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A digression on Scalping...

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby thepatient » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:13 am

I was just wondering. Are the people who buy multiples getting filthy rich? It seems to me that many are just using this form of purchasing really to subsidize their own hobbies or LEGO habit. It’s actually more along the lines of being a smart consumer, not a scalper.

My other question would be; when you buy sets for resale how long does that set sit on your storage shelf before it is sold? What is the turn around time? In a sense, a set has no value until someone, someday actually pays for it. When I see the pictures of shelves full of LEGO I’m impressed, until I think sitting there on the shelf, those aren’t making any money. Aftermarket sales people, I would think, have to wait a while before they can turn a profit. It sounds similar to the stock market to me. I would put these people in the category of investors -not scalpers.

As far as the example of the guy who buys all of the LEGO sets on a shelf just before little Jimmy gets a chance to buy. The guy could have had a heart and let him have one, I agree. Jimmy could have also eaten his Boo Berries a little faster or brushed his teeth quicker, and he could have beaten the guy to the store. If ten little kids bought that set first, instead of one “scalper”, do you think little Jimmy would be any less pissed about not getting the set he wanted? Onions, what you did (asking a clerk for assistance) was a good and kind thing. But really, couldn’t the parent of this kid have figured this out on their own? If they would have left store without asking, then they would have gotten what they deserved.

I do want to make it clear. I don’t shop for the aftermarket and I only buy sets for my collection. However, if someone else does, I don’t consider them wrong or selfish. If you want to put a spin on being selfish- think about the LEGO Little Jimmy has, and then how much LEGO a kid in, let’s say, Darfur has. Now we all look selfish as a whole.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Inzane » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:50 am

kyphur wrote:I'm planning to sell of my Lego SW Collection

I'm not selling because I want to make a windfall. To be frank, I've been building this collection for 5 - 4 years now and last year I discovered a new love: Scuba Diving. If you guys think Lego is an expensive hobby try supporting 2 Divers (my new wife is also a diver)!

I'd prefer the sets get into the hands of other collecters who will build, display (maybe even play a little with) and other wise enjoy them as much as I did.

I suppose I could throw them on eBay starting at $0.99 and "let the market decide the value" or I could offer them here in the appropriate section at fixed prices.

I do feel I deserve to receive fair value for the sets in their given condition,


I'm in a similar boat. I need to seriously downsize my collection as well, and while I haven't put a classfieds post on this newly revamped forum yet, I had one up for quite a while on the old site. And it was very slow going, and only a small handful of sets sold so far. It seems like there are a lot of people here that expect to get "better than fair value" before they'll buy from fellow members. I don't know why that is...

I generally tried to set prices at the LOW end of the price scale relative to price guides on bricklink, etc. Maybe some people failed to notice that often the cheaper priced sets listed on Bricklink happen to be over in Europe or Asia (vs. in the US) and they're not accounting for their total cost when they'd have to factor in higher overseas shipping costs? *Shrug*
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Daz Hoo » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:06 am

Reading through this thread, I think the one thing any FBTB member should take from all this is this little piece of advice I'm offering at no extra charge ( >:) ) :

If you scalp (or invest in, call it whatever you want it) LEGO sets, especially Star Wars LEGO sets, you shouldn't take pride or boast about it in here. Just take your money and be glad you made a good deal.

That way, people here will still be able to hate scalping and scalpers without associating nicknames to this evil.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby deco_droid » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:55 am

Ton wrote:I don't like it for two reasons.
The middle leg is to big.
The other reason is that I start to dislike these following things more and more.
All the nice things are for the USA:
The 3 (including this one) mini's for Brickmaster, the Ultimate Space Battle, 3219, chrome Darth Vader, golden C3PO.
and I can mention a dozen more. Prices are much lower in $ than Euro's.
Europe is a forgotten market although Lego is a European company.
Why not share these things equally.
I like the Star Wars Lego to much, otherwise I would start a campaign against them.


i saw this in the new mini at-te thread and it reminded me of yet another way the EEEE-VIL scalpers actually HELP others, in a way people may not have thought of -- and that is, when lego creates a set for a particular market (USA, europe, whatever), the people not living in that market, have no chance to buy that set -- so again, the reseller is making it possible for someone to purchase a product in a perfectly legal manner, that they would not ordinarily have access to. ;)
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby ThinkingImpaired » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:01 am

thepatient wrote:My other question would be; when you buy sets for resale how long does that set sit on your storage shelf before it is sold? What is the turn around time?


Years for most sets. I still haven't sold any and I've had some sets since like '04 I think. It takes a long time and can be space-consuming which is why I don't invest a lot of money into it because I need money now (car, insurance, tuition, books, etc)


But yes, a good point is that without these people buying up the sets and storing them for years down the road, there won't be any down the road. Something to think about if you're a big MISB collector. (none of this topic involves used sets in any way, which is what most people want for their collections...MISB only covers a small spectrum, which is another reason why I don't consider this being a big deal as used sets never reach near the inflated prices that MISB do)
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:32 am

onions wrote:This was actually a thread i was rather enjoying reading and participating in as well. But I have to say, Tyrant's last tirade has pretty much killed my enthusiasm. Every quote and paragraph is just draining the will to carry on. I do feel compelled to make a few counter points, but it will probably be the last time I post to this topic.

Sorry if my tirade is too much for you. You could you know, try to actually reply, instead of just using thinly veiled insults. You seem to be totally inable to address real points and only throw out comments like "You're just repeating yourself, so shut up"(obviously paraphrasing) or calling my post a "tirade that drains your will". Since you think you're in the right and on the moral high horse, try to actually set me straight and refute my points. You know, discuss and debate.
onions wrote:The sweeping generalizations you make, Tyrant, is tiring and makes you come off as being overly defensive.

Those "sweeping generalizations" I make are what is called the truth. No one here is complainging about anyone but the last guy in this chain making money, true. No one seems to have a problem with someone buying dozens upon dozens of sets so long as they are for their personal use, true. This practice is every bit as greedy as trying to get money from them, true. Every set purchased by me (or anyone else) is a set someone else won't own (barring that hellspawn secondary market), true. Put it all together and it's obvious you have a real problem with people making money. Since I am assuming you have no problem with other legal means of making money (I assume you have a job and don't work for free) , what you are saying is hypocrisy. You only have a problem with it in this one case. Why? That's my point. You can't take the moral high ground when your argument is built on hypocrisy. That, and we're talking about the moral high ground in relation to buying luxory items, so I am safe in saying there isn't one. I want to be clear, I understand the anger. I've been there. The difference is I did something about it. I guess it's immoral for me to better my situation through educating myself about fairly simple and obvious market forces. And here I thought that education was a good thing. My bad I guess.
onions wrote:You only hear the things you want to hear despite the various other posts trying to arrive at an understanding of the parameters of the conversation.

I hear what is being said. I have seen it all said before and I have a good idea where it is going. I too would like legitimate parameters of discussion. That can't happen so long as the practice is assumed to be evil from the get go. No discussion can occur when one side believes they are absolutely on the moral high ground and the other is scum of the earth. Kind of like why religious debates rarely work. So, as long as those reselling are insulted and considered evil, how can you honestly expect to have a real discussion? Discussions can't work if you have to have both sides believe one is evil. That is what some people want and they make it obvious by trying to tie morality into this. If those are the ground rules, why would anyone who resells ever wish to participiate? If they don't, it's just a hate fest as everyone pats themselves on the back thinking their smart hating scalpers. That is also not a discussion, that's a pep rally. As it is, the scalper definiton accepted by the anti scalper side basically says anyone who engages in capitalism is a scalper. That is too broad to be of any use what so ever. Unless their point is they are pissed at the system as a whole. In which case their hopeless. If you narrow it down to what most reasonable people accept as the definition of scalping with other hobbies, reselling LEGO doesn't fit. So, I am trying to better understand the anger. DonSolo is at least trying and I thank him for clearing some things up for me.
onions wrote:For instance, you asked:
We live in a culture that prizes wealth above almost all else. Is it really so hard to believe people will do what they can to attain it? As several keep asking, what is wrong with making money?

