Don't Fear The "Scalper"
October 19, 2011

Savage OpressWhile reading some recent store report posts on another collecting site, I noticed some disturbing comments. Someone had failed to find what he was searching for in a toy aisle, but he noticed another man in the section with multiples of the figures he wanted in his cart. He asked the other fellow if he could have one of them, and his request was denied. Another collector responded by saying he would have simply taken what he wanted and dared the guy to “hit” him. To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi, So uncivilized. This deteriorated into the usual anti-”scalper” ranting, coupled with more Internet Tough Guy bravado. Another insisted he would have initiated a confrontation with the “scalper” so his child could get the toy instead. I’d imagine setting a good example for that child would be a more worthwhile gift, but perhaps that’s unreasonable of me. The sense of entitlement was so thick you could cut it with a knife. I always believed people were supposed to grow out of, “It should be mine here and now just because I want it,” before entering adulthood, but it seems to be a permanent frame of mind all too often these days. As I was reading this nonsense, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of appreciation for the “scalpers” in this hobby.

On our way home from work on August 3, my girlfriend and I got stuck in traffic on the interstate. There was a wall of brake lights, and everyone had come to a complete stop. The driver of the work van behind me never noticed that, so he didn’t slow down at all. He drove the van straight into the back of my car at full speed. Other than the car being totalled (R.I.P. Bat-Fit I), there was no permanent damage. It’s nothing anyone would want to experience, but we were very fortunate. I had no vehicle to get around a city that’s seriously lacking in the public transportation department, though, and I began having near-paralyzing muscle spasms in my back around lunchtime the following day. I missed three days of work, my first unscheduled absences since February of 2005. I’d never really been immobilized by an injury, but just getting off the couch was a real struggle for the first few days. This was despite the glorious bottles of hydrocodone and muscle relaxers prescribed by my physician.

Needless to say, I wasn’t really in a hurry to go toy shopping in Big Box retail stores. I was still walking with a nasty limp when I bought a new car nine days later, and even after I was over the limp in another week or so, the tightness in my back lingered a few weeks longer. But the hobby must go on, to paraphrase an old cliché. While all this was happening, three new waves of what’s become one of my favorite lines, STAR WARS: The Clone Wars, were shipping to online retailers and brick and mortar stores alike. I was in no mood – and no condition, for that matter – to start scouring the city for these new toys. I could have ordered from one of my usual e-tailers, but since I wasn’t interested in everything from each wave, ordering sets or full cases would have meant paying for a number of figures I didn’t want. It quickly became obvious that the most efficient path to Clone Wars goodness was to win auctions for the figures I wanted from the same eBay seller, and win them I did. Four days later, I had every figure I really wanted from the three waves, leaving only a couple to buy if I happened to see them. Even though I paid more than retail, he cut a great deal on the combined shipping, did a marvelous job packing them, and even tossed in some of the new Star Cases at no extra charge. Consider me one very satisfied customer.

While this was an unusual situation for me, I’m not a fan of driving from shopping center to shopping center to look for toys in general. Even at my healthiest, there’s no shortage of things I’d rather do with my time than navigate my way through a crowded Walmart. It’s also a reminder that some people simply cannot actively seek out toys at traditional retailers, whether due to physical limitations or other reasons. I couldn’t possibly care less about “the hunt” (“chase,” whatever) described here by my pal Ryan. Even if I was interested in the concept, my idea of a “hunt” wouldn’t involve recently mass produced plastic in Walmart, anyway. I just like the actual toys, so having them delivered to my front door is a wonderfully convenient method of adding to my collection. I often purchase from online retailers like Big Bad Toy Store and Entertainment Earth, but I’m more than happy to buy from the dreaded eBay “scalper” when it makes sense to do so. Never mind the gas and wear and tear on Bat-Fit II; not spending my free time driving to the suburbs to wander through Target or Kmart is worth the few extra dollars per item. That time is worth considerably more, and I am perfectly happy to pay a “scalper” for services rendered: tracking down the toys, listing the auction, packing my purchases, and getting them shipped. That all requires time and effort, and I don’t expect anyone to work for free.

Instead of going into a fit of hobbyist indignation about how the evil “scalper” had robbed me blind, I sent him an email to express my gratitude. Despite how others feel, the reseller isn’t my enemy. If wasting time in retail stores isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps he’s not yours, either. Frustration was more understandable when a few guys could clean out an entire area and there was no online alternative to their flea market booth, but the internet has left the anti-”scalper” rhetoric of the ’90s archaic and obsolete. Now that eBay has provided collectors with access to so much inventory, a global marketplace is available to everyone. Like it or not, someone who lists the most recent collectibles on eBay is providing a valuable service to me and others who feel the same way. And if you prefer not to buy online because “the hunt” is more important to you than the toys themselves, what kind of “hunt” is it without competition? Wouldn’t that just be shopping?

Personally, I’m appreciative of everyone who’s saved me wasted trips to jam-packed stores and unstocked action figure aisles by doing the legwork for me.

