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A digression on Scalping...

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A digression on Scalping...

Postby meeotch » Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:10 pm

LEGOscum wrote:In fact LEGO do benefit from higher secondary prices when collectors who've stockpiled sets to sell later on use their profit to buy current LEGO sets they'd not be able to afford otherwise.


I think that there are some logical flaws with your assumption here. First off, I'd like to say that what you're describing is basically the same as ticket scalping: buying up quantities of a limited inventory in order to sell (most likely, to people that would have bought it in the first place at normal price had they been able to get one...) at a profit, basically manipulating supply and demand for nefarious purposes, not personally adding any value to their product.

I don't see how LEGO benefits from this, at least financially. It's not like they're still trying to sell off 5 year old stock because no one wants them. No, if the jerks that stockpile sets didn't buy them up, other people would still buy them, in fact, more people would buy them based on law and demand. I'm going to throw out a scenario with really simple numbers:

LEGO releases set WXYZ, and produces 100 of them. Lego makes 10 bucks profit from each set, for a total profit of 1000 dollars. It doesn't matter who buys them, Lego scalpers or legitimate consumers. Lego still gets the same amount of money.
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Re: Why Couldn't Lego Do Something Like This....

Postby LEGOscum » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:57 am

meeotch wrote:First off, I'd like to say that what you're describing is basically the same as ticket scalping: buying up quantities of a limited inventory in order to sell (most likely, to people that would have bought it in the first place at normal price had they been able to get one...) at a profit.


Buying sets and selling them at a higher cost in order to profit WHILE the set is still available at retail is scalping. Selling extra sets long after the set has been retired is not scalping, and is called investing. This is what I was talking about.

I was simplistic in my argument for a single reason - to keep it simple. There are many reasons why LEGO doesn't reissue old sets, and the one most often stated by LEGO is to preserve market value. I also used this rational to explain why LEGO does profit from the secondary market.

But I think you are missing my point - I'm not against the reissuing of old sets if they were made to look different (packagiung and brick colour).
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Re: Why Couldn't Lego Do Something Like This....

Postby meeotch » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:21 am

LEGOscum wrote:Buying sets and selling them at a higher cost in order to profit WHILE the set is still available at retail is scalping. Selling extra sets long after the set has been retired is not scalping, and is called investing. This is what I was talking about.


I don't mean to derail this thread too much, but you have it backwards. If a person buys sets and tries to sell them at a higher price while they're still available at MSRP, that's just dumb. But if they buy sets and hold onto them until they're guaranteed to go up in value (once they're no longer available), it's scalping, pure and simple. You can use the term "investing" if you wish, but it's really just euphemizing it. Why do you think Lego only allows 1 per customer of certain low-stock items (Republic Fighter Tank, anyone?) I would have bought that one if I could have found it, but I'm willing to bet there're tons of people with 4 or 5, sitting around their house, waiting for the street price to double or more.

Have you ever noticed that ticket scalpers don't sell their tickets until the day of the concert, when the show's sold out and people are willing to pay an arm and a leg to see a particular act?.....
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Re: Why Couldn't Lego Do Something Like This....

Postby Draykov » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:43 am

I'm gonna have to side with Meeotch on this one. Merriam-Webster defines scalping as: to buy and sell so as to make small quick profits <scalp stocks> <scalp grain> ; especially : to resell at greatly increased prices <scalp theater tickets>

In short, it doesn't matter when you sell it, if the price is well over MSRP, it can be considered scalping. Now, in a collector's market, scalping tends to be the norm and if some goofball is willing to spend $100 for a Batman Tumbler the week after it goes out of stock, I'm not going to judge you if you want to sell him one.
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Why Couldn't Lego Do Something Like This....

Postby meeotch » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:27 pm

Well, I asked for this to get spun off into its own thread, because I think it's worthy of discussion.

In answer to your "question", you're way oversimplifying it. There are plenty of (in my opinion, at least) legitimate ways of selling vintage sets. Scalping is defined by the intention behind it: manipulating supply in the short term to increase demand and make a profit the moment the price-point jumps. The short of it is like this:

There are 5 of a set put out at 10$ a set. All 5 would buy them at 10$ each, but the first person to get there buys all of them. He then sells them to the other 4 people for 20 bucks each. So, Lego has made all of their money that they would make no matter what, but the first guy makes 40 bucks just because he was the first person to get there. It's pretty malicious, and a far cry from "investing," if you ask me.

