Scalpers and Scruples
Written By Dan Hickman • Toy Editor • Writer
Welcome back and thanks for checking out this edition of Dan’s Toybox, brought to you by GeekosityMag.com! Today we’re taking a bit of a departure from the usual format as I feel compelled to put digital “pen to paper” and talk about a serious concern in the world of collectibles. Toy Scalpers.
Have you ever been out hunting for a figure that you just. Couldn’t. Wait. to get? You get to the store, head back to the toy aisle and while walking, watch somebody pass you by with a cart full of THAT FIGURE. Naturally you hurry up, hoping that there might still be one or two on the shelf, yet knowing inside that this person just snagged up each one. The sheer frustration that boils up inside makes you just want to scream. Instead, you calmly seek out an employee with the vain hope that maybe, they’ll have another case “out back.” Of course, the standard reply is… “No, we just stocked all of them. If there’s none on the shelf, we must be out, sorry.”
So… you trudge up front and think about different places you might check out, but all the while knowing you’re likely going to run into the same thing. It’s an awful feeling, especially because your goal is to just. Get. ONE. for yourself and if you really want one, you’re going to have to look at online options, knowing you’re about to get raked over the coals by, maybe, that same guy that just swiped everything in stock.
That’s happened to me on multiple occasions. Most recently, while looking for the Walgreens Exclusive Moon Knight. There were NONE to be found on Walgreens website, but they were all over eBay for 1.5 to 3 times the normal retail price. (I was able to find one for about $10 more than retail, which wasn’t terrible.) What drives people to act this way? Greed, pure and simple.
Many years ago, I was partners in a sports card/comic book/collectibles shop and we always tried to put a limit on how many of a “special” item customers could purchase. Superman #75 comes to mind when DC Comics killed the Man of Steel. The variant issue for that book came in a black polybag with a bunch of neat inserts.
We limited purchases to two books per customer and I dealt with my fair share of abuse from so called “collectors” who were really looking to make a quick buck. The same goes with sports cards, and pretty much any other collectible memorabilia. People will buy and buy to either hoard, under the erroneous assumption that they’re going to make a LOT of money down the road, or immediately by jacking up the price of a highly sought after item and selling it online.
This is a shame and in my opinion, really degrades the purpose of collecting as a hobby. True collectors don’t look to hoard, they buy and hunt for the joy it brings them to find a “grail” item. These speculators, on the other hand, live for one purpose… to greedily make money by taking advantage of real collectors. This is a hot button item for me, simply because they are perverting a fun pastime.
I know that some of you reading this might laugh or decide to insult me, call me names, or whatever. That’s your prerogative. If you are a scalper, there’s no justification for what you’re doing and in the end, you’re hurting an industry by forcing people out who simply cannot afford to pay the exorbitant prices you are demanding. Who are you to deny someone a collectible because you got there first? Collecting isn’t “survival of the fittest” it’s about enjoying a hobby and having a connection with other like minded individuals.
I see collectors in groups that I belong to that will go out of their way to immediately post pix if they find things and ask if anybody is in need… and then buy the item, turning around and selling it to the person who requested it AT COST, or sometimes… just GIVING the item to that person.
This is what collecting is about. Finding joy in something that you love, having a neighborhood within which to share your passion and supporting each other in their hunt for their favorite collectibles. I know this won’t change anybody’s mind, if they are of the scalper persuasion and that’s fine… just remember though that what goes around comes around and one day, your greed will come back to bite you when you least expect it.
Thank you to our loyal readers for taking the time to participate in my rant. Keep collecting and keep watching for my next review. See you soon, until then… GEEK OUT!!!