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My son and I are builders. Do I have anything against serious collectors who buy multiples and keep them until after a set is EOL and more valuable as a sale? Of course not. Nothing wrong with investing in that sense and then benefiting from the increased value of a product due to availability.
However, I'm on a teacher's salary. I'm sure there are plenty of folks who would love to have their kids playing with a quality product like LEGO but are put off by the price. The best time to buy is during the big clearances. Seriously, how is it right for a person to come along and clean out a whole inventory of LEGO at the one time some might be able to buy it and then sit on it until it is EOL, and then even more out of reach?
As I said, I'm not really complaining because I've been fortunate in finding clearance LEGO (although I'm thinking now that this Ipad app is out my luck is sure to change) but there is something to be said against certain reseller culture. It's kind of parasitic.
When I was a child, I loved my Legos. I look back on those sets on Brickset now and laugh -- $10 sets, each and every one treasured. My parents couldn't afford much. I still remember the Christmas when, between saving my allowance and Santa's largesse, I got the yellow castle set (a whopping $48 MSRP, basically 6 cents a piece). There's absolutely a joy in being able to get more and bigger, but kids appreciate small, too.
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I admit I have yet to ever see a reseller loading up everything on the clearance aisle, whereas I have seen plenty of well-heeled parents, kids in tow, buying a huge quantity of various clearance toys, Lego included. (Age-appropriate cartloads so presumably not parents buying to resell.)
I think my point is that realistically, resellers on a practical level don't really deny people a chance to get the Lego they want at a discount, and this becomes even more so when you consider the fact that the online retailers are probably incentivized to run more periodic sales because of the volume generated by resellers when things do go on sale.
At any rate, I don't think there is some subversive concerted conspiracy to steer the discussion away from multi-accounting. I'd love to discuss it now:
Didn't Minecraft prices truly inflate after they were sold out? It was at that point that the 10,000 production number and EOL was floated about and people started to panic and turn to the aftermarket.
If that's the case, my assertion is that most of the initial allotment went to people buying their personal copies since they would be the most keen on the set and resellers didn't see the profit opportunity until it was already in short supply.
And I'm basing that on more than common sense: We later were told that the 10,000 number was incorrect and that LEGO plans to have supply through the holidays. Since that time we've seen the set come in and out of stock at numerous retailers. I don't know the number sold thus far, but it seems well over 10,000.
Brickpicker, which tracks eBay sales shows ~1500 sold. http://www.brickpicker.com/bpms/set.cfm?set=21102-1
I surmise a significant number of those sellers originally intended to keep the item for themselves but were compelled to sell when they saw the value rise. I don't know if those people are exempt from your vilification, but if so, that 1500 should be reduced. I think that number is reduced even further if your issue is with the people that obtained it via multiple accounts because that surely isn't the entire 1500.
Whatever that actual number reduces to, having that amount being taken out of a supply surely greater than 10,000 doesn't seem to be the market cornering, price inflating situation that you indicate.
Thus, I contend the price is inflated because demand far outstrips supply, irrespective of the impact of resellers.
I have said before I have missed out on several deals, but unless you are constantly missing out on the set at RRP I don't see how you can be angry.
Minecraft has largely been limited to 1 per customer. LEGO [email protected] has even canceled duplicate orders for more than 1 set, or so people here have posted. I myself bought exactly 1 copy from [email protected] because that was the limit.
I also bought 1 from Amazon, because that was the limit. Amazon stocked over 500 of them and sold them all in 1 hour, 1 at a time.
While it is possible I suppose for a reseller to have 10 Amazon accounts, I suspect that number is few. I more suspect that the Minecraft deal got posted to a deal forum somewhere and they got cleaned out by retail customers very quickly.
LLoyd, Amazon allowed 5 to be purchased. So while Amazon did stock thousands of them, they also sold them pretty quickly as well. I bought 5 at a time when I could, but then finally stopped after awhile when I noticed the prices dropping. Look now, under $20 including shipping. After fees, those sellers are not really making much money.
In *fairness* (ha, I made a funny!), I think we've kicked the can back and forth enough times, I don't think either side is going to change the other's minds.
What I do think, after reading this whole thread, is that most people here are in the middle, there are just a few people on both extremes, everyone else is moderate about the whole thing, or just doesn't have a dog in the fight.
And that is rather like life too, isn't it? :)
If nothing else some resellers need to learn that not everyone cares what they think in every thread. If someone posts about something on sale the majority of us dont care if you have 6 or 60 of them and what you think they are worth. That crap spilling out of the Price Nostradamus is part of what makes people dislike them. They were the ones who commented on people prices in sales threads most of the time and those same ones are playing thread police now that the admins said that isnt cool(rightfully so BTW).