No one said it was wrong to be rich or to make money; the issue is how that wealth and money were made.

Is how I go about things illegal? No. Am I directly depriving anyone in a way that is realistically any different than when you or anyone else buys a set? No. So, I ask, where is the moral high ground coming from? If either of us buys a set for any reason, that is one less set in the chain. There is no denying that. The problem seems to be the idea that me buying sets to sell means little TImmy can't get them. Guess what, you buying them also means little Timmy can't get them. I assume you have no moral problem with buying for yourself? Kind of greedy of you when we have little Timmy to consider, don't you think? I'm sure some will totally blow that off, but that is why the argument involving other customers completely falls apart. Anyone buying a set is one less in the chain. At some point, there are going to be people that don't end up with sets. That is a fact. There is nothing illegal or inherently wrong with buying something to resell it (and if their is, our entire culture for the last several hundred if not thousand years, is wrong). That is a fact. If we were talking about something absolutely essential like food, I could understand getting angry (and I would hope the powers that be would also see this problem and head it off before it got bad, but I doubt they would). However, we're talking about something you want, not something you need. Your anger is irrational. That's why I seem to have a problem with it. I get upset when I'm on the other side of these things too, but I recognise that my anger is irrational. I calm down and move on. I don't try to rally the villagers to storm the castle and burn a likeness of the scalper in the public square. This is going to sound worse than I mean it, but I act like an adult.
onions wrote:And if that point is something you can't extract from this thread, then there really is no point in continuing any sort of conversation with you. You constantly bring up the same points over and over again and ask the same questions. Have you even read the entire thread?

Yes I have read. I see the point you're trying to make. I should emphasize trying. Your arguments of morality are built on nothing as far as I can see. They start from the assumption the practice is evil and try to make everything else fit that view. That's not how you construct an argument. You look at the facts and then arrive at a conclusion. Not the other way around. I'm sorry that discussion and debate are clearly not your strong point. Your totally ignoring any of the substance of my posts in favor of pot shots illustrates this pretty clearly. I've laid out my viewpoint and a few seem to want to try to discuss with me (again, thanks Don). I'm trying to be reasonable and I believe I have been given plenty of reason to take offense up to this point and I haven't responded in kind. So, I will ask very clearly, if your on the moral high ground, why is it your responses to me are mostly insults and blowing me off? Those in the right don't act that way.

Have you read my posts? MY questions are simple and to the point.
1) How is me makng money doing this evil, yet apparently everyone else in the chain making money is not evil?
2) How is me buying sets to resell any different than me buying sets to keep, in regards to poor little Timmy?
3) Why is it wrong for me to buy a few sets to sell, but it's okay for someone to be a total glutton and buy dozens of a set to keep?
3a) Why do you have a problem with what you see as greed (buying to resell), but not what is very obviously greed (buying lots of sets for yourself)?
3a-1) How is that not hypocrisy?
Those are straightforward and question the very core of your argument. And no one seems to be able to give me real answers. I have a guess as to why they can't. They have no real answers. To me, that would mean their argument is worthless as it's built on nothing. I would like to believe that is not true. That's why I keep asking the questions.
onions wrote:My favorite quote of yours has got to be this:
I see plenty of people trying to sound like they are taking some moral high road when there is none to take.

And with that I bow out.

Yes leaving is quite a bit easier than actually addressing anything I say.

I'll some up my questions quite easily,
Is making investments wrong? If you can somehow answer that with a yes with something to back it, you might be on the road to having a real argument. If not, then you have nothing but irrational anger.

Edit to add:
Daz Hoo wrote:If you scalp (or invest in, call it whatever you want it) LEGO sets, especially Star Wars LEGO sets, you shouldn't take pride or boast about it in here. Just take your money and be glad you made a good deal.

I haven't seen a lot of boasting. Boasting is saying "Haha suckers. I'm rich". So far, a few people have said that they profit from it, but no one is gloating about it. And, for whatever it is worth, I agree that gloating about it wouldn't be overly costructive to anyone.
Daz Hoo wrote:That way, people here will still be able to hate scalping and scalpers without associating nicknames to this evil.

First, sorry to single you out for this, it's nothing personal.
This is the kind of comment I am talking about when I am talking about an equal debate. He directly equates the practice to evil. You know, the same word used to describe genocide and a whole host of other atrocities. Clearly, the two pracitces are equal and should be described as such. This isn't evil. Or put another way, if that term is correct, then the term has lost all signifigant meaning and is ultimately useless. That has more or less happened to curse words here in the US. They are used so often they have lost their value. Even if I agreed this practice was wrong, evil is not the word for it. This also illustrates how the anti scalpers really don't want a discussion. To discuss honestly, you have to accept that the other side just might have a point. They don't have to change your mind (and vice versa), but you have to at least consider that their argument has some merit and hear it out. I've laid out my argument and haven't really gotten a response to it. Ive gotten jabs and quips, but nothing of substance that holds up to reality. Typically in a debate that is a sign that the other side knows they don't have a leg to stand on. It's a common tactic employed in modern "journalism" and this standoffish approach has spread like a disease to other areas of society as well. People used to debate without name calling and actually addressed the points against them. I am a fan of that. Since people seem to take my actually responding to their points as taking it personally, I can tell they are not a fan of that style of discussion. Somehow taking shots at me isn't them taking it personally (I usually have to take it personally before I jump down to that level and stat insulting), but whatever. More hypocrisy.
Last edited by Tyrant on Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby ufjason » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:14 pm

To answer the question of how long I hold on to sets before putting them on the market, it's variable. I've got sets as old as Ninja, ResQ and the end of pirates. It takes a lot of time to get sets listed though I use a template to facilitate. Since 95% of what I've got is MISB, I use stock photos from Lego's site archives. Most of the time it takes a year for a retired set to "mature" to a decent margin. I nearly sold through every Batman set I had as they had matured preholiday season. I had opportunities at Tuesday Morning to pick up a lot of Batman and it paid off. I have 7659 ILC's that haven't matured yet but will by next holiday season, reaching around 150% of retail value.

I'm surprised to see an almost unanimous front from the top three ranking admins here. This is a debate and a well defended argument from both sides will never have a perfect answer. I don't have any moral feelings about it but definitely feel the word scalper doesn't fit. The word has a heavy negative connotation and causes people who feel like they're being painted harshly to be defensive.

I'm completely objective about the whole matter and look at it from my finance background (my college major). For me, it's very simple from a purely logical standpoint. There is demand for sets, used and MISB, after a set is retired. The demand for sets creates competition for a limited supply which causes prices to go up. The act of providing these sets (whose prices are the result of buyers competing) is nothing that should be painted in a negative light. If there were no "scalpers" then there would be no sets to buy post retirement. When a set would be gone, it would be gone forever.

Even if that were the case, would you sell me your one and only 4504 Falcon? If it were in perfect condition and you did, would it be for just a few bucks over what you paid? I doubt any of the scalper accusers would part with the one and only set they had. If they did, I'm sure they'd want adequate compensation for making such a sacrifice.

The simple fact is there is a demand for retired sets and there will be someone to supply it if they will be compensated for it. Whether you like it or not, collectors need aftermarket sources. There's nothing wrong with being a member of that sourcing. People like me only add to the marketplace filling in gaps left open by Lego, who is in the business of delivering fresh and new products to retailers yearly.
Last edited by ufjason on Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby tamuhockey » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:15 pm

I believe the anti-scalping sentiment stems from, and hinges on, the assumption that there is enough supply for everyone who wants to buy one at MSRP, to do so. This assumption isn't always the case, and in fact, "scalping" only occurs when that assumption is completely false. If there truly is enough supply so that everyone who wants to buy it at MSRP can do so, there would be no room for scalping, as there wouldn't be a profit iniative to drive it. It is only because the price on certain items is artificially low, creating the situation where there isn't enough supply for everyone who wants to pay MSRP for it, that "scalping" occurs so that the market can be cleared, such that everyone who wants to buy one at its true market value, can do so.