This is different from selling any of your used sets, or even buying a quantity of sets and selling them at a slight increase to fellow fubtubbers ;) to cover time and resouorce costs, or any other number of reasons I don't have the time to come up with right now.
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Re: Why Couldn't Lego Do Something Like This....

Postby LEGOscum » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:52 pm

Quick, before the mods come in and slap us down!

I'm not defending anyone who scalps. I don't like it and I don't do it. That said the purpose of scalping is to make a short term profit. It affects what you and I are able to find, and it bugs me when someone prevents me from getting the latest set. Last week I saw an eBay listing for one of the new LSW magnet sets on eBay for x2 MSRP, which reminded me I still had to get one. So I went to the nearest brand store and discovered they were sold out. Grrr. When I got home I checked the eBay listing and realised that the seller only lived a few miles from the brand store. It doesn't take professor of mathematics to figure out what went on.

But had this seller picked a set up and then years and years decided to sell it at a profit then this wouldn't be scalping. The key is the timing - every definition of scalping states it is done to make profits in the short term. If a LEGO set is retired, typically after 2 to 3 years, the value will go up because supply has been limited. But to profit in this situation a seller has to look to the long term.

Further, within the collecting community the emphasis is on what is available at retail. Selling a toy that is currently available at a mark-up is scalping because it affects the supply. A toy that is no longer available at retail is one that is no longer being supplied, so selling one and profiting from it is not affecting the supply.

To open this debate up further, what about the people who buy up sets and break them up to sell the bricks and minifigs on eBay? I recently read an article on Brothers-Brick.com that described how to fund your LEGO habit by selling popular minifigs at a profit. There's also been a similar article in Brick Journal. Surely this affects the supply of a set in order to make profits? Isn't this scalping?
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Teekay » Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:15 pm

Okay, I'm not exactly sure what this argument is about, but I'm going to join in anyway! ;)

If the argument is over the definition of scalper, I would have to say that if someone were to go into a store, buy 5 of a limited quantity set like 7679, then a couple years later sell it for $100 (rather that an MSRP of $50) then I would say that that is scalping and it is wrong.

However, I have nothing wrong with people who would buy a set and then not want it later, or even buy one extra to sell. My problem is just with the people who would buy 5 of a set, knowing that they were going to sell it later on. If they wanted to keep five of a set, and decided they didn't want it, it would be okay so long as they sold it somewhere like FBTB where they could sell it for close to MSRP and not force anyone to pay way too much.

I hope that is what this argument is about, because I hope that I didn't write that rant for nothing.

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Solo » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:41 pm

You can't compare this hobby to ticket scalping because there is a known limit to the number of tickets which makes them sell out extremely fast and after a certain date it'll be worthless anyways. And you can't compare this to selling vintage toys because no one at the time had the forethought to stockpile any back when they were rotting on the shelves. Modern collectibles and the people that scalp them require a whole different definition that you're not going to find in a dictionary.

The key factor is the intent of the purchase. Scalpers don't buy sets because they want them and then change their minds, they buy sets for the sole purpose of reselling them. It is an investment, and it's also a gamble. But that doesn't make it not "scalping". If however you buy a set only to later lose interest in it and decide to sell it for the current aftermarket value, that's clearly not scalping. It doesn't matter that you're still making a profit, what matters is you didn't buy the set with the end goal of making money off it.

Now, if you have a set that's currently available elsewhere at retail, and you sell it for higher than retail, that's just smart. It's still scalping, but if people can buy it elsewhere for cheaper but still decide instead to pay more for a middleman, why not? Same for parting a set out for the figures. Minifigs are in higher demand because non LEGO Star Wars fans are interested in them independently but not the sets, so it's a deal for both parties. Again, still scalping, but a win/win situation.

The thing that irks me about all this is the animosity, and the stupid blame game that says it's somehow the scalpers fault that the sets are so sought after. Scalpers don't create demand, they follow it. They're not stocking up on every set that comes out, they get the ones that everyone is excited about. And they don't clean out the shelves in every store they can, or grab every last one from shop at home. These sets are around plenty long enough for everyone to have as fair a chance as the scalpers themselves have. I know not every set is available in every area and sometimes your nearest stores do sell out before you get a chance to grab what you want - but you have to understand that regular purchasers far outnumber the scalpers, and those other people are the reason you couldn't get one. And if you end up missing out completely during the regular lifespan of a set, they you're clearly not using the online community to it's full extent.

