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View Full Version : vt's definition & analysis of "scalping"



vulcantouch
02-19-2003, 11:33 PM
posted this previously on the Old Forums, but since they were recently deleted let's resume the dogpile here; i hereby invite any toy-hypercommodification advocates/apologists out there to Take Yer Best Shots :p ;)
vt

every collector seems to use the word "scalper" and intuit what is meant by it but no one seems to get specific about what it means, preferring instead to brand anyone they're mad at with the appellation. to my knowledge i am the first collector to lay down and consistently use a practical, specific definition of the verb "scalp". my definition is two-part:
1) an attempt by someone (usually an independent dealer) who buys his goods wholesale via a direct distributor account with the manufacturer, to sell them for more than srp (suggested retail price);
2)an attempt by a non-primary seller (i.e. not a toy or department store) to resell at a higher price something said seller acquired earlier for a lower price, esp. if originally acquired with an eye to doing this all along.
it follows that, when as a matter of policy a person engages in these attempts, that person is a scalper and deserves the condemnation of collectors and to be regarded as the collector's enemy.
if in definition 2 the buyer-reseller in question did not harbor resale intentions at time of purchase, and instead acquired something because they personally wanted it but now no longer do, then by my definition their ethical recourse is to either sell it for the price they paid (or less) or attempt to gain via trade. the latter option is ethical because while it allows for the fact that items do become more scarce or sought-after over time, no two trade agreements are the same, having been arrived at via the contribution of ideas from both parties. in other words, a true collaboration.
while we all recognize plenty of examples that fit definition 1, in my experience people who fit definition 2 have too often gotten a pass on the condemnation they have coming. as a result, if anything the term "scalper" is Underused, simply because most people haven't followed the concept's implications to its logical end.
i can certainly understand this: years ago i used to do a bit of it myself (sold a few rare items i loctaed to scalper-dealers, who in turn resold what i sold them for an even Higher price, thus i did contribute to the scalper cycle). however as previously documented on the galoob.com buzzboard a series of extraordinarily lucky finds in my mm collecting led me to "see the light", & i've been an annoying zealot about this ever since. in a nutshell "the light" sez: collectors should trade for gain, not sell for gain; and patience and allowing yourself to enjoy the hunt will enable collectors to avoid contributing to the pernicious scalping cycle, either as a buyer or a seller :)
my definition of scalping inevitably follows from these "revelations". all other definitions of scalping i've heard are either or are so wide or vague they define themselves out of existence (which is unsatisfactory because the subject of scalping deserves better than to be conveniently "defined away" ) or are so narrow they fail to address "semi-scalping" behavior, thus allowing full-bore scalping to get a pass. my definition avoids this "slippery slope" trap and thus retains its usefulness. if anyone has an equally-useful definition of scalping i'd be happy to hear it. meanwhile i inadvertantly laid out the crux of my definition's validity in an email exchange with a self-avowed scalper:
scalper: "the market in buying and selling toys has gone as other type of collectible markets have gone, it is survival of the fittest of who has the more money to spend and that person can get what he wants"
vt responds: as a taoist and disciple of darwin, nietzsche and sade i'm probably not only more at peace with the "survival of the fittest" soundbite you bloodlessly recite but likely grasp its full implications more deeply and unflinchingly than you. but at the same time i am also a full-time aesthete and part-time ethicist and as such balance those ugly-but-undeniable truths with a principle of restraint, i.e. the avoidance of excess or waste. in other words, i accept that a certain degree of cutthroat competitiveness in this life is not only inevitable but necessary and even desirable. but given that there are a fixed number of a sought-after collectible, scalpers add nothing to the cycle of predatory exchange of which our lives consist. they are mere parasites; they do not manufacture, maintain efficient distribution networks, provide primary (srp-selling) retail outlets or end-consume these items. they simply horde, resell and line their pockets while contributing nothing to the system, and make collectors in general pay more in the process. this is hardly an honorable Earning of xtra cash. only exceptional circumstances such as charity beanie-baby auctions should be exempt from all this, as they attempt to serve an end higher than collector ethics.
comments? anyone? anyone? :happy:

Beast
02-19-2003, 11:45 PM
And now, something someone can actually read and understand. J/K. :crazed: :D

http://www.rebelscum.com/collect.asp

MTFBWY and HH!!

Jar Jar Binks

vulcantouch
02-19-2003, 11:57 PM
if so, i can type slower next time ;)
my def is both more PREcise and CONcise than the rebscum page, but theirs serves ok as a scalping Primer for the ethical toddlers among us ;) but for those who want a sturdier, more rigorous, Adult def to sink their teeth into go up Up UP :D

Beast
02-20-2003, 12:03 AM
Actually, I mean anyone outside the little click of the MM forums. Since I've seen quite a few people say that they just avoid your posts entirely, because they can't be bothered to read someone that doesn't care to format their posts and thoughts in a readable manner. So you may want to switch that toddler and adult around, since most adults do know how to speak/write correctly. Or atleast make an effort to, instead of intentially butchering the english language. ;) :D

MTFBWY and HH!!

