Author Topic: Scalper  (Read 1970 times)

Offline aka DaBigKahuna

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Scalper
« on: November 7, 2004, 08:04 PM »
I ran across a thread discussing this here and found it interesting to say the least.

What are your thoughts?

DBK

[Edit]

I did not share my thoughts so I will do so now.

This topic started under the Chrome Jango and Fett GG Bust Thread about the SWS availability of this item.  After scrolling through the typical, I got one / I did not useless replies the dialogue got interesting.  It is merely my viewpoint that if someone ordered more than one bust for a friend, gift, to use as trade bait or merely keep extra, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that in any situation as this is a collectible.

This type of collectible is different than the toys that you can buy at retail.  I have two boys and know of others that actually buy Star Wars Toys at retail.  My rule of thumb is to leave the last of something if I have it alreadty.  That is a bit easier since I am not currently collection modern figures and do not plan on colleting the ROTS Line.  I don't know of young kids who collect these busts and Gentle Giant is not marketing them as such.  I think it is important to separate retail toy versus collectible for this discussion.

To buy something that is still shipping to a retail to immediately turn around and sell on ebaY is not something that I practice.  However, I have at different points in time decided to scale down my collection and sold pieces like SA Clone(s), Ephant Mon(s) and SAGA Silver Figures on ebaY as well as some of my vintage collection pieces.

I do not know about you, but when I check my PM I do not get offers from people trying to sell me a white beard Jorg Sacul, Kubrick Chases, Action Fleet Ships etc. at what they paid.  What they paid for these pieces is a non issue, the pertinent question is what am I willing to pay.

I have practiced purchasing "rare" retail pieces for friends and have been the recepient of the same practice.

Please don't bash my opinion on the subject, rather post what your opinion is on the subject and what you think about what is going on over in that thread at RS.

Regards,

DBK
« Last Edit: November 7, 2004, 10:01 PM by DaBigKahuna »

Offline Chris

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Re: Scalper defined
« Reply #1 on: November 7, 2004, 08:06 PM »
Scum.

 :-X

Offline JediMAC

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #2 on: November 8, 2004, 03:59 PM »
Yeah, as you could already see in that thread, I made my thoughts known, which prompted Philip to edit his rather broad generalization there.  To suggest that buying some figures for your buddies to help them out (at retail) is assisting scalpers is pretty whacky.  But Philip recanted that, so I'm not quite as irritated about that particular part of the discussion anymore.

But the majority of the discussion was more about whether or not it's "right" (by the collectors code of ethics) to pick something up just to use as trade bait.  That's a slightly different animal altogether.  I don't really see that as being related to scalping, and it doesn't bother me in the slightest (if done in moderation), but I can see how it might irk some collectors.  I'm sure I've probably done that somewhere along the line myself.  But it was probably a bit more of a specific trade I had in mind, where say for example, DSJ has a Canadian "Luke Reveal" Vader figure that I want (which goes for about $25), so I may snag something that I know he wants, that I could probably swap for it.

The example at RS was folks picking up an extra Chrome GG Bust, to use as trade bait.  Well, I think that's a pretty crafty way to get what you need, and don't have a problem with it, especially if it's just one extra.  You start nabbing multiple extras, and then maybe I'd say you're hoarding them a little too much.  But to take an extra Chrome Vader, to turn around and swap for say a GG Clone Pilot bust or something like that, doesn't really hurt anyone.  You're still swapping a Bust for a Bust, retail for retail.  So big whoop.

To me, scalping is pretty easily defined.  It's taking current product from retail, and turning around and selling it for more than retail.  It's also taking product from retail, with the speculative idea of selling it later on for a profit.  That's pretty much it.

But changing your collecting interests later on down the road, or downsizing one's collection, and selling some of your stuff for the going market value isn't scalping.  Though I must say I've met a couple of folks on the boards who have sold me things, like a pile of VHTF MOMC Episode 1 figures (like Battle Amidala, Sio, Holo Sid, etc) for retail cost of $5 each, when their current market value was about 5 to 10 times that amount.  Definitely some of the most amazing and fun collecting moments I've ever had in this hobby, that's for sure.

