Scalpers or Collectors?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Jacer, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. gibdozer

    gibdozer Love Gun

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    Neither am I, but I do make a judgement call on the character of people who make money on the exploitation of others. That's just a reality people who play the game need to accept.

    The argument of telling people how to spend their money doesn't hold water when they are spending it with the purpose of inflicting damage on others and the community as a whole. It's a question of motivations. No I can't tell someone how to spend money they earn, but I can make a moral distinction between right and wrong.
     
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  2. Hicks_Royel

    Hicks_Royel Nifty

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    Yeah, I get that. I don't care much for paying after market finder's fees myself.
     
  3. bellpeppers

    bellpeppers A Meat Popsicle

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    Damage?
    That's a bit of hyperbole isn't it?
     
  4. gibdozer

    gibdozer Love Gun

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    Nope. It's a particular form of greed which defiles what ought to remain pure. Just how I see it you're perfectly entitled to disagree, but don't try to confuse the issue with non sequitors.
     
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  5. bellpeppers

    bellpeppers A Meat Popsicle

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    Purity?
    No- this is frustration and anger caused by a sense of entitlement.

    You can't argue that it's better for a community if someone buys a bunch of figures to troop build than to turn around and re-sell.
     
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  6. GizmoTron

    GizmoTron Roobaticon Commander

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    I think while you shouldn't tell an individual how to spend their money, you're still more than free to say you disagree with how they do it. Whether that person listens or cares about how you feel is up to them, and I really think that if you're going to resell toys for cash you're going to have to have some thick skin and be ok with what you do.
     
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  7. analogue

    analogue Logically Illogical TFW2005 Supporter

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    In this respect, I would agree with your earlier assessment. It's no different if someone buys a bunch of figures to troop build versus if they turn around and re-sell them. The end result is the figures are gone. It's one of the reasons I brought up Siege Reflector (or Refractor or whatever) earlier, a figure that is meant to be purchased in multiples. It will be interesting to see how the community reacts to not finding the figure when it's basically meant to be scooped up in groups. If you don't have at least three, you would be missing out.

    But you can easily argue it's better for the community if someone buys one and leaves some for others versus if someone buys them all and turns around and sells them. In the former, they are allowing more of the figure to be available to those in the community around them, like some of us have tried to do here in Vegas with the local sightings thread. In the later, maybe the re-seller is supplying the figure to some who can't get a hold of it easily, and therefore seems to be helping the community on a national or global scale. But that argument is not as strong given the general online availability of most figures from Amazon, Hasbro Pulse, etc.

    I think the type of scalper that irritates people the most is the one that buys up all the stock of a highly anticipated figure when it first hits the shelves, then resells it for a premium price taking advantage of those that can't wait for it. Honestly, the easiest way to combat that is to simply wait for more stock and not buy from that person. But let's face it, most can't stand to wait and want that figure in their hands as soon as possible. And so that's why scalpers exist.

    Personally, I don't think I've seen this type of scalping where I currently live, there just simply hasn't been enough stock of anything hitting the shelves for someone to buy a bunch up. I live within a mile of a Walmart and Target. I saw them put out 1 each of Seige Soundwave and Starscream a week or so ago, and that was all that target got, and the Starscream was still there today when I stopped by. Over at Walmart, I saw them put out three each of those two, I reported they had it on the sightings thread, and within a few days, they had mostly been picked up by local collectors. So no nefarious scalpers here in Vegas apparently.
     
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  8. Gneric Robot Dinosaur

    Gneric Robot Dinosaur General Issue

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    Eh, like I said, I don't think anyone is going to change their perspectives. Bellpeppers has his opinion and while I don't agree, I respect his choice. Same with analogue.
     
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  9. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    In case people have forgotten. This was the original question of this thread. My comments are still geared towards this topic. If the OP's original question "I'm sure it's other collectors but scalpers make it worse right?" my comments would follow another route.

