2000 or 55% of retail. I don't feel that was a bad deal for the buyer, which, by the way closed the deal within 48 hours of listing the item, a big plus for me as well. I have seen exactly the problem you have seen though.....case in point, I needed a new DVD player, nothing special, but adequate where my requirements. I bought a Philips DVD 963 SA...also a multichannel SACD player as well as a progressive scan DVD player with DCDi. OK....onto the real issue.

I got this player, NEW with US factory warranty and a 30 day money back guarantee from J&R Music for $370 shipped (unit price $356.50). To top it off, it got here in three days (and I ordered after 4PM EST (I live in Florida)) ! I searched A-gon and found 3 for sale, one for $350...used, the others for $419 and $395. Now nothing against these sellers, they likely paid the $499 retail…but as a good shopper, I wouldn’t buy for that.

I have noticed, also as you’ve said, the really good bargains go quickly, I think however that is just indicative of how popular this site has become. I can tell you that I was considering a Sunfire Theater Grand II with Cinema Grand Sig amp that showed up this morning or last evening. Before I’d made up my mind if it would work for the bedroom, it was gone. I’ve also found great deals by acting quickly, like the Chang Lightspeed HT 1000 I got for $425….needless to say, I offered the guy full price from my computer at work when I saw it and closed the deal in less than 3 hours.

My point is it can and still is a bargain, you need to be more vigilant in your pursuits of audio gear to get the best deals. I also must mention, many of the people I’ve dealt with have become friends, and we speak regularly. I value that as much as I do the few dollars difference I could have paid for a piece of equipment. I also am far happier with my purchases from A-gon than other sites (especially eBay….which seems to be a great way to get people to pay you for cleaning out the closet/garage)

BTW Elizabeth……I also had one of your experiences…. I found a guy selling a pair of JSE Design 1.0 (what to this day are still in my bedroom….after surviving college, seven UPS shipping’s and god knows how many other minor issues) fro $800. I found it very interesting that I still had my receipt for my pair from 1985 for $832!!! I guess they really held their value! I should have been better to them!

I think its just an extension of the "bigger fool" theory of real estate (no matter how much you paid, there is always a bigger fool willing to pay MORE than you did.