Jon "Caped Crusader" Edwards
Born in April of '77, Jon quite literally grew up with STAR WARS. His mother took him to see it barely two months later and started buying him the figures before he was even old enough for them. G.I. JOE and Super Powers came along in the '80s, and an action figure addict was created. The moment he decided he was "too old" to play with his toys, he started to collect carded figures, beginning with Super Powers. No longer in possession of the toys or comics of his childhood, he rediscovered collecting with The Phantom Menace, and has moved on from STAR WARS to JLU, DC Direct, G.I. JOE, Marvel Universe, and various characters from movies, television shows, and comics.
Read other articles by Jon "Caped Crusader" Edwards.

 

 

 

100 Comments »

  • SenateGuard says:

    Couldn’t disagree with you more. There’s absolutely a need for an online source for these figures so folks who don’t enjoy “the hunt” or who can’t participate for other reasons like you can get them, but scalpers are not the answer. They shift purchasing from those who can only afford retail to those who can afford the markup. (Is it time for an Occupy TRU protest movement?) There’s no reason why scalpers should have any business at all – the Clone Wars figures should be available in abundance on HasbroToyShop.com.

    I’m 37 years old and it infuriates and embarrasses me to see others from my age group darting ahead of kids to get into TRU as soon as they open to grab as many new figures as they think they can sell. Yeah, I go there early too, but I refuse to walk in any quicker than I do when I’m walking to work, and my personal code of conduct is if there’s a kid there, he gets first pick. I can wait a couple of weeks to see the figures on my shelves.

    Folks need to remember that these are toys – not world series tickets. They should be available to anyone who wants them at a reasonable price. I don’t think people would look on me too kindly if I went around to poorer neighborhoods, bought every loaf of bread from every supermarket and sold them online for 10% profit under the excuse that I’m helping feed residents stuck home with back spasms.

    Sorry Jon, but you’re not doing anyone any favors other than yourself and the Ebay seller by purchasing from him. I’m not going to thank you for encouraging others to force me into paying more than I should have to for a hobby I enjoy.

    • Matt says:

      “I’m 37 years old and it infuriates and embarrasses me to see others from my age group darting ahead of kids to get into TRU as soon as they open to grab as many new figures as they think they can sell.” *** A couple of points here. 1) You’re 37 and it “infuriates” and “embarasses” you to see others from your age group darting ahead of kids to get into TRU? I’m sorry Senate, but I fail to see how this type of behavior can cause that kind of reaction in you when you’re there essentially doing the same thing–only not as fast. You’re also erroneously assuming that toy buying and collecting is strictly a kid affair and that they should have priority in the toy aisles…and you’re wrong on both counts.***

      “Sorry Jon, but you’re not doing anyone any favors other than yourself and the Ebay seller by purchasing from him. I’m not going to thank you for encouraging others to force me into paying more than I should have to for a hobby I enjoy. *** Umm, I hate to break it to you Fidel, but making both himself and the Ebay seller happy is all that is required in this or any other transaction. Freedom, free market, whatever you want to call it, that’s how it works. No one is forcing you to do anything, and if we didn’t have a system where we could agree amongst ourselves what prices “do favors” for us then we wouldn’t have toys, milk, baby bottles, etc. ***

      “Folks need to remember that these are toys – not world series tickets. They should be available to anyone who wants them at a reasonable price.” *** Senate, this is called communism and it simply doesn’t work. If Herr Toygod decreed that every toy will be available to anyone who wanted them at a reasonable price, and then presumed to set said price, I absolutely guarantee you that our beloved hobby would be dead, and none of us–kid, fanboy, etc.–would ever see another toy ever. Never never never. To illustrate: If Herr Toygod set the price too low for a toy that was in high demand, it would signal to producers not to produce very many; the ones that eventually did make it to market would be snapped up in a heartbeat by those most able to arbitrate, thereby creating a black market available to only the super-rich or Party members (I’m being facetious here, but you get the point). Since Herr Toygod doesn’t set prices and the free market does, we have toys available to purchase. Doesn’t mean we have to like the prices we pay for them, though, or the BS that ensues while buying. ***

      “I don’t think people would look on me too kindly if I went around to poorer neighborhoods, bought every loaf of bread from every supermarket and sold them online for 10% profit under the excuse that I’m helping feed residents stuck home with back spasms. *** Poor analogy, sir, very poor. If you bought up all the bread in “poorer neighborhoods” and tried to mark it up 10%, it would result in you sitting at home with a bunch of day-old bread while the poor folks you attempted to stiff would simply just wait until the bread man cometh the next day. And you may not be aware of this, but neighborhood grocery owners in the ‘hood incur greater risks and costs associated with bringing groceries to those markets which often results in 10% “markups” across the board. Go down to Watts and visit a Korean owned grocery and you’ll see what I mean. :) ****

    • chris says:

      Scalpers in a sense seem to be taking full advantage of what collectors are avidly attempting to eliminate. But as mentioned, there will always be those taking advantage of certain cultures for pure financial benefits. Its just one of those inevitable facts of life. With that said, I have a question to my fellow collectors. How would an online source for collecting make a difference in how we interact and essentially pose a threat to the elimination of scalpers?

