Scalpers & Toys: When Did It Become A Menace?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Reaper Cloud, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. Reaper Cloud

    Reaper Cloud Dark Wrecker

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    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.
     
  2. Cool Hand Lube

    Cool Hand Lube Well-Known Member

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    :thumb  Good luck getting anyone to actually boycott scalpers. You underestimate the Pokemon Factor (Gotta catch 'em all!).
     
  3. Timesynch

    Timesynch Go For Broke! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Blame the Internet. Information at a click of a button is a double edged sword. Plain ol' human greed has always been around since the beginning of time. The Web isn't solely to blame for that but it certainly helps speed it along.
     
  4. Grimlocka go-go

    Grimlocka go-go Back from the Dead TFW2005 Supporter

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    I'd agree, but this tactic is also the reason i currently have no masterpiece Hasbro grimlock or hot rod, arcee or Rodimus from animated, and just about anything else toysrus gets as an exclusive because of the crappy fact that there is not toysrus in my state, let alone the infrequency of online availability.

    I hate professional scalping too, and once in a great while you'll be lucky and get a board member to help out, but for some of us retail isn't an option.


    EDIT: speaking of which if anyone wants to help me out with a MP thundercracker or Prime, send me a pm lol
     
  5. Reaper Cloud

    Reaper Cloud Dark Wrecker

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    LOL, great screen name by the way. :D 

    I only collect Prime RID and Cyberverse, but so far I have every figure (times two) for the line that is currently out...and without any Scalper help. I know that others are out there against Scalpers, but if enough "Armies of One" can get others to join the fight, then it's worth the effort to try and educate others.


    Makes me wish for a time machine and see just what people were greedy for during the start of Humanity. Water, Food, and maybe Women I'm guessing. lol



    Holy Crap, you're from Montana! :D  I used to live there in the 80's. :) 

    If stores like TRU had someone in charge of their online store who is aware of what year it is (lol), then one would think that they would have hundreds available online. Some online stores do have inventory available, but their prices are just as bad as Scalpers.

    My local TRU sucks, but if I find a MP Thundercracker...I will buy it for you. Cost + Shipping. :D 
     
  6. Big Dawg

    Big Dawg Well-Known Member

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    yeah, I don't generally give in to inflated prices for things that will eventually be available at retail, but it is tempting. When I first started collecting in 2010 I was on the look out for animated Rodimus and Ironhide. I paid about 30 bucks each to a guy, and guess what, literally the day after they arrived they were on the shelf at my local TRU for under $15 a piece. Learnt my lesson on patience there.

    However, I won't hold it against anyone to spend their money how they see fit. If they want to spend $140 to get a thundercracker now, so be it. I know I'll get mine at retail eventually.
     
  7. xMostWanted559x

    xMostWanted559x Well-Known Member

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    Maybe a little over retail where a person doesn't take a loss is ok. Time is spent and time is money
     
  8. Grimlocka go-go

    Grimlocka go-go Back from the Dead TFW2005 Supporter

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    LOL thanks that would be appreciated :thumb  yea i do wish more retail stores would improve there online inventories, especially ones that have exclusives like these.
     
  9. bellpeppers

    bellpeppers A Meat Popsicle

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    As soon as someone went to a toy isle and found an empty peg.
     
  10. Mister Gone

    Mister Gone Macro-Con

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    So you're saying I should buy Masterpeice Thundercrackers for eBay.... thank you for the hot tip. Wrings evil scalper hands and plots next dream to destroy.

    Who is to say the person paying $200 for a $25 figure is any less entitled to their figure? Seems like they just want it more.

    Sure scalpers make money off of purchasing things and selling them at a premium, but I doubt anyone bashing them would give away a gold nugget they find one the ground for free, hell if they found more than one I bet they'd pick them all up. A lot of people were looking for that nugget, they are rare, what right do you have to charge so much for something you paid so little for?
     
  11. Roufuss

    Roufuss Shots

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    Scalpers have always been a problem over the years, but lately it's due to horrible distribution and the frequency of the most sought after figures being one-per-case.

