After reading (and seeing on Ebay) about how badly Scalpers are trying to cash in on the MP Thundercracker that is out (in some areas) and should be out in more areas soon...it made me think for a while. Just when did Scalpers become such a menace that they are in larger numbers than collectors in their respected areas? Now, before I address that I do need to say this. If you complain about Scalpers, yet have given in to them...then you really have no say in the matter. YOU are powering the Scalper. YOU are doing EXACTLY what they are expecting you to do. YOUR impatience and lack of better judgment is to blame. Not that Scalper. Look at it this way: You want an item, but it's only on Ebay (for the time being). Scalpers have purchased several of an item and are trying to sell them at double retail. What do you do? Do you A. Give in and spend the extra money, making excuses for the extra cost to make yourself feel better? Or B. Wait, be patient and find the item for actual retail? If you chose B, then good for you. My example of being patient has paid off in the upcoming release for the FE figures. I have seen MANY Ebay auctions for the figures, ranging in the 80-180 dollar range. I did not give in, and held my ground. Now, I can buy all the figures that I want for the price of ONE figure during it's highest going price. If you chose A, then you are making things worse for yourself and fellow collectors in your area. Here's why: A local Scalper buys four of the local hot item (MP Thundercracker). They are selling them for 140 dollars (double retail). Let's pretend that NO ONE gives in and buys any of their figures. They are not making ANY money, which is good. Weeks pass, and NO ONE buys any. They need to make money, so they drop the price some. Eventually, if NO ONE buys the figures, they will be forced to do one of two things. 1. Return the figures to TRU, which gives others a chance to buy them (90 days I believe), or 2. Eventually sell them at RETAIL price online. Either way, you the Collector win...not the Scalper. If you support the Scalper and give them WAY too much money for a toy, then guess what? THEY will continue to BUY more of them! If the Scalper sells all four MP Thundercracker's in less then a week, then they will look for MORE to sell! So now, the hunt is even worse than say if no one buys from the Scalper, since chances are they WILL NOT buy anyone figures that won't sell. So when did the Scalpers gain so much power? Is it currently? A few years ago? My only experience with them in real life happened around 1998 and 1999. Ebay was around a few years before this, but I'm not sure when it boomed. I do remember using Ebay in 2000 for a few things, but they were not considered "Hot" toys that Scalpers could rape others on in price. So to those of you who have been collecting for the last decade or so, what are your thoughts. Has the Internet given Scalpers more power? Were they just as bad before Ebay and the Internet? Yeah, I know about Swap Meets/Flea Markets, but I just can't imagine them selling as much merchandise at one of those as you can today online. Just remember collectors. PATIENCE is the key. If enough people said "Enough," and refused to give Scalpers their hard earned money...then they would go away. That's a fact. Scalpers live off of the impatient and weak (weak as in giving in). If you're strong willed and patient, then they can't take advantage of you, and will eventually have to find a REAL job.