onions wrote:imo, "scalping" is buying stock of items with the sole intent of reselling later. it doesn't matter how much later, a few days, months or years. people who say they are "providing a service" by scalping some product A are full of it. you can spin the act of scalping any way you wish if it makes you feel better. all semantics aside, scalping is scalping.
To be clear, I will never claim to be providing a service. I do it to make money for myself. I won't glorify it and I won't feel bad about it. The basics underpinnings of the economy are built on the idea of buy low sell high so I fail to see the problem and I fail to see why anyone would or should feel guilty about it. Having said that, by your definition, is a distributor a scalper? They buy the entire stock with intent to resell it at a higher price. Why are they exempt from people's wrath yet single individuals are not? Is TRU a scalper? They buy the sets from LEGO and sell them for a higher price than LEGO? Is there something wrong with making a profit?
onions wrote:in terms of this discussion, LEGO product is in a unique category. the only time i've ever known a product to be so limited in quantity was the castle advent calendar.
That problem wasn't caused by scalpers. That was TLG thinking those wouldn't sell here. The same for The Good Wizard and in the reverse for sets that aren't sold in some markets overseas. Without scalpers, the people in the areas without these would never get them. I want a few of the Wizard figure, but I am not going to buy them for the price most sell them. It's that simple. I don't complain that they are selling them for a price that the market obviously agrees with (or they wouldn't be able to sell them). If I complain about anything it is about questionable distribution ideals, which has nothing to do with scalpers. To use a currently popular (or it was a few years ago anyway) phrase , don't hate the player, hate the game.
In general (not aimed at anyone), in these types of threads, I always wonder what people have against other people making money? Everyone seems to be perfectly fine with a company making money (they are obviously charging more than it costs to design, produce, and ship these products thus making a product, where's the anger at them?), yet when an individual sees an opportunity and takes it, they are somehow doing something they should feel guilty about. This is absurd. If you have a problem with the rules of the game, try to change the rules. Don't get upset at other people who play by the rules and make money.
onions wrote:every other set at retail was widely available for a few months or years and was always, at the very least, available through shop@home. i feel bad for those people whose real life circumstances prevent them from obtaining a particular set before it gets retired but unfortunately, that's how life is sometimes: sucky. i can understand the pain in having to buy something aftermarket, and that pain easily translates to animosity. it's hard to not have those feelings when you're desperate.
I feel for people that can't get them when they are available. I won't lose money because of it though. There are lots of things I can't get but no one cares about that. At the end of the day, hobbies are a luxory. You don't have to have them. I can't get a 60" 1080 flat panel TV (well, I could, but it wouldn't be an economically wise move) but I don't complain to people that can. I work with what I have and make the most of it instead of being upset at other's success.
meeotch wrote:I think that this supports what the morst important phrase in your post is "with the sole intent of rerselling later." There is no actual value added, it's simple profiteering due to manipulating supply.
I think where people are disagreeing, as far as LEGO, is the manipulating supply bit. How are they manipulating supply? No one goes out and buys a reasonable fraction of a production run of any set, except retailers. The money it would take to actually impact the overall supply in anyway is a reasonable large sum. What they are doing is ensuring a number of sets don't ever hit clearance. That isn't manipulating supply. These sets (with very few exceptions, which usually have absolutely nothing to do with scalpers) are available for months, not minutes, hours, or days. There is time for anyone to buy them provided they have the money and interest. If they don't have the money, I feel sorry for their situation, but their complaints are hollow. They would still exist if the item simply sold out and no one resold it as their true issue is lack of money, which is not the scalpers fault or problem.
meeotch wrote:And as far as "well, that's simple capitalism," I never claimed to be a fan of capitalism. I think human nature is such that, for the most part, we're all greedy, so the haves always screw the have nots. Let's just take a look at where the economy is right now, thanks to both American and global capitalism...
Not to derail too much, but the basics of capitalism are sound (and beat the hell out of communism from the standpoint of anyone who enjoys individuallity). The problem isn't capitalism. The problem is rampant, unchecked, unmoderated greed. Gordon Gekko was somewhat right when he said "Greed is good". It can be good, but it must be controlled or it leads to ruin. Pure capitalism, like pure communism, can't work. Regulation is needed to ensure certain things don't happen. Those things happened. And now here we are.
If people want to change things, buy a lot of things like the magnet sets and avoid the real sets those figures are in. That will show TLG that you want things like rare figures available via a cheaper means and they will supply them. Hating scalpers does nothing for anyone.
That's an awful lot of words for "what Don said"
Yeah I started with trying to explain the action figure market set up and it just kind of snowballed.