Advice needed: Team Fortress 2 and the Bill's hat conundrum
October 18, 2012
So I'm letting Steam do it's thing (i.e. download updates) when I notice the little envelope icon is green. A message. It's a friend request. It's a name from Breaking Bad, with some sort of clan taggery around the name, and an accompanying Bryan Cranston icon..
I had Orange Box day one... as a result, I have some random items like this too. Every time I play TF2, I get a popup trade request for one of them. I had to turn off auto-trade popup from random people or something. Oh well.
If the hat has no value to you - and clearly it doesn't - my suggestion is to give to him. Though maybe make him do a real-life good deed, like find a homeless guy (do they have the homeless in Europe?) and give him money for lunch. Take a picture of the guy, and the lunch, send it over on Steam and the hat is his.
I used to care about this whole TF2 economy thing, so I've got some experience with this. What he told you is right; Bill's hat is worth about 8 keys, which can each be purchased from Valve for about $2, so it's real world value is about $15. It can be traded for keys, but keys sell for less than $2 each, and their only purpose is to open crates, which usually give you a crap item, but occasionally give a hat, or extremely rarely reward you with a random hat with a glowing particle effect that's worth a whole ton of keys. In the TF2 economy, weapons are worth an order of magnitude less than hats, it'd take hundreds of weapons to be worth one good hat.
He either is actually just desparate for a Bill's hat, or he's going through accounts that haven't played in a long time to try to trade for them for really cheap. He probably found the hat in your pack using http://www.tf2items.com/. You can do the same to him, to see if he really is just a poor kid wanting a hat, or is a TF2 hat hoarder looking to increase his stash. Some people have hundreds of Bill's hats by now, it's a common hat to use to trade for other, more expensive hats.
As to what you should do, beats me. I quit all this once I realized I was spending an hour a day looking for good deals on videogame cosmetics.
tl;dr: Search at http://www.tf2outpost.com/ for what other people are offering for Bill's hat and try to find someone trustworthy who gives you something you really want in return, like games.
Something similar happened to me last christmas. During the Steam Sale I crafted my pieces of coal, which I got through achievement grinding, and no coupons or games showed up, but TF2 hats. I was pissed and complained about that in the forum, and as it turned out, I seemed to have gotten one of the most valuable hats, the Holiday Headcase (http://stats.tf/item/667/The_H.... For almost 4 days I was searching the internet to get into this TF2 economy and was so scared I could to anything wrong. I didn't want other hats, but I wanted games, and I found some offers on this site: http://www.tf2outpost.com/ At some point I didn't care if I was going to be ripped off, I just wanted to get rid of this hat so I could think about other stuff again. Someone approached me, his steam profile looked okay (enough games, no new account) and he offered some other hats, a scarf, stuff I really had no use for ... AND Skyrim. So I took the offer. After a few days he messages me because he saw that I still had the TF2 items he gave me. He said since I had no use for it, he wanted to trade another game for it. So I have him back his TF2 stuff, and after some negotiation ("You're breaking my balls here, man!") I got Batman: Arkham City + 2 DLCs. I still think that I could've gotten even more games out of it (people in the forum claimed that hat was worth 4 to 5 games), but I just wasn't ready to waste so much time on figuring out the real market value of that hat. And even though still haven't played those games, yet, (damn work and social life ... and too much other games on my account) I didn't regret it. 2 games is more than I've ever expected to get during a Steam Sale for completing achievements. Oh, and by the way, the currency in TF2 supposedly is Earbuds, because they are also limited. And I've just found a trading request where one Holiday Headcase wants to be traded for 4 earbuds and 2 Bill's hats.