View Full Version : i hate toy scalpers

07-14-2002, 09:02 PM
I stopped by this toy collectibles shop here in chicago its called
the wolves den the guy who owns it is an ***$hole i needed a simpsons tree house of horrors #1 and he has 2 of them i offered him a 3 3/4 han & tautaun in an even trade for it and first he say's ok and then he says ''you know what i dont think that will be good because im not winning anything so you have to give me that and a wuher and its a deal'' so i tell him ill give you the wuher and you throw in a potj plo-koon and he says forget it you need it and i have it i dont need what u have give me 100.00 or fgorget it:mad: :frus: :mad: :frus: :mad: :frus: ***$holeeeeeeeeeee

Mod Note: I changed the title to take out an offencive word.

07-14-2002, 09:10 PM
did you tell him about your feelings? Because crying to us doesn't solve anything unless you will pay us to take him out of business.

07-14-2002, 09:19 PM
i told him to shove the tree house up his @$$

07-14-2002, 09:26 PM
what did he say, that he already had one in there?

I'd have asked home how valuable his business was, then ask how would he like to see it burnt down.

Mod note:I merged the 2 posts together.

07-15-2002, 01:27 AM
Where in Chicago is this place? I'm there at least once or twice a year, and I'd like to pay him a visit. Preferrably bring in some very desireable collectibles and act like I don't what they're worth and strike a deal with him, then when he's really hiding his drool as he tries to hand me the money or traded goods for my stuff, I'll tell him to stuff it and walk out.

07-15-2002, 01:31 AM
That sounds great, maybe I could go in disguised as a foreign person and act like I want to buy his business from him.

07-15-2002, 04:36 AM
What an a- hole!

07-15-2002, 04:59 AM

That's especially lame if he said yes to begin with.
Relative item for item trade value aside ... you could tell him next time that what he DID lose out on was a good customer ... and now a few more perhaps.

(Why did I picture this guy looking like THE comic book guy FROM the Simpsons?)

Oh well ... just wait, you'll probably find one somewhere for a third that price (what it should be worth) ... it's toy karma.

07-15-2002, 08:30 AM
That was not very nice of him or very business savy. He certainly lost a good customer. Clearly you buy a lot of Star Wars stuff and aparently Simpsons stuff too, and now you'll never buy anything off of him. You should tell him that next time you go in there.

So, where is this place at? I'd like to go in there, and not buy anything to show him up :>.

07-15-2002, 10:24 AM
its on diversey ave. and oak park ave. in chicago.
and yes he looks like the comic book guy from the simpsons but a little skinnier

07-20-2002, 10:10 PM
Ah, the trouble with "scalpers".

I must admit that I fully expected this to be one of those rants about how anyone who sells Star Wars figures for more than Wal-Mart or Toys R Us is somehow inherrantly evil, thus prompting a response about how many retaillers (like comic shops) often pay as much for thier figures (bought by the case as "wholesale", most often from Diamond Comic Distributors) at a price per figure that is roughly what the chain stores charge. This is to say that the comic shop's COST per figure is usually the same as if they just went to Wal-Mart and bought right off the pegs. I don't recall anyone ever opening a business to sell thier product at or below what they paid!

But instead I find that I am here to applaud Kidd for reporting on a retailer that indeed deserves the title of scalper. Though I would have to say that telling such people off (or worse yet, making threats as some have suggested) does no one any good. In general, dealers and resellers like the man described here are of the school that know nothing about their product but the dollar signs that dance in front of their eyes when they hear terms like "Star Wars" or "The Simpsons". In the long run, these types do not last. Eventually they realize that they are not getting rich and they are not going to retire courtesy of Matt Groenig and George Lucas (amoung others). Eventually they declare the whole collector market a farce and go out of business.

How do I know? Because I have, since the age of 16, sold comics and toys at local shows and conventions. Granted back in my teens I got to go to one or two shows a year as a dealer. I developed techniques and philosphies back then that I use to this very day. My core philosophy is that I do not have to have the most sought after collectibles or rarest pieces. So many of these "scalper types" run themselves ragged chasing down Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt cars, the "rare" Star Wars and Simpson's figures, and other "hot" collectibles. And when they can't find them at retail, they will often pay a preimium (but well below their own percieved value) price for these items. In the long run, they are lucky to just break even. And I have seen these types come and go over the years.

When I started doing this sort of thing more often than once in a blue moon, I would buy collections, take what I needed for my own, and sell the rest. And I did not buy every collection that was put in front of me. Some collectors (or more accuratly, collector-speculators) think that anything with the Star Wars name is spun gold! Mrs. JediCole and I once met a man to possibly purchase his collection. He brought out three large, black trashbags which he emptied on the floor of his apartment. Within were many vintage figures and vehicles (this was before POTF2) in various states of disrepair or wear. I set aside the tiny percentage of the figures and toys that were still clean and/or salvageable apart from the dirt encrusted, often broken figures and the largely dismantled vehicles. There were two AT-ATs that had every removeable piece missing, were caked in dirt and sand, and had many of the difficult to remove parts broken open. The back of one of them was hanging off of it, dangling by some of the (normally hidden) internal wiring! I really had no idea what to offer (I never do, even on a good lot), so I put it to the guy. He said a buddy of his deals in Star Wars and so he figured his buddy would give him about $1,200 for the lot, but he would take $1000! We were tactful enough to decline to buy, suggesting he should take the collection to his buddy. We decided to let his friend laugh in his face when presented with a collection what was quite aptly stored in garbage bags!