Sometimes it works that way, sometimes not though.  But I think for the most part, we all know what "scalping" is, and we obviously don't condone it.  But we also have a lot of very active and clever traders here, and finding a good piece to bargain with to find something you need is just good economics in filling holes in your collection.  Just don't trade it with your local comic shop scalper is all...   :P
« Last Edit: November 8, 2004, 04:03 PM by JediMAC »

Offline JesseVader08

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #3 on: November 8, 2004, 04:18 PM »
I gotta agree pretty much with what you've said.  Buying one extra vs buying multiples seems to be a good way to distinguish between helping and scalping.  I've never done any trading in the past until this month when I found 2 variant NHL Legends.  I figured there would be people out there (ie. globally) that would be interested in this, even if I wasn't.  Being from a small town, I figured more than anything they would just sit there, and sit there.  So I picked them up and believe I traded fairly to make us happy on both ends of the trade.  Did I hurt anybody by doing this?  Not in my mind.

Now if I had come across a case of, say, all variants and bought them, well that would just seem wrong.  Granted, the line between these two areas can be a little fuzzy - is buying one extra okay?  2 extra?  3 extra?  I'm not sure. 

Offline JediMAC

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #4 on: November 8, 2004, 04:31 PM »
I think that's yet another unique example of exceptions in the collecting and trading process there Jesse.  Being in a small town, where your supply of collectibles (especially SW figures) may be very limited, you may have no choice but to take whatever collectible commodity is available to you, and swap it for the Star Wars (or other) stuff you may actually want.  Heck, there's a ****load of Sportspicks collectors here who very well may want what you've got up there (check out their thread in the Other Collectibles section), and be able to swap you SW figures in their place.  Sounds like a feasible plan to me.

So in that case, if I was in your place, I'd probably be buying a handful of those to use as "trade bait".  I dunno how many, start with 5 or so, and see how well the others on the pegs sell.  If they're still sitting there a couple weeks later, then it would seem obvious that you don't have any Sportpicks collectors in your area, so hell, have at 'em!  Swap 'em for SW if you can!   8)

Offline JesseVader08

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #5 on: May 6, 2005, 05:11 PM »
I just thought I'd bump this topic up, as it seems to be rather timely with everyone working so hard to track down figures.

What makes a scalper?  Buying something that is currently available for retail and selling it at an inflated price.  Simple as that.

If you get a Target Super-Articulated Clone Trooper, which I think almost ALL of us want, and put it on eBay and make a profit, you are a scalper.  When I say you are a scalper, maybe that's not being rude enough.  You are a piece of ****.  Simple as that.

What brought this on?  I'm ******* sick of hearing guys brag about selling something on eBay when they damn well know that their friends are looking for one.  Or maybe they're not our friends, after all?

Sorry about the rant, I'm just in a ******* piss poor mood.

 >:(
« Last Edit: May 6, 2005, 05:14 PM by JesseVader08 »

Offline Famine

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #6 on: May 6, 2005, 05:17 PM »
I hear you. I know it's pointless to try and find one of these clones, but I'm going to try anyway.

Kevin
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Offline JediMAC

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #7 on: May 6, 2005, 05:28 PM »
After standing amongst literally hundreds of people openly talking about buying/selling C3 exclusives last week just to make a few extra bucks, I hear ya' Jess.  That was rather disgusting, and one of the few disappointments with the convention there.

Aside from C3 though, it really seems that something's changed in the SW section of the aisles the last couple months.  Maybe it's just due to all the hoopla over the various exclusives, I dunno, but there are way more "non-SW collectors" rifling through the pegs around here in SoCal on a daily basis.  No idea what's caused such a dramatic change, but whereas I used to have the figure aisles practically all to myself, and plenty of good stuff to choose from, that's all changed the last couple months, and the competition for new things around here has become extremely fierce.