  • SenateGuard says:

    Hey… In my haste to express my opinion on the scalping “industry”, I omitted saying that I’m glad you’re ok from the accident. The above wasn’t meant as a personal attack, just my thoughts on the state of distribution.

    I think what’s really important in the grander scheme of things are topics like your post from November of last year on helping out programs like Toys for Tots (http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/blog/crusader/lets-get-those-tots-some-toys/). Helps keep things in perspective!

  • Rich says:

    I’m w/ SenateGuard. There is no way to justify a Scalper buying every single one of a certain figure only to sell it at an inflated price. They buy one or two extra, no prob. But to empty pegs just so you can force someone to buy from you? Not cool.

  • Scott Hall says:

    Reach into the cart when hes not looking and crinkle the packages. Problem solved.

  • TJ says:

    Great article! I have been in your position as well and welcome the reseller market.

    Obviously I’m not going to pay the ridiculous 200% plus mark up but a few extra dollars and shipping is fair in my book.

    In my opinion the “scalpers” aren’t as common as the complainers would like to believe.

    Maybe its where I live but I have yet to run into these kid stomping blood thirsty scalpers.

    • Odeyessy says:

      most certainly were you live. Consider yourself lucky for now.

    • Bunger says:

      Bingo, TJ. A scalper isn’t necessarily a reseller. If someone purchases boxes of these, a markup must be assumed. It’s not different than Target paying for the item and marking it up for their profit.

      The group of people who take a 15 dollar toy and sell it for 50 is next to none. And if even 1 person is willing to pay 50 bucks for that toy, then the price is 100% justified.

  • Odeyessy says:

    It’s articles like this that validate their abhorrent behavior. But ultimately it is the OEM that’s at fault for putting together poor case packs/character selection. Typical formula- flood the market with wave 1 with poor case breakdown and poor character choice causing peg warming and peg rot. Maybe they throw in one of what everyone wants. Wave 2 will have 1-2 single popular figs , the rest being crap or don’t refresh as often because of wave 1 peg rot. Remaining waves never show up. They also fail to implement policies that prevent retailers from becoming scalpers themselves, they fail to use their websites effectively and fail at imposing sensible limits that can’t be circumvented. These big box stores dont picj which waves to order, they have an open order for a line and the OEM ships whatever they want. OEm’s seriously abuse this and the stores are too stupid to know or do anything about it. Lately these stores have started to fight back a bit but this comes from lossing money in a really bad economy. Hasbro is a classic example.

    HTS is a different company, however, they should never be out of stock on anything they sell, unless it’s an exclusive or planned limited edition. If they fixed this, the big box stores then could order more as we empty their shelves/pegs, and we learn some financial discipline and refuse to pay those prices then we all win as collectors. The sad part is a very huge percentage of collector’s are also scalpers who do this to feed their addiction. I say get some help man and save us all. To those who run, snatch, shove and make a spectacle of themselves, get a retail lisc and order wholesale, you’ll make more money. You embarrass all and show people that collector’s are retarded scum. That is how they treat every adult male 18+ who buys toys these days. That’s my shopping experience. Its not life or death, it is just a toy. In fact if you put all that energy and time and dedication into a real job, college degree, then job, you’ll do much better in life. The there is always karma.

    Word of warning, never, ever take something from someone’s cart. These people are mentally unstable as is, you may end up injured or dead or worse yet get some other people injured or dead. I’ve actually seen a guy bleed out in front of me in such a confrontation. You could also get yourself banned from that store. You can find countless stories of stuff like this happening. Please don’t crush or destroy packing either. This is rude/destructive and sometimes hurts your favorite collector and a scalper does not care, he buys and saddles you with his/her crap haul. There a few people in my area that do this and brag about it. This is property destruction and you could get into trouble if you don’t buy what you destroy and it can get you banned from the store. But really if you do this, then you have to realize that this is a real serious cry for help and their is something seriously broken in you.

  • Bunger says:

    “Scalpers” have just as much right to whatever they buy as we do, and what they do with them after the fact is their right as well. We aren’t entitled to anything, despite what we think. If someone beats you to a toy (or whatever) that you want, that’s life. Deal with it. Be thankful that you are in a position to be able to purchase something to begin with.

    The market dictates the value of these toys. Not the scalper. Why? Because scalpers don’t make up 100% of the market. Jon is 100% right, and those who disagree can’t see through the thick lenses they have on.

    Does it suck sometimes to have to pay more for an item than what it “costs?” Absolutely. But no one makes us buy these, and we don’t have to have these items to live. I think at the end of the day, you probably come out ahead paying a few more bucks then spending the time, energy and gas driving around to get them. I sure know I have…and I live in an area with access to these items.

    And Senate…you contradict yourself. “These toys should be available to anyone who wants them”….unless of course it’s a scalper.