    I would say 95% of collectors don't have time, due to jobs or other real-life commitments, to be at TRU when they open or to constantly check Target every single day for months on end.

    Scalpers do, because this is their job. They memorize when trucks come in, they figure ways to manipulate the system to get figures they want and they will do everything possible to make sure only they get a figure. They will show up at stores every day at opening just for that figure they can profit off of. They will demoralize you to the point where you're willing to pay their prices. They have so much power, as you put it, because they will outmaneuver you every step of the way.

    I've seen them in person here and they are all the same -- they smell atrocious, they are overly aggressive and they will outright bully an employee into getting what they want. I have seen scalpers scream at an employee, demanding them to go in the back to get figures and I have even seen a scalper in this area kicked out of the store because he flipped out in the middle of the toy aisle at an employee because they refused to go find him more toys. I have seen scalpers at Wal-Mart in midnight dig through a pallet and just dump entire boxes of toys into their cart.

    When Hasbro starts doing even case ratios and better distribution, the scalpers days are numbered. That's all it takes. Until then, they will continue to torment us all.

    Also, scalpers are among us at all times, reading the forums, so that they know which figures are the most in-demand and popular ones so they know exactly what to go for. They use the sightings threads to find out what figures are where so they know where to strike.
     
  12. Transbot90210

    Transbot90210 Banned

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    I live in Toronto which is a big city so since 1995 I have been able to find every figure on the shelf (in 16 years maaaaaybe 5 figures tops didn't show up) Keep in mind that between my home and work there are about 4 TRUs and maybe a few dozen Walmarts I can hit up.
    From your list, everything came here and sat on pegs and shelves for a long time AKA they were all eventually easy to find.

    Where abouts are you located? I know I am lucky to be in a big Metropolis but I do have a point.

    Not everyone has a hard time finding figures and we here at TFW are a community. It is not uncommon for users to help one another out for cost or close to it. AKA nowhere near Scalper prices.

    The only way to stop scalpers (well avoid using them cuz you ain't gonna stop em) is to band together within the community. Now don't just jump at the first user who offers to help. There are opportunistic bastards here just like everywhere else in the world.

    1. Be active in the threads, you will start learning who is who and who can be trusted.
    2. Post counts, those with high post counts most likely value the site and won't risk a ban for trying to rip you off.
    3. Items Wanted Forum is your friend.

    Those 5 figures that never made it to Toronto, I got them all at cost + shipping from members here.

    I was only burnt once by Anabolic1 with TFCC P/CP but that was because I jumped in too eagerly and was too niave to how things are.

    So there are options outside of ebay and scalpers, TFW2005 is filled with A LOT of wonderful people that are more than willing to help out a fellow Transfan (the toys not the man ladies)
     
  13. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran

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    I think the concern over scalping is overblown and invoked too frequently. We collectors simply operate close to the nexus of low supply and high demand, and it's easy to blame some phantom other for when you can't find that specific product in-store. I speculate that far more often than not, you're competing against other collectors with the same frustrations.

    A handful of people setting high BINs on Ebay is not scalping per se, since you cannot know the means to which they acquired their merchandise. It's trying to maximize profit, which is what all businesses are about.
     
  14. TigerBlade

    TigerBlade Prepare for extermination

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    I think your preaching to the converted for the most part man, problem is some ppl have more money than sense. This will never ever be quashed.

    Gotta agree with this. There are other ways and there are some awesome ppl around these parts.
     
  15. Timesynch

    Timesynch Go For Broke! TFW2005 Supporter

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    You speak the truth. The Sightings forum can be both a blessing and a curse. XD
     
  16. Max-prime

    Max-prime Supreme-Commander

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    Totally agree I remember there use to be a forum just like ours here that was basically a hang out for people who all they did was resell. Their toy section always had the most people in it. It use to be a good resource to figure what they were after and where they were/shopping at. Too bad I lost the name of that Site.
     