Jar Jar Binks

vulcantouch
02-20-2003, 12:15 AM
-oh? who where? as an incorrigible publicity H O i'm always happy to see Any mention of moi, complimentary or otherwise, so plz lmk so i can carp about them ostriches behind they backs :D

"format. . . posts and thoughts in a readable manner. . . know how to speak/write correctly"
-oh i hope you've in mind something besides that shopworn no-caps charge, cuz i've already xplained it's a blanket adaptation to the non-italicizable, non-boldable nature of html & other frequently-used text formats. besides, if you read these forums for a lesson in proper capitalization may i point you in the direction of the nearest lil red schoolhaus, cuz this class is for big boyz ;) if you mean no xtra space betwixt paragraphs, that's cuz i'm personally always grateful whenever someone spares Me any Unnecessary scrolling; also, when one prints stuff up one uses less paper :D but if you're complaining about something i Haven't anticipated then don't keep me waiting darling, i like surprises :D then when you're done concerning yourself with the Presentation of my thoughts maybe you might actually get around to addressing the Content of my def? :D
sincelery,
vt, aka exclusionist snob for the bigbad mm "click" :p

QLD
02-20-2003, 01:13 AM
Isn't it clique?


Anyway........

I have never cared much about scalpers or scalping. It's all wasted breath.

While I think vt often has valid points, I do find his posts to be frustrating and difficult to read. The odd abbreviations, replacing "s" with "z", non-capitalization, and other odd word-shortning abbreviations make me have to stop and translate every 5th word or so.

No big deal, on either topic.

JangoFart
02-20-2003, 01:37 AM
Boy, the fur's flyin' in here. :D

And, I'll chime in that it does nothing to further your points, regardless of their validity, to write in that manner. The extra time you save yourself by writing "xtra" instead of "extra" is minimal, at best, and serves to frustrate people who may otherwise be happy to stand up and agree with you, at worst.

As I always say "Ha$br0 $uXor$!!" (OK, I've never actually said that. I was just compelled to, for some reason, after reading some things in here.)

Just my opinion. Do with it as you see fit.

J

JangoFart
02-20-2003, 02:03 AM
"A collector shall not know profit. Nor greed. Nor self-interest." Can I getta "AMEN"!?!?!

Sounds like a stinking pile to me. There's a little thing that just popped up in America in the past week, I think. It's called "capitalism". Those who are hunting for definitions may want to take a gander at that one.

J

plasticfetish
02-20-2003, 03:04 AM
... and so I was telling the guy, "Yeah! I hate wool socks too! They're itchy and they make my feet sweat." Oh, sorry ... wrong thread ... what's this one? Oh ... ancient philosophies regarding toy and figure collecting ... let me put on my fine print monocle.

"1) an attempt by someone (usually an independent dealer) who buys his goods wholesale via a direct distributor account with the manufacturer, to sell them for more than srp (suggested retail price);
2) an attempt by a non-primary seller (i.e. not a toy or department store) to resell at a higher price something said seller acquired earlier for a lower price, esp. if originally acquired with an eye to doing this all along."

I will pass this on to my legal department to see just what they can make of it. We have many fine people working there and I am sure that someone will have the savvy and keen eye to bring out a more palatable meaning.

Oh, I did see this part ... "and make collectors in general pay more in the process" ... and I was wondering how is "make" defined here? "Scalpers" don't "make" anyone do anything do they? Well, they may "make" us mad or slightly annoyed when they hoard and resell large numbers of desirable new toys, but do they "make" us buy them? Ehhh ... I don't think so.

Then, there's the wisdom of Mr. Philip Wise ... I kind of like his code of honor thing. But, I have a question about this ... "- When you trade or sell unavailable toys, do so keeping the golden rule in mind: you'll always win in the long run if you don't take advantage of people." I'm not sure what "take advantage" means in this case. Is it like vt's "make"?

Anyway. No arguments here over the sentiment of any of these points. I do think that it's not a black and white kind of matter though. If I decide to sell off a large chunk of my collection on eBay (and I do from time to time) you had better be sure that I will intend to get a fair market price for whatever I'm selling. (Though MOST of the time I just want them to have a good home and to get back a part of what I first paid.) I don't look at my toy collecting hobby as being a big source for profit ... and I TOO loathe most of the individuals that I find out there that do. But, I understand the realities of "collecting" in general and I think it's a little weird that Star Wars collectors need to have some kind of special moral code of honor.
Fine ... kids first ... I LOVE that idea.
Fine ... no hoarding ... I frankly don't think anyone's making money off this stuff in the first place.
As far as the buying and selling of collectibles goes ... Star Wars toys aren't any different than anything else ... be it antique watches, vintage clothing, old lunch boxes, that '71 mustang down the street or the "whatever" you just found at the local "where ever". It's ALL part of the hobby and in some cases, yes ... it's part of someone's business, but no one can "take advantage" of you by "making" you spend your money.

... now, where are those itchy wool socks?

