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A digression on Scalping...

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby The Brain » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:19 pm

I'm not specifically replying to any member's post here, just some other points I've seen come up:

I live in an area that has relatively few toy/hobby shops around, and most of them are local, non-chain stores. So, their stocks tend to be rather marked up in value, and I rely on sales during holidays to nab sets I've been looking for--problem is, by that time, most sets are gone. I do see that it is ridiculous to say scalpers (I'm actually getting tired of the negative connotations of this term, so I personally will switch to hoarders--that is less vindictive and more truthful about the type of person who buys sets in bulk) can affect the stock of an item like Legos so drastically. That is only true for the overall stock, not local stocks. I don't buy from S@H often because I don't really have the money to spend. Even if I waited to buy a large group of sets so shipping isn't so crazy, I just don't have the kinds of money to spend on the sets anyway. Period. (I don't think I've ever been able to spend over $150 USD at any one time, and spending sprees are maybe twice a year for me...) So basically, my local stores hardly ever have anything reasonble to buy. In addition, the only close chain toy stores in my area are a crappy, derelict TRU (which I hate giving business to, even when they have something I want), and a Target (with a good Lego selection--too bad they're always sold out!) that's a few towns away. So, people who buy lots of sets, especially of one kind (such as the Republic Attack Tank--I can't find one anywhere) do directly affect my purchases, and several friends of mine.

Here's an interesting sidepoint--I live in an area that is possibly as close as you can get to George Lucas (if the phrase "41510" means anything to you, you know where I'm from), so there are toooons of Lucasfilm, Lucasarts, and other Lucas-based employees living around me. I can remember a time when AOTC came out, and I was 7 or 8, and love collecting the SW action figures, maybe as much or more so than the Legos (which is no longer the case), and there was this KB Toys (I loved that store) in a mall right in the city I live in, and I would always go there during the summer with my mom after swimmming/soccer practice to check out the inventory of their action figures. They knew me and loved me there, and would always try to save some hard to find figs for me (like the "Kamino Escape" Jango Fett, and Yoda). The only reason my collection of the AOTC figures is so complete is because they saved me these figs--Lucas employees would swoop into the store every day, and clear out the action figure inventory, leaving none for the little kiddies like me (and since the KB employees hated these Lucas guys, they would hide some figs). Does that seem sorta messed up to you guys; having all these adult, Lucas-based guys rushing the store to take away wildly popular toys from kids they know are searching high and low for these toys? This is the sort of question I base my scalping argument on. No, the method and process for scalping is legal, very smart (or cunning, more like), and not the worst thing to be doing, but this is where I feel the issue of morality comes in. And I would like to add that I do not hate scalpers because of the moral qualms I have about the practice, nor do I think they are immoral, evil human beings. I just think they could find a more productive and less (in terms of locally stocked goods) selfish way to make extra money. Please don't misinterpret what I just said as "scalpers are bad and selfish."

I have to say that although Tyrant has been rather pushy (yes, I feel you have been) and has sort of badgered me into this opinion, I take a slightly more moderate stance on my view on scalpers. That isn't to say you've swayed me with your wonderful debating process, I just see the side of the so-called "scalpers" a little more clearly now.

Putting personal issues behind us, I'm interested in seeing what so many others members here on FBTB have thought as they've read this thread, but have been to afraid to post.

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Mister Ed » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:25 pm

darth jason wrote:Oh i forgot about George "Ill do anything for a buck"Lucas. Star wars shop has them below MSRP all the time(regular price) not to mention all kinds of other cool stuff. I got the sith infiltrator there last year for 29 bucks when it was not available every where else that is before it came back of course. Hobby stores,the small independent ones are a good bet too. Those little "smart kid stores" you know the type that dosent sell toy guns and stuff. They all seem to stock lego's and those hang around for a long time some times.

