How does Scalping Work?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by TheDemonDzko, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. TheDemonDzko

    TheDemonDzko °-{[●□●]}-° {Beep. Boop.)

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    How does scalping work exactly?

    I see people in other threads mentioning that people scalped the hell out of the figures that are now shelfwarming like hell.

    Like from my perspective, I understand that people scalped in terms of, when they where rare the "scalpers" in term would buy what little they could find and put it on ebay for like... three dollars more the regular retail, plus ludacris shipping.

    But from my understanding, people only really scalped that line because it was a bit of a failure in terms of distribution. Especially with Dark of the Moon right around the corner, it just had no chance.

    So, I see people constantly complaining about how the Vehicons and certain other figures from the Prime line are going to be in short supply due to scalping. Which only makes me question, as to "Why?" even with the movie line, I have seen those horrid figures in plenty, yes certain figures havent been as plentifull, such as Space Case, but to be fair. That is more so the stores fault, because it -is- an exclusive to that store.

    Like, Ok fair enough people are going to be troop building, but really... The focus of the selling is going to be between two lines that arn't as... Hm, "In demand." as the movie toys. So it isn't as if they have much room for poor distributing, especially with so little being around. I mean, Prime has... what... Eight toys in all? And, the only other stuff will be generations packaged movie toys, and Generations... Whoop de doo.

    Just my thoughts on the subject at hand, and I was really just wondering your opinions, I am obviously not as schooled as the rest of you guys are. However, I do find it to be somewhat silly to think that certain toys are going to be hard to come by.

    I mean shit, you think. Ok, I live in a pretty big city... There is about five targets, eight walmarts, three Toys R Us, and a couple other stores that sell Transformers. I know this isn't always the case for most/some members, however. I seriously doubt, one to three man/men are going to raid all those stores for figures, that I highly doubt anybody would pay more then retail for in the first place.
     
  2. TrueNomadSkies

    TrueNomadSkies Airachnid's ratservant

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    It's usually not, and that's one of the reasons why most people who reference "scalpers" in their area are just frustrated with not being able to get what they've been hunting for, rather than actually being scalped like they think.
     
  3. Nightwind

    Nightwind Aka Dusty Bottoms.

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    Personally, I think the term "scalped" is used way too much.

    Realistically, I know that there are people who purchase the most popular toys to sell on eBay or whatever. However, these people are so few and far between that I don't feel they have that much of a negative impact on the collecting community. Hell, troop builders can have more of an impact, imo.

    If I'm honest, I think "scalping" is used as a crutch to make over-grown, spoiled, man-children feel better about not being able to find that new toy that they must have. Can't be because a kid got it! Must have been that elusive and evil scalper! :ev: 

    I feel I've probably been jaded by the large amounts of whining that I've heard through these boards over the years because someone can't find the figures that they want even though you can usually find anything you want online if you're willing to pay the price...
     
  4. TrueNomadSkies

    TrueNomadSkies Airachnid's ratservant

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    Exactly.

    Winning > Whining. Indefinitely.
     
  5. havanowoncheese

    havanowoncheese Proud No Ma'amer!

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    The prime figures we expect to see scalped will be ones that will be in high demand in the collector community. The way scalping works is when a figure that comes out that is expected to be in high demand to collectors it is likely to be scalped because collectors are more capable and more likely to pay the marked up price. A scalper cleans the shelves of their local stores and than try to sell the figures for 200-300% mark up. The most common reason for scalping is poor distribution however that is not always the case. Sometimes it is merely a result of impatient collectors willing to pay the mark up because from what i gather based on my time being a fan is that toys first show up on the west coast and than east coast and make there way in so me in ohio is more likely to have to wait longer by a few weeks before the toys is at retail in my area.

    Another great example is TRU exculsive MP Rodimus. This figure had an early release exclusively by TRU at SDCC. These were going for a significant mark up on ebay since they were out early. I found it in great numbers in my area 2-3 weeks later.

    People want their toys faster and scalpers profit from it.
     
  6. blurr69

    blurr69 First time caller

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    Ebay:
    scalping = going out of your way to buy items at retail price or below to intentionally try and profit off of, selling to those that actually want the items and are willing to pay the premium, as a profession.

    everything else = everything else.
     