My original dislike was the behavior and reselling, but the truth is it's become where I just don't like SOME of them on a personal level. So, that said....
Unless someone directly says something to me, I'm done. I'm just not going to get sucked into this mess again especially since my reasons for dislike have grown to a more personal level.
That said, I have quietly performed a number of sales transactions here on Brickset through private messaging. Sometimes people have seen my posts and approached me, and on 1 or 2 very limited occasions I may have offered something in the context of a thread about that specific item or sale. In all cases, I have sold the item to the other Bricksetter for prices less than I would charge in other places, sometimes even at or below my cost.
So, for the record, ANYONE on Brickset who wants to contact me to inquire about a potential purchase is welcome to do so. While I doubt I'm going to offer much of a discount over other avenues on EOL or near EOL items that I have in my stockpile, for obvious reasons, I enjoy extending courtesies to other members of this community. I deal a lot in international shipments of currently available sets, which I usually buy on demand rather than carry inventory. Additionally, if someone wants to PM me and say "hey, I see you have this great sale in your region/area, could you pick me up some of item X and pass it along at cost + shipping?" but contact me during the sale. if i go buy 5 of X for my own use or later resale, the sale ends, then you message me saying "hey, can I have one of those at cost", then it's harder. i wanted 5 for me and invested my money to get them. now I can give you one at cost, but it's coming from my own future potential profits at that point. if you had contacted me during sale, i would have bought 6, and everyone wins. not saying i will always so no after the fact, but I don't want to be abused as everyone's personal sale shopper and lending bank either. there's a middle point, and honestly it probably will depend on whose asking and my perception of them from these forums, as well as my current mood and state of my balance register. ;-)
if you do contact me during the sale, and it's reasonably convenient for me to do that (i'm going to that store for my own purchases anyway, or it's close, or I think you are a great person and I want to do you a favor), then I would love nothing more to say "sure!" and make someone's. Obviously I cannot always say yes, and I don't have unlimited time so this is not an open-ended offer, but honestly I enjoy doing favors for people and then someday maybe they do one for me when it's the other way around. or maybe not, i'm not going to keep tabs, that's not why i do it.
so, all that being said, I currently have about 10 Lloyd's, 5 friends' advent calendars, 2 Earth Defense HQs and 3 2507s in my inventory that i would entertain offers on.
1 per person, intended for use not resale, and I'll trust your integrity on that point.
lloyds i will likely accept a loss on at this point. ;-)
I'm think it is quite reasonable to complain to store managers when you see someone walking out with tons of discounted product. Ask them to limit clearance item sales for the first 48 hrs or something so that more customers could have a chance to purchase.
Or threaten that you will move into the store to be there the instant a clearence item is tagged. Hah!
Second... eventually AFOLs will get sick of paying through the teeth for out of print sets. And all those resellers will move on to the next profitable hobby. After they have their own clearance sales.
By the way, I bet TLG sales and marketing smucks watch used set sales too and see a fan base willing to pay more and more.
Just remember, it's just a piece of plastic. A precision machined, triple varnished piece of plastic. Find solace in what you have. If enough of us can be happy with we can afford or already have (limiting new money into the hobby), perhaps then prices will drop throughout the hobby.
When a set like Minecraft is in current production and hard to find, I don't blame Amazon and [email protected] one little bit for limiting the sales to just 1. They are trying to take care of their customers at normal RRP and give everyone a shot at buying. If I were Amazon or LEGO, I would do the same exact thing.
When Walmart reduces the price on LEGO to 50% off the day after Christmas, it isn't to give everyone a shot at those prices. It is to get rid of all of it as fast as possible because a container of new LEGO is coming and they need the space. It didn't sell during Christmas, so the store doesn't want it anymore.
What would you have them do? Add one item to the shelve every ten minutes, to spread out clearance stock throughout the day / week? That would cost the store a fortune to do. Or maybe reprice every day, knocking 1% off until bought. Again a costly exercise for the store. Remember this is clearance stock - stuff that no-one wanted at full price. The store needs to get rid of it to make room for other items. Massive discounts normally mean that they want the lot cleared as quickly as possible. They probably love the resellers who buy everything, since they clear the lot in one go and in one transaction. Result - clear shelves, less staff time spent on selling it. If they didn't like it, they would do something about it - such as limiting sale products to one per person.
There are and almost certainly always will be now (unless/until LEGO develop a just-in-time system that allows anyone to buy any set any time at RRP), I can live with that and it certainly doesn't keep me awake at night.
The reason i think it would be better? More kids would be playing with more Lego. For me its that simple. If the clearance sales that now last a few hours stuck around for a few weeks then the kids would get the Lego (its what used to happen).