If this is approached, without that assumption - there is really no good argument against "scalping." Scalping is a necessary market function, and results in the most fair market TO ALL BUYERS/SELLERS. It allows all buyers who wish to purchase an item for its true market value, to be able to do so.

Thus, In reality - everyone who buys a set at MSRP, that eventually ends up worth more, is contributing to their own perceived problem, whether they resell it or not. Thus people shouldn't be mad at scalpers just because they cannot afford to purchase something at its true market value, as the scalpers insure that this is always possible.

Looking at it from a market perspective - anti-scalper sentiment is just people upset at not being able to afford something at its true market value. That's the way it goes, and always will go in a free-market. Put bluntly - if you are anti-scalper, you are anti free-market, and anti-capitalism. Good thing socialism/communism are very "in" right now.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Daz Hoo » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:14 pm

Tyrant wrote:
Daz Hoo wrote:That way, people here will still be able to hate scalping and scalpers without associating nicknames to this evil.

First, sorry to single you out for this, it's nothing personal.
This is the kind of comment I am talking about when I am talking about an equal debate. He directly equates the practice to evil. You know, the same word used to describe genocide and a whole host of other atrocities. Clearly, the two pracitces are equal and should be described as such. This isn't evil.


I wasn't passing any judgement on the activity. I was only using and referring (in good spirits, I might add) to the same terms and definitions that have been used by other members here regarding this subject. Fact is, being a leading member of FBTB's Trading Guild, it would be kind of ackward for me to judge the resell market and those who participate in it.

If you really thought that about me, than dude, you probably take this whole conversation WAAAAYYY too seriously, and it might do you some good to step back from it...
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:16 pm

This is to show that I am interested in further debate. I have asked for possible solutions. So far something akin to socialism seems to be the desired set up. Obviously, that's not going to happen. Some social compact between LEGO fans is also obviously a pipe dream. And you can forget utopia. So, I have some ideas to help lessen the problem. They won't solve the real problem (you can't always get what you want), but they can help take some of the sting out of that fact.

Here they are with an explanation.

1) TLG has taken an interesting move with the magnet sets. The set featuring Dooku/Mace/Yoda makes it obvious that they understand people only buy some sets for figures and that not everyone can get these sets. I have no doubt that set will sell very well. The others should sell reasonably well also. This is a great move. If this continues, it will do serious harm to the figure scalping business, but it will give people the figures they want at a far cheaper price at least. This is a great step.

2) There needs to be some type of mail away promotions. I got this idea from the Chrome Vader thread. They could make figures like that (or just use whatever chrome figure they are giving away) and have a way to mail in barcodes (or something) to get them. It will lessen their value because to have the mail aways they either need to make a lot of them or require a large amount be spent to get the barcodes. If it is the latter, that still plays to the scalpers hands as the value won't decline much and they can afford to buy lots of sets to get the figures because they will simply sell the sets as complete but out of package (slight hit in value, but the figure will likely compensate along a long enough time line). If it's the former, then a lot of people could get them for a small amount. Now, LEGO and I may not define "small and large" amount the same, so the idea may not be as practical as I think it is. And they would have to employee people to handle the mail. At least it's an idea that other companies have a proven track record with though.

3) TLG could expand the customer loyalty program. Have it include either website purchases, or all purchases. They possibly need to adjust percentages and you would have to send in reciepts, but I think it could be made to work. This way, spending anything on LEGO potentially gets you more down the road. Or possibly come up with some hybrid of this and idea 2. Have a set of items that are only available that way (could lead to trouble) or make it a set listing of items that you could redeem points on (to help stream line it on their end). Or, have the items you can use points on be the Lmited Edition items that were released around that time.

4) As an expansion of the expanded loyalty program, perhaps something can be done about the shipping costs when you order from S@H. It may have to work like Amazon Prime where you pay an upfront fee and in return one of the perks is free 2 day shipping for a year (I'm going to go for that if I ever decide I am for sure going to make more than 9 purchases from them in a year). That would encourage people to buy from them, which I assume they would like (so long as it doesn't somehow violate any agreements they have with brick and mortar retailers). Or, just leave free shipping for orders over $100 a permanent feature. Possibly increase the amount because it's pretty easy to rack up a $100 order on there. Maybe $150. This would also encourage purcahses through their site and help convince people to make large orders.

The idea behind all four of these is to increase what you get for your money. As I see it that is the true complaint here, so I think these would help. Even I wish they would resell old sets, but it doesn't look likely. Barring that, increasing your return on your expense is the next best thing. LEGO is a wonderful product. However, many other products have these types of incentives to buy them and I assume they work because they keep using them (possibly a terrible assumption, I admit). If LEGO had these incentives, I believe they would increase sales and help out consumers. This way, if you spend what you are currently spending on LEGO, maybe you can use saved up points (or whatever form it would take) to buy that rare chrome vader or that set you wanted but couldn't get (or possibly flip that, buy the huge set and use the points on smaller ones).

Edit to add:
Daz Hoo wrote: I wasn't passing any judgement on the activity. I was only using and referring (in good spirits, I might add) to the same terms and definitions that have been used by other members here regarding this subject. Fact is, being a leading member of FBTB's Trading Guild, it would be kind of ackward for me to judge the resell market and those who participate in it.

If you really thought that about me, than dude, you probably take this whole conversation WAAAAYYY too seriously, and it might do you some good to step back from it...

No I don't think that about you. That's why I said it was nothing personal. I was using it as an example of the kinds of comments that show that some people really don't want an honest debate or that if they do they have no idea how to go about it. I can only assume the ones I have seen make similar comments over and over aren't joking and truly do mean it. Or their trolling and I somehow doubt that. I couldn't tell that you were joking, sorry. Much like I am sure some of my posts make me look like a world class jerk to some people, the way I read posts doesn't convey sarcasm or humor too well. Oh well, limitiations of written communication with no real life reference point I guess.

As for what I said, taking it too seriously was my point. What I said is what evil means. That people would use it to describe this tells me I'm not the one taking things way too seriously. it's not my fault I understand what words actually mean and take them at their meaning instead of overreacting to everything in some extreme manner as seems to be the societal norm these days.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby The Brain » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:39 pm

I have a terrible habit of reading every new post in every forum on the site, and having read through all these arguments, just reading this is making me angry.

I have to address that Tyrant, you are coming across to me, and apparently most others members here as well, as exceptionally verbose and repetitive. While I am someone who loves to debate, nobody likes to try to reason or have a "battle of wills" with a broken record. You continually underscore the fact that scalping is not illegal, not immoral, and that anyone who has a job and doesn't like scalpers is a hypocrite.

I happen to feel that yes, scapling is a legitimate source of revenue. I happen to also feel though, that it is quite a different matter morally, especially when the issue concerns the scalping of children's toys, with the malicious intent of intentionally selling them at a a higher price, simply because you can make twice what you paid. To me, it doesn't matter if you buy up huge quantities of sets all at once to sell once the product goes out of stock, or for years and years so that in a decade your MISB sets will fetch ridiculously high prices. I have a clear-cut opinion: if you are buying children's sets in bulk, just to resell later at extremely and ridiculously inflated prices, knowing full-well that the intended purchase group are the children who couldn't buy the set before, you obviously weren't raised with a high moral standard.

Your argument from above (I don't feel like picking apart your post to find your exact quotes, but you and everyone else will know where they are if they've read the past 6 pages...) that people with a job who dish on scalpers are hypocrites is flat out pathetic. People who do not scalp and instead prefer to offer their labor at some sort of occupation, several hours a day, and expect equal compensation for the work they've provided, are sensible. Compare this with scalpers who in one run spend a vast amount of money, hoping to recoup their losses later by selling the commodities or luxuries they've bought by selling them for at least twice as much. That, Tyrant, is in no way hypocrisy--having a job involves working for money; scalping involves rapidly outbuying other people to make a quick buck. If you have a hard time seeing the moral issues with this, I suggest you find someone who will give you a hug, and calmly explaing to you your character flaws.

