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Walmart and Amazon are resellers, they buy in bulk at a discount, and resell for profits. Neither company is movidated by the love of LEGO, just profits.
Are they to be hated and scorned? If so, then why buy from them?
I guess perhaps one reason is they don't come on here and say, "guess what, we just bought all the remaining stock of Minecraft, we'll double our money, whee!" or something like that.
Amazon could easily raise their price to $69.99 on Minecraft and still sell them all out. Would they be hated for doing so?
Just food for thought...
I resell for profit, I'm perfectly ok with this, it is the primary reason I do it.
I also happen to love LEGO, I build a ton of it, we have it all over the house, the kids play with it, I think it is a wonderful toy.
I feel very comfortable wearing both hats, profit driven reseller and lover of all that is LEGO.
But at the same time I think resellers are essential to the community. But also some of the bigger one like LFT and many more also help the local community. They employ people and give them a wage because people buy from them. One post in another thread had two people working for them (sorry I can't remember the name). Well thats two people given a living wage and a job. That has to be a good thing. Where would these people go and what would they do if they weren't for resellers employing them?
And more importantly where would i get my EOL lego once it had stopped being made?
No, "Life is not fair" should never be the answer. In most cases "Get off your lazy **** / put some effort in / learn from it" should be the answer.
I'm with LFT on this one, I'm happy to wear both hats. I resell (a very small amount) for a profit, but it's not the profit that drives me, it's being able to buy MORE Lego, which in itself drives the community, because the more Lego sells = the more Lego makes.
I resell Lego, but most of it if from my own collection and from garage sales. I also own 2 businesses and one of them sell retail items. We buy from a distributor (a reseller) and then we sell that product in our shop. I am NOT lazy or fat, I am a personal fitness trainer. I don't understand the animosity toward us. I really don't understand some of the violent comments either. They are uncalled for. Most every major retail store is a reseller, so are internet stores. A used car dealership is a reseller. The Salvation Army is a reseller, so I guess you hate them all. There may be islands that you can inhabit, so you can avoid these establishments altogether.
In my opinion, there is no room for hate in this forum. I enjoy the sarcasm and the tongue n cheek comments, but the hate and violent comments need to stop.
The notion that resellers sit around like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons and are doing this "just for profit's sake" and are burning piles of money for fun is a bit absurd to me. Everyone who is reselling has some motivation to do so, whether it is to use the money to help their children go to college, pay bills, or as a temporary job with the current economy in the toilet. There are tons of possibilities, and to assume people are using their gains for ill-will says something to me about the people making those statements.
Those who would call me parasitic, uncaring, selfish, greedy, and morally bankrupt for reselling Lego should take some time to think before making such judgements. You don't know peoples' situations and to make such blanket statements is offensive.
I just want to say that I've enjoyed this thread, with arguments well-presented on both sides and applaud all for being honest. It's a fair question and as expected, there's a good amount of dissent from both sides. Maybe I'm misreading this, but I haven't read any hateful/harmful/violent comments on this thread. Everyone is entitled to their opinion in the same fashion as every is entitled to reselling (or not). Take a step back from the ledge...
"I spinkick the life out of every LEGO reseller I come across. Just yesterday, walking out to my car... I look up and see a snide-looking LEGO reseller walking about with an armful of misb UCS Falcons with this sh*teating grin on their face. I threw my sack lunch to the concrete and made a bee dragonline 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.
That just about covers it.
I would consider myself a novice reseller.
Do I hate resellers that maliciously take advantage of others? Yes.
Do I hate buyers that maliciously try to take advantage of sellers? Yes.
Do I think that happens often on this forum, no.
Do I think that everyone has a right to buy/sell/build/resell? Absolutely.
If you read through this discussion carefully, it's not a simple "are resellers bad" discussion. Rather, it's more of an evaluation of extremes (buying 50 copies, selling at 5x RRP, taking advantage of uneducated buyers) that sheds light into any unsavory business practices that hurt the community as a whole.
And yes I actually have moral and ethical issues with places like Wal-Mart, Amazon and TRU, they place profit levels above people and thats why they tend to employ more part time workers then full time so they can not pay benefits, pay a poor hourly wage ect (not sure on Amazon there, thats more a general retail issue.)
I agree there shouldnt be hate towards people. If anyone feels that I hate them, then I am sorry, thats not my intention. That said I think its fine for people to strongly dislike the actions some people partake in. I will also say after the way the other thread turned and went I have no sympathy at all for the group of people decrying "we are being picked on, its a mob mentality" when they were happy to be a part of it last time. Yes, they would get called on it LFT. Dont believe me, just look at almost every post about TRU and their well over rrp rates.
It is not their job to put their people first, it is their job to put profits first.
Now you might not agree with that, but that is what they are meant to do. If they don't, they can be sued by the shareholders, who did not buy the stock to do anything else but make profits. Quite frankly, I do think you hate me.
Now do I care? Not really, if I worried about what everyone in the world thought about me, I'd drive myself crazy.
But at the very least, I don't think you like me very much. :) Fair enough, and that is everyone's right. The complaints about TRU are fair, as is TRU's right to charge whatever they want to charge. Let the free market work itself out. If TRU charges too much, they'll go out of business and Amazon and Walmart will take over, or people won't care and pay TRU priecs.
The great fear people like myself have is that people like yourself would like to see the government come in and mandate how much "profit" is acceptable and the rest must be given to the government to play Robin Hood with.
To me, in my opinion, that is a very evil concept.
This projection and the subsequent opinions on tax systems were off topic; the latter have been removed by me.
I also removed the political, current event references, which were also off-topic.
The reason I disagree in this case is simply because it is a defense against the anti-resellers. They attack us for being "profit driven, greedy, selfish, evil business people", but in return they don't consider what the world would actually be like without us.
Another poster commented that he felt Walmart, Amazon, TRU, etc are evil companies... He is entitled to his opinion, but he is missing the good that they do, the jobs they create, the economic activity they produce.
Small companies are the engine of job creation in the United States, but large corporations are the engine of economic activity. Walmart alone is over 2% of the entire Gross Domestic Product of the entire United States.
I know you don't want politics on the forum, but any real debate about the role of resellers has to have a little bit of it, or it becomes a one-sided debate. It is a very political debate between capitalists and socialists, between people who want to live in a commune and people who want to live in a profit-driven world.
If we can't have that conversation, why bother discussing resellers at all? Because that is very much a part of it.
I would like to suggest a middle ground, lets keep anything current political out of it, no conversations about current political parties, no current elections, nothing in the news. Just general concepts, theories, history, that sort of thing, but the current issues and events can stay out of it.
Why? Because otherwise, no conversation about resellers is balanced because the entire role of resellers is economic, and economics is politics.
The other option is to ban all conversations about resellers, or ban the resellers from those conversations, but neither option seems reasonable to me either.
For what it is worth, I get what you're trying to do, keep the forum about the love of LEGO and not make it a current events forum. I really do get that.
Last suggestion... Another option is to create another category to the forum, right under marketplace, where people can go to discuss this if they want and it gives you a dumping ground to put any thread that gets out of hand. Everyone who doesn't want to read all this, can easily ignore that section. This is what I'd do if it was my web site (but it isn't, so it is only a suggestion :)
You of course could just close this thread and post "everyone stop discussing resellers period", but I think that is ignoring the 800lb elephant in the living room, since so many people are interested in reselling in general, if only to support their hobby.
For instance, from one standpoint, stores like Walmart are both an economic good and a social good. They keep prices low, they make more items affordable for ordinary people, they bring broad product selection into many communities that would otherwise not have such broad selection, they drive supplier efficiency forcing them to run their businesses better, and they provide employment for many people. On the other hand, the very efficiency of Walmart also means that they are ruthless in cutting costs -- which means paying people poorly and not providing benefits such as health insurance, squeezing their suppliers sometimes beyond the point of endurance, and so forth. This results in the destruction of some social good.
