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Here's a question for you...

Want to talk about how the LEGO company is doing, your recent visit to LEGOland, your local LEGO club, other resources in the online LEGO community, or about LEGO software and games? Come in here and join us!

What is your opinion of unlicensed Lego resellers?

XD I love them!
47
19%
:) somewhat favorable
84
35%
:| neutral
58
24%
:( somewhat negative
38
16%
>:( I hate them!
16
7%
 
Total votes : 243

Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby fredjh » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:37 pm

onions wrote:if i am reading everyone's sentiment here, it seems that hoarding is defined as buying up all available stock on a discontinued or clearance product. is that right?

the next sentiment that nearly always that is "leave some for others to buy". what if there's only 2 or 3 sets left and some joe buys them all? still hoarding?

if tru clearance prices swamp speeders at half off, like heck they would but let's just pretend here, and you walk in and see the last two sitting on the shelf, would you honestly leave one behind so another person has a chance to buy it? i seriously doubt it. if it's 2 left, or 20 left on the shelf, where do you draw the line between acceptable purchasing and unacceptable hoarding?


Yeah... no, that's not my sentiment. Frankly, at that point, it's like either I do it or someone else will.

So no, the way I feel about it, once it's on clearance (IOW, LEGO or some store is trying to get rid of inventory), then it's all good. It usually means the sets have been out a good long time, and people have had ample opportunity to get them. If I walked into one of these places and they had battle packs at $5.00, I'd buy as many as I could. I'd probably use most of them myself to build up armies, but I wouldn't hesitate to hold on to some to sell, either.

And I don't care if that means little Johnny doesn't get his Home One for $80 instead of $110; most kids seem to have more disposable money than I do, I don't see why I should sacrifice $30 in savings for someone I don't even know. Now I didn't buy 10 or even 5 of them... I bought 2, but if I had more money I probably would have.... little Johnny doesn't get the Home One, but I get the parts... and if I don't open it because I have no need at the time, and after a while they become very valuable, then so be it.

Y'all can hate me if you want. I've also given stuff away to help out kids at the LEGO store... like pre-owned pick-a-brick cups to save a little bit of money (when mom's were borderline about letting their kids fill one up... it's surprising how $0.50 can push someone over the edge on a large PAB), and one of the two pick-a-brick gift boxes I got at Christmas, because I knew if I didn't this girl in the store wouldn't get the LEGO dog to put in the house her dad was buying her.

But you know, stuff goes on clearance and people buy it up... doesn't matter if it's LEGO or something else, if it's a good deal, it's a good deal. There's still plenty of other sets on the shelves, and there's new sets coming out all the time.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby Tyrant » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:06 pm

MrCRskater wrote:Probably still qualifies as "hoarding", but in my book this scenario is okay because you are at home enjoying your LEGO.

I don't know. I guess I just have a problem thinking it's hoarding when I'm not even impacting the local market, much less the overall market. Especially if I buy them over time instead of all at once. For instance, I bought 12 copies of the Tower Raid (Castle) set because it was a good deal for the price at MSRP and I was able to get all 12 at various sales. I think I actually ended up getting a couple more at a KMart going out of business but that was months later. I bought them for the parts and the figures. i bought over 20 of the Stormtrooper troop building set with the intention of keeping the majority of them. On the flip side, I bought 4 copies of the Drawbridge Defense and I planned on selling the "rare" figures out of most of them when I bought them. If I had bought out an entire shipment or if I had bought out a truly huge number in a very short period, I could see it being labeled hording.
MrCRskater wrote:Sure, others miss out, but in this case you're not depriving kids (and other collectors) simply for the sake of preying upon their wallets later. The bottom line for me: LEGO is meant to be enjoyed by whoever wants it, be it kids, AFOLs, whoever. So if you buy 20 battle packs and have a blast building a "scha-weet!" battle diorama, I can appreciate that. I can't appreciate someone buying up stock of something only to fill their bathtub with Washingtons (and deprive others, mainly kids, in the process).

i guess my problem with even mentioning a potential future customer (little Timmy, an adult, whoever) is that if I buy any of them at all, I am potentially depriving someone else. I view this as an unavoidable fact because these are not infinite (or to be more precise, there are not roughly 6 billion of each of these) so someone, somewhere is likely to miss out for a variety of reasons including the fact that I bought one (or more) for myself. For me, accepting this allows me to accept the inherent lack of balance in the whole system which allows me to buy more without thinking twice about it. In my view, that's just the way the system is and there isn't a lot to be done to change it. I can understand if other people have problems with the fact that the system is unfair through and through though. I've been on the other end and it does suck.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby fredjh » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:51 pm