Diddams is good if you have them where your at and i think you can buy from them online, they seem to always have an unusually good selection, they have playmobile too lots of them at least the ones here in the bay area.

http://shop.starwars.com/catalog/catego ... ory_id=323


Around here the "smart kids stores" are called Learning Palace. Great stores, but no LEGO at all. I'll have to look at the Star Wars shop for future sets, but they also have no AAT. I may have to resign myself to missing that one. But again, that will be because I wasn't that sure about it because of the new color scheme, so I have been trying to find it on sale, and have yet to see it below MSRP anywhere. I had plenty of opportunities, right when it came out, to buy it at MSRP, so if I miss it, I got no one to blame but me. :D
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby darth jason » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:26 pm

Mr Ed, I feel you on the ebay thing my wife got me into it Im a shopper so it is a work in progress but It's growing on me.
You just have to be a little carefull. do a good search and you can see their ratings as stores or indivdual shippers once you have are"watching" some of your sets. as a hint i like to look for the "buy it now price" those alot of times will have free shipping. Ive had some seriously good luck with the auctions as well. As for the Toys R us thing I would just look on line if the distance/time/gas is to far/to much but it sounds to me like they're kinda jerky at your TRU.

I dont know how much consistancy i put in big lots or tuesday morning for star wars stuff because i havent been so lucky. but i know tuesday morning as had some in the advertisments i just missed the boat.

The good will blew me away i think stores send their year end over stock/damaged stock there. I have noticed alot of target brands there since i started finding the lego's.

Anywho i gotta jet good luck man!!
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby bigkid24 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:31 pm

I've read most of the thread and so far the general consensus is:

Reselling of LEGO for profit is bad if I emptied the store shelf thereby robbing a kid of the chance of buying a set since I have the intent of reselling all of them at a profit.

But I can sell my LEGO if I'm a collector that happens to have an extra set and I didn't mean to make a profit when I bought the set.

So as long as I don't tell you that I have 4 extra Imperial Inspections that I bought specifically to resell then I'm justified in selling them at a mark up. Got it!

The problem is, regardless of your intent when you purchased it, there's no way to differentiate why some is selling or buying something. In the end, the result is the same, whether collector or scalper, a person bought a set making one set less that some other person couldn't buy at retail but can buy now at an inflated price in the secondary market. I don't think think there is a morality factor in this. Scalping in and of itself it's necessarily morally wrong. The market is driven by demand. It's the over zealous collector that is willing to pay a ton of money and scalpers that recognize an opportunity to make some money.

In my early toy days on the internet, everyone's mantra was don't feed the scalpers, and I think that still applies today. If you don't want scalpers to mark up toys then don't buy from them. There are plenty of opportunities to get the stuff you want at or even below MSRP if you look hard enough. Good deals don't just fall into your lap....most of the time. Between this forum, coupon/shopper sites, my own travels, Amazon, etc I've been able to save a ton of money. I would say about 80% of the LEGO I buy is below MSRP.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:48 pm

The Brain wrote: Here's an interesting sidepoint--I live in an area that is possibly as close as you can get to George Lucas (if the phrase "41510" means anything to you, you know where I'm from), so there are toooons of Lucasfilm, Lucasarts, and other Lucas-based employees living around me. I can remember a time when AOTC came out, and I was 7 or 8, and love collecting the SW action figures, maybe as much or more so than the Legos (which is no longer the case), and there was this KB Toys (I loved that store) in a mall right in the city I live in, and I would always go there during the summer with my mom after swimmming/soccer practice to check out the inventory of their action figures. They knew me and loved me there, and would always try to save some hard to find figs for me (like the "Kamino Escape" Jango Fett, and Yoda). The only reason my collection of the AOTC figures is so complete is because they saved me these figs--Lucas employees would swoop into the store every day, and clear out the action figure inventory, leaving none for the little kiddies like me (and since the KB employees hated these Lucas guys, they would hide some figs). Does that seem sorta messed up to you guys; having all these adult, Lucas-based guys rushing the store to take away wildly popular toys from kids they know are searching high and low for these toys? This is the sort of question I base my scalping argument on. No, the method and process for scalping is legal, very smart (or cunning, more like), and not the worst thing to be doing, but this is where I feel the issue of morality comes in. And I would like to add that I do not hate scalpers because of the moral qualms I have about the practice, nor do I think they are immoral, evil human beings. I just think they could find a more productive and less (in terms of locally stocked goods) selfish way to make extra money. Please don't misinterpret what I just said as "scalpers are bad and selfish."