Emperor Howdy
02-20-2003, 03:14 AM
Poopypants :eek:











WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

jjreason
02-20-2003, 03:34 AM
Um, yeah. We've (nearly) all done it, I'd wager a bet. That's the secret shame of SSG.........

2-1B
02-20-2003, 05:19 AM
I bought a Masters of the Dark Side 2 pack a few years ago and awhile later I sold it on eBay for about twice what I paid. I didn't buy it with the intention of selling down the road, I just decided I didn't want it anymore. I'd do it again if I had the chance.
Who the hell would pay twice retail for a pair of the most resculpted figures in history? :crazed:

Darth Nihilus
02-20-2003, 08:47 AM
Originally posted by Quite-Long Dong
While I think vt often has valid points, I do find his posts to be frustrating and difficult to read. The odd abbreviations, replacing "s" with "z",

You do know that for most words that is the proper grammar? It is only accepted in the US and is recognised in US printed dictionaries but in words such as 'realiSe', it is not.;)

jjreason
02-21-2003, 03:25 AM
Posting is a personal "style". We all have nuances, and Im sure the people that have been here for awhile could tell who they were reading without user id's or avatars. Unusual styles keep this place fresh. Who the hell wants to read boring perfect English all day? Not me. Thanks for shaking it up, VT.

Jargo
02-21-2003, 05:20 PM
Wow, Philip Wise is more twee and sanctimonious at one and the same time than I feared. I feel so truly, truly humbled after reading such illustrious ramblings. "Collect to collect" and "make sure a kid gets a toy before you". can't even remember the last time I saw a kid in a toy department. Much less buying star wars. Frankly the stuff is there to be sold and I'm there to buy. if the quantities of the stuff meets my requirements I'll buy what I want thank you for asking. Once I've bought my fill I won't go back so the rest of you can have the restocks galore.

My definition of a scalper is thus: someone who is not remotely interested in the item but buys every last living one to sell for profit at whatever level. Thus escalating a hype of 'rarity' or 'hard to find' value and thus artificially upping the demand and asking price of said 'rare' or 'HTF' items. and in doing so starving out the market to direct the consumer towards the only available sources I.E. the evil EBAY auctions populated by aforementioned scalper and his ilk.

I'm a purchaser of large numbers of figures, for myself only. If I take a pegful of one character only, it's for my personal use and enjoyment. I am not a scalper I am a collector and I collect. I do not sell or trade with anyone. But by the sage Mr. Wise's definition I'm a scalper heathen. Y'know what? screw you Phil! :D big THRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRP!!!!!! in your general direction. It's commerce ya dummy. Stores sell and I buy. That's how it goes. Awwww, go talk to your Disney bluebirds and cutesy fluffy bunnies. Ya wuss.


BTW, what did VT say?

Beast
02-21-2003, 05:28 PM
"Buy only what you need and make sure others get one before you get many."

This one I don't really think qualifies anyone for "Scalper" status. Since you may be buying more then one, you arn't doing it for any reason outside of wanting more then one. I don't think being an army or diorama builder should tag anyone to be branded a scalper. Especially since you open your stuff.

That's just how some people, like you and Tycho choose to collect. You're still buying just for yourself, even if you're clearing the pegs. It's not like you have some plan to ever profit on them or anything. Besides, who said Philip Wise ever totally lived up to his name. ;) :D

MTFBWY and HH!!

Jar Jar Binks

Vortex
02-21-2003, 06:04 PM
I think Vt's initial 2 point definition can only be applied to current, available figures/items on the pegs and I'll leave out sporting event ideas.

Items that don't really fit into the 2 points...at least I think.

Is it still scalping if I opt to sell my red card collection for a higher than bought at price, and if I limit my prices to what is "suggested" in Lee's or Tomarts guid, which is higher than it's original retail price of years ago, and sometimes less than going rate on ebay?

The red cards have since disapeared from the retail pegs, and I can only find them at my local comic shop collecting dust...but I have in my possession a deemed collectable item that one can no longer find or buy at a normal retail outlet. So in my eyes, and established collectors mags, we classify them as collectors items and worth more than their original value since production has stopped.

And these items have an elevated price due to their lack or stoppage in production. Am I still a scalper even if an items is no longer produced and I happen to have an item wich is in demand and I choose to sell it at a higher, listed rate, to some one who accepts the listed price or agrees with the listed, established price?

The question you should be really asking is what makes something a collectable, rather than scalping. And I can wax philosophically too...Or are they both interconnected or one in the same?

(If you really want to debat this, talk to me about my mom's bisque doll collection from the mid 1800's. These suckers are worth thousands of dollars and have their own blue book values and elevated prices that go up exponentially every year...scalpers, collectors, or established reputable antique dealers? What's the label for antique furniture shops, rare book stores, antique junk shops?)

I think this definition can only apply to current, on the peg items, and a line needs to be drawn to establish what is a collectable and what isn't.

plasticfetish
02-21-2003, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by EMPEROR JARGO
Wow, Philip Wise is more twee and sanctimonious at one and the same time than I feared.
Oh my god ... you used the word "twee" in a sentence! You should be awarded in some way ... that is very very very funny.