  • texgnome1 says:

    I’m sorry, it’s not a sense of entitlement to want to be able to buy something on the shelves. Are the scalpers the only ones to blame? Nope. But to defend them completely as the article does is very inaccurate. I realize this is a free market system. Even a scalper taking a majority of the items I have no issue with. Leave one or two and move on. But most of the ones I’ve encountered have no intention of doing so. The most similar comparison is a swarm of locusts. The scalpers I’ve encountered run to the toy aisles and take everything they can get their hands on. If it’s a fellow collector who’s buying it to help out, that’s one thing. But most of those who qualify as true scalpers are only looking to drive the cost up as much as possible. I realize that they provide a service, but in the original case referenced below, would it really have killed the guy to let someone have one of the figures? That’s the attitude that gives the term scalper such a bad connotation. And it’s why the very word brings out such a negative reaction. They may provide a service, but for many of us the negatives far outweigh the positives.

    • Bunger says:

      Would it have killed him? No. Would I have? Probably. Is it likeable? No. But is it wrong? Absolutely not.

      Now…if a store has the “we only allow so many collectibles per person” or “limit 1″, etc…and he still buys them, that’s on the store, and yeah…it’s wrong. But don’t hate on him for the store allowing it to happen.

      I also didn’t say I don’t think it sucks. But I don’t believe it’s near what the minority makes it out to be. Think about the mass number of retailers nationwide…then do a hunt for your figures online…the numbers don’t match. If you get online and do a search for a DCUC figure you want, and can’t find because it’s all scalpers, you should find THOUSANDS of these figures. Logically speaking, of course.

      If someone wants to buy something, and they don’t get there first..and then they get upset and demand it, or get nasty…etc…that absolutely is a sense of entitlement. It’s all about the attitude and how the situation is handled. I’ve left toy aisle as empty handed as the next guy, and it is what it is. Getting upset over it never got me anywhere. Maybe it does for you guys, I don’t know.

      I hear all these stories about scalpers knocking over little children and the sorts. If that happens, that person should be smacked around. Not because they are scalping, but because the way they are treating children. I live in an area with multiple flea markets and I see a lot of hot items there. I’ve yet to encounter the scalper with a cart full of toys or meniacally laughing at a child as he walks off.

  • Nobody says:

    Having a right to do something, and being right doing it are two separate and distinct things.

    I have the right to go to the local park, and sit on a swing all day, knowing that most parents won’t bring their kid to sit next to the mysterious adult sitting on the swing. I have the right to tell parents I’ll leave and let them swing for $10. I have the right to just laugh at the crying child who cannot swing because I’ve been there. I can call the mom an idiot if she tries to tell her kid that this is a “teaching moment”.

    I’m glad you had the money and found an ebay reseller (you seem confused into thinking everyone selling on ebay is what the community at large would consider a scalper… even some of the big online toy retailers use ebay and Amazon) able to give you product you want at a price you were willing to pay.

    A scalper is not interested in getting the product out to those who can’t reach a store. A scalper only wants to interrupt the flow of product, make it unavailable to someone else that wants it, and put it into the hands of whoever will pay him the most. He’s not seeking reward for his services, because he is not providing a service.

    • Bunger says:

      Hey “nobody”…if someone is buying the product from him, he’s providing a service. Pretty simple concept.

      • Nobody says:

        hey “bunger”, that’s like saying the guy who cuts you off to take a parking space, and then offers it to anyone who wants to pay him $5 is providing a service.

        Providing a service requires the effectuating of a purpose to satisfy a need. Scalpers, again, different than resellers, do not fulfill a need. If they did not exist, the figures would still be picked up by those that want them. They interrupt the flow of services.

        It’s a simple concept, but I can see you’re more interested in posting somewhat insulting responses to everyone remotely anti-scalper.

  • Anton Phibes says:

    Lemme see…where to begin….OK: I wanted three figures from the last set of DC Universe classics. Apache Chief, Black Vulcan and Samurai. Apache Chief is one of those build a figure things. That meant I had to buy a whole case from Wal mart to ‘build my own” and then have a bunch of figures I didnt want. This was some time back. I paid the guy $12.95 for a loose Black Vulcan, a loose Samurai, and paid $55 for Apache Chief.SINCE I BOUGHT ALL 3 HE GAVE ME FREE SHIPPING. Thats $81 for three figures. Thats $27 a figure. With one being a BAF. On the pegs they are $17.95. on line a case was $119.00 PLUS SHIPPING. Saved me time, saved me gas, and I didnt get stuck with extra figures I didnt want. Plus—my Wal mart hasnt even got these yet.

    Bottom line: I didnt waste gas, time, or energy hunting figures that STILL havent been stocked at retail in my area yet. Plus saved money by being able to buy only what I wanted and not what Mattel mandated I buy just so I can have my Apache Chief. Scalper:3, Retailers:0.