Personally, I have always tried to differentiate the action figure issues from LEGO. With action figures, I do consider it scalping. I've encountered the issues you talk about time and again. I usually get luck eventually and find the ones I am after, but it's usually because I happen to be there sometime shortly after they restock. And I don't clean out the rare figures. I buy the ones I am after. With the lines I follow, there isn't enough immediate return for me to even consider it anyway. But the main reason is that I've been there and I am sure other people are looking for them.
The Brain wrote:I have to say that although Tyrant has been rather pushy (yes, I feel you have been) and has sort of badgered me into this opinion, I take a slightly more moderate stance on my view on scalpers. That isn't to say you've swayed me with your wonderful debating process, I just see the side of the so-called "scalpers" a little more clearly now.

Sorry to come off as pushy. If in all those massive walls of text I somehow showed one person the other side, I'll live with being called pushy (beats being called evil). But, like I said, it wasn't my intent and I am sorry.

To Misted Ed Re TRU sales:
I didn't see anyone answer you about this (though I mainly scanned through the responses so I may have missed it) so I will try. I know one way to keep up on their sales is to subscribe to their emails. They send you a message that has the highlights of their current sales ad. They usually highlight LEGO sales. Even if they don't, you will know when a new ad is out and you can see the entire thing through a link in the email. The other way is to watch the Buy, Sale, Trade section here and elsewhere (Eurobricks, for instance) because they usually have nationwide sales posted within a day of them popping up. This should also apply to Target and KMart (they have buy 2, get 1 and buy 1, get 1 half price sales seasonally, but selection can be spotty). I doubt there is one in your area, but if there is check out Meijer. They seem to randomly have sets on sale and they have a selection to at least match Wal Mart and usually close to Target. But if you're ever in doubt and don't want to drive all the way there (I live in the middle of nowhere and I hate wasting trips, so I know the feeling) just call. Usually you can find people willing to help, but you do sometimes get the employee who obviously doesn't want to give you the time of day. These are the ways I stay on top of sales anyway, hope it helps.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Joxer the Mighty » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:44 pm

I just bought 100 Twilights (49.99) on shop@home. So when these babies 'mature' at $51 in 2 years I'm gonna be rich!

So I started reading this thread an hour ago and I just had to stop, my eyes went a little crosseyed.

Couple comments. As someone who has bought sets to resell or trade for older sets that I did not get, does this make me a scalper? I think Don said early on that the intention of the buyer is what determines it. (sorry if I was wrong abut who said it) Just like UFJason, i bought multiple Hoth bases, knowing that with the minifig selection and pricepoint that they would be very profitable, only to have it rereleased. I now have 15 or so Hoth Bases ready to sell or trade. I have yet to sell any one of my sets, can someone say hoarder? I'm a builder/collector who has the intent to sell some to help fund my Lego/collectibles addiction that I have, but has yet to unload a single set. I have 100s of MISB sets that I do look at as an investment, but I also love building and displaying them.

I have no problem with what UFJason does, simple supply and demand. What I do have a problem with is the insane amounts of clearance deals he finds. I mean come on, is all of Atlanta sleeping on Legos? I also find it hard to pay retail for Legos, but occasionally I will, stupid UCS Falcon and its "limited edition".
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Puddleglum » Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:31 am

Joxer the Mighty wrote:I just bought 100 Twilights (49.99) on shop@home.

I always assumed that when they said "limit 5 per customer", that they wouldn't let you come right back and place multiple orders to the same address.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby ufjason » Sat Mar 07, 2009 1:57 pm

Joxer the Mighty wrote:I just bought 100 Twilights (49.99) on shop@home. So when these babies 'mature' at $51 in 2 years I'm gonna be rich!

So I started reading this thread an hour ago and I just had to stop, my eyes went a little crosseyed.

Couple comments. As someone who has bought sets to resell or trade for older sets that I did not get, does this make me a scalper? I think Don said early on that the intention of the buyer is what determines it. (sorry if I was wrong abut who said it) Just like UFJason, i bought multiple Hoth bases, knowing that with the minifig selection and pricepoint that they would be very profitable, only to have it rereleased. I now have 15 or so Hoth Bases ready to sell or trade. I have yet to sell any one of my sets, can someone say hoarder? I'm a builder/collector who has the intent to sell some to help fund my Lego/collectibles addiction that I have, but has yet to unload a single set. I have 100s of MISB sets that I do look at as an investment, but I also love building and displaying them.