Scalpers are just an easy scapegoat because they're profiting from the collectors. But at the same time, if they didn't supply an aftermarket option, there would be a slim chance of ever getting a sold out set you desperately want. Once in a blue moon you'll find someone that doesn't mind letting one go for retail, but they're really selling it at a loss. As much as they're loathed, they provide a valuable service to the community. It just sucks that they charge for it.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby skyward72 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:50 am

Well put Solo but this is just one of those topics that no matter what side you fall on the other party won't see it your way no matter how logical or thought out the reply maybe.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Daz Hoo » Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:25 am

I think Don made a good point here, one that I never thought of at least. It is true that scalpers are good scapegoats even though most of the sets are bought by regular buyers.

I think the fact that scalpers do what most of us don't dare to do also plays its role in many collectors not liking them. I mean, who here never stood in front of a bunch of sets on clearance, thinking "Hey, I'm pretty sure I could resell all of those sets on the Net", yet didn't have the guts to load up their credit card on that bet (or dare face the wife with the trunk of your car full of sets)?

Another thing to factor in is the fact that Star Wars LEGO collectors have it even worse than LEGO fans from other themes, because not only are they "in competition" with other LEGO and Star Wars LEGO collectors, they also have to deal with Star Wars collectors who don't really care about LEGO, but do care that it has the Star Wars logo on the box. And like Don mentioned, since scalpers follow demand, Star Wars LEGO sets are a safe bet for them and a pretty sure "investment".
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby deco_droid » Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:45 am

i'm sorry, but this just sounds like simple jealosy to me. btw, most everything don said, i couldn't have put better.

meeotch, you may not like the practice of "scalping", but the free market is what determines a higher (or --gulp, lower) than msrp price, so if you are upset at scalpers, basically, you are just upset that another buyer has more money to spend than you do. i do not see how (as don pointed out, with all the internet sources available) a person who is keeping up with new lego set releases can miss purchasing a set he really wants to buy. you've got AT LEAST six months on MOST sets.

meeotch wrote:But if they buy sets and hold onto them until they're guaranteed to go up in value (once they're no longer available), it's scalping, pure and simple. You can use the term "investing" if you wish, but it's really just euphemizing it.


hmmm, interesting... so am i scalper then? i bought an extra jango fett slave 1 at walmart in 2003 on clearance for $20. at the time, i wasn't sure what i would do with it, but it was a good deal i thought. 3 months ago i sold it on ebay for $200 -- 10 times what i paid for it. who decided what that set was worth? the bidders, that's who. this is just simple economics. how about this one... i found some batman "two-face escape" sets on clearance at target for $15 maybe 2 years ago. i thought, hmm, that's a good price, maybe i can sell these down the road for $40 or $50. imagine my surprise when i checked on ebay a few months ago and people were buying them for $150 and up. again, i made about 10 times the purchase price on those sets. is that my fault? it's a gamble, there is no "guarantee", and it doesn't always pay off. heh, anybody wanna buy a ucs batmobile??? :lol:

but seriously, meeotch, there is nothing wrong with the secondary lego market. don't begrudge someone for making a profit, when making profits is what our economy is based on, last time i checked. yah, it's annoying when you can only afford to pay $50 and some guy comes along and bids $100, but that's just the way it goes sometimes -- i've been there too. anyway, just my opinion -- interesting conversation. :)
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:20 pm

