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LEGO Star Wars Forum | From Bricks To Bothans • View topic - A digression on Scalping...
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A digression on Scalping...

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby thepatient » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:13 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 8:50 am

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Daz Hoo » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:06 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 9:55 am

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby ThinkingImpaired » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:01 am

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:32 am

Last edited by Tyrant on Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby ufjason » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:14 am

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 11:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
, contact me if you'd like to perform trades from my inventory. I'm looking for original genosian fighers, second version a-wing fighters and tie bombers. I may be interested in other sets so let me know what you have.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby tamuhockey » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:15 am

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 12:14 pm

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:16 pm

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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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby The Brain » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:39 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 6:45 pm

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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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby ThinkingImpaired » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:02 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 7:15 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 8:22 pm

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby The Brain » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:05 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 9:29 pm

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Teekay » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:31 am

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 6:23 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!
, contact me if you'd like to perform trades from my inventory. I'm looking for original genosian fighers, second version a-wing fighters and tie bombers. I may be interested in other sets so let me know what you have.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:12 am

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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