I have no problem with what UFJason does, simple supply and demand. What I do have a problem with is the insane amounts of clearance deals he finds. I mean come on, is all of Atlanta sleeping on Legos? I also find it hard to pay retail for Legos, but occasionally I will, stupid UCS Falcon and its "limited edition".


I used to think it's luck but it's just hard work, intuition and reading forums. I'm on half a dozen forums as I also collect gijoe 25th anniversary figures. I use forums like fatwallet and slickdeals that sometime post Lego deals. I read the forums a few times a day if I have the opportunity. BTW, if you don't have one yet, get a Windows Mobile phone. Ironically enough, it's the product I train others on for Microsoft. We call it "living the dream" when you actually use the device in the course of your life whether for business or personal use. So if I see some toy that I think may be worth it, I can search bricklink or ebay instantly while in a store.

I also know how a lot of the retailers operate internally and can get access to their inventory systems. This is how, once I've found a deal, I can locate a set in quantities. So black friday, I had the dpci for the star destroyers. I called a location around 10am and found two stores with high numbers, drove to them and bought what was left. Mind you this was hours after stores had opened and Target looked like a ghost town. As I was getting sets, a guy came and asked if I'd like a cart. He told the manager that I was taking everything and he was very happy about it and assisted me. He said that when the sale ended, the promo prices reverted to regular retail and the items just languished till they hit clearance again. I got a total of 14, and there were plenty more to be had at the 20 Targets in the area. The reason I have such success is because I live in the center of the city and it's easy to hit 5 Targets and 3 Walmarts within a 5 mile radius.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby LFN » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:14 pm

Just my two cents.

I feel that it's really difficult to associate scalping with Lego; after all, each specific set will have the same parts and the same minifigure (if any). There aren't any "chase" figures and whatnot, like with the star wars action figure line with its occasional 1-per-case figure. I realize that the gold c3pos and chrome vaders exist, but as I live in Canada, they are irrelevant to the sets I see in my local Toysrus or craptastic zellers, and thus negligible.

As far as buying off the secondary market, I myself have bought some older blacktron II and ice planet sets off ebay. While exorbitantly overpriced for what I was getting once shipping had been factored in, there really was no other option considering that they were produced way before I had gotten into lego (my first memorable set is the Skull Island, from the pirates line circa 1995). Therefore the concept that these products are worth as much as I'm willing to pay holds true.

My take on this scalper predicament might have to do with my location as well, as I find that there is a not-close-to-excellent selection of lego in my area, given that there aren't any Lego stores up here in Canada, as far as i know, but I do agree that people like Tyrant are doing other people a service. Not that we should be breaking out the beer and toasting him with eternal gratitude, but really, as there is an abundance of a product in his area, I don't have a problem with him using up gas to search for said product, then sell it online at a mark-up (to cover costs of gas and time spent hunting), to those that cannot access that product as easily. Say you live somewhere within a rural area of Hong Kong, where acquiring Star Wars Lego is already quite difficult to begin with (oddly, all other lego lines are in abundance). Are you REALLY going to be able to do daily checkups for say, the Clone battlepack? Would it not be easier to purchase online off a seller in the event that the lego shopathome is sold out? A slight markup would be justifiable I guess, as time and travel expenses have to be taken into consideration. As for you, the buyer, you can stop moping over your poor luck with stores and resume your daily activities, because oh-my-gosh, that set is guaranteed to be yours. Fascinating, isn't it?

FYI, i did purchase my apparently highly-in-demand CW clone battlepacks off lego.com because my toyrsus' battle pack space is fully stocked with assassin droids packs. Can't stand not being able to find it in stores? Buy it online. It cost me about $1 extra per pack once shipping had been factored in ($16ish shipping included versus $15ish tax included in toyrus). And I didnt even have to hunt.