I buy a few things other than LEGO that can be considered by some to be collectibles. Compared to lots of these things, anyone buying LEGO has it easy and there is no reason to complain about scalpers. Compare to action figures, for instance. They are shipped in cases which have a certain number of each figure for that wave. Stores don't restock once the crud figures start clogging things up and they take forever to clearance them. Some stores miss entire waves because of this. Obviously, not every figure in each wave is equally sought after. So, the people who either wait while the figures are put on the shelf or pay off the stock guy (sometimes it is the stock guy) just buy the rare ones to resell and let the others rot. If you go to buy them online, you better want the whole wave and buy it by the case or get ready to pay a higher price for the one figure you want (which is naturally the one everyone wants). That activity is something to complain about and get upset over. LEGO is nothing like that. Every set can be bought online if all else fails. They are available long enough for anyone who really wants them to buy them. They can be bought individualy for exactly the same price as retail staight from the company. Anyone who takes advantage of this and has a little forethought to buy an extra or two to sell later is simply using common sense to plan ahead. Has anyone really lost out on a set because scalpers bought the entire supply the moment they hit the shelves (real and digital)? I really doubt it. The only recent item close to this is the Clone Tank from Target. That is probably mostly Target's fault. They must not have ordered very many and they clearanced them very shortly after they started selling them thus killing their life cycle. Blame Target, not the scalpers. The TRU exclusives are usually cheaper online anyway and there is no danger of them running out until the end of the product run. The Wal Mart exclusive (Droid Gunship) only just now sold out. I haven't seen one on the shelf since before Christmas and they were clearanced after Christmas. I put off ordering one and ordered it the moment I saw it go to "call for availability". So, and I am not trying to sound like I am calling anyone out or anything, but what is the problem?

As for the general mentality towards scalpers, I've seen it for years in other hobbies. I personally think it's unfounded more often than not. I have bought things to sell before and made money doing it. I've never felt bad about it. There is a market for these items and I am willing to gamble with my money on being able to sell them later. I think it's a few things. The first is that some people just don't like seeing other succeed. That one's not very common, but I've seen it before. Another thing is that some people that have a problem with it only want a few things from a line of products and they don't want to pay above what they believe they are worth. They are upset that there is a market for these things and that it will cost money to buy them. A LEGO example would be figures only available in a few sets, Like Dooku pre magnets. Why would anyone be upset that people are selling him for lots of money? Those people have found a market and they are taking advantage of it (one of the most basic principles of capitalism). I guess those who are upset think the main reason to buy a set (like the Solar Sailor) shouldn't be worht a large percentage of the cost of that set. I am guessing they think certain aspects of economic theory just shouldn't apply for some reason. The last reason I think people get upset is because it forces them to realise that this is a business. Something they view as a hobby or a children's toy is actually a business to some people and they don't like thinking about that. I don't want to sound like I'm blowing off the concerns of anti scalper folks, but I've seen all the arguments before and they don't hold up to basic market forces. When I see it again and again with other hobbies, the same types of arguments always pop up. With a minitatures game I play people finally started equating scalpers to the worst criminal offenders known to man. They do this instead of adapting to the situation and the longer it goes on the more everyone else realises complaining about it useless and those doing the complaining have no interest in trying to actually get ahead of the curve and would rather just complain that some people are smart enough to take advantage of the market.

I didn't read the discussion this spun off of, but I'm guessing by what was quoted it is something I have seen elsewhere. I agree that those who buy to later resell can be good for the companies bottom line because they are likely to reinvest their profits. I do. The companies that I have seen try to eliminate the secondary market destroyed their primary market in the process and killed their products. Those were collectibles so that won't happen with LEGO. But, they are examples of companies doing things to try to appease a very vocal minority and killing their product in the process. Having said that, I would be all for LEGO rereleasing some older sets. They already do something just as destructive to market value with Star Wars LEGO, remakes (and now magnet sets). I think the magnet sets are great and I want to see more of them. If they make one with Death Star Troopers I'll be all over it because I won't be buying the Death Star in all likely hood and I won't be buying multiple Endor sets. I would actually like to see some of the older Castle sets (for instance) with the updated colors and remakes of older figures such as the Black Falcons. It will hurt the value of some of the sets. However, even though I myself do it, buying these sets to later resell is a gamble and one of the truths of gambling is that you will eventually lose. It doesn't bother me as I enjoy gambling (a vast majority of decisions are gambles, may as well try to make money at it or enjoy it or both) but I can see where some scalpers would be upset at the decision. Right now my gamble of buying several King's Castle Siege sets at $50 looks like it might not pay off the way I thought it would, so I will patiently wait for more favorable selling conditions. Does that make me a scalper for taking advantage of an advertised sale with intent to resell?
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Solo » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:55 pm

That's an awful lot of words for "what Don said" ;)
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby kyphur » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:20 pm

To be completely honest here this really is about "My greed is more justified than someone else's greed".