Are resellers bad people - no. There are some that are good, there are some that are bad as in everything. I can admire their conviction, their nouce in getting started and in knowing their market, especially those doing it for a while. I can appreciate the good service some of them might give. I just don't like what they do.
I'm also not sure it would mean more kids would be playing with lego. For some sets, if I see they are cheap, I would still buy as many as possible for my own use. If reselling was somehow banned, then I would keep the bits I wanted and have to bin the rest or leave them unused. Many charity shops would not want the spares, as they are not complete sets.
I've got no problem with the selling of second hand sets and there will always be some that even keep the boxes nice and crisp too. Absolutely no reason why the kid can't have Harry Potter lego - we don't need resellers for that.
beedragonline right for them. They opened their mouth (presumably to offer me one of his sets after a 600% markup) but before a word escaped, my leg triggered a sonic boom and took him out of commission.
I was tempted to compile some of the more hard-hitting statements, attributing them to their authors. Halfway through, I waned, worried I might offend people. Then I thought, hey, I already poured some work into this. So here goes:
So far, the following has been expressed or implied (in no particular order):
- Resellers are uncaring ( @Thego).
- Resellers create an unfair world ( @pvancil27).
- Resellers are parasites, exclusively benefitting at the expense of others ( @intromission).
- Resellers work for money, so despite their work being of use to everyone, they can be treated contemptuously ( @NiceMarmot).
- Resellers are criminal, obsessive, unscrupulous, lazy, overweight and greedy (just like the Al McWhiggin-character from Toy Story 2 - @mathew).
- Resellers are responsible when clearance sales don't turn even cheaper ( @NiceMarmot - Right! Without resellers, we would all get Lego for free!)
- Resellers are at fault if you can't get a deal online ( @Bosstone, @AnthonyC173).
- (There are those who say that) Resellers are unethical, mean-spirited for not passing on savings, and ruin a friendly community ( @drdavewatford).
- Resellers only think on how to make a profit from Lego, and on top are selfish, greedy, bad for community and society, morally bancrupt, and generally make the world a worse place ( @cheshirecat).
- Resellers are anti-community and don't help others out ( @greekmick).
- Resellers get the sales I the kids want. They make me kids cry. For god's sake, think of me the children! (too many...).
I hope you community-driven people will forgive me. :)
Now, let's get to a real problem: Since it's ok to brag about how charitable a person one is ( @sadowsk1), let me tell you about all the sales I did not participate in! All the children who got cheap Lego because of me - I am so proud! <- sarcasm
Much of it is just logic - if there were no resellers clearance items would stick around longer, internet deals wouldn't OOS so quickly, ordinary lego fans would get better deals. All of those sets that resellers pick up at discount and sell at or above RRP wouldn't suddenly disappear, they would be bought at RRP, discount or heavily discounted by people who want to play with Lego.
As for the motivation of resellers, from the occasional foray into "Predictions on Discontinuing Sets and their Secondary Market Value" I have the motivation is clear - how much money can i make and how quickly can i make it. Thats fine, that's a business but don't expect it to be liked.
The first is a completely neutral statement. Silly maybe, but whoever takes offense with it should deal with it individually.
The second is indiscriminate slander bordering on mobbing. Whether or not they are intended that way, but "morally bancrupt", "parasitic", "anti community" are derogatory, degrading statements. Applying them indiscriminately to a group is discrimination against. Decidedly not good for any community. There is nothing reasoned, calm, defendable or inoffensive about it.
And let's not forget the self-praise: "Look at me, I'm such a good person, I put crying children above anything". Classy.
But let's turn to this logic: This is the kind of flawed logic I was referring to.
Clearance items would stick around maybe infinitesimally longer - until for example a bricksetter finds them and clears them for fellow bricksetters, or somebody smells really cheap Christmas presents for his quadruplets, etc. pp. (Or until the store bins it. Lego stores do that with items that won't even sell on clearance.) That narrative is kept up in order to be able to continue to abuse resellers.
Selling discounted sets at or above RRP is a myth, it usually doesn't happen - even if @CCC above has a counterexample. They don't sell at RRP, that's why they are discounted in the first place!
And why would sets sell at RRP without resellers if they are offered at a discount?
In any way, customers of resellers are just as ordinary Lego fans as anybody else. They probably just don't live close to the deals (i.e. a Tesco with 75% discount), or can't be bothered to check on brickset for Amazon deals, etc.
Resellers make available a cheap commodity in one place (e.g. the 75% Tesco discount) to other Lego fans who otherwise wouldn't get the discount or the item.
Or the other way round: Yes, lots of resellers will buy 5 or more Stig keychains. They will resell them at a profit all over the world. This is good for those Lego/Top Gear fans outside of the UK, isn't it? Or are these suddently not quite as ordinary as UK Lego fans?