For those that may not have had the patience to read through my uberlong post that may well fit the apt length of a blog entry, keep in mind that scalping cant really be applied to lego, but it CAN be for action figures. Scour for deals, and keep in mind that msrp sets on lego.com arent a bad bet if you cant find them in stores. Avoid paying 2+ times what a currently in-circulation set is worth. Yada yada.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Teekay » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:11 am

bigkid24 wrote:I've read most of the thread and so far the general consensus is:

Reselling of LEGO for profit is bad if I emptied the store shelf thereby robbing a kid of the chance of buying a set since I have the intent of reselling all of them at a profit.


Precisely, so long as you bought more than one or two. If there was one left, I don't have an issue with you taking it.

bigkid24 wrote:But I can sell my LEGO if I'm a collector that happens to have an extra set and I didn't mean to make a profit when I bought the set.


If you are selling your collection, or need to sell part of it, and you are not asking for an extreme price. But the way you put it is a collector would be justified in selling it for the going price on Bricklink. Just enough to prevent you from losing money, only a profit of a couple bucks.

bigkid24 wrote:So as long as I don't tell you that I have 4 extra Imperial Inspections that I bought specifically to resell then I'm justified in selling them at a mark up. Got it!


No, lying doesn't justify anything. Period.

bigkid24 wrote:The problem is, regardless of your intent when you purchased it, there's no way to differentiate why some is selling or buying something. In the end, the result is the same, whether collector or scalper, a person bought a set making one set less that some other person couldn't buy at retail but can buy now at an inflated price in the secondary market. I don't think think there is a morality factor in this. Scalping in and of itself it's necessarily morally wrong. The market is driven by demand. It's the over zealous collector that is willing to pay a ton of money and scalpers that recognize an opportunity to make some money.


Yeah, but while the collector only bought one or two, the scalper bought five or even ten.

bigkid24 wrote:In my early toy days on the internet, everyone's mantra was don't feed the scalpers, and I think that still applies today. If you don't want scalpers to mark up toys then don't buy from them. There are plenty of opportunities to get the stuff you want at or even below MSRP if you look hard enough. Good deals don't just fall into your lap....most of the time. Between this forum, coupon/shopper sites, my own travels, Amazon, etc I've been able to save a ton of money. I would say about 80% of the LEGO I buy is below MSRP.


But some people are so crazy about getting the set that they want that they are willing to pay way over MSRP.

There was this one guy on eBay who I liked what he was doing. He was an old collector, but he had to give up his collection for whatever reason. All of his sets were opened, but in like-new condition with instructions and box. He told you everything completly straight in the description. Then, he started all his auctions at $0.99. It wasn't his fault if some of his sets sold at an inflated price, he just let people bid how much they were willing to pay.

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:33 am

Teekay wrote: If you are selling your collection, or need to sell part of it, and you are not asking for an extreme price. But the way you put it is a collector would be justified in selling it for the going price on Bricklink. Just enough to prevent you from losing money, only a profit of a couple bucks.

Doesn't that just lead back to the question of how much profit is a "couple bucks" and how much makes you a scalper? Questions like that are why I, and others, have a problem with the argument. It seems to be highly personal and not in any way objective.
Teekay wrote: No, lying doesn't justify anything. Period.

I do not agree with lying in ebay ads to get sales. If I mention that a set is sold out, it is sold out. Having said that, anyone who only reads the very first one and doesn't look around has only themselves to blame for overpaying. This applies to an uninformed consumer of any other product. That's not to say they are stupid (or whatever other insult anyone may try to read into that, I know some people just don't have time), but as with anything else if you jump into a situation you don't know much about there is only one person who is at fault for the outcome.
Teekay wrote: Yeah, but while the collector only bought one or two, the scalper bought five or even ten.

As a collector, I have bought far more than I ever bought in my amassing for resale. I have bought 5+ for my collection in one go. The most I have of any set to resell is 4. The most of any I have in my collection is 20 (and yes, they are all opened). So, the collectors and scalpers both buy lots of sets. All of those sets are sets that other customers won't get. Nothing can change that.
Teekay wrote: But some people are so crazy about getting the set that they want that they are willing to pay way over MSRP.