Tyrant wrote:i guess my problem with even mentioning a potential future customer (little Timmy, an adult, whoever) is that if I buy any of them at all, I am potentially depriving someone else. I view this as an unavoidable fact because these are not infinite (or to be more precise, there are not roughly 6 billion of each of these) so someone, somewhere is likely to miss out for a variety of reasons including the fact that I bought one (or more) for myself. For me, accepting this allows me to accept the inherent lack of balance in the whole system which allows me to buy more without thinking twice about it. In my view, that's just the way the system is and there isn't a lot to be done to change it. I can understand if other people have problems with the fact that the system is unfair through and through though. I've been on the other end and it does suck.


You know, I think you make a very valid point. It's not like you're depriving someone of food or something, it's a LEGO set.

I also don't care who LEGO is targeting. If I like a set, I like a set... I've never bought a set I didn't like just because I thought it might have some resale value.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby dhaas06 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:15 pm

I am a bit concerned that many out there are not familiar with basic economic principles. I've taken several university classes in economics, and I have learned that second-hand markets nearly always balance themselves. Arguably, the most important lesson in economics is that supply is inversely related to demand. As it relates to this conversation, we are dealing with a fixed supply (clearanced or out-of-production items). As demand increases (more people wanting it) beyond the existing supply, there are not enough items for everyone to have what they want. Naturally, price increases and becomes the determining factor between who gets one and who doesn't. Tell me, if price doesn't differentiate, then how should the second-hand market decide who gets one? I know no other fair way. The person willing to out-pay the others takes it home.

I also need to mention that sellers never rip people off with high prices. If someone is willing to pay, then it was priced at the level of demand. If no one is interested, then the seller was overcharging and gets no sale. Either way, no one was taken advantage of. This is not a case of monopoly (like a power company) or a necessity (like food or water). There are always other buying options, even if some are currently not on the market. If the value becomes too inflated, more sellers will join in, lowering price back to a reasonable level. Also, competition allows sellers to undercut each other if they are all overpricing until price reaches demand again. As I said, the markets balance themselves.

Having said this, I will agree that "hoarding" is inconsiderate. This is why I buy the majority of my stock online, so that at least no other local customers or kids get disappointed by an empty shelf. Remember, though, that even those who buy up the stock of current products are only helping TLG, as sets that are still in production then get extra orders processed, and more sets get made to keep up with the demand. Who could have a problem with extra $$$ and success for The Lego Group?
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby legodavee123 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:49 pm

I always thought that the opposition to "hoarding" was more along the lines of "you won't use it". For instance, I once met someone who had a hoard of classic LEGO sets. He never built MOCs, he just periodically built the sets. When I visited, I saw that he had literally a dozen of the same boat sets assembled all in a little corner. And somewhere in the same 4-to-a-dozen ballpark of other classic sets all in their boxes. Now... that's what I always felt the essence of hoarding was. Not that you're buying something (that you'll enjoy or make money off of) and preventing someone else from buying and enjoying that same set-- but more that you're doing so without even ever gaining that experience yourself. If you're buying in droves, and then not using (or selling) what you purchased, that's hoarding, in my mind.

Not that I have anything against hoarders, really. I know some, and at first I was confused by this mentality-- but I've come to understand it and accept it as part of the hobby.

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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby ufjason » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:26 pm

I've been using some restraint and just reading this thread quietly. Thankfully you have explained what myself and others have in previous iterations of this same discussion. No one is getting ripped off. No one is getting hurt. Children cry for lots of reasons.

What really disgusts me from some of the responses here is this false sense of entitlement to a toy. Lego makes toys, lots of them. They make individual sets, lots of them. They make exclusives, lots of them. They make promos, not so much of those. I want to say this is a debate and that there is no right or wrong side of the argument but that's just not the case. I think the overwhelming poll response in favor illustrates this.

This idea of hoarding is just an entitlement issue. It's one person saying that you bought something they meant to buy first. If someone approached you with that argument in a store while you were holding the last set, what would you do? What if you had three, one for you, your kid and nephew? Where does it end? The simple fact is that 99% of these sets existed in retail and online for enough time for someone who wanted them to buy them. If you didn't get it while it was out, you should be happy that others bought extra to fill your need after they left retail.