Originally posted by EMPEROR JARGO
My definition of a scalper is thus: someone who is not remotely interested in the item ...
Could be the best definition that I've ever read.

Originally posted by EMPEROR JARGO
Y'know what? screw you Phil! :D big THRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRP!!!!!! in your general direction. It's commerce ya dummy. Stores sell and I buy. That's how it goes. Awwww, go talk to your Disney bluebirds and cutesy fluffy bunnies. Ya wuss.
Ahhhhh yes ... now I can feel the true power of the dark side coursing through this thread. Ahhhh.

QLD
02-21-2003, 08:11 PM
I never understood the big deal about scalping anyway. I guess it has never really hampered my collecting efforts.

derek
02-21-2003, 08:15 PM
I never understood the big deal about scalping anyway

it all revolves around "The Myth of Fairness", and the belief that profit is evil.

that's all i'm gonna say on the subject, as VT and i have debated this endlessly.:)

QLD
02-21-2003, 08:18 PM
Greed.....for the lack of a better word......is good.

plasticfetish
02-21-2003, 08:21 PM
greed = good
greedo = bad

QLD
02-21-2003, 08:27 PM
You know, Greedo shot first? Just checking.

Jargo
02-21-2003, 11:44 PM
Originally posted by plasticfetish
Oh my god ... you used the word "twee" in a sentence! You should be awarded in some way ... that is very very very funny.

Could be the best definition that I've ever read.

Ahhhhh yes ... now I can feel the true power of the dark side coursing through this thread. Ahhhh.

I think I'll be rewarded by some unpleasantness at some point in the future when rebelscum loyalists read my post. :) The power of the dark side is strong indeed especially when it flows through a really really short person with a permanent limp. And a rotten spine. And a very sudden and irritating nosebleed.... damn it, retribution sucks! You hear me Phil? retribution sucks!!!!!!! I'll get you for this my pretty and your little website too! AHAHAHAhahahahahahahaha.......



Actually I have nothing personal against Mr. Wise. But yes, twee is my definition of the collect to collect scheme. That's the stupidest slogan ever. I always wondered where it came from. Ptcha! Won't be able to get the damn annoying thing out of my head now like a stupid song lyric that makes no sense. Collect to collect.... collect to collect.... No, definately twee and stupid. now if you'll excuse me I have to go get something to get the blood from out of the keyboard. I wasn't joking about the nosebleed. :(

sith_killer_99
02-22-2003, 09:19 AM
I look at it like this.

If you buy from the mfg. or their distributors then you have the right to charge what you want for an item....That's capitalism at it's best.

If you buy from Wal-Mart, Target, TRU or some other retailer with the purpose of simply re-selling something to make a buck then you are:

1. Denying a real collector or a kid the chance to buy it for retail.

2. Kidding yourself, that it will fetch big bucks, and therefore an idiot.

3. A Scalper.

But that's just my opinion.

scruffziller
02-22-2003, 02:45 PM
I actually thought VT just read alot of Shakespeare........:(

vulcantouch
02-22-2003, 05:04 PM
now Behold as vt surgically, rapidly carves away the irrelevance, dispatches with the nonsense and endorses the righteous :cool: but first a tipoca tip-o-cap to an anonymous lil birdy out there who answered the quextion that jjb failed to, about people who "say that they just avoid my posts entirely (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=223679#post223679)": thanx for hedz-up lil birdy, plz keep eyes open for more "ostrich kiddos" ;)

jjr: "Posting is a personal 'style'"
dn: "It is only accepted in the US"
good points both; wish i could claim they're what i had in mind ;)
i could also cite "hiphop spelling" to justify z's, but the truth is i never cared about conforming or shaking things up. i'm simply trusting my gut. slight, informal deviations like that just feel like they flow better, both in the typin and the readin. english is a living beast; its rules may stand untouched for centuries only to one day be inadvertantly reshaped by stubborn, personal-agendaed mavvricks like me ;) but resistance to that is a natural part of the process so i also don't mind objections one bit :p

qld: "Isn't it clique?"
-you'll have to check with jjb, i'm afraid; after all, according to him I'm the one "butchering" the eng lang here ;)

"odd abbreviations"
-like, say, jjb's "hh"? i still ain't sure what That means, but if i were ever curious i'd simply Ask him, hint hint ;)

"word-shortning abbreviations make me have to stop and translate every 5th word or so"
-hmm, maybe That's what bb meant when he said "Trying to translate most of this thread from vulcantouch-ese (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=24976#post24976)" ;) i know effective communication's what really matters, but in my experience my vagaries have Encouraged it more than inhibited it :)

jf: "The extra time you save yourself by writing 'xtra' instead of 'extra'
-actually it's not just the xtra Time i'm saving, but also the Xtra nanoseconds of bandwidth needed to transmit forum pages to readers, as well as the Xtra bits of memory in ssg's database which, though demonstrably huge, is finite nonetheless. the character of text on the web is the same as other printed communication in many respects, but it's also unique. its speed of exchange lends itself to informality; its narrowcasting lends itself to abbreviation of specialized, high-use jargon; and its storage, transmission & display requirements make both compactness a virtue and longhanded phraseology a deficit. even so, when i laid out my def above i adapted to that specific task by employing a more explicit style borrowing from what's usually derided as "legalese" :)
i take all these things into account in the ongoing process of honing & executing my online style; can you say the same? you may not like my results, but you can't say i arrive at them without consideration :) besides, is a missing E really That big a bump on the vt reading railroad for you?