And if they are? Are they wrong too? More importantly, how else are these people going to get the sets at MSRP? I assume they are willing to pay more because they can't get them locally and can't get them on S@H. Are they going to fly here to my local Wal Mart and buy them? Probably not. So, if I buy them to sell them, why should I put out the effort to do that only to sell them at MSRP thus actually losing me time and money? If others want to be super noble and do that to destroy the resell business on their time (and their own dime), they're welcome to it.
Teekay wrote: There was this one guy on eBay who I liked what he was doing. He was an old collector, but he had to give up his collection for whatever reason. All of his sets were opened, but in like-new condition with instructions and box. He told you everything completly straight in the description. Then, he started all his auctions at $0.99. It wasn't his fault if some of his sets sold at an inflated price, he just let people bid how much they were willing to pay.

And that is very noble (and I mean that). I sell things that way too sometimes. When I do I do it because I am positive they will sell close to market value and it is cheaper to list them that way. Maybe he just wanted to avoid high initial listing cost? I don't know so I don't know, but it's something to think about.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby ThinkingImpaired » Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:27 pm

Teekay wrote:If you are selling your collection, or need to sell part of it, and you are not asking for an extreme price. But the way you put it is a collector would be justified in selling it for the going price on Bricklink. Just enough to prevent you from losing money, only a profit of a couple bucks.


I just wanna know where you pull these numbers from...if you want to sell a set from your collection later on you have to make sure you don't sell for the going price and instead sell only a couple bucks over original retail price? What does that accomplish? The reason sets go so high is because a larger number of buyers are competing for a smaller number of sets. The same number of buyers get the sets either way...so I don't see how that solves anything.


Teekay wrote:Yeah, but while the collector only bought one or two, the scalper bought five or even ten.


You're stereotyping. What if collectors buy 20 of a set to keep...and a reseller buys 1?



Teekay wrote:There was this one guy on eBay who I liked what he was doing. He was an old collector, but he had to give up his collection for whatever reason. All of his sets were opened, but in like-new condition with instructions and box. He told you everything completly straight in the description. Then, he started all his auctions at $0.99. It wasn't his fault if some of his sets sold at an inflated price, he just let people bid how much they were willing to pay.


If it wasn't his fault that people bought at inflated prices, how is it a reseller's fault that people buy at inflated prices? It seems to me you are contradicting your previous argument.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Puddleglum » Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:19 pm

Teekay wrote:
bigkid24 wrote:Reselling of LEGO for profit is bad if I emptied the store shelf thereby robbing a kid of the chance of buying a set since I have the intent of reselling all of them at a profit.

Precisely, so long as you bought more than one or two. If there was one left, I don't have an issue with you taking it.

The idea that it is possible to prevent "a kid" the chance of buying some LEGO set at MSRP by buying out a store's stock has been so thoroughly demolished that I can't believe anyone is still trying to restate it here.

Teekay wrote:
bigkid24 wrote:But I can sell my LEGO if I'm a collector that happens to have an extra set and I didn't mean to make a profit when I bought the set.

If you are selling your collection, or need to sell part of it, and you are not asking for an extreme price. But the way you put it is a collector would be justified in selling it for the going price on Bricklink. Just enough to prevent you from losing money, only a profit of a couple bucks.

If decide to sell and old set from your collection, and you list it on Bricklink at a "couple bucks" over MSRP, when the going rate is, say, double MSRP, I can tell you what will happen. A scalper will buy it and resell it to someone else at double MSRP.

I'm curious if you own any stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. If you decided to sell some that you had held for many years, would you call up your broker and tell him you only want to sell them for a "couple bucks" more than what you paid for them?
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby meeotch » Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:19 pm

Puddleglum wrote:I'm curious if you own any stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. If you decided to sell some that you had held for many years, would you call up your broker and tell him you only want to sell them for a "couple bucks" more than what you paid for them?


I'd try that today, but my broker would laugh at me for a whole different reason... ;)
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Inzane » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:14 am

Joxer the Mighty wrote:I just bought 100 Twilights (49.99) on shop@home.


:lol: That POS is not going to fly off shelves at even half price. (I know I'm still not tempted to buy it.)
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby bigkid24 » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:30 am

Teekay wrote:
bigkid24 wrote:So as long as I don't tell you that I have 4 extra Imperial Inspections that I bought specifically to resell then I'm justified in selling them at a mark up. Got it!