I've paid too much for sets that were discontinued before I even started collecting and honestly if I ever sell those sets I'll make my money back (plus a little) but that isn't why I collect. I can't put a price tag on the pleasure I get from my living room full of display cases stuffed with a better than 90% complete set of Lego SW sets.

I've come about my sets a variety of ways:

1) Purchased at retail.
2) Lucky finds at garage sales.
3) Purchased on secondary market at mark-up.
4) Purchased the instructions, dowloaded a parts list and collected the pieces to give me the complete set (of course this works best for sets without stickers).

For me part of the fun of collecting is the act of finding & gathering the sets. Sure it's nice to save a buck here & there (I watch for double LEGO stamp promos) but I don't regret paying full price for USC Death Star II & USC Star Destroyer or even the Twilight.

I say if the most important bottom line for you is money then you might not want to collect anything.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby onions » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:27 pm

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.

it is different than ticket scalping because it's not like there are 10 tickets for row A seat 1. 1 show, 1 seat, 1 ticket . ticket scalping is worse. i remember a few years ago smashing pumpkins, hating ticketmaster, decided to sell tickets their own way. photo id required, tickets were non-transferrable. they made sure that only fans were able to buy tickets in order to bypass scalpers and bypass ticketmaster fees. and their fans loved it.

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. 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'm not sure if i really added anything to the conversation. this is just my opinion.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby meeotch » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:56 pm

Thank you for putting the way I feel about it much more eloquently than I could. Sometimes, my mind goes to 3 places at once, and it doesn't always translate well to the keyboard.

First off, I definitely agree that ticket scalping (which is the epitome of scalping) is far and above "worse" an offense than what what we're talking about with the sets. But like I said before, it boils down to intent vs "value added," for lack of a better term. Retailers can charge a markup without scalping because, for one, they are aggregators, meaning I can stop for my Lego sets at the same time I get my toilet paper or some motor oil.

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.

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...
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby thepatient » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:19 pm

It seems to me that it all depends on which side of the fence you're on.

If you buy a set from someone on E-bay or where ever, and you paid more than what you wanted then your feelings might be, "I'm dealing with a scalper."

If you're selling a set at a higher price than MSRP for what ever reason, then you've made an investment.

It seems to me that if you're the seller you see it as one way, and if you're a buyer you see it differently. It all depends if you were "on the ball" or not. Some people buy LEGO for their hobby and some buy to sell later. Whether you like it or not that is how the economy works for the most part. The "after market" of LEGO sets is just a microcosm of the every other forms of business that occur all over the world.

I wish I could get older sets and not have to pay (in some cases) five times as much to get a set. Now I have the set and I did pay extra, but in the end, without the greed of one person, I wouldn'd be able to get that set. So in the end the price was worth it to me. If you feel you paid too much for a set, you have no one else to blame but yourself. You should have bought the set when you had the chance. Its all supply and demand.

As far as concert ticket scalping; the ones that complain about that the most, are the musicians themselves. They set prices for their concerts and later realize that they could have charged much more. A third party made just as much money per ticket that the band made, but he made his money by just having the tickets.

Anyways, if poeple didn't buy from scalpers, there wouldn't be scalpers- plain and simple.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:47 pm

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.
Solo wrote: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.
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.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby thepatient » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:02 pm

As I've been reading these posts something else has come to my mind. Many people are posting about when the seller makes money on after market. What about the opposite?

hypothetical: You come across a garage sale and there is a huge tub of LEGO with about 30 instruction books next to it. The seller is an old woman and these are the sets that her son owned before he past away. You can see instruction books for the UCS ISD, the RGS, and the original MF. She is selling the tub of bricks and the tub with the Instructions for $25.00. You know there are about $1,000 worth of bricks in there. There are some sets that you don't have so you really want it to add to your collection. In this instance I won't go into you want them for resale.

If you are one of those who don't like the way the after market works, what do you do? Do you buy at the price she wants? Do you tell her the real value and then not get anything, because you can't afford it?

My point is, if you took advantage of this lady, isn't greed still involved? So what would make you any better than a scalper? Purchasing items from people can go both ways. No matter what someone is trying to buy or sell, indivduals always try to end up with the upperhand.

If you didn't have the money to buy something when it was in production, and have to pay more for it now, and you think that's unfair; you just leaned a lesson about life that many older members already know.

Life isn't fair.
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