Yeah, I realize with the impending ROTS movie release that there's some new collectors joining our ranks, and that's cool.  But judging by the folks that I've seen in the aisles, and some of the talk I've heard from them (and others), the "speculative investors" are really starting to join in on the fracass.  But hopefully that dies down later on this year, and things can return to a sense of normalcy as we head into 2006...

Plenty of stories around here of "non-SW" folks buying up entire cases of the Target Clone and putting them up on eBay, or selling them at local weekly convention.  Sad, really.  :-\

Best way to combat it though, is to try to assemble a tight-knit group of local collectors who really try to help eachother out as much as possible.
« Last Edit: May 6, 2005, 06:43 PM by JediMAC »

Offline Famine

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #8 on: May 6, 2005, 05:44 PM »
Or cary tazers in the isle with you. Ask:
-"Do you regulary collect Star Wars?"

"No, I'm buying it to list on ebay."



-"Oh."*attack with tazer*


*pick up figure. walk off.*


In a realistic world, tell them they are scum.

Kevin
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Offline DoctorPadawan

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #9 on: May 6, 2005, 06:00 PM »
I've often found that a good way to measure whether or not someone is actually collecting them for fun versus collecting them for "profit" is mentioning to them that you're immediately going to open said rare figure when you get home.  I have seen more faces drop and looks of incredulity cross them when mentioning my loose R2 with Holo Leia, CW SA Clone Trooper, EU Darktrooper, Ephant Mon, etc than I could ever get tired of.

Not to disparage people who collect on MOC for fun, but when the Comic Shop Guy-stereotype with his arms full of Rare Figure of the Moment asks you how much you think you can get for your One Rare Figure of the Moment and you tell him, "Nothing, I'm opening it as soon as I get home.", you will never see a funnier sight in your life.  :)

And you know, theoretically (and some people I've traded with on these boards can probably vouch for this), even if it's something that is going for an assload of money nowadays, if I paid retail for it, that's what I'll be selling it for, should I decide to do so.  I can't understand why I should charge someone 20 bucks for a loose figure when I paid 5 bucks for it carded.  To me, charging more than 5 dollars would be a ripoff because I'd be making a profit.  Do I hold others to that standard?  No, not really, but I do hold myself to it.

While I understand the logic that "something is worth only what you would pay for it" as it applies to items which are no longer at retail, I don't get it for items that are at retail.  Sure, I may miss out on the Exclusive of the Moment, whatever it may be, but I think I would sleep better at night knowing that I didn't bend over and lube up for some guy who stinks of Cheetos and whose idea of work is to wake up at 5 AM to dig through a bin of Hot Wheels cars while the K-Mart employees laugh at him.

And trust me, when K-Mart employees are laughing at you, you know something is funny.  ;)
« Last Edit: May 6, 2005, 06:01 PM by DoctorPadawan »

Offline Jesse James

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #10 on: May 6, 2005, 07:45 PM »
Scalpers, to me, are Jesse's definition above + anyone who places ANYTHING they just bought at retail onto Ebay...  regardless of starting bid.  I think that needs said, as a lot of scalpers try hiding behind the veil of "Well I put this on Ebay for $.99 starting bid...  I'm a good guy, see!?"

That's bull****, plain and simple, and I've had fun calling people out on scalping at other boards in the past.  Mostly because other boards SUPPOSEDLY lay claim that they too will enforce rules against that kinda stuff.  It's a collecting community so anyone caught scalping on it should be drummed out, plain and simple...  Otherwise it's not a "community" at all.

I agree with you Matt, that they're more abundant now than ever.  I run into people 50% of the time in aisles right now, easily, and I'd say of the 50% I run into that the vast majority are there because of $$$.  I got the last Clone Pilot at a store the other day (missing out on all the OTHER figures of that wave), and the guy who came in behind me, pushing in where I was looking, was obviously visibly irritated that I had that figure. 

I've been hearing more and more of the, "Hey man, do you know what the rare figure is?" speak, even from employees (at Target).  I've heard a lot of the, "Hey, are you looking for stuff to put on Ebay too?  I just cleared them out of the rares", kind of speak as well...  That is just a slap in the face to a collector like me who IS looking for stuff for himself or others... 