And one last issue I have with your tirades (yes, I happen to agree strongly with Ace about this)--they are not aimed at producing new responses people can bounce their own opinions off of--in case you haven't noticed, all the posts recently have either been personal rebuttals of some attack you made on another member here, or another member attempting to change the pace of this thread to head back on track to the individual opinions of the members here at FBTB. Everything you've posted in your extremely long and repetitious posts have been rehashing something you said earlier. You are stubbornly fixed on your one position, and have refused to acknowledge good counterpoints to your arguments.

You may make a good argument, but you hardly make a good debator. You have the very irksome habit of feeling the need to have the last word in anything anyone says, and that has made me lose much of my respect for you.

Lastly, this is not a debate site. In case you haven't noticed, this site is full of teen and adult Star Wars, Lego, and SW Lego fans who can't find a better way to spend an afternoon than discussing their favorite builds. ;) (I kid, of course.) If you really want to fight tooth-and-nail about issues you feel passionate about, I suggest you find another site, as I get the feeling this is not appreciated, warrented, or sought-after here.

And with this, I also end my points. This may have been my first post, but I hope it to be my last in the forum--unless I feel the need to defend my person from a scathing attack. I suggest if anyone is tired of hearing rants, and like me, must read every new posts, boycott this thread entirely, and hopefully the problem with wither away. There's nothing new that has been said.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:45 pm

The Brain wrote:I have to address that Tyrant, you are coming across to me, and apparently most others members here as well, as exceptionally verbose and repetitive.

The problem with saying that, is the those who are against scalping have said nothing new either. Yet you choose to single me out. I keep repeating my questions because they are the heart of the issue and no one seems to have the desire to answer them. Either they can't or they won't. Until they do, there can't be any real progress in any discussion. If they can't defend their point against my criticism, which was very easy to come up with as their stance is questionable, then they shouldn't choose to discuss in a forum where there will inevitably be criticism.
The Brain wrote:While I am someone who loves to debate, nobody likes to try to reason or have a "battle of wills" with a broken record.

Then debate. Don't start off insulting me.
The Brain wrote:You continually underscore the fact that scalping is not illegal, not immoral, and that anyone who has a job and doesn't like scalpers is a hypocrite.

I assume since you read the thread, you will notice that the claim that in fact is immoral is made repeatedly as well. I notice you don't mention that. As I said, you can't debate if one side absolutely believes they have some moral high ground and that the other is evil. It's as pointless as a religious debate. I am not trying to claim moral supremecy. I am pointing how absurd it is to think morality enters into this at all. If you want to get into morality, isn't it immoral for an adult to buy kids toys? Isn't it immoral for you to buy toys that little Timmy wanted to buy but now he can't because you had to have them? Isn't it immoral to buy tons of these for yourself? Isn't it immoral to buy these at all when you could be helping all the unfortunate people in the world instead? Be careful when you start down the morality road. The people screaming about morality are rarely living morally themselves if one looks at them closely at all. The moral argument is pointless and honestly childish. Both of us could be spending time with real people or reading to better ourselves right now but we're debating if it's wrong to make money. Isn't that immoral?
The Brain wrote:I happen to also feel though, that it is quite a different matter morally, especially when the issue concerns the scalping of children's toys, with the malicious intent of intentionally selling them at a a higher price, simply because you can make twice what you paid.

If it's legitamate, then what is malicious about it? What is immoral about it? No one answers that. They just say it's immoral. Why is it immoral? What exactly makes it any more immoral than any other adult buying it? The argument is built on splitting hairs and hypocrisy. It somehow applies to this one and only one example of capitalism. Why? Any argument that defaults to "well, it just is" is a terrible argument (unless you're debating some verifiable scientific quality, but even then there is usually an answer as to why).
The Brain wrote:To me, it doesn't matter if you buy up huge quantities of sets all at once to sell once the product goes out of stock, or for years and years so that in a decade your MISB sets will fetch ridiculously high prices. I have a clear-cut opinion: if you are buying children's sets in bulk, just to resell later at extremely and ridiculously inflated prices, knowing full-well that the intended purchase group are the children who couldn't buy the set before, you obviously weren't raised with a high moral standard.

So I assume you yourself don't have a LEGO collection. If you do, you're a hypocrit. Every LEGO brick you own is one little Timmy won't. No matter how much anyone wants to dance around the issue, nothing can change that fundamental flaw in the argument. So, unless every LEGO you own you have owned since you were a kid (a possibility, I admit), you are no better than I am and this is mostly an attempt for you to feel better by villainizing me.
The Brain wrote:Your argument from above (I don't feel like picking apart your post to find your exact quotes, but you and everyone else will know where they are if they've read the past 6 pages...) that people with a job who dish on scalpers are hypocrites is flat out pathetic.

How is it pathetic? Both are legitamate forms of income as you yourself have said. Unless you also believe stock brokers, traders, real estate players, etc also are immoral. They do the exact same thing. Sometimes with things that truly are essentials fo life. I am going to go ahead and assume that you don't think they are evil or immoral. If you do, your problem is with capitalism and not me. Again, the argument comes down to splitting hairs on what is and is not a moral means of making money. That is an argument with no facts and only the opinion of what is moral. That is a worthless argument as it is by it's nature highly selective and personal. Trying to apply your definition of morality to everyone else is itself immoral.
The Brain wrote:People who do not scalp and instead prefer to offer their labor at some sort of occupation, several hours a day, and expect equal compensation for the work they've provided, are sensible. Compare this with scalpers who in one run spend a vast amount of money, hoping to recoup their losses later by selling the commodities or luxuries they've bought by selling them for at least twice as much. That, Tyrant, is in no way hypocrisy--having a job involves working for money; scalping involves rapidly outbuying other people to make a quick buck. If you have a hard time seeing the moral issues with this, I suggest you find someone who will give you a hug, and calmly explaing to you your character flaws.

Again with the insults. Why am I no longer suprised. So, to see if I understand this correctly, people who sell things don't have real jobs and therefore don't deserve to make money? Anyone who invests, doesn't deserve a return on that investment? I don't believe capitalism is for you.
The Brain wrote:And one last issue I have with your tirades (yes, I happen to agree strongly with Ace about this)--they are not aimed at producing new responses people can bounce their own opinions off of--in case you haven't noticed, all the posts recently have either been personal rebuttals of some attack you made on another member here, or another member attempting to change the pace of this thread to head back on track to the individual opinions of the members here at FBTB.

And what insults would those be? Who have I insulted? There is a very big difference between me saying "I think what I do is smart" and saying "what you do is dumb". One leaves room for multiple meanings, the other is an insult. I am not insulting people, while they are saying I am evil and immoral. I have tried to mainly apply descriptions to my own actions. Meanwhile, others choose to tell me what they think of me. I must be one of the last people on the planet that can tell the difference.
The Brain wrote:Everything you've posted in your extremely long and repetitious posts have been rehashing something you said earlier. You are stubbornly fixed on your one position, and have refused to acknowledge good counterpoints to your arguments.

Point out the good counterpoints and I will address them. All I see is people telling me over and over again what I do is evil and immoral. I have tried being reasonable. I have laid out my position for others to debate and pick apart at will. All they seem to do is respond in meaningless soundbites. A good counterpoint is not "your evil". That is a jab. Bringing little Timmy into this was at least an attempt. Unfortunately little Timmy changes nothing and makes their position look worse as any set bought by any adult is one less set a child will own. Tell me how I am wrong about that. One way I make money, the other way I don't. That is the only difference, so clearly their problem is with me making money. Since I do so legally, it stands to reason they have some problem with people making money in general. It's a pretty easy to follow logic chain.
The Brain wrote:You may make a good argument, but you hardly make a good debator. You have the very irksome habit of feeling the need to have the last word in anything anyone says, and that has made me lose much of my respect for you.

Again with making it personal. I don't think anything of anyone in here. I don't think, despite how their ideals come across, that anyone here is a fan of communism. I could quite easily read that into their words. I simply what to know what they have beyond irrational anger, hypocrisy, and hairsplitting details that seem to only pertain to one single aspect of the entire economy. Why are they upset about me making money, but not a corporation? I may be crazy, but most of my life people have believed in the exact opposite of that ideal.
The Brain wrote:Lastly, this is not a debate site.