No, lying doesn't justify anything. Period.

bigkid24 wrote:The problem is, regardless of your intent when you purchased it, there's no way to differentiate why some is selling or buying something. In the end, the result is the same, whether collector or scalper, a person bought a set making one set less that some other person couldn't buy at retail but can buy now at an inflated price in the secondary market. I don't think think there is a morality factor in this. Scalping in and of itself it's necessarily morally wrong. The market is driven by demand. It's the over zealous collector that is willing to pay a ton of money and scalpers that recognize an opportunity to make some money.


Yeah, but while the collector only bought one or two, the scalper bought five or even ten.

bigkid24 wrote:In my early toy days on the internet, everyone's mantra was don't feed the scalpers, and I think that still applies today. If you don't want scalpers to mark up toys then don't buy from them. There are plenty of opportunities to get the stuff you want at or even below MSRP if you look hard enough. Good deals don't just fall into your lap....most of the time. Between this forum, coupon/shopper sites, my own travels, Amazon, etc I've been able to save a ton of money. I would say about 80% of the LEGO I buy is below MSRP.


But some people are so crazy about getting the set that they want that they are willing to pay way over MSRP.

There was this one guy on eBay who I liked what he was doing. He was an old collector, but he had to give up his collection for whatever reason. All of his sets were opened, but in like-new condition with instructions and box. He told you everything completly straight in the description. Then, he started all his auctions at $0.99. It wasn't his fault if some of his sets sold at an inflated price, he just let people bid how much they were willing to pay.

~Sam (Teekay)



Well I forgot that sarcasm doesn't work on the internet aside from adding smiley faces. My first few comments were supposed to be sarcastic.

In my Imperial Inspection comment, first of all, I'm not lying to you. I'm not telling you what my motivation was in buying the sets in the first place. And even I did, how do you know I'm not telling the truth? You can't. An interested buyer won't care or bother to ask. And if you're not an interested buyer then you won't ask because it doesn't concern you. So why people keep harping on intent seems ridiculous.


On buying multiple sets, how do you know the collector only bought one or two? I've seen collectors buy multiples and other collectors here have said they buy more than 1 or 2. Rather than just talk about scalping we should extend this to hording too if we want to talk about how a group of people "rob" others of the chance of buying a set.

On the ebay guy, that's not a noble practice that's just good business. It costs less to start an auction at .99 and if it's a hot item it'll hit market price. The frenzy of the bidding war drives it up when people like to think they are getting a bargain, yet the auction ends at a higher price than a BIN listing that's $20 cheaper.

I agree with the guy that said if you're not selling at market then you're leaving the door open for a scalper to buy it and flip the set at market. Just like you have no idea why the seller has extras to sell, you'd have no way of knowing why someone is buying from you. But again are you going to inquire about their intent?

Instead of discussing who is a scalper and the morality of it we should be talking about how we can avoid using them. My friends and I look out for each and when we toy hunt we call each other up to see if they need anything on the shelves.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby darth jason » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:40 am

Inzane wrote:
Joxer the Mighty wrote:I just bought 100 Twilights (49.99) on shop@home.


:lol: That POS is not going to fly off shelves at even half price. (I know I'm still not tempted to buy it.)


So now Joxer has made a speculative risk. Not scalping i see lego sets all the time, not just once or twice in my life time like the Plant/Page tour. I prefer to call it what it is, speculation. A pretty good one at that, because it's usually some of the more comercially unpopular sets that end up worth the most money on the toy aftermarket. but he could loose his shirt, Ive seen a lot of these up for auction on ebay and the closing prices are pretty close to this $50 sale price. So is it ok if somone bought any number of these at george lucas's price of 89.00 each to turn a profit? 10 bucks under MSRP seems to be right in there with what some people on the con side seem to think as acceptable profit...what ever that is.

When i first started reading this subject and peoples responses I didnt have much of an opinion other than trying to help some folks out by telling them where i find deals and/or hard to find stuff, untill i really read into what a lot of folks consider scalping.