How many Stig keychains would make it out of the UK without resellers?
How many US exclusives would make it out of the US? I won't tell people what to feel/like. But understand that there is no rationality in "disliking" a drive for profit in itself. The owners of Amazon, Tesco, Asda, Walmart, ... all do what they do for profit. Without a strive for profit, the Lego brick would never have been invented.
As far as I can tell, Lego resellers do not tend to perceive their businesses the way that ordinary retailers do. I would bet very few of them consider inventory turns and capital efficiency, for instance; they operate at the cruder level of "buy low, wait, try to pick a good time to sell high". The way they pick up clearance items, they function as a kind of shock absorber for overstock of Lego. It makes Lego into something that's relatively safe for retail stores to stock, knowing that most, if not all of it, will sell, even the unpopular sets that nobody really seems to want.
Ebay takes 9% of the final value of a sale (including the shipping cost), plus Paypal takes 2.9% of the money, so right off the top, a seller basically loses 12% in fees. For items that are doubling in RRP after a year post-retirement, that's not a big deal, but those items are generally pretty popular to begin with. The stuff that really gets big discounts tends to be things that aren't really popular. Of course ironically, some of those sets are popular AFOL sets -- for instance, AFOLs love their modular sets, but they sure don't move at the rate that police stations for kids do -- so you can indeed get some clearances that move sets that will probably sell for plenty later on.
Let's not exaggerate the impact of resellers, either. A good portion of us probably live in towns where there are no Lego resellers, although of course we're all impacted by online sales (although those are often quantity-limited to some degree).
Discount-imparting is the assumption that it's possible to re-sell a discounted item immediately somewhere else. For example, an item bought from Tesco at 75% off RRP might immediately be sold on eBay for 25%-50% off RRP. No long-term storage is required.
Speculation is the assumption that an item will gain in value after it has EOLed. My impression is that this generally works better with more expensive items which are rarely bought to begin with.
Sure it's possible to combine the two, but I suspect it's generally well- separated.
Yes, I would put children ahead of fairly well off individuals looking to make profit out of others. It may be right or wrong in this context, but to criticise it for being self praise is odd - I would have thought its just human decency.
As for the comments being offensive, yes SOME PEOPLE DON'T LIKE RESELLING - by that very nature we believe some of them do something not very nice and hence if you associate yourself with being a reseller then that might apply to you. We were asked the question we answered it - I would say in a much better tone and less offensive way than was used in the fist comment. However, as far as i've seen no one has called out any particular person and no one has got personal. The term reseller can apply to a range of people and it would only be at the extreme end of that range where many of these offensive traits apply. I would say the traits listed above are traits of reselling not individual resellers - although granted its a foggy distinction. its hard to explain but put it this way, I wouldn't try to stop a single reseller as it would be futile, but if I could wave a wand and get rid of them all, and MSE and HUKD I would.
You then turn to say the logic that "internet deals wouldn't OOS so quickly" is flawed but show absolutely no proof that it is. Bricksetters grabbing (in particular) online deals for other bricksetters is probably largely a result of deals going OOS because of resellers, if it didn't happen we wouldn't feel the need to grab them for others - and in general the numbers there are going to be small. Similarly, if "somebody smells really cheap Christmas presents for his quadruplets" that would be a good thing - personally I would much rather than than someone smells a really good profit margin - reselling.
As for sets not reselling at or above RRP, history shows they do, LFT's warehouse of stock bought at 20-30% suggests they do to. As has been said you need to make >12% just to break even, significantly more for it to be worth your time. Most of the big resellers at the moment could be bought at discount - IF, EN even the UCS MF same with WTS, advent calendars etc.
I love this idea that resellers are doing the world a favour - buying stock at 75% in there area so that others not near a tesco can benefit. Yep, look at all those superman vs lex sold on ebay at £4.99. I find it hard to believe that there was any more motivation in a reseller when they were going up those tesco aisles than how much money they can make.
But my personal favourite, and why I suspect we'll never agree, is this: "But understand that there is no rationality in "disliking" a drive for profit in itself. The owners of Amazon, Tesco, Asda, Walmart, ... all do what they do for profit. "
Yes I think there is (and more to the point its not for you to say if there is or isn't rationality in that), I and many others would argue that profit for profits sake is the heart of what is wrong with the brand of capitalism that we've now got. There has to be more to it, whether its improving the livelihoods of your workers, scientific or other understanding, improving and working for the community as a whole, if its just about the profit then we're doomed. We used to understand that, some of the best known capitalists understood that. It doesn't have to come at the expense of profit, theres nothing wrong with profit indeed its necessary, but it has to be alongside something better.
I might be wrong, but I don't recall any / many threads offering them at cost.