"(your style) serves to frustrate people who may otherwise be happy to stand up and agree with you"
-a risk i'm willing to take, esp. if the alternative were for my thoughts to be embraced mainly cuz my style Didn't offend someone :) i've long been a love-me-or-lump-me kinda guy, so if someone based their stands on whether they like my Style i'm not sure i'd want such fickle support anyway :)

ej: "what did VT say?"
pf: "will pass this on to my legal department to see just what they can make of it"
-well pf, wha'd yer nutcrackin rockit scientists come up with so far? still strugglin? ok i'll give em a hint: start with the phrase "an attempt", which i put in place specifically to include ebay auctions where the seller knows very well an item will fetch several times what he paid for it, regardless of the fact that he can't predict the final bid Exactly. yes i know, my succinctness Is a thing of beauty :kiss: lmk if need more help :happy:

qld: "all wasted breath"
-not quite; one's philosophy forms the basis for one's actions, and as you can see (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=204), my actions and ultimately my philosophy have helped give rise to an honorable code of conduct among a number of us, with each assist keepin unearned $$ outta the pockets of scalpers. doesn't sound "wasted" to me :cool:

"never understood the big deal about scalping"
-in taking the time to spark & attend to this discussion i'm not claiming it's the world's biggest problem; i'm simply clarifying the issue. and i'm doing so not to stir the pot (tho i'm sure it's clear i certainly don't Mind that side effect :happy: ), but to restore a reference i frequently link back to in the course of other current discussions. i could've restored it onto its original mm forum but its concerns transcend that context. if placing it in this wider forum sparks greater discussion, so be it :)

pf: "do they 'make' us buy"
-hey, not a bad try :) quite right, they do not Make anyone buy; to be more precise, their actions Contribute to an environment which Makes a collector choose between 3 And Only 3 options:
1) hope that luck, skill or patience will eventually lead to acquisition without scalper involvement;
2) forsake the item; or
3) submit to a scalpin :dead:
i always choose either 1 or 2. every time i do, scalper goals are thwarted. but every time they scalp, option 1 becomes more improbable. and every time i choose option 2 over option 1 due to that improbability, collectordom as a whole is needlessly diminished. so the opposition between scalper ends and collector ends is clear and inherent.

"not sure what 'take advantage' means in (rebscum's) case"
-exactly; which is why i claim superior precision :)

"you had better be sure that I will intend to get a fair market price for whatever I'm selling"
-and you in turn can be sure that as far as i'm concerned if your "fair market price" were so much as one cent over what you originally paid, you'd be a a-scalpin, just as sure as caesar's unrepentant "sold it on eBay for about twice what I paid. . . I'd do it again if I had the chance" :(

"I frankly don't think anyone's making money off this stuff in the first place"
-i wouldn't know, and frankly in this context am not concerned with any one scalper's profits; i'm concerning myself here with clarifying the issue, nothing more :)

ej: "someone who is not remotely interested in the item"
-an irrelevant distinction; one's "interest" in an item or lack thereof makes no difference re the effect of one's actions on collectordom in general. one's Effects are what matter, not one's sentiments.

ej: "can't even remember the last time I saw a kid in a toy department"
jjb: "I don't think being an army or diorama builder should tag anyone to be branded a scalper"
-agreed both; though i'm personally happy with just one of any item, collecting, like toys, is also an art, so i don't take issue with anyone else's style (http://r2toyforce.net/sabretooth.htm) of collecting. in fact, so long as a toy gets from manufacturer to someone who wants it with no unearned markup, i gots no issue atall :)
also, toy conception and fabrication has reached a level of sophistication which rewards sustained adult attention, so i don't differentiate between a child's or adult's enjoyment of same :)

pf: "Star Wars toys aren't any different than... antique watches, vintage clothing, old lunch boxes, that '71 mustang down the street"
-a view which speaks for itself. here's my contrasting view (also previously posted on now-deleted old forums):
toys are a kind of art. and the best kind of art they can be is good cheap fun, no more no less. when they stop being cheap they stop being good cheap fun. in this i differ from some of my esteemed fellow collectors in that, for me, a toy's acquisition is inseparable from its essence. for example when i look at my rattspod mm, the sight of it is overlaid with the gratifying memory that i got it via an efficient, honorable trade with our own bc3 (http://freespace.virgin.net/james.hobson/index2.htm) :) on the other hand, if i'd paid $50 for it i would Not enjoy it as much, cuz every time i looked at it the price tag would hover like a obscuring specter between me and the toy. and i would rightly resent this, much as art lovers were right to resent when fine paintings began fetching astronomical prices in the 1980s and it became impossible to view or even think about a van gogh without being distractingly conscious of how many millions the damn thing could command on sotheby's auction block :frus:
i decry the same thing happening to- of all things- TOYS. more than that, i move to oppose and subvert it at every opportunity. toys, as art, should be a Refuge from the binding vissicitudes of life and fortune, not an corrupt extension of them.