As to the item which renewed this topic, it was a limited promo that TRU was responsible for. This same figure is available as a magnet from lego in store and online. This version was to be free with a purchase and some people made multiple single item purchases to get one free with each. I just bought mine outright for 2.99 and didn't bother with buying sets at retail prices I'm unwilling to pay. The onus is on TRU to police this issue, they should have been limiting these to one per person per purchase. If you want to blame anyone, blame TRU. (BTW, every TRU in my area still has chrome stormtroopers at the registers. They're still giving them free with Lego SW purchases or you can buy them outright.) As far as sales go, remember that most stores offer rainchecks if the item you want is not available. As far as clearance goes, it's every man for himself. The store wants rid of items and is willing to reduce them to move them and I'm more than happy to help them with their problem. Clearance is a right place right time sort of thing. No one is entitled to clearance prices on items.

Spend or don't spend your money how you like, just don't tell me how to spend mine. Issues of morality have nothing to do with capitalism.

dhaas06 wrote:I am a bit concerned that many out there are not familiar with basic economic principles. I've taken several university classes in economics, and I have learned that second-hand markets nearly always balance themselves. Arguably, the most important lesson in economics is that supply is inversely related to demand. As it relates to this conversation, we are dealing with a fixed supply (clearanced or out-of-production items). As demand increases (more people wanting it) beyond the existing supply, there are not enough items for everyone to have what they want. Naturally, price increases and becomes the determining factor between who gets one and who doesn't. Tell me, if price doesn't differentiate, then how should the second-hand market decide who gets one? I know no other fair way. The person willing to out-pay the others takes it home.

I also need to mention that sellers never rip people off with high prices. If someone is willing to pay, then it was priced at the level of demand. If no one is interested, then the seller was overcharging and gets no sale. Either way, no one was taken advantage of. This is not a case of monopoly (like a power company) or a necessity (like food or water). There are always other buying options, even if some are currently not on the market. If the value becomes too inflated, more sellers will join in, lowering price back to a reasonable level. Also, competition allows sellers to undercut each other if they are all overpricing until price reaches demand again. As I said, the markets balance themselves.

Having said this, I will agree that "hoarding" is inconsiderate. This is why I buy the majority of my stock online, so that at least no other local customers or kids get disappointed by an empty shelf. Remember, though, that even those who buy up the stock of current products are only helping TLG, as sets that are still in production then get extra orders processed, and more sets get made to keep up with the demand. Who could have a problem with extra $$$ and success for The Lego Group?
Last edited by ufjason on Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby MrCRskater » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:39 pm

MrCRskater wrote:Probably still qualifies as "hoarding", but in my book this scenario is okay because you are at home enjoying your LEGO.

Tyrant wrote:I don't know. I guess I just have a problem thinking it's hoarding when I'm not even impacting the local market, much less the overall market. Especially if I buy them over time instead of all at once.

Agreed, this absolutely changes things. I didn't make this clear in my first post, but you've hit the point. I think "hoarding" can be defined as "clearing out stock" or otherwise buying obscene numbers of a given set all at once.
Tyrant wrote:i guess my problem with even mentioning a potential future customer (little Timmy, an adult, whoever) is that if I buy any of them at all, I am potentially depriving someone else.

This is a little too simplistic in my view. Buying one or a few sets at once is, as you suggest, just active participation in the market. But to me, this perspective can essentially be made to serve as a justification for "hoarding", and though the basic economic principle is the same (buying LEGO at retail MSRP), the motives for hoarding are typically not in the best interest of the general consumer (at least, not the product's targeted consumer). Hoarding basically undermines the ability of the average consumer to partake in the regular retail market, and arguably prevents them from acquiring the product at all.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby jvp_hanlon » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:05 am

I know that you have all heard it before, but I think that alot of collectors take it for granted that they can walk into a Lego or TRU store and get what they want (and on sale for that matter). We don't have Lego Stores in Australia & TRU rarely has lego on sale, and if they do, it is items that have been long off the shelves so I have long ago purchased elsewhere. We never get the limited edition figure or mini-set baggies and so Ebay is often the only place to get them. At least when some ebayer buys lots of them to sell, there is little less aggresive bidding and I can get the items for a reasonable (even if inflated) price. I already pay nearly double for sets in Australia, so I guess the inflated prices on ebay don't seem so bad. (consider that a battle pack will cost me $22 Australian)
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby onions » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:32 am

in your FACE, australia!