I feel that if someone finds sets on sale and resells them at a higher rate as enterprising. I didnt think this would really produce a "drought" of available sets to Lego fans. I have reconsidered this slightly since i really didnt take into account rural access and regional distribution where really someone could make an impact on the retail coverage. unfortunatly the fact that the internet market exists makes that point near moot but still remarkable.

It sounds like most people are just bent because either theyre missing out on sales or because there local retailers have real crappy selections. All of these problems have relevent soloutions without trying to lable an entire group as criminal.
Basically a bunch of cry babies that don't want to make a lot of effort, at the end of the day we all have pretty much the same chance as the next person; chance favours the prepared and the dilligent. I just dont see how one group of people are impacting legos distribution and pricing, they do enough of that on there own. These things are available for months to a year both online and in store, unlike with a scalper who is selling a venue, a time and a place that is limited. Thats why people dont scalp airline tickets another one is coming along. Plant and page is a once and a life time concert. maybee twice.

So my question is this; Is it ok if Joxer loses his behind on those twilight's that he found, and why?
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby kyphur » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:46 am

bigkid24 wrote:Instead of discussing who is a scalper and the morality of it we should be talking about how we can avoid using them. My friends and I look out for each and when we toy hunt we call each other up to see if they need anything on the shelves.


Kudos for one of the best real-life example of the only true "solution" to a problem that exists only in the egos of disgruntled collectors....

It has been said again & again if you don't want to pay the high price of discontinued sets then don't let them get away while they're avaliable at retail (and even the "exclusive" sets can be had via S@H).

Of course there will always be sets that went out before you started collectiong but that's a different story.

Has anyone ever noticed how expensive classic cars are? Heck even the parts are expensive once ther's a collector's market for them. Of course original parts get more expensive with each passing day which is the only reason reproduction parts look reasonable pricewise. I suppose those parts aren't being scapled?

Come on, it's part of the cost of having such a frivilous hobby. Many in my social circle with they had the money to "waste" on kids toys or at least that's what they joke in polite company...
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby thepatient » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:11 pm

darth jason wrote:So my question is this; Is it ok if Joxer loses his behind on those twilight's that he found, and why?


Yup, that's called business. Now don't get me wrong, I don't wish that senario to happen to him, but that is the price of doing business. You win some and you lose some. Every business takes it's chances when buying stock. The speculation that a set will go up in time, is just that, speculation. The reality is you can say something is worth $x.xx, but its only worth that until some buys it at that price.

One thing I've found very interesting. Every "greedy, low down scalper" that's posted in here has given tips on how they purchase. These people have, in essense, have given away their secrets on how to buy your LEGO. That shows that these aftermarket folks aren't morally wrong, or degenrate. They have really showed those that don't like "scalpers" how to beat them at their own game. Doesn't sound selfish to me.

I was really wrong when I said that no one is making money at this, sounds like something to try when I retire in about 25-30 years. I have some questions for some of the after market sellers out there.


Do you have many sales in the U.S. or are most of your customers overseas?
Do you have to have a business liscence and resale number?
Do you charge sales tax on an item that you've already paid sale taxes on?
Does the money you make count as income and you have to claim it?
Can you go into a store like Target and buy sets with a resale number and not pay tax until the final sale that you make?

That last question is kind of from experience. I've been able to buy clothes from Target with a resale number, then I print them and then I'm responsible for the tax when I make the final sale.

If you don't want to publicly post I will except PMs too. I'm very curious if this kind of business would be worth while in the future.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby darth jason » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:31 pm

I know alot of people say their local store selections suck.

As for the retail store end I think Julia Child said it best back in 60's when all you could find in the grocery store pretty much came in a tin can.." and if your grocer dosent carry it, it's only because you and your friends havent been yelling at him loud enough."

Speaking as someone who ran into this before alot of these places can order sets or transfer from different stores alot of times at no cost especially if it is supposed to be on the shelf. I know lego offered to do that for me w/the fighter tank when i showed up at the store and none were around. Sometimes you have to be like that, and these people know that at these retail joints its a game. There is a subtle talent to getting what you want out of retailers and other times you have to act like a blithering idiot. I find most people want to try and help you out.

Just a passing thought...
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