tjov: "talk to me about my mom's bisque doll collection"
-i've always made it clear that i pick my battles. if i didn't i'd spread myself too thin, not get results and render myself an impotent idealist.
i'm an unapologetic materialist but a restrained one; because of their modest needs re space, money and acquisitional effort, my limited toy collecting interests (mm ships, a coupla dozen figs & some misc. items) fit my "live simply so others may simply live" personal ethic-aesthetic. frankly, spending a lotta $$ and effort collecting bisque dolls, rare books, exotic cars, antique furniture, fine art et al strike me as overwrought, silly, perspective-lacking, too-indulgent pursuits, usually motivated more by anal completism and peripheral status & investment concerns than intrinsic pleasure. so while my scalping def could certainly be applied to those wider realms i'm in no hurry to do so, cuz if one of Those collectors wants to gouge another i couldn't care less. it's not a battle i'm gonna pick cuz as far as i'm concerned all those combatants are misguided anyway.
toys, on the other hand, are (or imo should remain) an oasis of efficient, "good cheap fun" relatively untainted by such external considerations. scalping threatens that. also, in my scalper def i don't distinguish between current and vintage items for two reasons:
1) the line between current and "out-of-print" items is too blurry (e.g., an item that may be long-unavailable in your area may still be plentiful in a rural rite-aid), which would render any scalper def unusable; and
2) the issue was never item age or availability, the issue was always clarifying whether one contributes to the artificial, parasitic hypercommodification of good cheap fun at the expense of collectors in general :)

pf: "I think it's a little weird that Star Wars collectors need to have some kind of special moral code of honor"
-which also speaks for itself, i'd say; one man's "weird" and "special" is merely another man's "sensible" and "ethical". i'm happy to be clear about which man i am here :)

jf: "There's a little thing. . . called 'capitalism'"
-by which you mean to imply that if some suggested ethical understanding in any way contradicts, frustrates or complicates our currently-prevailing economic philosophy then to hell with it? if so, i'm afraid i don't consider capitalism sacrosanct or beyond question. like anything else, it has its merits, its limits and its proper place :)
pure capitalism is not the end of economic evolution. because it is imperfect it will continue to evolve and be colored (or "corrupted" if you wish) by external and at times opposing philosophies including, perhaps, what could be termed my "economic meritocracy" notions here :)

sk99: "you have the right to charge what you want"
-sigh, for the 9,000th time, we ain't tawkin Rights here. nobody's questioning any such Rights. what we're tawkin is what Is right.

derek: "the belief that profit is evil"
-wow, tawk about yer self-serving overgeneralizations :p UNEARNED profit- whether someone Deserves to profit- is the issue here. you can choose to absolutely apply Unforgiven's "deserve's got nuthin to do with it" to profit if you like, but i say such a judgment would speak for itself :p

"that's all i'm gonna say on the subject"
-which means you're ceding the well-deserved last word to me? oh Goody, in that case:
eh: pappypoonts ;)
who's next? bring it on, Babycakes :evil:
vt

QLD
02-22-2003, 05:11 PM
Hey VT, wanna send me the book on tape version of that? ;)

I always thought scalpers were the people who used tomahawks to cut your scalp off your heard :eek: :D

sith_killer_99
02-22-2003, 09:33 PM
sk99: "you have the right to charge what you want"
-sigh, for the 9,000th time, we ain't tawkin Rights here. nobody's questioning any such Rights. what we're tawkin is what Is right.

True enough, but so very much not the point of my post.

In a capitalist society it is right to charge what you can for an item. If you fail to be competitive, or to satisfy a market then you fail in business.

Places like Brian's Toys charge outrageous prices for the newest figures. They obviously meet the demand of some market. This is not my market by any means, but that of the "gotta have it first, at any cost" market. If someone wants to pay three times retail to be the first to own something then so be it.

But, let's not forget that Brian's pays a price to be the first to market with the new stuff. They pay bigger shipping charges and have to order larger amounts at once. This results in large overhead, the cost is passed along to the consumer.

These types of things don't really have a major impact on me as a consumer, so I could care less what Brian's charges.

However, if someone goes down to my local Wal-Mart and buy's the only 2 Ehpant Mon's they have, just to sell them on Ebay, then I, as a consumer, am deprived of the opportunity to purchase the product at retail.

IMO, there is a world of difference.

vulcantouch
03-05-2003, 11:35 PM
-hey who knows, maybe if there's sufficient demand i might even profit from such a VenTure :greedy:

sk99: "so very much not the point of my post"
-let the record show sk99 did indeed say ""you have the right to charge what you want" :p

"In a capitalist society it is right to charge what you can for an item"
-if you mean to imply that capitalism takes any position whatsoever on what it's Right for a person to charge, you're advocating an overly quaint, idealistic view of capitalism. in fact capitalism applies no value judgments whatsoever to what is "right" to charge or pay for an item. instead it limits its concerns to the amoral question of what Can be charged or paid. in other words a purely functional outlook- which is both capitalism's strength and its weakness :)
cmon now, any more tries out there? anyone? :evil:
vt

plasticfetish
03-06-2003, 04:26 AM
Not really from here. I thought your points above were well made. I like agreeing with the majority of them ...

