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View Full Version : How I avoid paying scalpers



Darth Cruel
12-01-2005, 03:55 PM
I just wanted to post a few thoughts on this matter.

For clarification, I derived my definition of scalping from Mirriam Webster's on-line dictionary. That definition as it applies here is simple: the reselling of an item at a greatly increased price. What constitutes a reasonable increase will draw much and heated debate, so I will leave that to the individual. I don't even care to see it discussed on this thread as it is common sense that it will be different between most people and greatly different between some people.

Now, everyone knows that scalping is one of the chief enemies of collectors. Many collectors want desperately to not have to buy from them, but a number of us have at one time or another. I myself am ashamed to admit that I bought a Theater Edition Jedi Luke for 75.00 at a comic shop that was selling it on consignment for someone. I also bought 3 Burger King Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai on Ebay. I paid 168.00 for a pair that I never received and 65.00 for a loose one that I just broke the head off of last week. That equals over 240.00 (with shipping) for nothing to show. I have made purchases at Frank-n-Scalpers Collectible Show here in Southern California, and I have made purchases on the internet from places like Entertainment Earth, Brian's Toys, Star Wars Shop, and Sideshow that I consider to be scalped items but may not be considered as such by some others. I bought them simply because they are not avaiable anywhere else. At least not at a lower price. And I went so far as to actually have what equated to a Star Wars figure pusher. He made a few hundred dollars off of me that I wouldn't have spent if I just had a little patience and a little forsight.

Now to the meat of the subject. How do we thwart scalping? Simple. Cut down on the necessity to buy from scalpers. Hopefully at least one person will be able to use this info to cut down on how much they pay scalpers.

I say cut down, and not stop completely, because I know that there are people who are too self-centered to accept that someone else may get a collectible that they want. I am glad to not be one of them any more. I was one of them at one time.

And it is not that difficult to do. I'll tell you all my own story:

It used to be that when I went out hunting, I would go in to a jealous panic if I saw another person looking at the figures I wanted. I did not even talk to other collectors (except on these boards). Then one day I just got tired of that feeling. I ran into a fellow collector and struck up a conversation with him. And that was the smartest move I ever made as far as collecting goes. That situation has developed into a strong team effort of collecting that has greatly decreased my need to go through scalpers. Now, for both of us, if one of us is hunting, it is as good as the other one being out as well. We are able to cover twice as much store time without going out twice as much. I know that niether of our collections are 100% complete, but I bet neither of us is missing more than 2 or 3 figures including production variations, exclusives, and short-run figures. The only pieces that I can think of that I am missing right now are a FF Weequay, FF Sandtrooper, and this new "brown leg stripe" Commander Bly (and I don't even know if that one is real yet).

(I actually had to give him a hard time a few weeks ago because he broke down in a panic an bought an Utapau Shadow Trooper from a scalper for 30.00 and a week later I was able to get them at shelf price for both of us.)

And there are other ways to avoid buying scalped items as well. I have learned through experience even the people who scalp items get forced to sell their product cheaper if it sits long enough. There are tons of figures at Frank-n-Scalpers going for 4 or 5 dollars right now that they were getiing 8 to 12 for when they were new releases. I still buy from F-n-S and from Ebay, but now I wait until I can get what I want at a reasonable price, even if it is still slightly inflated. Remember when the half-circle-hand Boba Fetts were 50+ dollars? Well, they don't draw 10.00 on Ebay any more. Long Saber figures? Less than shelf price before shipping. Ketwol? I saw him at F-n-S for 5.00 about 5 months ago. And he wasn't selling.

Now, if everybody on this board was to adopt the attitude that they would help out others on this board who are having a hard time finding a piece. We could go a long way toward cutting out the scalpers. And I am not talking about only sending a piece to someone who sends you something. If they don't have a figure you want, and nobody else is offering a trade, send it to someone who can't find it. Then they'll be watching for something you need in the future.

And I do practice what I preach. There are a few people on the different boards that I have sent items to. No trades, I don't make them pay, but I do ask and expect that they return the favor if they see me posting that I am having trouble with a piece that I can't find.

So far, I have sent out a Desert Skiff, A B-Wing, An OOM-9, a Shock Trooper, a McQuarrie Concept Stormtrooper, a Ketwol, one of the 12" Speeder Bike and Scout Troopers (and I sent that overseas), a Sio Bibble, a POTF2 Chewbacca, and a couple other things that I don't remember offhand. And I know that all of the people who got those things are willing to help me if I end up needing something. And I am hesitant to ask any of these guys to help me with the few things I need because I am that confident that I or my buddy will eventually find them on the shelf or much cheaper on Ebay than it is going for now.