  • stewbacca says:

    Although there are known individuals that are scalpers (im talking those that run the flea market shops (right next to chain stores)- that buy all the new figures from those shelves)- and then jack them up 150% or more…

    However– I love that anyone assumes anyone buying multiples of figures are scalpers–

    Recently- I was at wal mart — I purchased multiple sets (6 or so) of the recent vintage wave- I did this because my local star wars group was having a meeting- and I sold them there for cost– sold one or two on here and some to another star wars group– I bought multiple sets of the new GI Joe Wave and some other items as well– Anyone walking by would say I must be a scalper– nope– didnt make more than .03 off anything (just because of rounding)– All my items went to other collectors– who couldnt find stuff.. So in that situation– what are you going to do– because if someone did reach into my cart or confront me– they would find issues– or a broken hand- because I dont tolerate asses.. which you would be in that situation– if a kid did come along and was looking for a figure by name (and I had more than one)– would I give it up yes- but to another adult I don’t know– sorry– tough luck–

    I found lego sets at one store– for 75% off– And bought everything they had– (if I put them on ebay for 25% off retail- is that scalping?)- I am still giving everyone who buys them a discount- but technically by all of your guys definititon Im scalping– No I am making money..Buy Low sell high– its the rule of the land–

    Reserve “scalping” titles for those that really do it (the Black Friday buyers- who buy 20 TVs and do fight and bite to be the first one in the stores..And dont always think what you see is what is really going on

    As much as I hate the practice– it is fair game– you guys even throw the scalper title at stores- that buy their stock from hasbro or mattel– if they want to charge more to make a profit- that is their choice- they used different distribution sources– did not monopolize the market-and charge what they want– how is that scalping..

    What about exclusives– every store gets these and is essentially scalping– Toys R us Charges 10.00 more- because of a vintage box– Target does the same– is that scalping- (especially since that product is available right next to it for the regular price (or at another store)– they are charging 10.00 more for the same thing- because only they have it– (scalping)

    At what point does scalping change into market value– how long is an item out before scalping doesnt exist anymore– I found an Archangel Figure in the middle of nowhere– its from Last years collection. If I resell it at an inflated price– is that scalping? What about the Gentle Giant Boba Fett Bust– it goes for 200 bucks retail was 50.00(and there are 7500) of them– there are only 2500 of some other busts (retail 65.00 now) and they go below retail- so does that mean the BFB is being scalped– No– Just law of supply and demand..

    And as far as the Hasbro Toy shop thing– they have stated multiple times (although they get some stock perks- like exclusives)_- they have to submit orders through the Hasbro supply distribution chain like every other store (its why their prices are MSRP) ..If they run out of stock of an item- its because they underordered– just like a regular store– And for those of you that think HTS should be in stock 24 hours a day on all of their product– if that were to happen– how do you think the other stores that order product from Hasbro would react..I can guarantee you they wouldn’t be happy– and all of a sudden you would lose even more retail options….

    I picked up a Legion Set for someone on the boards here– there is a chance he doesnt want it– If I offer it up here for retail– thats makes me a good person and friend– but it makes me a stupid buisness man because Ive passed up making a 100.00 on an item I dont care about-

    If I sell it for 50.00 under what the current “market price” is — someone is happy because he got a “deal” on a limited product- I made money– am I stil a scalper if I bought without the intention to resell? Whats to say that I offer it up here for retail and the person that buys it from me then flips it themsleves– if some of you assume that everyone buying something that you dont have is a scalper– why shouldnt I…

    AS much as I don’t like true “scalpers” there are bigger things to worry about– and what other collectors think about what I do with my money isnt one of them..

    But as stated- never mess with a person buying toys– theres always a bigger fish– and someone that may react more uncivilized than you…

    • stewbacca says:

      Another example– There was a Barbie (website exclusive) for my wife– Limited to 5000.. I waited and waited on getting one (its a 100.00)– due to the fact that usually in November- Barbie does a massive 25% off sale– — I had ample time to purchase it at retail- I didnt- now it is sold out– If I dont buy it from a “scalper” on ebay- my wife wont have the doll..– SOmetimes the “scalpers”- provide a service– the seller did nothing wrong I missed my chance- and I had to pay for it…

      Is it the “scalpers” fault that I had to pay 125.00 for it now– no it is mine- waiting to find a better deal– sometimes you do sometimes you dont– and thats why people do what they do…(and to be honest- it usually all evens out in the end anyway- so who cares– (since sometimes “scalpers” get stuck with stuff that nobody wants and they sell it for less than they paid for it…)

  • Steven says:

    “Anton Phibes,” you ask, “where to begin”? How about with the flawed logic that is present in Mr. Edwards’ original editorial?

    From his assumed position as an enlightened, adult person, Mr. Edwards (hereafter, JE) rails against those he considers less than him who dare to have something he describes as a “sense of entitlement.” I would rather characterize it as a sense of fairness. However, that sense goes out the window, because the scalpers have something JE wants and, unlike many other collectors in this hobby, he is more than willing to pay them what they want to get what he wants.

    Here’s my central point: scalpers, i.e. the people who rush into the toy aisles when stores first open and clear out pegs of the most recent, “hot” series of toys, are only able to continue doing what they do because of people like JE. JE wants what he wants when he wants it; no waiting until the scalpers are unable to sell their “hot” toys on eBay and are forced to take them back to the retail stores before their receipts expire. One childish action feeds another, therefore: the “I want all of these for myself to resell!” mentality is allowed to continue because of “I want these for myself NOW!” mentality.

    If you don’t like scalpers, there’s a simple way to defeat them: don’t buy from them. Also, if you live in a glass house, don’t write an editorial pointing out this fact.