  17. daddytron

    daddytron Your mom is an oversized CHUG

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    I believe bad distribution, or at the very least our awareness of it, has amplified the problem. From many of us having no luck finding MP exclusives at TRU (and there are three of them in my city), to the FE fiasco and godawful case distributions, many of us have doubts in our ability to ever find the figures we want in the wild. I broke down after two months of checking TRU every Wednesday/Friday in vain and bought MP Rodimus for $65 or $75 plus shipping. However that was an extremely reasonable price with very little markup, plus I got a good one that has shown no signs of breakage after at least 30-40 transformations. Not sure if I will give in if I can't find MP TC for another month or two.Starscream is the character I really want. And while I really want MP Optimus, I know I'm not willing to pay much of a markup on him because I already have MP-10 (and other than a couple loose joints and the dead looking eyes, is FANTASTIC).
     
  18. Reaper Cloud

    Reaper Cloud Dark Wrecker

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    If someone wants to spend twice retail for a toy, then it's fine...as long as they don't bitch and complain online about said price. :) 

    A little over retail is fine. Twice retail is wrong in my opinion.

    *Rimshot* ;) 

    This could be just another collector was at the store before you, which was covered later on.

    If you're talking about a G1 figure, then yeah...I don't expect to see people selling those at retail prices from the 80's. o_0 When a brand new figure is being sold by Scalpers at twice retail basically a few days (or even the same day) after the first sighting is reported...then that is what makes me sick, and also aware that Scalpers got hold of the figures before collectors had the chance.

    All true. :D  As pathetic as it might be, these people do this for a living. I'd rather work at a Fast Food joint than do what a Scalper does. This is also why I would ask members to PM me (in the Sightings board) for certain figures that I didn't want a Scalper to get. No one bothered, so I ended up buying the two Shockwaves for someone else out of State.

    It could be a battle of collectors finding the items first, but realistically (I would hope anyway) if one collector finds out that another collector purchased the figure first...then they should be happy. At least happier knowing that a fan of the toys and someone who will keep it was able to buy it before a Scalper got their grimy hands on the figure. lol




    True, and you're right about being able to see if people in your area are in fact selling them online instead of keeping them. When the Prime RID Vehicon first came out, there were a ton of Ebay auctions. Now, not so much. So either the figure is just not available in stores for anyone, or Scalpers have moved on to the next big thing, or collectors are finding the figure in stores. Probably not the third option, but it should be by September/October once the Revision case comes out with two Vehicons.

    Although, with the movie figures...are those actually hard to find? I would guess than the movie line filled the pegs with no problems. Unless I'm wrong and some figures end up being hard to find/rare.





    From the posts so far, it seems that this has been the case for collectors for a while. As a child growing up, whatever I wanted for Christmas/Birthday in the 80's I had. My parents were able to find them in stores, and these were popular toys. Between the lack of faith in toys, the weak economy, and kids being more interested in electronics rather than toys...I can only imagine that this will get worse instead of better in the years to come. At least I can honestly say that I never supported a Scalper, and have only paid a bit over retail for a toy overseas.
     
  19. bossman328

    bossman328 Well-Known Member

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    I really think that there are more collectors now. The movies attracted tons of people. What I've found is that other collectors are just beating me to the punch. I have yet to see an ebay auction for a vehicon or airachnid from the detroit area...yet I find their case mates all of the time. Also...collectors will hunt figures for their friends...so even if they don't need a "hard to find" figure...they will pick it up because they know somebody is looking for it. It's not always a "scalper" problem
     
  20. DethPike

    DethPike Master of Sinanju

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    I don't have a problem with scalpers.

    If I could find everything I wanted at retail, sure I'd be happy. But there have been times when things have just never shown up, or vanished entirely. And those times? I actually thank goodness that there WERE scalpers.

    Masterpiece Prime MP-10 - oh I WILL own one. Be it from a lucky trip to TRU, or from a scalper if I never see one on a shelf. But I WILL have that thing.
     

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