    - Why is a person who is late in line a "normal" and someone who cannot attend the convention buying it off the secondary market "abnormal"?
    - It can be argued that flipping/scalping is a truer sense of capitalism that America was built on. . .but. . .that's too heavy a topic so I'm not going to dig into that.
    - Per the example. So the guy walked away with 14 Devastator. (Which IMO was not worth the markup price.) 14 Devastators are not causing the TF shortage. Once again, scalpers bad, but not the cause.
    - So, one guy walked away with 14 Devi's. We know that scalping is not just one guy. But if the number was significant, like in the thousands, S&D dictates that the supplier make more. So once again, supplier primary, scalper secondary.
    - Your example also specifically points out that it's SDCC and Hasbro that allowed these guys to run wild for soooo long.
    - Your comments all factually agree with me that scalpers are not the end-all cause but it's laced with too much emotional content against scalpers that it's easy for people to get swept up in it.
    Personally not trying to justify anything. To me, this conversation is not a matter of me being right or wrong. It's initiating discussion and presenting multiple angles and letting the readers decided for themselves.

    The danger. My original statement was a question of "how many collectors have helped out a child?" and somehow some people end up reading it as a blanket statement of "collectors wouldn't help a child".

    Nobody can agree but a lot of people insist their definition is the right one and by default everyone else is wrong (and a scalper). It runs the whole range of what is acceptable.
    - Anything above retail is unacceptable, regardless of time, tax, fees, etc.
    - Anything above what they feel it is worth, a number they will not let people know in case they can get a deal.
    - Anything above what they feel it is worth, a number they can change at any time.
    - 5%, the business answer
    - 20-50%, the niche business answer

    Since I define scalpers as short-term, long-term by default are not scalpers. Other can call them scalpers if they want. I have no illusion of us ever agreeing on one definition so whatever.

    To me, investors have a worse effect on the stock because even though they only pick up a handful of each popular figure, I believe there are a lot more of them so they have a bigger impact on supply. They are also more widely sporadic causing more up and down swings. From an emotional perspective though, people are more forgiving of prospector/investor. And then they use that neutral/forgiving emotion to downplay the stock effect.

    - Margin - scalpers attempt high margin, reality may or may not agree. High margin is subjective.
    - Flippers - short turnaround, so it depends on whether turnaround is part of your definition of scalper.
    - Shortage - ignoring the literal word, scalping gained it's mainstream use when people use to buy sporting or music event tickets and flip them for gains. People felt they were creating even more of a shortage of a shortage but not the initial shortage. Secondary.

    FYI, I think you know this but I wasn't lumping you in with scalpers. I was just listing all the ways that multiple stock could disappear to one source.

    A full discussion of this would have to expand this conversation from quantity to variability. That's even heavier than where we're already at.

    This is exactly the opposite of what Supply and Demand 101 says but then again, S&D 101 is greatly oversimplified.

    Dang it bell. You finally had to use the "E" word. While I agree. . .as soon as that word comes out it's all downhill.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
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  10. analogue

    analogue Logically Illogical TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yep. Didn’t think so. Just pointing out that is something I do. In the interest of full disclosure of course.
     
  11. bellpeppers

    bellpeppers A Meat Popsicle

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    Right?

    I hate that word... and feel soiled after using it.

    But dang it...
     
  12. gibdozer

    gibdozer Love Gun

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    I'm not frustrated or angry, toys don't hold that kind of power over me nor do you. I never said I was entitled to anything but my opinion same as you or anyone else here.

    I could certainly argue that it's different purely based on motivation but I'm not going to bother(I don't troop build). It's just another paper thin justification you're using to try and side step the issue anyway.

    Troop building is just as bad, its my money I can spend it however I want to. The thread is about scalping, not your fiscal rights or the ethics of troop building.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
  13. RKillian

    RKillian http://www.rktoyandhobby.com

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    You order from Chinese sellers because the international postal treaty gives them free shipping and the USPS forces a minimum of $7 on domestic shipping to make up for the shortfall.

    Auctions are easy to win if you bid a fair market price. $1.24 on a $0.99 auction with 1 bid won't cut it. Hordes of people setting up snipers to get the first 99c bid at 6:23:59.9999 is a sad state of affairs.

