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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 bigospedros » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:06 pm

I bought one or two sets (Naboo Starfighter, Republic Tank) in a recent clearance sale (50% off the Naboo and 25% off the Republic Tan), with the express intention of hanging into them for a couple of years and then trying to sell them. Does that make me a scalper ?

Yes, I bought them with the full intention of keeping them to sell on, but I bought them at the very end of their shelf life. So, that means that surely most people that wanted these sets had bought them already. The retailers wouldn't have discounted them so much if they thought they could sell them at RRP, surely?!

If I had the money, I would buy many more sets, keep them as MISB and then sell them on years later, but sadly, I can't do this very often because :

a) The UK has very few sales of more than 25% off
b) I don't have masses of disposable income that I feel I can tie up in Lego sets
c) I don't have the storage space to keep said sets in conditions to keep them MISB

However, should any of those circumstances change, I wouldn't feel guilty about buying a few sets to sell on. It's not as if I am buying 10s or more of each set, literally 1 or 2 at the most. What would I do with any profit I should make?! Spend it on newer Lego sets, at retail prices, more likely.

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby onions » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:18 pm

if i were a bettin' man i'd guess that this particular topic hits close to home for tyrant.

not once did i single you out, or anyone else for that matter in my post; yet you respond quite passionately as if i did. maybe i'm reading too much into it, hard not to when you quote my post and pick it apart and respond as if you were the only person in the room. in any case, people's reasons for what they do are their own; and those actions will be interpreted any number of ways by their observers. scalpers will scalp for their love of money. plain and simple.

and to respond to you, thepatient. I found myself in that same situation and was quite honest with the seller about the projected value of their lot that they were selling. she sold it to me for the same price anyway based on my honesty. i ended up giving her more money than what she was asking for; i'm a nice guy. what can i say? it's both a blessing and a curse.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby meeotch » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:30 pm

I find it funny that some people keep asking "does this make me a scalper," as if I might change my mind on how I feel about it. I think it's all ready been established that there is something of a spectrum to the issue, but ultimately, if you are squatting on something until it makes you money, it basically is scalping.

And the garage sale example really strikes a chord with me. My dad sold all of my old Legos in a garage sale. I had an entire box just for instructions. I sank thousands of dollars in allowance and christmas / birthday money into that, and I bet (though he "doesn't remember" how much he sold it for) that it was really cheap, like on the order of 25 or 50 bucks, knowing how my dad is at garage sales and the fact that he wanted my junk out of his house. I'm sure that whoever bought them (if they were a Lego collector) didn't offer to pay for what they were worth, or my dad would have a better story for me than he does. I had some Blacktron 1, lots of Blacktron 2, all of M-Tron and Ice Planet, lots of the first 2 Space Police, Spyrius, and boatloads of Technic. So this has probably colored my perceptions of it pretty badly, but I certainly can't separate this situation from how I feel about it as a whole.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:05 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 Jhulae » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:36 pm

If you sell a set on eBay, then it's worth whatever the buyer is willing to pay. Auction situations allow people to decide just how much they can pay. Sure, someone who can't or isn't willing to spend a lot of money might still lose, but at least they have a chance of getting something they want.

I think the 'scalpers' in this conversation are the ones who list a set at X dollars, usually for double or more of the original stock price. Yes, you'll still have people who think a set is worth whatever the sale price is, but other people have no chance in their 'say' via the bidding mechanism, which is where the scalping issue I think comes in.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:59 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 thepatient » Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:28 pm

Tyrant- You’re not a scalper. Buying something on sale and saving it and selling it later is not a crime or ethically wrong. If you went to every toy store with in a 50 mile radius, bought every single AT-TE and then sold them to the kids in your town for more; then you would be a scalper (and a jerk). I’m sure that every customer that you’ve had, is satisfied with their transaction. If it’s the right price and someone is willing to pay more than it was MSRP, then that’s the right price for that customer at that time. It’s a fair trade or purchase.

If for whatever reasons a person purchases a set after their production runs outs, (i.e.: you have a job now and don’t have mom and dad paying for everything.) no amount of money is too pricey if you really want to buy that set. At which point you will appreciate the fact that someone saved a set for you to buy later (at a small profit).
<O> <O>
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:25 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 b4p » Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:19 pm

i just started collecting recently and it's hard not to notice that a lot of sellers are in it for the money (obviously). It seems like there are tens of thousands of unopened sets floating around (what a shame) for triple the original price. Screw that... I might just give up on SW and go agents/castles or something.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Iare Tosevite » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:08 am

I don't have Millenium falcon because someone bought all 9 of em at once at black friday.

Either scalping or not, that was just unfair, expecially since store policy was 2 per customer at that time. :(
Image
Where, where, where is correct way out?
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby LEGOscum » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:09 am

Jeremy

aka "some random guy"
legoscum@gmail.com
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby ufjason » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:26 am

, 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 mavriel » Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:30 am

I beleive the scalpers actually work to keep the prices lower after Lego discontinues a set. As stated previsouly, this is different from tickets for an event, because those items have a limited supply. Lego watches the sales of its sets and increases production of the good sellers.