word up!!!!
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby onions » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:33 am

i'm totally kidding btw. i dont mean to rub salt in the wound.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby yellowcastle » Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:33 am

Australia is the key
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby WillyWampa » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:33 am

I placed myself in the "Somewhat favourable" camp. I have purchased items from aftermarket sellers in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I live in an area where the selection of toy retailers is rather limited. Zellers and Walmart with a poor selection on the shelves at best. The nearest Toys'RUs is a 1 1/2 hour drive away. Being able to buy Lego sets that I want/need for my collection that aren't readily available locally is a big factor in this buying practice. These not only include sets that are only available at specified retailers (exclusive/limited edition), but also sets that are not available in Canada and promotional sets that are only available by doing business with certain companies or by travelling on certain airlines.

Additionally, I have often been able to buy the sets I want for less than I would have paid through other sources such as S@H. By the time sales taxes (usually not applied by eBay sellers) and shipping costs are factored into the equation it isn't uncommon for the cost to be less than what I would have to pay if I ordered directly from S@H. The person that stocks up on an item when it is 30% or more off and then turns around and resells it with a 30% markup still has it priced for less than the original cost! It's a win-win situation for both me and the seller.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby Septemris » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:14 am

That's a good point.
When you factor in the Canadian dollar value, the US dollar value and the Canadian pricing of sets, it way tempting to buy on bricklink even at US retail price.

Oh, and WillyWampa is an awesome username. Had to comment on that. :o)
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby Tyrant » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:34 am

Septemris wrote:That's a good point.
When you factor in the Canadian dollar value, the US dollar value and the Canadian pricing of sets, it way tempting to buy on bricklink even at US retail price.

Oh, and WillyWampa is an awesome username. Had to comment on that. :o)

The pricing is way out of whack if you ever check European prices. I'm not sure if they have done much about it this year, but in years past there was a direct 1:1 conversion of dollars to euros for their prices on a lot of sets. Given that the dollar and euro do not have the same value, this has causes the European sets to cost a great deal more. The US is basically the land of cheap LEGO. And we apparently have more sales from what I hear. I know over on Eurobricks there are reasonably frequent posts of people coming to the US for one reason or another wanting to know all the ins and outs of the good sales and deals because they plan on stocking up while they are here.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby JPCJedi » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:24 am

Andi wrote:"...one guy reserved all 100 (HUNDRED!) which were in this delivery"
Well, and then I met this guy and he bragged about that he would make a nice profit....
kyphur wrote:...but [I] never could have brought myself to purchase multiples as there were kids there who wanted some also.
That kind of says it all.

Onions asked: How much hoarding is hoarding? No, cleaning out the remaining 2 or 5 on the shelf is just stocking up, but more than 5 of even a "cheap" set like a battle pack, I dunno. I'd feel bad if I didn't leave some. At that point especially if they're a "pro" reseller with a huge Bricklink store or an AFOL, I kind of expect them to buy from S@H or Bricklink.

But I vote in favor of resellers anyway. If the aftermarket price is price-gouged, don't buy.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby UOldPirate » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:32 am

Since I was the first one to mention hoarders / hoarding on this thread, I think I should clarify what I meant. In my mind hoarding is a combination of quantity and frequency of purchase and intent, but mostly intent. With most sets, Lego makes more than enough to go around so hoarding really isn't a problem. However, since this thread started in response to the chrome stormtrooper shortage(?), that is mainly where my issue with hoarding was / is.

Like I said before, I've got absolutely no problems with reselling for a profit or capitalism. Resellers do provide a service. I know we've got members here who resell, great. You guys help the rest of us plug the holes in our collections. Thanks. But honestly, can anyone here say that purchasing 100 of these things specifically for resale is a cool move? Yes it's legal and yes TRU should have done a better job handling this promotion, but just because someone could, doesn't mean someone should. To me, this type of activity takes a bit away from what my idea of the Lego community is all about.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby jonutah » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:11 am

dhaas06 and ufjason have a better understanding of the issue than most. Its about entitlement and economics. A company creates a limited amount of something. Depending on how limited, its generally pretty easy to pick up what you want as long as you don't wait forever. Then, its only logical that its going to sell out at some point. Regardless of whether we each bought one or 10. And, then it become more valuable elsewhere - doesn't matter if its been used or not. Its true of EVERYTHING for which there is a market. This is how the system works and with any system you take the good with the bad. Some items I simply don't get because the supply is too low and the demand too high, for example. So, my collection is incomplete. All the other stuff about kids crying and hoarding is sort of noise in this system. Yes, its nice when you go to the store and there are only 2 of a particular set left and I split them with someone. I've never encountered someone buying out the entire store of all of one set - certainly not of a set that was truly hard to find. Who cares if some guy buys 50 Mon Calamari sets when its readily available.