    And eBay's 15% take, plus a myriad of brainlessly one-sided policies, are exactly why you can't get a deal on eBay anymore. The margin on anything from a distributor like Embarrassment Earth is about 10% these days. That puts hobbyist sellers UNDERWATER IMMEDIATELY and that in turn removes the most focused competition to scalpers. Although I still see the scalper as largely a boogeyman conjured up by people that wouldn't pay retail anyway (effective flipping requires the paradox of effective distribution).
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
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  14. OmegaTaco Supreme

    OmegaTaco Supreme Shut up Blur! ~The Rude Awakening of Optimus TFW2005 Supporter

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    I didnt know that about China shipping, but Ebay. I've been using ebay since it first came online. The system is broken now because it allows tools like auctionraptor, bidnapper, and ezsniper allows people to not even be present on auctions. When I'm bidding on a incomplete G1 Rodimus and my highbid is crushed within the last 2-5 secs of a bid by these tools it is stupid. Bidders went from 5 bidders to 25 bidders in the last 5 sec of the auction and ended up selling way...way over market value for a incomplete fig. The way these tools work is you select an item and put a crazy cap on your bid and the tool does your bid at the last 5 sec of the auction till your set cap.

    My buddy used to use them when he was bitcoin mining and was buying up video cards for it.
     
  15. RKillian

    RKillian http://www.rktoyandhobby.com

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    But that's how auctions have always worked on eBay. If the starting bid is 99c, and you bid $10, it will put you in at 99c and match any competing bids at 50c increments up to your maximum of $10.

    I can't believe you're having trouble buying an incomplete G1 Rodimus. You couldn't give those away MISB a few years ago. Serious question, what do you think market value is for the figures you've been bidding on?

    Something else to remember is that eBay charges fees on shipping. So a toy that's "worth" $10 and costs $10 to ship actually has a commission rate of 30%. Shipping costs what it costs so that 15% had to shift into the item cost. That means you're expecting a seller to sell a $10 item for effectively $7. The free shipping fools (that absolutely deserve the situation that's evolved on the Amazon marketplace) want it for -$3.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
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  16. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    If I understand it right, what you refer to as "market value" should be "fair market value". The high price that people paid is, by definition, "market value". In Economics 101 "fair market value" and "market value" are the same thing. In the real world (including ebay) they can be completely different.

    Market value - price that an item is being bought/sold through the market (price of item sold on ebay)
    Fair market value - price of in the market with both sides having complete information (price of item sold on ebay if people are not stupid)
    Fair value - price of transaction with both sides having complete information. May be through market or arms-length transaction
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
  17. Blue Meanie

    Blue Meanie Hello from the Gutter

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    For several years I used to collect in Orlando, Florida. My work route took me back and forth down I4 and I would stop whenever I pleased along the way to clear out new item arrivals for my friends and myself. I used to clear out Toys R Us, Walmart, Target etc. Almost every time on cue, there was a scalper story shortly after on the sightings thread. Some were funny, said "the scalper struck again" or they saw "the scalper" or confronted "the scalper" and gave them a piece of their mind. Eventually I started ordering cases through a friend and it slowed. The Orlando Scalper from 2005-2011 was me, lol. I never flipped a single item for profit.
     
  18. Hicks_Royel

    Hicks_Royel Nifty

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    I sorta miss just buying a case and being done with it. Really the only way to collect Modern GI Joe and Toy Biz Marvel Legends. Of course, that how you end up with seven Dukes.
     
  19. Blue Meanie

    Blue Meanie Hello from the Gutter

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    LOL, Truth! I have soooo many extra misb classics I am going to start a store. So in the end, I guess I did end up scalping cases..... Yeeeeears later
     
  20. Hicks_Royel

    Hicks_Royel Nifty

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    Could be worse, I have an army of Tripwires and headless Python Patrol Guardsmen from where I made blue Guardsmen out of cheap comic packs and PP Guard one year.

    I also have a bunch of Cobra Commander heads. It's like PacMan hit the power pellet in my junk parts collection.
     
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