No, but by your own definition, the mere act of selling your custom meant the buyer (who may or may not have had any interest on where the proceeds went) was being taken advantage of by you, simply because he did not posess the skill to make the custom himself.
Your argument impunes the entire act of anyone selling anything, despite what caveats you might add. The supermarket takes advantage of me because I can't grow and harvest my own vegetables. Clothing stores take advantage of people who have no skill with the loom.
And JesseVader...nowhere did I say I support scalping or like it in the least. As a matter of fact, I made it clear I don't support scalping because I get out there off my ass and find what I want at retail. I just don't have the same crybaby mentality about it that most collectors seem to. You know why you should get up at 7 a.m. and get to the store to beat the scalpers? BECAUSE you want it at a fair price. If you choose not to do that, then you take your chances that you might not get what you want. You've made the choice that sleeping in is more important than you getting a figure you seek. The "scalper" made the opposite decision. Early bird gets the worm. Or do you feel that the world owes you plentiful figures on the hooks to be purchased at your leisure?
That would be nice, but so would having a little leprechaun that lives on our knee that occasionally reached up and patted us on the ass, making money magically come out of our mouth. It's just not reality.
You say scalping "takes figures out of the hands of people who simply want to pay a retail price for the figures they like." Only if the scalper grabs it out of your hands after you found it on the shelf. If he got there first, he's entitled to buy whatever he wishes and you have no claim on it. Obviously, this doesn't include guys who pay employees to hold stuff for them so it never sees the shelf, and underhanded practices like that. But if it is on the shelf, it's fair game.
I find it funny collectors dare to take the high and mighty moral ground, when it could just as easily be said that children should not have to go without finding their favorite characters because men in their twenties and thirties feel the need to collect children's playthings. How many children have you deprived of even being able to get one clone because you were building an army?
You may not like it, (I don't like it much myself) but that's life and it doesn't owe any of us anything. You want something? Then be willing to work for it.
The funny thing is, I don't sell customs on E-Bay myself (except for the charity auction we did) mostly because I am far too attached to what I make. I do commissions for people, but I try to do it in trade for figures to increase my collection/fodder box because although I see nothing wrong with it, I'm personally uncomfortable setting a dollar amount on my work.
And I'm not slamming you guys too hard for feeling differently (well, not MUCH anyway
) because I really do understand where you're coming from. Awhile back I thought Kryart was a jerk because my perception of him was that he just posted his admittedly amazing work to get more people to check out his auctions. However, I have since not only revised my opinion of him as he has become a more active member of our community, but also because it's none of my damn business, and I realized I was sitting in judgement not because of anything he did, but because I was acting holier than thou.
Bottom line, Fritzkrieg...you have the right to make whatver you want and get whatever the market will bear. Just be prepared for the holier than thou hobby nazis to pass judgement on you for it for not being as pure as they.