The moral of the story is: Have some patience. And help out the collectors who are truely having problems getting the figures like our overseas fellow collectors. They are the ones who are forced to sit back and have the patience that I am talking about. And maybe, if we all do a little, we can at least make a dent in the scalping market.

Kidhuman
12-02-2005, 01:36 AM
I avoid paying them by not buying from them. Works for me.

Bacta Beast
12-02-2005, 07:28 PM
I think that's a great idea. But here at Sir Steves I think all the buyt, sell, trade threads were dissolved to promote the auction service! If there were a place to put trade threads that would be great!

Kidhuman
12-02-2005, 09:55 PM
They are, at the bottom of the main forums. Its called trading

Blue2th
12-03-2005, 06:22 PM
I must admit that in the fever of the hunt I have bought more than I should have. I remember a Target employee wheeling out a cart full of POTJ Bwings and they were all marked down to $4.44. I couldn't believe it! I bought 4 of them and felt a little guilty wheeling them to checkout. A week later though I traded 3 of them for a Tie Interceptor, Snowspeeder w/ Dack, Sio Bibble, TC-14, R2-B1 and Amidala Battle. So it worked out ok. Otherwise I would have spent a fortune trying to get all those things I didn't have as they were impossible to find. I like to trade with the locals. I give away alot to my nieces and nephews and friends kids. They would not otherwise find any of this stuff with us seasoned collectors around.

TheDarthVader
12-25-2005, 10:16 AM
Well, I've tried to trade on here and buy, but no one ever seems able to help me. I needed Tarkin and Ask Aak. I had an offer for a trade for a Tarkin but when you pay shipping (around $5 or $4) and you paid $5 or $6 for the figure, it comes out to about the same for something on ebay. So I finally just bought both figures on ebay. After shipping it came to $10 a figure which isn't horrible. It is better than paying $6.99 each on kb toys.com. The buy it now prices were 5.94 and 5.99. Not bad at all, eh? I feel better now that my ROTS collection will be complete, and I don't have to keep running all over town looking for two hard to find figures. Now that being said, with the price point it doesn't seem like this person was a scalper. Well, unless he found the TRU two pack for 8.97 and split it up. Anyway...I buy hard to find items on ebay sometimes so that I don't have to look four times a day.

I also needed the following potj figures to complete my carded set: maul final duel, anakin mechanic, r2 naboo, tusken raider, and battle droid boomer damage. Once again, I posted on here, but no one replied. I waited for a reply for several days. So I finally bought them on ebay at GREAT prices. Now I don't have to worry about getting them! :)

B.
TDV

Darth Cruel
12-25-2005, 11:40 AM
And that helps to make my point. We have to help each other out. I wish I had seen your Tarkin troubles. They have been warming the pegs here since about three weeks after they were released. They are still hanging and getting beat up here.

TDV - What you (we all) need to do is prefer to go without instead of buying them at the higher prices ANYWHERE. It would take me at least a year to decide to buy something on eBay. And even then, only if they go so low that I would not be paying more than shelf price plus shipping...exactly.

Bacta Beast
12-26-2005, 10:05 AM
See, that's what I don't like about the trading forums here at Sir Steve's! Don't get me wrong, I like the rest of the site, I even have it set as my home page. But there's just so much to do and see here that I think the whole trade forum is over looked, most of the time.:( Now on the sister "Lord of the Rings guide" site, the trading community is alot more active. It's not limited to trades but also allows for sales without having to deal with the hassle of using the auction service. Here it seems like they've put so much into promoting the auction service that it eclipses everything else. It's much easier when you simply post an offer for what you have or what you're looking for, it appears on the front page so it get's more attention, and then you just deal with the fan community. I sold my entire LOTR collection that way. It saved me alot of money and worked out great!

TheDarthVader
12-26-2005, 10:19 AM
See, that's what I don't like about the trading forums here at Sir Steve's! Don't get me wrong, I like the rest of the site, I even have it set as my home page. But there's just so much to do and see here that I think the whole trade forum is over looked, most of the time.:( Now on the sister "Lord of the Rings guide" site, the trading community is alot more active. It's not limited to trades but also allows for sales without having to deal with the hassle of using the auction service. Here it seems like they've put so much into promoting the auction service that it eclipses everything else. It's much easier when you simply post an offer for what you have or what you're looking for, it appears on the front page so it get's more attention, and then you just deal with the fan community. I sold my entire LOTR collection that way. It saved me alot of money and worked out great!

I totally agree. I am a member of LOTR guide too, and I was able to trade for many figures I needed, even the hard to find first Faramir! The trading over there is excellent.

B.
TDV