... though in some cases, as to the secondary or "collectable" value of certain toys, I would say that in many ways that "value" is what's kept a great many toys from being tossed in the trash and for certain, having a great many toys tossed in the trash increases the value of those that do survive. Hype and inflated value due to scalping and speculating is something different. On the one hand it does ruin the seemingly intended spirit of toy collecting, it does turn something to do with "play" into something to do with "work" ... but then for some people work is play. I also wonder if that seemingly inflated demand is the driving force behind the continued life of any given toy line. No more hype, no more demand ... no more toy line.

Then there's your view of toys as a kind of "art". It isn't an alien idea to me at all. I think without a doubt that it's the second of three reasons why most toys survive to become collectibles ... first being rarity and third being sentimental value. The "toys as art" conversation could take on an a life of its own ... art assumes a value for many different reasons, each one depending on the person looking to procure it. When I compare the collectable value of toys to "anything else", I'm stating that basically anything can be art and as such, will have a value. In many cases that collectable value will have nothing to do with your perfectly fair view of toys as being "good cheap fun." Yet again ... what's expensive to you (and no doubt to me) may be nothing to others.

I suppose the only real point of difference that we have is that I equate the value or "possibility" of a toy's value as being part of the "fun" of collecting. "Oh, look what I found for five dollars a year ago and look at what it's worth today." It doesn't control my fondness for the toy, but it certainly ads to it. (Though in most cases with newer toys that "worth" tends to be fairly inconstant. What's popular this week may be on next years thrift store junk pile so ultimately a person should only buy or collect what they truly like.) Your story about the "rattspod" says something very important about you as a collector ... you received more joy from grabbing that toy for a "good" price than you would if you'd given up the hunt and bought it for whatever inflated and seemingly unfair price that the secondary market is claiming. Admit it ... you don't "care" about the secondary value, but it certainly makes it more fun knowing that you avoided it. It still has an effect on you, though that effect may be one of adding a kind of challenge to your hobby. In this regard ... toy collecting is no different than many other hobbies and being that it exists as nothing more important than a kind of recreation ... I'm not sure how you bring "morality" into this. If we were talking about people charging $10 for a loaf of bread, then I could see the point, but it's toys. You don't "need" them to live, so you may have to put up with some challenges along the way to finding them. You may have to dodge a few scalpers and you may have to shop wisely or wait out the current secondary market until you find what you want for a price that you are willing to pay ... or maybe you'll find it at the thrift store for a dollar. Again, all part of the good clean fun.

sith_killer_99
03-06-2003, 06:55 AM
sk99: "so very much not the point of my post"
-let the record show sk99 did indeed say ""you have the right to charge what you want"

"In a capitalist society it is right to charge what you can for an item"
-if you mean to imply that capitalism takes any position whatsoever on what it's Right for a person to charge, you're advocating an overly quaint, idealistic view of capitalism. in fact capitalism applies no value judgments whatsoever to what is "right" to charge or pay for an item. instead it limits its concerns to the amoral question of what Can be charged or paid. in other words a purely functional outlook- which is both capitalism's strength and its weakness
cmon now, any more tries out there? anyone?
vt

Conveniently failing to mention the key point of my last post...


If you fail to be competitive, or to satisfy a market then you fail in business.


you're advocating an overly quaint, idealistic view of capitalism.

Probably, but it is still my point of view and therefore valid from my perspective. Hence we will most likely have to agree to disagree with this subject.

I still believe that the only "SCALPERS" are those who buy from retailers and re-sell at inflated prices, thus denying collectors and kids the opportunity to buy at retail. Everyone else is just a retailer, regardless of what they are asking.

vulcantouch
03-25-2003, 02:03 PM
-you've left open to debate which of your points was "key"; however, let's assume you mean the diff between brian's toys and the "peg-riflers" you mention.
assuming brian's doesn't get Any of its toys by "rifling pegs" (an assumption we have no way of confirming of course, but for the moment i'm giving your argument every benefit), as far as i'm concerned they're still scalpin, just as surely as the snowplowers who, during the record storm we had in town last week, gouged the self-absorbed, impatient yuppie idiots who were trapped cuz they were stupid enough to choose to live in isolated mountain homes instead of responsibly congregating in urban areas where people's needs are more efficiently, mutually serviced. so instead of a plow being put to work clearing a street where 200 people live, it's kept occupied clearing a winding, 1/4 mile-long access to a single house cuz that typically wealthier homeowner will pay more to the operator of that plow so he can fire the carrera out of his garage the day after :rolleyes:
again, the point is there are a finite number of things to go around, be they toys or plowing services. gouging to serve the most myopic, emotionally immature buyers among us is still scalping, and it still contributes to an unnecessary and artificial inflation of an item's value, which makes it harder for All collectors to score an item for its Actual value (srp).