So, if there were no scalpers, Lego would produce 1000 boxes of a set (example). Scalpers out there increase demand, so Lego produces 1400 sets. 1000 are sold to regular customers, and 400 to scalpers (all at normal prices). Typcially, demand for a set is waning near the end of its production life, but it is still there. So, assume the demand is at 50 sets the year after it is discontinued. Immediately the scalpers increase their prices 20% and fulfill that demand in year one. Demand is 45 sets the following year, so the scalpers keep selling, and a few incresase the price to +25%. This keeps happening until supply is very thin, and the increase is up over 100% 4-6 years after it is discontinued. Now imagine scalpers were not there to fill demand - the 50 sets and 45 sets would have to be bought from collectors and Lego freaks such as ourselves. Would most of you freaks be willing to sell your only Gunship for +25% two years after you buoght it, not knowing if you could ever get another? I thought not. You would most likely demand more than a scalper would, and demand would outstrip supply and the price would skyrocket.

I just wanted to say thanks to the scalpers/investors out there!
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby bigospedros » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:31 am

Brill, I was hoping ufjason was going to post in this since I knew he was a major investor in sets. I very much like the point that only impact he can make on supply and demand is in his direct area. I also like his re-iteration that he is taking a risk by doing what he does and that the buyers determine the re-selling price.

All of this really does add up to the fact that everyone defines being a "scalper" as a bad thing, but that this term is used far too widely and probably one that doesn't refer to globally available mass market products such as Lego in quite such a good way as locally available limited products such as concert tickets etc.

Either way, I'm still not bothered what other people think of me if buy the odd set to sell on. My conscience is clear :)

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby dWhisper » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:39 am

Ah, "scalping," the age old complaint of toy collectors. It's an interesting thing when it comes to LEGO, because you don't often hear about the guys who show up at Walmart and Target at 6 am to rifle through the Hot Wheels, or all those antique shops that have been hoarding furniture for all these years. Like has been stated by several people, people that work the aftermarket follow demand, they don't create it. LEGO is far bigger than all the after-market sellers, who focus on people like us, not the vast majority of the everyday buyers (the kids and their parents). Take this years complaint, the Republic Tank, and last years, Hoth Base, and compare them. In both cases, they were available for months, and no one bought them. Both were limited, and once gone, they were gone. Well, more or less, since Hoth Base came back based on demand.

In fact, Target exclusives have come back before, though at higher prices. The 7905 Building Crane was a Target exclusive (one I had to drive almost two hours to get), and was later reborn as a LEGO exclusive for $20 more. Star Wars sets have done the same thing (the Hoth Base, for example), and some exclusives (Dwarf Mine from last year) have gone on to be general release sets.

How people reacted is what builds the value around them, and people can sell them for whatever they want. There's no use complaining (and that's a nice word for some of this), because you bring it on yourself by being a collector. I wanted the Tank too, but didn't buy it, so now I have to pay aftermarket prices for it (anyone have one they want to sell, drop me a line). That's no ones fault but my own, and given the value, the current going price isn't outlandish.

But I agree with Daz (or was it Don) earlier... scalping isn't really the word here. Even on the "definition"earlier, it was about short term gains, not investment. Based on what people are calling it here, real estate is scalping if you're trying to turn it over (though not a good choice right now).
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby ThinkingImpaired » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:23 pm

Don't you waste away, for tomorrow will soon be today
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Voice of Reason » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:04 pm

DonSolo, ThePatient, some others have good points.

My thoughts:

1) I like to make money. I like LEGO. I know if I buy a certain LEGO set and resell it later (or part it out) I can make money. Why wouldn't I do this? Is there some code of toy buying chivalry I didn't notice? There isn't much one can say to make me not like money.

2) It takes two to make a deal. Don't like the price, don't buy it. If everyone folowed this rule the "brick market" prices wouldn't fluctuate to inflated levels.

3) Of course, if you don't like #2 then that figure or set you missed out on is pretty much unobtainable unless you get really lucky.

4) Stealing is bad. Denying people a necessary life item (food, shelter, etc...) is evil. Making a business deal is not (and a deal means both sides agree). Not everything in the world is a bright and shiny rainbow where everyone smiles and has everything they ever wanted. No one is entitled to a retired LEGO set at MSRP just because they feel someone making money off of them is wrong.

I'm not sorry to be so blunt, but when I see people whine over the price of an unnecessary life item like LEGO (gasp - I said it!) my gut reaction is to say if you can't afford it, don't buy it! And if you do buy it, why can't you be happy about it? Complain over real problems and you see my sympathetic side. Complain over LEGO prices? Not so much.
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Voice of Reason » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:11 pm

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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby meeotch » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:48 pm

"Always carefully check the source of your internet quotes" - Abraham Lincoln
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Re: A digression on Scalping...

Postby Tyrant » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:17 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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