You don't say. I am pretty sure I aknowledged that at some point. That's why I have an interest in it because it is unlikely such a topic would ever pop up and it is a chance for actual adult discussion of an issue. As opposed to what we would all like to see come out in 2010 and when our foreign friends will have prototype pictures. Good for reading but very dull discussion past a certain point.
The Brain wrote:In case you haven't noticed, this site is full of teen and adult Star Wars, Lego, and SW Lego fans who can't find a better way to spend an afternoon than discussing their favorite builds. ;) (I kid, of course.) If you really want to fight tooth-and-nail about issues you feel passionate about, I suggest you find another site, as I get the feeling this is not appreciated, warrented, or sought-after here.

Yet amazingly more than 1 higher up here has commented and they let it go on. I am trying to be civil. I don't want a tooth and nail debate on this issue. I have had that twice before with two of my other hobbies. Those two hobbies self destructed as a direct result of the companies attempts to appease people complaining about scalping. I highly doubt that will happen here, but I think you can understand why I feel it's important for the counterpoint to be heard since I know corporate folks or their representatives read these sites. The squeeky wheel gets the grease, so I would like them to know the squeeky wheel doesn't represent everyone.
The Brain wrote:And with this, I also end my points. This may have been my first post, but I hope it to be my last in the forum--unless I feel the need to defend my person from a scathing attack.

Defend from who? You're asking to be attacked saying things like that. I have no desire to bait or attack you. I wish the feeling was mutual around here.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby ThinkingImpaired » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:02 pm

I think everyone needs to calm down. I don't see why you have to get mad over what anyone else says on the internet.....The Brain, I don't think investing in Lego sets is any different than the stock market, like what Tyrant said. This is not the same thing as some 30-year old guy waiting for TRU to open with all the brand new star wars figures, and buying all the rare ones to resell and leaving the common ones no one wants. Legos are different. Just like any item on earth, when production runs out, the item gets rarer. If the item still has high demand when production runs out, prices rise. Simple as that. In my mind there is nothing wrong with stocking up now so when production ends, you can sell to whoever will pay the most.

That's about all I can think of saying. Fun thread though.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby thepatient » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:15 pm

It seems to have turned into a “Flat Earth” debate. Personally, I’ve found it quite interesting.

I think it’s quite clear that Tyrant really hates the term-Scalper, contrary to what he posted about not caring about what people think. I can’t blame him. It comes across as a very negative term. I’m sure it’s hard to do business with that sort of moniker attached to said business. What you need, Tyrant, are some testimonials of how happy your clients are. I feel that generally people who buy from aftermarket sources are not that angry after their purchase. In the end they get what they want.

I can also see where Onions is coming from too. Admittedly I don’t know him, but he seems like a generous and big hearted guy. He’s given away a Chrome Vader already. It sounds like there might be more to come. I think that he just comes to the issue from a different perspective. He’s explained a few instances of why he stands on the issue the way he does; each one of them negative. His experience is different than the ones that Tyrant has experienced. I’m sure Tryant isn’t knocking down little kids to get to these sets first, and would probably speak up if he saw that being done. No one wants to see that.

The Brain, I have to disagree with you a bit on the whole thing about selling to children. Yes, he will be selling to those kids, but when they are much older. I’m pretty sure they’ll appreciate his patients on holding on to those sets for a later date, despite the higher price.

I still haven’t received an answer to my initial question; is anyone getting rich doing this or making a living at it? The lack of response tells me, “not really.” I don’t need to read about anyone bragging, just is it paying the bills? That would be a big indicator to why I won’t be joining the aftermarket crowd anytime soon. It seems like a lot of time and money based on speculation of the popularity of sets. It seems safer to just stick with collecting for me.

Basically it comes down to this; you either hate these people… or you love them. Neither side will ever budge on their own stance. You might as well face it Tyrant, not everyone is going to like you and it might be for that one reason. You will have to deal with that on a personal level. Many of those questions you asked won’t be answered, because you’ll get a ton of different answers. For the most part you seem like a descent person (a little sensitive maybe, but a good person). Good luck on your endeavors none the less.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby tamuhockey » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:22 pm

thepatient wrote:I still haven’t received an answer to my initial question; is anyone getting rich doing this or making a living at it? The lack of response tells me, “not really.” I don’t need to read about anyone bragging, just is it paying the bills? That would be a big indicator to why I won’t be joining the aftermarket crowd anytime soon. It seems like a lot of time and money based on speculation of the popularity of sets. It seems safer to just stick with collecting for me.


While I haven't been as active recently in the aftermarket as a result of fatherhood - I was netting about $4000 a month, between eBay, BL, and other online sales - and only investing about 10 hours a week to procuring new sets, and packing/shipping orders for both whole sets, and sets/figures parted out from sets. That's the equivalent of a $48,000 a year job, but only having to put in 25% of the time. Certainly something that can be profitable, even if only done as a part-time thing, or as a hobby. There are a number of sellers on BL, that do it full time, and it does indeed pay the bills. Trick is just to think big, and go for bulk. You won't pay the bills just picking up a few sets here and there - you need to get used to placing 4 and 5 figure orders at a time, and you have to stick with what sells the best.

So while I wouldn't say alot of people are getting rich off of it, it definitely can pay the bills.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby The Brain » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:05 pm

@ Tyrant,

Something you seem to have overlooked when you call me a hypocrite--I profess not to be one for a good reason: I am not an AFOL, I'm only 15 years old. As such, my Lego collection began once the SW Lego line was produced, not before then, and almost every single set I've ever purchased was for my LSW collection. I have never bought sets in bulk (battlepacks excluded, as that is their purpose), and have opened every box I've ever bought--nothing reserved to sell later. All sets were purchased brand new from big chain stores, or received as gifts purchased in the same manner--I don't peruse Bricklink and Ebay to buy old sets, because even though I feel the markup in price is warranted on an old product, I don't want to splurge to buy it.

People who do agree with you, such as even me to a certain extent, say that selling sets at markup is not wrong. I completely agree with this. If you own a set that was once highly sought-after and hard to get, and now want to sell it, why shouldn't you make a profit for keeping this rare, awesome set in such good condition for so long? You certainly should. Let it be known that this is not scalping! It is investing, like you have said. Good point. I must emphasize something you seem to have overlooked from some people who rebut your points:

What I say and have been trying to get across is that buying these sets in bulk, to sell later on to the same market who would have bought and had been able to buy this product when it was available and MSRP in stores is not right--it takes away their chances to purchase a set at a lower price while they have the money for it. I don't take sympathy on adults who complain about this (as much); these are children's toys, and the way I see it, they should have the first chance to get a set they want, over the people who want to stock their shelves full of a set that this kid wants to get. That being said, if there's this one set you've been wanting, nab it before some grubby, ungrateful 4 year old walks into the store with his over-pampering parents who promise to buy him whatever catches his eye. Summarized: selling sets at markup is not scalping and is not reprehnsible IMO, but it isn't right to buy a ton of sets and hoard them to influence how quickly they disappear from store shelves.

And what is it about communism and socialism that you keep bringing up? This is ridiculous to be putting in this thread. No one is proposing solutions to scalping because it can't be stopped--no one's suggesting socialized Lego building as a a solution, dude. And I don't like the fact that you act all innocent about insulting and singling out individuals who don't agree with you. I may be 15, but I know what I'm talking about and I'm not daft.

Which brings me to another point: I'm not singling you out because you're Tyrant; I'm singling you out because you have been the most frequent and detailed poster here, and the most vocal for the party opposing my opinion. If thepatient and Thinkingimpaired had been as passionate about this as you, I would feel the need to debate them too. This is getting too in-your-face for a friendly debate, and if you look back, you and you alone are the cause of that. I also single you out because you keep harping on single issues that you rehash from your own previous arguments--I don't pick on people who share my opinions because there aren't as many individual members who have said posted like you--it is simply and overwhelming majority with like-minded opinions about the moral reprehensibility of scalping.

@ your hobbies that died off: Gee, I wonder why. You said you debated the scalping issue like this with people about those hobbies, maybe you received similar responses?

So you don't post this again: scalping is immoral because it is intentionally done to take away MSRP sets from people who would buy them, solely to sell them at a higher price. Scalping may be smart--I don't argue about that--but I don't feel that hoarding items for yourself, only to sell them later once their price has gone up, is morally gratifying. If it is, then wonderful for you...

Adn bringing this back to capitalism--scalping is not capitalism. You compare yourself to stock brokers and claim if I don't like scalpers, then I must hate them, and if I don't I'm a hypocrite. That's preposterous. Stock brokers are making a living informing clients about the fluctations and good investments in the stock market--they are no way comparable to scalpers.

I'm not attacking you because you're a scalper--I'm attacking you because your opinions are so rigid and you seem to want to make everyone else out to be your enemy.

EDIT: Just wanted to add for humor's sake that as I was writing this, one of the Google generated ads was for ticket scalpers. It read, "Can't find tickets to the show you want, but will pay what you can to get 'em? Look no further..." Something like ticketscalpers.com, no joke! :lol:
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby tamuhockey » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:29 pm

The Brain wrote:Adn bringing this back to capitalism--scalping is not capitalism. You compare yourself to stock brokers and claim if I don't like scalpers, then I must hate them, and if I don't I'm a hypocrite. That's preposterous. Stock brokers are making a living informing clients about the fluctations and good investments in the stock market--they are no way comparable to scalpers.


Actually - "scalping" is exactly what stock brokers do. You are thinking of investment managers. Brokers represent YOU in the exchange of stocks/securities/commodities, and in such a way, that they purchase the security and sell it to you for slightly higher - its how they make money. Others, charge you fees or a percentage cut for buying and selling, which is essentially the same thing. As well, when you sell a security, if the brokerage house believes the security is undervalued, they may hold onto it, keeping it on their books at the price you sold it for, then end up selling it down the road to someone else, at a higher price. It really is no differenct than what is being discussed in regard to LEGO. After all, the term "scalping" came about because of the stock market, originally where traders and brokerage houses would buy up securities, then pitch them to potential customers in order to drive up prices in the shortterm for a quick sell, so that they could capitalize on the tiny margins between the prices.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Teekay » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:31 am

I pretty well agree with The Brain. I have pretty much the same perspective. You can buy your sets and sell them at a higher price, just don't:

a) lie about them to increase the price
b) take 10 from the same store at the same time, leaving none in stock

I'm pretty much in the same boat as The Brain, only a couple of years younger. I am not an AFOL, I open sets as soon as I get them. One time, I got a second Hailfire Droid for my birthday. What do you think I did with that? Built it, of course. I have no MISB sets, and I'm proud of it.

tamuhockey wrote:Actually, "scalping" is exactly what stockbrokers do.


Yes, but think about the difference between stock "scalping" and LEGO scalping. LEGO scalping usually involves buying a whole bunch of LEGO sets at MSRP, then selling them at an inflated price. I do agree that this is a capitalism, you can sell your sets at whatever price you want, and that a sale must have two sides, so I guess people actually buy sets at 2x MSRP. The problem comes when you are taking away more than, say, two of a set from a store, just to sell them. Kids might have wanted those. That is where you get to immoral.

Stock "scalping" is different. For one thing, if someone doesn't get a stock, they don't honestly care so much as they would about LEGO. There are other stocks, and unlike LEGO, they are pretty much the same thing. And also, kids won't be heartbroken if there were no stocks left. Therefore, I don't consider stockbroking immoral.

Also, stock trading is the job of the stockbrokers. They must take a percentage cut to make money. Few people (read: no one) has a job of scalping LEGO. Therefore, they don't depend on it for a living. They just do it to make extra money.

This is my opinion.

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I don't know why I dropped back here again lately. LEGO can no longer hold my interest, and I'm almost certainly gone forever. Bye to all who remember me.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby ufjason » Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:23 am

Many of you are operating on the idea that the people you mistakenly call scalpers can have the effect you talk about. Stores carry these products for months! Other than the first few weeks of release where deliveries are ramping up, they are almost always solidly on the shelf. Go to target right now and tell me they don't have a few of each set you see a price tag for! Most of us who purchase for later resale do not buy at msrp! It doesn't make any sense for us and we are not competing for products on the shelf. Basically what we do is shift supply for those that want it but couldn't get it for whatever reason. I happen to live in a huge metro area where there are plenty of stores with Lego. When clearance time hits, there's hundreds of sets on clearance aisles. Some people live in a town that has one store and may have a few sets when clearance time hits. My bulk purchasing in my land of plenty allows me to supply buyers who live in the land of few. Kids that are heartbroken because a set is sold out should be angry at Lego for retiring it, the store for no longer carrying it or their parent for not buying it during the months that it was available for msrp. Everything you speak of requires incredible odds of being in the same store at the same time with limited supply. The situations you speak of simply don't occur in the real world. Everything Tamu and I have said about the free market do occur in the real world and are a basic part of our capitalistic society.

In fact, let's stop talking in theoretical ideas. For those of you who've been posting or lurking in this thread, I'd like you to reply with sets you want and can't find right now that are not retired. I'd like to know the set you can't get that should be on shelves but isn't because of the "scalper" problem. Of course, that's what the bstf thread is for but I think you get my point. If Lego is producing the set and it isn't retired, I can guarantee I can find you that set at msrp! It's an open challenge, and if I say I can find it in a store, I will either copy a store print out of stock availability or photograph the set in a store with a price tag for proof!
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:12 am

Warning to those who think me long winded and overly verbose, long post ahead. Responding to three other posts. Trying not to soud negative.
ThinkingImpaired wrote:I think everyone needs to calm down. I don't see why you have to get mad over what anyone else says on the internet.....The Brain, I don't think investing in Lego sets is any different than the stock market, like what Tyrant said. This is not the same thing as some 30-year old guy waiting for TRU to open with all the brand new star wars figures, and buying all the rare ones to resell and leaving the common ones no one wants. Legos are different. Just like any item on earth, when production runs out, the item gets rarer. If the item still has high demand when production runs out, prices rise. Simple as that. In my mind there is nothing wrong with stocking up now so when production ends, you can sell to whoever will pay the most.

I've tried to make it clear that I sympathise and that if it truly were like other situations I would fully understand (and somewhat agree with) their anger. I collect figures. I've been there more than once. I just think, as you said, the two situations are apples and oranges. And no, I don't wait outside TRU to do that. The closest one is over an hour away, their overpriced, and I have a regular job.
The Brain wrote: @ Tyrant,
Something you seem to have overlooked when you call me a hypocrite--I profess not to be one for a good reason: I am not an AFOL, I'm only 15 years old. As such, my Lego collection began once the SW Lego line was produced, not before then, and almost every single set I've ever purchased was for my LSW collection. I have never bought sets in bulk (battlepacks excluded, as that is their purpose), and have opened every box I've ever bought--nothing reserved to sell later. All sets were purchased brand new from big chain stores, or received as gifts purchased in the same manner--I don't peruse Bricklink and Ebay to buy old sets, because even though I feel the markup in price is warranted on an old product, I don't want to splurge to buy it.

Well I did actually state that I believed it possible that your collection was entirely from your youth. I would say your situation qualifies. It is also pretty obvious my statements assumed you weren't a kid. I guess that's what I get for assuming. Sorry.
The Brain wrote:What I say and have been trying to get across is that buying these sets in bulk, to sell later on to the same market who would have bought and had been able to buy this product when it was available and MSRP in stores is not right--it takes away their chances to purchase a set at a lower price while they have the money for it.

Well, at least we're working towards progress here. So, now that we have established that it is okay to resell some sets, how many does it take to hit hoarding levels? What is the magic cut off point? I would at least understand better if it were realistically possible for one individual to buy enough to meaningfully impact the overall market. As it is, I am curious how much constitutes "bulk"?
The Brain wrote:I don't take sympathy on adults who complain about this (as much); these are children's toys, and the way I see it, they should have the first chance to get a set they want, over the people who want to stock their shelves full of a set that this kid wants to get. That being said, if there's this one set you've been wanting, nab it before some grubby, ungrateful 4 year old walks into the store with his over-pampering parents who promise to buy him whatever catches his eye. Summarized: selling sets at markup is not scalping and is not reprehnsible IMO, but it isn't right to buy a ton of sets and hoard them to influence how quickly they disappear from store shelves.

With very few exceptions, that isn't a realistic possibility. Maybe you could buy enough to have an impact locally (in which case there are other venues to buy it at the same price still, like S@H). But to actually have a real impact on total supply is virtually impossible (and as I said, if that were somehow occuring I would be understanding of the anger).
The Brain wrote:And what is it about communism and socialism that you keep bringing up? This is ridiculous to be putting in this thread.

No it really isn't. The mentality being presented here is an echo of the metality behind socialism and communism. Everyone deserves everything equally. At the end of the day, that is the end point of the anti scalper ideal. They are upset they don't have the set and that someone else does and that they want to be paid for it. They believe that practice is wrong (despite being one of the basic building blocks of capitalism). They want to see everyone who wants the sets get the sets. A noble idea, I admit. But also an utterly impossible idea without some type of enforcement. That's where socialism comes in. They can't or won't take reponsibility and get it themselves, so they want someone else to make sure they get what they think they deserve. That someone is socialism/communism. They ultimately believe they are entitled to be able to get that set at MSRP no matter how long it's been out of production. They want someone to make sure that happens. That kind of mentality (along with being upset other people are making money doing something that's pretty easy) is the basis of communism. As I said, I don't believe anyone here really wants that, but it can quite easily be read into their position if you understand the thought process that makes communism sound like a good idea. Never once did I call someone a "commie" and I am not trying to imply that I think they are. Some of their ideas may lean that way however and given that they have free will, that isn't a bad thing and I won't tell them they are evil for thinking that way. People are free to think what they want. My problem is when they insist others conform to their views or else (the or else in this case being to be labeled as an evil, immoral person). I've tried to tone it down on this front because I don't think most people want to go there, but I do think it is accurate.
The Brain wrote:No one is proposing solutions to scalping because it can't be stopped--no one's suggesting socialized Lego building as a a solution, dude.

Really? The only semi response I got to that was the idea that no one should buy them to resell (somehow trading or simply being a glutton and buying dozens upon dozens for yourself were magically okay though). Or more importantly, bringing in the little Timmy defense. The little Timmy defense tries to use kids to mask socialist ideals. The attempt to paint you as evil because you deny poor little Timmy his fair shot at getting LEGO. The problem is that anyone else buying them also messes with little Timmy's plans, but that aspect is completely ignored as it would invalidate the argument from the get go. It only works if there was enough to guarantee that everyone would get theirs. Everyone only gets theirs if they are overproduced or if there is some policy enforcing it. Overproduction is bad for the market and I hope everyone understands that. That only leaves someone enforcing it since we have established that under capitalism that won't happen. That is socialism/communism, though obviously on a far smaller scale. For whatever it is worth, I do believe that is sometimes necessary(like say if gasoline were to become really scarce). I just don't think LEGO rises to that level.
The Brain wrote:And I don't like the fact that you act all innocent about insulting and singling out individuals who don't agree with you. I may be 15, but I know what I'm talking about and I'm not daft.

I reply to single individuals because individuals make remarks. If that is singling them out, then I just don't know what to tell you. As for insults, I notice you still aren't providing any I have made. Maybe I overlooked one, but I don't recall saying anything close to "I think what you do is evil/stupid/immoral". If I have, please point it out.
The Brain wrote:If thepatient and Thinkingimpaired had been as passionate about this as you, I would feel the need to debate them too.

So, someone has to come off as pissed off to you (as I gather that is apparently what I sound like to you) for you to consider them worth debating? I truly do believe our current news outlets and political process have totally destroyed the idea of debate at this point.
The Brain wrote:This is getting too in-your-face for a friendly debate, and if you look back, you and you alone are the cause of that.

Look again is the nicest way to say it. By page 3 onions had decided I was taking it way to personally and that I was simply droning on and on and not contributing anything new (which is really funny since he said that it in a post that itself contributed nothing new, again, the word hypocrisy comes to mind). Don (who I do thank for being level headed and explaining what he meant because I asked) referred to the practice as leeching. Up to that point, the only thing I see myself saying that could be taken as an insult is that I believe the people complaining were dong it mostly just to complain. Onions felt I was singling him and his post out by picking it apart. I explained very simply and civily why I respond that way. By page 4 MrCRskater joins the fun in referring to some posters as meat heads trying to assert their narrowminded views. By his post, it isn't difficult to see which side he is referring to. He finishes with "denouncing" a segment that is opposed to his viewpoint. Most people tend to consider getting "denounced" an insult. I didn't have much (if anything) on page 4 and most of 5 because I was busy with real world stuff (I know, surely not). Now I can see where some people may take offense at what I said at the end of page 5 (though calling it a tirade is extreme as I am obviously trying to respond to the prior 2 pages I missed) but the majority of it is me calling bs on their arguments because that's what some of them are (to me and apparently most of the people that agree with me anyway). I possibly got carried away. Again, as before numerous times, I am the one saying maybe I am wrong and trying to make it clear I am not trying to sound like a jerk. So, don't lecture me about concessions and don't try to make it sound as if I am insulting people right and left. People are insulting me, but the road is more or less one way. If me questioning their moral code is an insult, they shouldn't mention it because it will obviously be questioned. If my saying I think what I do is smart is insulting them, they need to go out in the real world for a while and learn the difference between someone promoting their own practices and someone insulting others. So, in summary (and again), where did I insult anyone? And to be clear, calling someone a hypocrit who engages in hypocritical behavior is called the truth. If they find that insulting, even after I spell out in great detail (apparently it is somehow too much and yet not enough because they continue to not see the point) why it is hypocritical, then that is their problem. Unlike morality (ambiguous and highly personal at best), hypocrisy is pretty easy to define and point out.
The Brain wrote:I also single you out because you keep harping on single issues that you rehash from your own previous arguments--I don't pick on people who share my opinions because there aren't as many individual members who have said posted like you--it is simply and overwhelming majority with like-minded opinions about the moral reprehensibility of scalping.

Simple and overwhelming majority? What are you talking about? And if their is, I take it your point is that I should sit down and shut up because my opinion is apparently what the mob doesn't want to hear as they storm the castle?
The Brain wrote:@ your hobbies that died off: Gee, I wonder why. You said you debated the scalping issue like this with people about those hobbies, maybe you received similar responses?

You misunderstand what I mean when I say they died off. I don't mean I stopped participating. I mean the companies stopped making them or they were radically altered. One company went bankrupt due to greasing the squeaky wheel. The other altered the format of the game to try to eliminate a third of their buyers in the hopes that they could cut costs and the other two thirds would pick up the slack. This was made necessary by their application of grease to the squeaky wheel. Their little experiment has yet to run it's course, but history says it's doomed. That squeaky wheel in both cases was people pissed at scalpers. Both were collectible and both had people that felt the company owed them those figures for a "fair" (whatever that really meant) price. The companies capitulated and destroyed the secondary values of all the previous figures. A lot of people quit and sold their stuff during the crash. They never came back. The new folks that were supposed to fill the void didn't even come close. The old folks bought the figures in multiple cases. The new folks were complaining before they began that they cost too much. Now, I was able to clearly see the problem in the company's way of thinking. You don't chase off a huge chunk of your existing business in the hope that new business will fill the void. Especially in a tiny market like collectible miniatures. Those folks you chase away don't come back and they actively try to sabotage your efforts if they can. That one company was stupid enough to follow the formula of the bankrupt company shows how easily swayed companies can be sometimes. I don't see any real way for something like that to happen to LEGO. However, that doesn't mean some hair brained idea won't become popular amonst the squeaky wheel crowd online and TLG decides to seriously look at it because the venom in the antiscalper posts illustrates that they are on the edge of quitting (what they don't understand is that it's all faux internet rage). Knowing this, part of my purpose has been to illustrate that the view is not unanimous and that there are serious flaws in the argument.