pf: "Admit it ... it certainly makes it more fun knowing that you avoided (getting scalped). It still has an effect on you, though that effect may be one of adding a kind of challenge to your hobby"
-i admit nothing; breathing a sigh of relief is not "fun" to me, it's just a sigh of relief, esp. when i know others have not been so lucky. feeling lucky is a decidedly ambivalent sensation in such a context, whereas fun is pure.
and i'm not looking for a "challenge" from my collecting, only pleasure. i assist other collectors and abide my above ethical understanding of scalping not for the challenge, but cuz that i've found doing so to be the best way to maximize and uncomplicate that pleasure for collectors in general, including myself :)

"what's expensive to you (and no doubt to me) may be nothing to others"
-again, i resolve this relativistic slippery-slope by defining an item's "value" to be srp as determined by the manufacturer & primary retailer :) i also do not concern myself with notions of "expensiveness" re defining scalping and stick instead to whether a seller's profit has been Earned :)

"having a great many toys tossed in the trash increases the value of those that do survive"
-"survival rate" is a Cause of value increase, but merely one of many. at any rate cause is not my primary concern here. effect is, namely the effect of artificial and unearned "value increases".

"I also wonder if that seemingly inflated demand is the driving force behind the continued life of any given toy line"
-interesting point; but to whatever extent artificial inflation extends a toyline's life it also produces deplorable waste.
over the last decade or two i've often thought the famous warhol aphorism could be amended to read "in the future everything, Absolutely Everything, will be deemed a limited-edition collectible" :p a misguided mania for "value preservation" in recent years (engulfing everything from sw toys to baseball & pokemon cards to beanie babies to franklin mint ceramics), where most collectors, instead of simply Enjoying their stuff, now take self-conscious pains to preserve it forever in day-it-was-bought condition with an eye towards future investment value. unfortunately for them, this is no longer a shrewd or original impulse on their part; countless other collectors are now doing the exact same thing. which has resulted in an absolute glut of mint-condition collectibles clogging indoor-flea-market shelves, rental-storage spaces, closets, basements and garages, unenjoyed by anyone, cuz the sellers have been deluded by a "culture of hypercommodification" into thinking that one day they're actually gonna sell most of it for 10x what they paid :rolleyes:
again my answer to all this waste is to keep it simple. collect what you think you'll have a lasting passion for, not whose value you think might skyrocket. our society's investment mentality should be focused on endeavors that yield ongoing contributions to society, not anally-preserved pieces of plastic whose best use is good cheap fun :)

"You don't 'need' them to live"
-indeed; and while we're at it scalpers don't "need" to scalp them. but i concern myself here only with clarifying collector ethics, not "needs" :)

"not sure how you bring 'morality' into this"
-i don't. i merely concern myself with ethics. morality = laws of god. ethics = laws of man. i make no claims of godliness, only of clarity :)

"for some people work is play"
-how some people relativistically experience or define their work is not so important as what work Actually is: namely, an endeavor whose result contributes in some way to the larger culture. if it doesn't contribute, it doesn't count as work.
admittedly, whether an endeavor's result ultimately constitutes a "contribution to the culture at large" is sometimes a gray area, such as in the arts, sports, commentary etc. but can anyone really argue scalping is such a gray area?

"You may have to dodge a few scalpers and you may have to shop wisely or wait out the current secondary market until you find what you want for a price that you are willing to pay ... or maybe you'll find it at the thrift store for a dollar. Again, all part of the good clean fun"
-again, all options i heartily endorse and live by :)
vt

Deoxyribonucleic
03-25-2003, 07:55 PM
To end the "capitalism" and "scalping" debate, let's become a socialist collecting country and stand in line for hours if not days and take and be happy with the one figure a month we are handed (not of our choosing, but of the choosing of those who manufacture the toys) along with our one ounce of milk and loaf of hard bread!

Scalping and Capitalism problem solved!!!

I'm going home now to play with my Ephant Mon I got handed after waiting only 17 hours in line for. :crazed: :p

All in all, that's the truth of the matter if you want to end scalping really and even that wouldn't end scalping because those who get handed the "more wanted" figs (such as myself above) would either try to sell them for money or five figures to their one, or maybe for five loaves of soft bread!:eek:

I'm not a fan of scalping by any means and will wait patiently for a hard to find figure however, I'm also a realist and know that as long as there is capitalism, collecting, and people willing to pay a lot of money to be the first to have a figure, scalping unfortunately will forever remain at the heart of any collecting community.

And the best definition I've seen so far for "scalping/scalper" is Emperor Jargo's... "Someone who's not interested in 'it' and hoarding 'all' to make a profit."


:D :p

vulcantouch
04-01-2003, 12:09 AM
-really? the Truth is our only two choices are between pure "socialism" or pure capitalism? why do people have such a hard time grasping anything but a pure black&white view of commie-vs-cappie issues? :rolleyes: