I've seen the eBay listings for their other items and spoke to both the seller and his son (who is managing the listings) throughout the day, so I'm not too worried about the deal going sour. Further, he's driving an hour south from Indianapolis to Bloomington to meet me at a coffee shop across the street from my graduate school building...
As for the lenses- the 120 is CF. The 80/2.8 was C T*.
The WLF he's selling for $50 is the one with a loupe and diopter adjustment. He also has another body (in admittedly lesser condition) with a popup finder ($275).
I'm moving to MF because there's a certain look, achievable by virtue of the physics of a larger neg, that can't be done on 35mm. Planar rendering is also something that contributes to this look, but it's not as much of a requirement.
As for Worker's response- The deal wasn't face to face, it was over the phone and through text. For a contract for sale of goods, such means of acceptance are generally sufficient in the formulation of a binding contract. This issue is not so simple, though.
While I acknowledge your described remedies and which things were this simple-
The deal is an aggregation of individual components. The 120 was listed for $490 and he's dropping the price to $400 because he wants me to get a lens; we had a long talk about my intended use, my desire to get into MF, etc. Further, I'm not under any obligation to buy the lens nor is the deal contingent on my purchase of all of those parts. He received payment for the 80mm almost immediately after the other buyer won the auction so canceling the transaction would require a visit to the eBay Conflict Resolution Center (or whatever they call it) which additionally requires the buyer's consent to cancel the sale. The buyer has no reason to do this as the final price for the 80mm was only $354.20 which as we all know, is a steal. Obviously the sellers would rather get the lens to me because there's face-to-face delivery at a price higher than what they'll receive through the eBay purchase, but the funds were already received by Paypal. I have no reason not to believe that the sellers would rather the lens go to me considering such a deal would mean they had more money in pocket (literally) than completing the deal on eBay.
If we want to get legal on this- and mind you this is a cursory and possibly flawed analysis- there was an offer and there was acceptance of that offer. There was ALSO an offer and acceptance by the other buyer (through eBay). That buyer, in getting his funds delivered before I did, thereby completed the offer and formed a binding contract for sale of a good before I did.
My act of going to the bank and withdrawing cash could be viewed as consideration towards the formation of a contract for sale of a good, but can I say that I was "injured" or "wronged" by this? Not so much that there emerges any judicial remedy. Some courts might decide that the seller has to make good, but a greater amount of reliance is necessary. Yes I "relied" on this offer and acted upon this reliance, but not to my actual detriment.
The issue here is that just as the seller failed to deliver upon a deal we made, if he cancelled that sale to the eBay buyer, he'd be doing the same thing to him. Considering the amount of Buyer protection that eBay has, I don't know that a few texts and phone calls between the seller and I would hold up against the contract formed via eBay sale. I wish I remembered more of Contracts, but I forgot most of that after the final- the above assessment seems right (enough) to me, though.
Anyway- I think I'll tell him to bring down the polaroid back or see if I can't get him to give me the pop-up WLF off the other body... I have no reason to give him a tough time, but I'm not pleased with how this situation was handled and can hopefully leverage whatever pathos there is in this situation to my advantage.
I'm also drafting a contract for sale of goods that will give me the option to refund for full value should the equipment fail to meet the promised conditions and fitness.