There's a lot more of these guys, and how chatty they can be is really mind-boggling...  It's like they think you'll be their buddy.

I've always known that our local collecting group in Pittsburgh has to be wary of scalpers in our midst...  They're good about fishing those guys out and basically calling them on it publicly.  I'm lucky to have a good group of guys around Pittsburgh to help me...  Sadly, there are bad eggs who do their damndest to sneak into that clique too, for the advantage.   ::)
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #11 on: May 6, 2005, 08:03 PM »
After standing amongst literally hundreds of people openly talking about buying/selling C3 exclusives last week just to make a few extra bucks, I hear ya' Jess.  That was rather disgusting, and one of the few disappointments with the convention there.

I hear this, and heard it WAY too many times at C3.  When I finally got up to the registers at the C3 store on Wednesday there was a guy smiling and laughing about how it was all "money in the bank" or something.  What a dick.  Also, what a fool.

Think about it just from the standpoint of being at Celebration 3.  You spent $100+ to get into the show, and most likely spent one entire day on line to get into the C3 store.  So it's costing you 25% of your admission right off the bat.  Then factor in your time spent on line.  7 hours in my case.  In my line of work I do alright when it comes to hourly pay.  But let's say for the sake of argument that you make double the minimum wage and you get to maybe $10 an hour.  So right there, before you've spent a dime in the store, your admission and time have cost you in excess of $100.  THEN you still have to fork over $18 per figure if you want one in a Star Case, and you would be foolish not to get the maximum of 4.  So those total up to $72.

That brings you to a grand total of approximately $172 in expenses for the 4 Vaders.  And that's not even factoring in your travel and lodging expenses.  And these fools on eBay think they're actually making money on the C3 Darth Vader?  What an utter group of financial morons.

As for the other scalpers, it's all been said before.  Try getting a real job guys.  Lord knows with the time and expenses you put out there to get a few figures as quickly as possible you cannot be turning anything approaching a profit.  You need to be able to do some serious volume to make anything approaching real money.  At that point you might as well try to be a legit dealer.  Flea markets can't be paying the bills that well.
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Offline Morgbug

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #12 on: May 7, 2005, 02:29 PM »
So I have $10 burning a hole in my pocket here.  Who's got a Darktrooper to sell me?  Or less, I suppose, if you got it in one of the clearance baskets for about $2 or so.  Loose or carded is fine, at $2 per, I'll take one of each :P
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Offline inadvertent imitation

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #13 on: May 8, 2005, 11:58 AM »
So I have $10 burning a hole in my pocket here.  Who's got a Darktrooper to sell me?  Or less, I suppose, if you got it in one of the clearance baskets for about $2 or so.  Loose or carded is fine, at $2 per, I'll take one of each :P
 

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Offline DoctorPadawan

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Re: Scalper
« Reply #14 on: May 8, 2005, 12:02 PM »
What gets me (and I know I make enough jokes about it) are how speculators will always try to play up the so-called rarity of the mass produced toys in order to drive prices higher.  One of my favorites recently has been the whole "Perky Padme" movement by Ebay sellers for that Unleashed figure.  Hasbro (yes, that Hasbro, who can't do much of anything correctly these days) even has a statement in their SW FAQ disputing that the figure exists in a "warmer" state and that the only version that is and was ever released is the original "chilly" version, and it was NEVER RECALLED.

Yet, still, you get "VHTF RARE RECALLED UNLEASHED PADME HOT ATOC" about 140 times if you search for it on Ebay.  The sad thing is that there are people who pay for it.  The so-called "scalpers" are kept in business because of people buying from them.  Brian's Toys should, by all rights, not get any business from collectors, but a lot of people still use them for his vintage stuff.  That's all well and good and I don't fault anyone for doing so, but in the end scheme of things, buying vintage stuff from him just gives him more financial ammunition to pay 40 for a C3 Vader and then sell it for 80.




« Last Edit: May 8, 2005, 01:16 PM by DoctorPadawan »