  7. VestigialHeart1

    VestigialHeart1 Well-Known Member

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    That guy that works at Toys R Us that steals figures before they're put on the shelf is a scalper. So is that guy who buys 3 or more of every figure. It's not an issue when figures are getting a wide distribution but when case assortments are low like the tail end of RTS it's devastating especially for those of us who live in smaller cities.
     
  8. kamuix

    kamuix weeeeee

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    It's hard to determine the proper definition of what a scalper is. The best way to describe them is people who get first dibs on the wants of particular figures that fans, collectors, or people who like transformers. The sad thing is that people who want things first are who empower these scalpers. People want figures as soon they come out, so they can mess with them, admire them, take pics to show off here, or even review them. There are so many reasons as to why people want them immediately and some people take advantage of that. It's also hard to deter these people as the people who try to help one another for the fans, use their information for their gain (ie sightings section).

    I mean before a good example was RTS Kup. People wanted him quick due to igears head swap. I remember he was going for a good price. Now I see him chilling at Target in large numbers. I'm glad I waited to get Kup at regular retail than pay the extra bit to get him early. Even when the heads came in. Even more ironic was ROTF superion and bruticus. Those things were shelf warming like mofos and even was on sale. Then the limbs from fansproject popped up. Boom, high demand and wants. That's another good explanation as to why some scalpers feed on this. It's weird how things fluctuate.
     
  9. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    I thought scalping is, when people buy a big load of an item only with the intention to re-sell it with a large profit margin and due to the limited amount of available toys on the market they force people to buy the toys from them for horrid prices, instead for the regular price from the retailer, like they would normally do.
     
  10. RedAlert Rescue

    RedAlert Rescue Banned

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    I think it's quite possible if you live in a town with only a few places to buy toys if someone comes in any buys all the current/past or future Troop builders then you are going to have a rare old time finding that toy for a while (Scourge/Wreck Gar/Vehicons - Even cyberverse Crankcase).

    Sometimes it's not scalping though it might be an oddball assortment like the Cyberverse Commander waves that way overpack Optimus Primes or the way they made the Dark Sentinel Prime so similar to the normal Version he's more likely to hang around and Guzzle being a tank and a new mould is more likely to sell first.

    Sometimes I find it weird what is hard to find and what isn't like why's it easier to find Leadfoot than the Roadbuster Legion toys.

    Also someone looking to resell is less likely to buy something that the collectors might not want so that is another reason why there's hoards of Bumblebees.
     
  11. Billzilla

    Billzilla Skeptic

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    I knew there was a reason you're one of my favorites (other than your boss Raticate avatar).

    "Scalper" is code for "I was too slow/lazy/stupid/late/unlucky." Yes, a figure's popularity, distrbution or troop-building usefulness can be a huge pain in the ass (see Wreck-gar for the perfect storm), but for the most part, if you're willing to put in a minimal amount of effort and employ the grown-up trait of patience, you can have practically any figure you want for retail or less.
     
  12. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    Ebay:
    The definition of scalping is wide and varied. But in short, scalpers do not make common items rare, what they do is look for items that are already rare to begin with and buy them all up to sell and make a profit. These can be in the form of exclusives, short-packed items are taking advantage of distribution lags.

    There are a couple of factors in collecting that really benefit the scalpers. Impatience from fans who want items right away even though they know that it will be readily available a month later. Uncertainty of information regarding availability, run sizes, distribution. Fandom size which causes fan "favorites to be short-pack or exclusived.

    I was going to write up a scalping F.A.Q. but got lazy. . =P
     
  13. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Mostly Harmless

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    How does it work? It's fueled by stupidity.
     
  14. Alucard77

    Alucard77 Kaon Gladiator Champion

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    OK, there are multiple definitions that are used by people on this site:

    1- Some one who buys tons of stock of a highly desirable figure and turns around to sell it at a huge profit:
    - Recent examples: Windcharger, Shaow Scyther.

    2- Some one who buys duplicates for his/herself and later decides to sell one of those duplicates. If they charge, current market value (which could be much higher then original price) then people look at them as scalpers.

    It is all what your opinion is.

    Many people believe that we are a community here and we should help each other out. Then there are others who couldn't care less and try to bleed you dry. So it is everywhere and anywhere.

    The key is, make friends with good people and they WILL help you out. You can quickly see who will screw you or help you. In my experience, most people are willing to help.

    The one thing that does drive me crazy is how people think just cause one item sold on EBay for $400, means that the item is now worth $400. All it means is that 1 person was willing to pay that. If the person even paid, I mean they could have not paid.
     
  15. exomega255

    exomega255 Emerald Green

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    My personal definition is the attitude of scalping.

    If you buy and sell for profits, I think there is nothing wrong with it as long as you call it what it is and not trying to say you are doing fans favor or something. You are doing it for profit, and that's fair enough, just don't try to pass as a morally righteous move. Its a business move.

    I give the scalper title with lots of negative connotation, and only associate the word with people who does the above with an underhanded way or preventive of other genuine fans of fairly obtaining such goods for profit. [key words: Underhanded, and Profit. Both are necessary]

    For example, when Shadow Scythe was released, a member here kept on whining about how he doesn't have one and didn't get to preorder, and many took sympathy on him. I believe even a few members sold him theirs at low cost. Months later, he has 16 of them for 350$ on ebay.

    It's not so much the action that defines scalping for me, but the mindset and attitude.
     
  16. RatTrap1985

    RatTrap1985 Under your rolls of fat

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    A few people have touched on it in this thread, scalping is a term that gets used way to liberally.

    My definition of a scalper is as follows : Someone who buys toys in retail and turns around to sell them at a mark up in the secondary market.

    If I see a fan troop building or something it will sting, especially if its a toy I want, but I won't think they're scalping. they're just buying a bunch of toys that they will enjoy.
     
  17. MisterFanwank

    MisterFanwank Toy Industry Analyst

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    For the most part I agree with your post...

    However, scalpers DO provide an important distribution equalizing effect. Some figures just never show up certain places. Shortpacked, stupid retailers, insanely popular with kids and other collectors... Sometimes it's just not possible to find a figure in your area. Scalpers who live in places with good distribution increase the supply of figures that can be bought online. Their prices may be ludicrous, but patience and diligence can net you a fair price, especially as the product loses popularity.

    This happened with the Wii back when it was new. It happened for me for Lugnut, who never showed up ANYWHERE until a week after I bought mine online. It happens all the time. Scalpers allow the people who seriously want an item to get it ASAP, even though they may prevent people who have a more casual interest from having it for a while.
     
  18. Alucard77

    Alucard77 Kaon Gladiator Champion

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    Well, I think the question also is, what is the reason for this site. Two ways to look at it:

    1- We are a community and we should look out for people like you.
    2- We are just a site, who cares, I have what you want, you can pay me 3x mark up to get it.

    With new, short packed figures, I personally would love it if this site was #1 and #2 was left to EBay. But that is just me so I try to avoid people in camp #2. As for vintage figures, I think those are fair game.
     
  19. exomega255

    exomega255 Emerald Green

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    Oh. I guess, maybe we differ in the definition a bit on scalping. I mean, I don't consider people who buy up the figures to help fans as scalping. Pretty much when I label something as scalping I removed all positive links to whatever/whomever I label. Since the word to me is purely negative. So I consider very few "scalping", I suppose ^^; I consider people who take the time to resell for profit in this hobby smart, and money-savvy (I don't have the time to do that with my work though), so I don't label that as scalping.

    But then, we get into other discussions like whose job it is, when say, we have a limited item, to prevent scalping? A store can be preventive (at least a bit deterrent though there are work-arounds) about limited amount per order, or is it a collector's responsibility, etc. And then we get into ethical issues, which no one agrees on anyways =)
     
  20. MisterFanwank

    MisterFanwank Toy Industry Analyst

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    ^I'm not talking exclusively about people who buy just to help fans. I'm talking about people who buy in large quantities to resell online, regardless of their pricing or motives.

    Oh, I'm not saying it doesn't sucks to pay out the nose. I'm not saying I'd rather pay out the nose. I'm just saying, scalping has its place. Some people don't know about these forums and the support they can offer, some products don't have these kinds of forums and their fan based support.
     

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