I personally think this issue is a non-issue if you understand economics, capitalism, etc. (for better or worse).

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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby Solo » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:54 am

I wouldn't go so far as to call it entitlement. I think it's just jealousy and/or envy at the core. And understanding the economics behind it doesn't negate or invalidate the feeling.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby Draykov » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:40 pm

Nice...some good discussion going on in here. I put "neutral" because...

1) If someone can sell a set at a profit and get away with it, fundamentally, I have no problem with that. More power to 'em.

2) Reselling doesn't really affect me much directly. If I buy LEGO from a Bricklink seller, it's usually when the set is at or under MSRP. The stuff with skyrocketed pricetags I either don't need to buy because I already bought it, suck it up and realize that I'm only doing it to myself if I pay over MSRP, or just deal with not having something. I have the good luck to live in a country with easy access to most LEGO releases, so "missing out" on something isn't usually an issue.

onions wrote:the next sentiment that nearly always that is "leave some for others to buy". what if there's only 2 or 3 sets left and some joe buys them all? still hoarding?


On that front, I say every man for himself. If I see somebody buying 100 copies of a set (presumably to resell), I suppose I'd look down my nose a bit, simply because I prefer to buy LEGO to enjoy it rather than to profit from it financially at the expense of others - to qualify that though, I'll say that I have no problem with hobbyists trying to turn a buck now and then to put back into the hobby or make ends meet or whatever. People are well within their rights though, to stock up and resell unless the store puts a purchase limit on an item. I see resellers the same way I see retailers - if you charge more than the MSRP for it, I'm probably not going to give you my money.

On the other hand, if someone loves, loves, loves the new Space Police set at the $9.99 price point and clears out my local TRU of the last 10...well...that guy I can let slide. I fault the store for not keeping their inventory well stocked or I just say "oh well" with the understanding that I may have had poor timing.

bigospedros wrote:These people are providing a service so fair play to them for wanting to make a profit. It's not like they're a major corporation that can afford to take losses as well as profits. Also, they are taking on a risk ...

MrCRskater wrote:To those folks who buy an extra copy (or 2 or 3) of any given set to sell off or trade later is doing a service to the hobbiest and collector communities.

WillyWampa wrote:The person that stocks up on an item when it is 30% or more off and then turns around and resells it with a 30% markup still has it priced for less than the original cost! It's a win-win situation for both me and the seller.

a few others wrote:[similar stuff]


Very good point, indeed.

Artoo-Detour wrote: And as an employee of Lego, I interact with kids every day, and it's extremely tough to be the one who disappoints them when a hoarder has just cleaned out the last of the set they desire.


Out of curiosity and maybe to play a little "Devil's advocate," don't LEGO retail stores give customers the option to ship for free when an in-production item isn't in the store?

fredjh wrote:And I don't care if that means little Johnny doesn't get his Home One for $80 instead of $110...Y'all can hate me if you want.


If little Johnny wants it that bad, he can get a paper route and build some character in the process.
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Re: Here's a question for you...

Postby onions » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:24 pm

UOldPirate wrote:In my mind hoarding is a combination of quantity and frequency of purchase and intent, but mostly intent.



many others will probably agree with you too, but there in lies the rub. you will never know with 100% certainty what the intent is unless you meet the buyer face to face and he tells you truthfully what his/her intent is. EVEN THEN, if the intent is to resell, what are the motivations behind that? to have a little extra cash flow, breathing room between paychecks? what's wrong with that? i think this is as far as one can dig when questioning the implications and reasoning behind hoarding and reselling.

i guess my point is you can never really be "right" in your assumptions behind other's actions, especially if you're just witnessing the aftermath i.e. staring at empty shelf space. i think labeling people and making assumptions about intent is to just make one feel better about missing out. this goes for 99.9% of the time.
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