As for encountering similar response, yes I did. They got to the point scalpers were equated to Nazis. It got that way very quickly. My attempt to point out the obvious flaws in their arguments fell upon deaf ears. Guess which side ended up being right? The funny thing is I still hold out hope that the second game can be kept alive by the fans (as they are trying to do) I still go to tournaments and post on the message boards and I personally know one of the people in charge of the fan movement (that is thus far at least officially recognised by the company) and I give him my ideas when I come up with them. Those folks who wanted set reprints and fair values for figures made 5 years ago in limited quantities? I don't hear much from them or see them much anymore. Funny how that works. And now you can hopefully understand why I think what I think about this round of complaining.
The Brain wrote:So you don't post this again: scalping is immoral because it is intentionally done to take away MSRP sets from people who would buy them, solely to sell them at a higher price. Scalping may be smart--I don't argue about that--but I don't feel that hoarding items for yourself, only to sell them later once their price has gone up, is morally gratifying. If it is, then wonderful for you...

So, how is doing this with LEGO different than doing it with anything else? Buy low sell high is itself an immoral act? Really? And taking them away from people who would buy them? The guy I sell them to half a world away was going here to the middle of nowhere and buy it himself? I really, really, doubt that. Little Timmy obviously didn't either because I mostly buy clearance items. Local demand obviously can't be too high as I don't camp out at Wal Mart to get these things yet I get them with ease. So, if I am not screwing locals, and I am obviously not screwing non locals, who am I screwing again? That's why I don't see how you can call it immoral. There is literally no one I am screwing here (accept the other scalper that gets there before me and clears them out, it's happened here).

You also are still dancing around the point. Why is selling them for more later immoral? It just is, isn't an answer. If it's because of the hypothetical next customer (be it little Timmy or otherwise), then that's a flawed argument for reasons I have covered repeatedly. I am not screwing anyone. So what's left about to say it's immoral? The only difference I see between this and buying to trade later (an accepted practice by everyone here, despite the fact you profit off of it, more hypocrisy) or buying mass numbers for myself (a sign of greed or gluttony, take your pick) is that I make money. I must conclude that making money is apparently the problem. For the reasons I have gone over repeatedly (that's why I have gone over them repreatedly, no one refutes them with anything beyond more childish morality), one can reasonably assume that means you have a problem with people making money in general. Enter the socialsim/communism comments and comparisons to all forms of currency aquisition. If I am so wrong why does no one actually attempt to refute those statements with something other than insults and sound bytes? If I am that wrong, it should be pretty easy.

As for moral gatification, I get none from doing this. As I said, morality doesn't ever enter into it. If it doesn't, it can't be morally gratifying.
The Brain wrote:Adn bringing this back to capitalism--scalping is not capitalism. You compare yourself to stock brokers and claim if I don't like scalpers, then I must hate them, and if I don't I'm a hypocrite. That's preposterous. Stock brokers are making a living informing clients about the fluctations and good investments in the stock market--they are no way comparable to scalpers.

Someone else has already pointed why you are wrong about this.
The Brain wrote:I'm not attacking you because you're a scalper--I'm attacking you because your opinions are so rigid and you seem to want to make everyone else out to be your enemy.

Well, now you admit you're attacking me. We are making progress. As for enemies, I don't view anyone here as my enemy. I am not a talking head on the "news" that is apparently enemies with all who oppose his view. I have said repeatedly that I am not trying to come off like that and I am sorry if I am. I seem to be the only one apologising yet I am the one being insulted pretty consistently. And somehow that makes me intolerant and narrowminded. I love what the media and our politicians have done to this country.
The Brain wrote:EDIT: Just wanted to add for humor's sake that as I was writing this, one of the Google generated ads was for ticket scalpers. It read, "Can't find tickets to the show you want, but will pay what you can to get 'em? Look no further..." Something like ticketscalpers.com, no joke! :lol:

That is funny.
thepatient wrote: I think it’s quite clear that Tyrant really hates the term-Scalper, contrary to what he posted about not caring about what people think. I can’t blame him. It comes across as a very negative term. I’m sure it’s hard to do business with that sort of moniker attached to said business. What you need, Tyrant, are some testimonials of how happy your clients are. I feel that generally people who buy from aftermarket sources are not that angry after their purchase. In the end they get what they want.

I do hate the term. Those using it to define me are making so broad as to be worthless as a definition for anything beyond capitalism (in which case they already have a word for that, capitalism). As for my customers, the really funny thing here is that I have sold all of two LEGO sets to other people. That's right. Two. And I am apparently evil for doing that.
thepatient wrote:I can also see where Onions is coming from too. Admittedly I don’t know him, but he seems like a generous and big hearted guy. He’s given away a Chrome Vader already. It sounds like there might be more to come. I think that he just comes to the issue from a different perspective. He’s explained a few instances of why he stands on the issue the way he does; each one of them negative. His experience is different than the ones that Tyrant has experienced. I’m sure Tryant isn’t knocking down little kids to get to these sets first, and would probably speak up if he saw that being done. No one wants to see that.

Look, I have said I am not trying to personally insult anyone. I am sure onions is a great guy and we probably agree on lots of other things. In this issue I seriously disagree with him and really don't care for his attempted responses to my posts. I have been on the bad end of scalpers before too. Lots of times. I still am sometimes. I just don't see the point in pointless complaining about it beside whipping people into an antiscalper frenzy. And as for the kids, I help people if I see them in the store and they are obviously having an issue. If I know that a set is overpriced there (typically TRU) and I see someone seriously looking at it, I tell them if the nearby Target has it and that it's cheaper. I give people my extra coupons. I go out of my way to get the sets my niece and nephew want for bithdays/xmas and I use the pricing info I track for buying to get them as much as I can within my budget for them which is always more than they would have gotten just gong with their parents. I know these are toys for kids and if I were in a situation where I were directly screwing over a kid, I would let him have it. The fact I like making money doesn't make me heartless. Although others do seem to feel differently on that subject apparently, and that I take offense to.
thepatient wrote:I still haven’t received an answer to my initial question; is anyone getting rich doing this or making a living at it? The lack of response tells me, “not really.” I don’t need to read about anyone bragging, just is it paying the bills? That would be a big indicator to why I won’t be joining the aftermarket crowd anytime soon. It seems like a lot of time and money based on speculation of the popularity of sets. It seems safer to just stick with collecting for me.

I'm not getting rich. Even if I liquidated my stockpile that I have aquired to resell, I would be far from rich. I would make as much as I made in 3 or 4 weeks of work probably. I do it to make side money to have more to spend on my hobbies. I don't have the storage space to really make a career out of it.

thepatient wrote:Basically it comes down to this; you either hate these people… or you love them. Neither side will ever budge on their own stance. You might as well face it Tyrant, not everyone is going to like you and it might be for that one reason. You will have to deal with that on a personal level.

As personal as I may sound like I am taking this, I am fine with people not liking me. I know it's a logical impossibility and I accepted it decades ago. The only problem close to a personal level I have is with why they don't like me. I think trying to apply morality to things like this is dangerous. When you think you are morally in the right, you remove personal responsibility from your actions and words which lets you do some truly bad things. Believing you are serving a higher cause or living a better lifestyle allows you to easily view those you deem bad as subhuman. This is why people who believe in certain books are truly dangerous people. This type of thinking is very destructive to any attempt at debating with someone who you have deemed bad. You won't ever give their words the time of day while you try to beat them in the head with morality. So, when I see people trying to bring morality into the buying and reselling of plastic toys, I worry for those people. It's really not a good sign.
thepatient wrote:Many of those questions you asked won’t be answered, because you’ll get a ton of different answers. For the most part you seem like a descent person (a little sensitive maybe, but a good person). Good luck on your endeavors none the less.

Thanks for a level headed post and the best of luck to you as well. Apologies to all of you who read that and still think I am long winded with no point.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion. Through passion, I gain strength. Through strength, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory. Through victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall free me.
-The Sith Code
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