But when buying collections, I always took the same approach, the approach I use to this day. I get an idea in my head that is the most I feel I can afford to spend on ANYTHING and then let the person selling the collection tell me how much they would take for it. The main reason I do this is that I am not, in any way, seeking to be what I would call a scalper. If an individual is willing to take $75.00 for a box of toys that I would be willing to pay up to $100 or so for, I do not feel like I have done them a disservice by paying what they ask. A "scalper", in my opinion, is the type who is presented with a resonable buy price, but then tries to convince the seller that their stuff is worth less, usually FAR less. Perhaps a person's collection is worth far more than they are asking, but I prefer to let the seller set the price, as occured at the last toy show where I sold. I tried desperatly to convince a guy that I could not pay him what even I thought his original Star Wars figure case (the first suitcase type) full of 24 vintage figures was worth. He enventually sold the whole collection to me at a little over $3.00 per figure plus $10 for the case, but that was ONLY because I could not convince him to seek a buyer who could pay him what the figures were worth.

Ironically, there was a scalper-type set up right next to us that day. He was armed with the gigantic new Star Wars Price Guide that was recently published, the one with everything from shoelaces to Dixie Cups to shampoo bottles to action figures. He had about three tables covered in the types of Star Wars items that had clogged clearance shelves in recent years and everything, regardless of condition, was at the highest price in the guidebook. But none of it was marked ahead of time, mind you. If anyone asked after the price, it was time to consult the book. The funny thing is, at the end of the show as he was packing up (pretty close to 98% of what he came with as nearly as I could tell), he approached my table and engaged me in conversation about the Purchase of the Droids Cinema Scene I had on my shelves (with a $10.00 price written on a Post-It Note). He said that his price guide showed that Cinema Scene at $95.00! And I was only asking $10! I took a moment to explain to him what I thought of price guides (that they serve no other purpose but to allow people to imagine that their pesonal collections are goldmines) and that nothing is worth a penny more than someone else is willing to pay, but this whole lecture could be easily seen gliding as easily out of one ear as it had into the other. He then asked me what was the least I would take for it. I glibly told him $10.00, which he gleefully produced. Once he had it in his hands he looked lovingly at his purchase and announced, "I'm going to try to get $95.00 for this!"

I guess he thought I would feel jealous or "ripped off". The reality was that my first thought was, I sincerely hope I can be there when someone at the next Toy Show asks how much he wants for that set and to hear the laughter when he announces the $95.00 price! This dealer had also asked if it would be worth his while to come to the next show. I told him absolutely YES! Please do! While I hate the nature of these unprincipled money-grubs, I encourage them to spend the time and money to come to these shows. Why? So that eventually they will realize that no one will pay their prices and that they will not get rich peddling Star Wars toys.

But back to the "scalper" at hand. As it was suggested, this guy alienated at least one customer, if not many potential customers. But to think that threats or complaints will serve to correct this condition is not well thought out. The truth is that this type of person occurs in almost every business. I personally have an aversion to auto mechanics. Finding most cannot wait to get under your hood and discover a whole catalog of problems that you never knew you had. However, many years ago, Mrs. JediCole had taken her car in for an inspection, but it did not pass due to a minor misallignment in the idle. A simple problem to correct if one knows their way around an engine, a knowldge we lack. So she selected a mechanic at random, and as luck would have it, she found a good one. He dropped what he was doing to correct the idle, and even went so far as to hook it up to a machine to insure it would pass the inspection. Now that is service! And service well worth whatever price may be asked. And yet she was sent back to pass her inspection without a penny paid to the helpful mechanic. Over the years since, that same mechanic has been our sole mechanic, even when we have had to have broken-down cars towed over 35 miles to get to him! But she could just as easily been charged $20 or more for five minutes "work", and it would never have occured to us to use that mechanic again.

The bottom line is that when you encounter types like this, especially in this day and age, and especially in the collector's aftermarket, simply do not spend a dime with them EVER! If you are patient, and persistant, you can probably find just about anything you seek at a good price eventually. This is a very fickle market and today's "goldmine" like the Treehouse of Horror is tomorrow's blowout. I paid $40.00 for an Eopie and Qui-Gon Jinn Beast Pack not too long ago after over a year of being outbid on eBay with a maximum bid of $80.00 on no less than 40 auctions! Yes, that is right, after 40 tries on eBay, I managed to buy the same thing for half the dollar amount that I was willing to pay!

07-20-2002, 11:43 PM
That was a great read Jedi Cole!! I wish all posts were so entertaining and knowledgeful. I do think that people are quick to put the scalper label on people because they are asking for a higher price then they are willing to pay.

07-21-2002, 11:50 AM
Originally posted by rynobot
I do think that people are quick to put the scalper label on people because they are asking for a higher price then they are willing to pay.

Well said, rynobot. I am often asked by people who are just starting to collect for advice. In the realm of the aftermarket, I usually advise patience above all else, and don't perpetuate the "scalper" types by giving them your business.

07-21-2002, 10:36 PM
that was a great story jedicole. that guy was nuts though. i could get that for 7 bucks if i looked. people like that aggrivate me. well anyway thanks for the good read