    • Bunger says:

      Wait….”JE” is “childish” because he wants his toys now (and has the means to buy them) but the people who don’t get to the toys first and want to “DEMAND” that they get the toys…aren’t childish? Steven, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve read today. Man, I can’t even wrap my head around how stupid that comment was.

      It’s also very hypocritical. If you can’t see that, I don’t know what to tell you.

      If someone has the means to aquire something, they have the right to purchase it at whatever price they are willing to spend. THEY are the ones that drive that price, not the scalpers. If someone wasn’t willing to pay something for an item, a “scalper” would have to sell it for less. Whether you agree or not, if an item sells for “x” dollars, then it was worth “x” dollars. Simple supply and demand.

      The biggest issue here is that everyone who fails to find a toy (or a good portion) simply blame it on the scalper because it’s an easy scapegoat.

      Stewbacca also made a lot of good comments. Thank you for them Stew…pretty level headed, as always.

      Lastly…you need to get a good comprehension on “glass house”…because you missed it pretty badly here.

      And Chilly Billy…wow, way to keep that spirit up…with the low blow “free comps and all”. more of that “Entitlement” mentality.

      • Steven says:

        Dear “Bunger,”

        Many of your attempts to counter what I wrote are simple contrarian rebuttals. I stated something was “left,” you stated it was “right” with no attempt to demonstrate why your opinion was correct and mine was incorrect. In the future, I would encourage you to think more deeply before typing a response. This might lead to you not making yourself look foolish; your attempt to demonstrate that my previous comment about “glass houses” was somehow incorrect being a prime example of this. Finally, replying directly to my comment and referring to the comments of others previous to mine (spec. “Stewbacca” and “Chilly Billy”) is another indication of your rush to comment. Please refer to my comments above.

        • Scalpasaurus Rex says:

          Steven, using elaborate words doesn’t make your point any more valid, especially not when your phrasing is as awkward as it is. You’re arguing about toys, not Hegel.

          Signed,

          Contrarian Rebuttal

          • Daniel says:

            Actually, he was arguing about the flawed logic in this editorial, an editorial which happens to be about toys. Looks like you could stand to read Daniel’s reply to Bunger a few times yourself, Rex.

      • Daniel says:

        You should be reported to the mods. There is no need to refer to someone else’s reply as “stupid” or “dumb.” It’s obviously a little too early for you to be sitting at the adult’s table.

        • Scalpasaurus Rex says:

          Bwa-Ha-Ha. I read his post perfectly clearly, but I can’t take it seriously because the level of diction he’s attempting and failing to use is way inappropriate for a discussion about toys. And yes, that casts doubt on any conclusion he reaches.

          The fact that his comments were dumb didn’t help his case, though.

          • Steven says:

            Wait a minute. So you are admitting that you are posting as “Bunger” and as “Scapasaurus Rex”? So you replied to yourself below to tell yourself a story? This topic really does bring out those who are mentally unstable.

          • Scalpasaurus Rex says:

            I’m not Bunger. Maybe it’s only in my browser, but this comment section’s formatting gets screwed up when there’s too many replies under specific posts. I had to click reply under Daniel’s second post.

        • Bunger says:

          Dear “Steven”

          How is your reading comprehension going? Has it clicked yet that I’m not this “Scalpasaurus Rex” or whatever? The “low level of discourse” was spread by your original comments and your horrible assumptions due to poor reading comprehension skills.

          And Daniel…really…”this guy should be reported?” I called his statements dumb and stupid. I didn’t call him dumb or stupid. I still haven’t called him dumb or stupid (or anyone for that matter). Two completely different things. Your “it must to be too early at the adult table” or whatever comment is no better, unless hypocritical is what you were gunning for. I’d say I’ve been pretty straightforward and blunt, but far from rude. If what I’ve said is rude, well, then there is a lot of “rude” stuff going on here.

          Anyways…back to “Steven”…There isn’t a right or wrong in this thread. Only opinion. You think scalping is some form of evil. I don’t. But…I can tell you what scalping isn’t, and that’s illegal. Your level of aprehension towards the idea is due to the group of people you lump “JH” into. Times have changed, and you clearly fail to see this. If a group of people have the means to buy something they want, and another group of people have that item they want, then who is anyone else to say anything different? It’s not like it’s illegal. Him buying something from someone online for a price he feels is fair is absolutely no different than you buying an item from Wal-mart for a price you feel is fair.

          One thing I will agree with you: If you don’t like the scalpers, don’t buy from them. No one is making you do that. But at the end of the day, they provide something that someone else wants. Price is ultimately irrelevent, unless you are a person who wasn’t able to get the product you wanted for a price you were willing to spend, which again comes full circle to that sense of entitlement.

          Now, I’ll apologize if I offended anyone in any of my comments. But I just call it how I see it. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • UncleMarsellus says:

    Thank you for being a voice of reason, Jon. Agree 100%.

  • StrangePlanet says:

    Like anything there are grey areas. There are real scalping scumbags out there and there are normal guys. There are those who have something, and will make the decision to make as much money off it as they can, and those who will offer it at cost + shipping. Stewbacca points out the difference between making a profit and making a “stupid business decision”. I will always find myself on the stupid business decision side, because doing otherwise would make me feel like scum, and getting a wanted toy to a fellow collector without profit makes me feel good. But that’s just me.

