Friday, 8 April 2016

Thoughts on Thursday; Scalping.

[This was written yesterday, on Thursday, but I forgot to post rather than save as a draft, however more has been added in today, so yay!]

Being a collector, there's a lot of scalping to see in the collecting world. From freebies given out at events being sold on for profit on eBay, etc. to people putting their preordered editions up for sale at two, three times the retail cost, purely because the edition has sold out, and everyone wants one - heck, remember the Fallout 4 Pip Boy Editions?

It's hard to turn a blind eye to it. And it's an infuriating situation, that in some cases, has become widely accepted in this hobby.

As mentioned before, Fallout 4 Pip Boy Editions sold out pretty damn fast after being listed. We were lucky that when we watched E3 and it was announced, we constantly were checking for when and where they were to be listed afterwards, and made sure we got ourselves a copy. And in the end, they didn't turn out to be quite as limited as we expected, meaning that a lot of people paid well over the odds for these editions.

It's a common occurrence for people to pay more than an editions worth. Not only when they sell out during the preorder period, but afterwards too, when the edition is a bit older, a bit harder to find (in decent condition) and desperation takes its' toll. I don't have quite as much of an issue with that, as ultimately, as time goes on, things do become harder to find, especially in good condition. Lower availability = higher value. Better condition = higher value. And so on, so forth. I buy plenty of things from people who are reselling. And I get that. 

But it's when the scalpers have their stuff listed on eBay for scandalous prices before the Edition has even been released that really grinds my gears. The availability is only lower because scalpers have snaffled up such high quantities, purely to resell, generating the buzz and the hype when the Edition sells out, therefore making people buy from them. So 5,000 of whatever is available. They are selling at about 200-300 an hour, until a scalper shows up, and another, and another, and now they're selling at 500 an hour. Boom, less than a day later and the entire stocks have vanished. But then they appear on eBay. This seller has 20 available, oh, and this one has 50. Oh, and there's 50 listings, each on average with 20 available. And yeah, people are buying them from the resellers, but it's taking time. Plus nobody really wants to pay those prices. So more people look, and list their preorders, since they want a slice of the pie. And by the end of it, you've no doubt got a large chunk still listed on eBay, when interest dwindles, as nobody else can afford the 5x RRP price point. and the resellers need to drop their prices a little anyway, or they get stuck with them. So the "super in demand" item, that yeah, would've probably sold out due to it's production run anyway, has now pointlessly sold out early, preventing lots of decent people from wanting to buy a game they really want, at a decent price, just because some people want to make a quick buck. And technically, they're not even allowed to do it, as listing stuff that you don't actually have in hand is somewhat against the rules if I remember correctly. But people do it anyway.

And people ultimately buy them.

Take the Final Fantasy XV Ultimate Collector's Editions, which went up for preorder just over a week ago. I did a quick search of sold listings on eBay there for that, and do you know what I found? Numerous sold listings, all around the £400 mark. The highest being £499.99 plus postage. This is for an edition that is going to cost £189.99 on release. That the majority of people with preorders from Square Enix Store (where it was exclusive to) won't have paid for yet. So basically, if you paid for a copy on eBay, you've just given these scalpers a loan of £400-£500, that they'll then only need to pay £190 on come September. Me personally, I got a copy preordered for myself. Then saw a friend who couldn't get a copy ordered, so I helped him out and preordered a copy for him, too. Which he will get, at RRP, because I'm no scalper.

Same goes for Dark Souls III Prestige Edition. I had a spare copy of that preordered (that I actually thought I'd cancelled), which I've now given to another collector, again at cost price.

And they were super grateful, that even at this late in the game, I chose to pass on the order to someone in need, instead of turning to scalping (considering that this is fetching up to £800 consistently on eBay, due to it's super low production numbers). But at the end of the day, I don't agree with scalping. And even though, yes, I could use the money, I wouldn't do that to another collector. I don't like when I miss out on editions due to scalpers, so I refuse to be one of them.

As cheesy as it sounds, the feeling you get when you do something nice for someone, even if it doesn't feel like it's anything special to you, but to them, the immense gratitude you can just feel from them. If I'd sold on my Dark Souls III Prestige for profit, that would be one less deserving collector that would get it, that otherwise maybe wouldn't have been able to afford, or willing to pay those scalpers prices.

If I had to choose between helping out, or being the cause of the issue in the first place (because we all know that these super-quick-sell-out releases go much faster due to the people that preorder 5-10 copies to sell on), I know who I'd much rather be.

What is your opinion on scalping?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

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