    • Daniel says:

      Excellent point. Those people who are in the “grey area” and may resell a toy or two here or there are not the kind of mentally unstable people who would buy out a wave at every Wal-Mart in an area, keep the receipts, list them on eBay and then when the toys don’t sell, dump them back at the Wal-Mart. The latter are the type who have become infamous as “scalpers.”

      Unfortunately, these types are the ones who have led to toylines getting canceled, as their actions led to more cases of the “hot” wave being ordered, but then when the “cold” wave is returned, there is a backlog of new cases and dumped singles and no way for new product to make it to the pegs.

    • Matt says:

      If you charged more for your toys, you would be making yourself a little more happy on top of the warm fuzzy feeling you got delivering a hot toy to someone who wanted it.

      • StrangePlanet says:

        No, I wouldn’t.
        You miss the point. If I decided to mark up the price of the item I have, and make a profit on it, then I wouldn’t feel extra better about it, I would feel worse.
        The whole idea of me being in this little toy hobby is the extra fun I get out of it, not the extra money I can make. Making a little extra money is not part of the fun. Difficult concept I understand, but it’s true.

  • Chill Billy says:

    So basically you’re refuting any notion of a toy community in favor of shrugging your shoulders, bending over and accepting sleazy flipper practices as “just the way it is” .
    Bad behavior only changes if people stand up and say something.

    Pretty big talk from a guy who probably receives dozens of comps from toy companies annually.

  • Shellhead says:

    Free market.
    It’s that simple.
    Don’t like “scalper” prices, don’t buy from them.
    I’m not a fan of it (and I don’t participate in it, save to help out people on this site), but there’s nothing illegal about it.
    I’ve got better things to do in the morning than rush to Target so I can get there right when they open. So sometimes I have to play the ebay game. That’s life as a toy collector in the 21st century.
    “Scalpers” aren’t heroes or villains. They’re just people trying to make a buck. Our entire economic system is based on that principle (or at least it used to be, but that’s another topic).

  • Scalpasaurus Rex says:

    I resell all the time. There’s a Wally two minutes from where I live, so it’s nothing for me to check into that on the way to or from work or friends’ houses. I find something people want, I buy it, sell it for a modest profit, and that money goes to other figures/gifts/gas money/whatever. I don’t find anything morally wrong with that. This isn’t the 90s, when if you didn’t find figures at your local department store, you were stuck buying them for a crazy markup at a collectible show or flea market. I lived through that too. Our options are limitless now, online and in person. There’s no reason to constrain yourself to your local big box stores for your sweatshop-plastic needs.

    • Bunger says:

      If I can pick something up and better myself, I absolutely will. With that said, NUMEROUS times have I purchased items and sold them to people here at cost. I have no issue with that either. But if I see a no brainer, I’m all over it. The DC Direct Cyborg supes I picked up at a small town comic shop for 12 bucks? Bet your rear end I dumped it. Same goes with the DCSH Two Face I found sitting at a K-mart a few years after DCSH had turned to DCUC. I used a meijer coupon to clean out a walmart of the last exclusive wave they had. Over the course of two days they restocked twice and I bought 5 waves. 1 for me, 2 for people here (which I sold to them for the 6 bucks I paid per figure) and 2 I stuck on ebay with a 1 dollar starting bid. Know what I did with the money I made? Took my wife out for a nice evening.

      If someone has a problem with that, then their priorites are out of whack.

  • Kitty says:

    In communist Russia, toys buy you!

  • Normal People says:

    Whiny bitches with a sense of entitlement. Grown men a maturity surpassed by a child.

    This is how you people are seen.

    Now start your whining and try to defend your pathetic nature and prove me RIGHT.

    Go on, I know you will. Because you’re predictable and full of crap. The toy companies know this, too. Yet you keep giving them money and carry on. GOTCHA….And you’re not even man enough to do something about it.

    • Steven says:

      And…the level of discourse reaches a new low. Thanks to “Bunger-Scalpasaurus” for setting the groundwork for this. I am out of here.

    • Tony C says:

      ‘Cause it takes a “man” to challenge someone to “do something about it” over the Internet, right? What do you want to do, meet at the corner ebay and afi.com and duke it out? I think this is the internet tough-guy bravado the writer of the blog was talking about. PIPEBOMB!…oh, I mean…GOTCHA!

  • regwec says:

    I can understand the annoyance that scalpers cause, but as a UK-based collector, I would be lost without them.

    I have never seen any DCUC in any shop, ever. I have managed to buy a couple from online retailers (who charge above-scalper type prices anyway), but thanks to international sellers on ebay I have managed to assemble Batman, Robin, “Legacy” Joker, Riddler, Penguin and DCSH Catwoman.

    Thank you, scalpers.

  • jamiwa3 says:

    What I think people are upset about more than anything is scalpers aren’t buying rare and highly desired figures because they want them, they’re doing it only to make money. I don’t speak for the anti-scalper crowd, but I think if another fellow collector beat them to TRU and bought the figure, they’d be disappointed, but at least the person who bought the figure actually wanted it. People see that a little bit differently than the person that goes to the store thinking, “people really want this figure! I don’t want it, but I’ll buy it and make them pay me to get it!”

    • Matt says:

      Umm…people being “upset” about not getting the toy they want is, in a way, tantamount to someone being “upset” about not being able to afford a Ferrari, or a beach-front house. It’s called life. You got priced out of the market.
      You want a Jedi Luke, he wants a Jedi Luke, we all want Jedi Lukes…but if you’re only willing to buy at the store you may not get a Jedi Luke.

      • jamiwa3 says:

        Partially agree. It’s not tantamount to being upset about not being able to afford a Ferrari. It’s like being upset that an affordable Benz C-Class suddenly being expensive as a Ferrari because someone is exploiting the fact that supply fell behind demand.

        I have no issue here. I’m just saying I’m not surprised people are peeved because scalpers unnecessarily make something they want harder to find and more expensive.

  • Shellhead says:

    Whew. This article seems to have disturbed a hornet’s nest.

    47 replies? That’s gotta be a record for a blog on this site.

    • Tony C says:

      i think because of the crap that went down on Matty’s site for the DCUC Legion sale, a lot of folks have had it with scalpers and everyone’s feelings are a little raw. I see both sides of the coin on this, but i think that’s why it’s 49 comments and climbing.

      • Matt says:

        If people want the Legion 12-pack bad enough, then they can purchase one from any number of sellers on Ebay for approximately $200-300. In other words–fair market value.

        • Tony C says:

          I agree, considering the shipping probably put that thing over the $200 mark. But I have yet to see one for $200. or $250. No, the bidding is starting at $300 (which, I agree, is still fair). Now the guy that i saw trying to sell one for $450? That’s the guy everyone hates.

      • Scalpasaurus Rex says:

        I think people are making way too many assumptions about who bought those Legion packs. Not to mention we don’t know the actual number made, which given the weakened state of DCUC and the price of the item, had to have been pretty low. Maybe people were just so surprised a DC product actually did WELL on Matty that they had to find some way to explain it.

        • Tony C says:

          Could be. I’m just waiting for the next round of “Ask Matty” questions when Toy Guru gets asked about it and he still gives us his patented “well, it didn’t perform as well as we needed it to!” stock-answer. He seems like a nice enough guy, but he really needs some new material.

  • Thomas says:

    I don’t mind buying on ebay if I can get it for around the same price of gas+tax. If it’s straight up scalp like in the old days (50% mark up) then no.

  • WorkingForMoney says:

    Get a Job, Stop Scalping.
    Live Simply so others can simply live.
    Greed will kill you.
    If you actually work for your money, you will appreciate it more.
    If you scalp for the pleasure of the power it gives you, enjoy the money, because people will resent you, and you won’t really have friends.

    • Scalpasaurus Rex says:

      Uh, I resell figures, and I HAVE a job. No one scalps for power over other collectors, they scalp for extra money. And none of my friends resent me for it, because they have a sense of proportion.

      SCALPASAURUS REX has spoken.

    • Jonah says:

      When I was a child, I had a dream. To own my own toystore and have a huge displayable collection.

      Kinda like a pee-wees playhouse all my own

      Im middle aged now, have a decent job not married and no kids and now As a collector I found myself in the perfect position to pursue that dream on the Internet…

      So I Started buying stuff I thought could be rare or exclusives at retail and selling on ebay regularly as a side job/test.

      I currently have a stock of over 3000 items for sale at markup.

      I don’t make too much money yet, but what profit I do make either helps me collect for free or pay a few utility bills or buy new stock.

      Am I wrong for pursuing my dreams? For wanting to increase my income, my collection, my lifestyle? Does this make me a bad person in your eyes and a blight on our hobby?

      I spend countless hours driving, paying for gas, spending money on food during my missions. I get to meet other collectors from all walks of life and occasionally chat about the hobby, always with respect and dignity.

      Really this whole scalper issue is ridiculous.

      We live in America..the land of the FREE…The land of Opportunity…Capitalism

      If you believe that everyone deserves a nice even portion of everything in life for everyone equally I recommend you try living in a communist or socialist country.

      • Thomas says:

        Yes, absolutely because you’re robbing someone who may buy it that isn’t a scalper.

        • Shellhead says:

          Thomas, unless there’s a store policy that limits the number of something you can buy (like Target used to have years back), there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what he’s doing.
          I find it personally a bit distasteful (and it seems like a lot of work for little gain), but I’m not going to rip on the guy for using capitalism to make some money.
          Especially if he isn’t breaking any store policies.
          Now the supposed guy that bribes the hypothetical stock boy at TRU for first dibs at a case, he’s a true scalper and deserves the ire of collectors.

          • Get A Job-Stop Scalping says:

            Thomas, don’t you know that if it’s not illegal then it’s not wrong?
            The law is the ONLY thing that tells us what is right and wrong.
            Scalpers will do anything to justify their greedy, horrible behavior.
            One day they will die lonely and surrounded by unsold toys if they don’t get psychological help for their addiction.

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