Most people, I think, believe that those who work hard -- whether they are individuals or efficiently-run corporations -- are entitled to earn a profit. Where there are shades of gray are how much it is acceptable to destroy social good in the quest to be more profitable.
Most people in the US can broadly agree that it is unacceptable to use child labor in US factories, for instance... but fewer would agree that it is unacceptable to use child labor in factories in China... and even fewer would decide that they will not buy goods that might be made by people whose labor is exploited. (And of course then you get into the question of what constitutes "exploitation".) It is not as black-and-white as "let people make all the money they can" vs "let's all live in a commune".
Reselling Lego certainly creates an economic good and to some extent a social good -- benefiting retailers by quickly moving discounted merchandise, benefiting buyers by ensuring supply after EOL, creating profits for the resellers who may employ people or spend the money (buying more Lego or otherwise recirculating the money back into the economy), and so forth.
Some people believe that certain resellers destroy social good in their quest for profit, though -- for instance, potentially placing fewer Lego sets in the hands of the children of less wealthy parents. Some of them believe that "social good" means "more sales that I have a shot at", which probably translates to "fewer Lego sets in the hands of less-wealthy builders and collectors".
Some people may believe that the big-box and online retailers in general may generate more social harm than good... and so on.
I finally got caught up reading this thread. Some people sure see reselling as black and white and have trouble finding the gray area. I started this thread hoping that we could all understand different reasons people do what they do. I think it is easy to see that almost everyone here does love Lego. I also believe they are all nice people. I think most of them have helped others at one time or another.
I still don't understand some of the negativity towards resellers...but that is o.k.
I will still sell to you, share a brick, see you at Chicago Brickworld, and always be respectful and nice to you.
.....Just so you know how to find me at Brickworld.......I am the mom that is shedding a tear because I am proud of what my son can do with Lego :) Yes....this Lego reseller loves Lego that much.....as do many others.
Again, maybe if I didn't have my own experience with wanting a set, I would view things differently. It was just I wanted a set from the Christmas clearnce, told my story of the one guy filling two shoping carts of everything, and me not getting there at 2am to be able to get it. My story brought out the "love". I got messages saying they'd sell the set to me at a higher price than retail. Not higher than the clearance price but higher then retail. Plu the one who wanted retail plus extra so and so dollars because HE found the sets and had them all from his store. I didn't get the helping another one out on here, I got the "I got all these sets and you can have one for resellers price". THEN after that, they go and post all of these pictures of "look at my haul from Walmart". So, to rub it in your face, I got the set so here look AT HOW MANY I HAVE. Yea, nice to see pictures of stacks and stacks of the same sets that you want to "share".
Bad experience I guess is all. If I ever miss a set, I'll just move on. At least I can build sets from 30 years ago easy enough and be happy with the awesome sets that were classic town.
It it is the job of a private for-profit corporation to create as much economic good as possible.
It is the job of private not-for-profit corportations to create as much social good as posisble.
It is the job of government to provide regulations and a fair playing field to allow everyone to particpiate in the sytem, while cracking down on cheaters and abusers of the system.
I would agree that unlimited economic good at the expense of social good, is a bad thing, just like trying to have unlimited social good at the expense of economic good also is a bad thing.
There has to be a balance, like you said. Where the disagreement comes into play is where that balance is. :) That is a great summary of Walmart. :) This is actually a very new concept in the history of the world. Child labor has been used since the dawn of time in one form or another. For most of history, having children was seen as an economic gain for a family, they provided a labor force for the production of crops, gathering of food, building of towns, etc.
It has only been in the past 100 years or so that children have gone from being a net economic gain to a family to becoming an economic burden, which is one reason why family sizes have shrunk a lot over the past 100 years. Infant mortaility rates also have a lot to do with it as well of course.
Allow me to toss out two points:
1. Making children work for the benefit of their imediate family, to make the family, parents, and sibilings wealther and more secure in life.
2. Making children work for the benefit of a stranger, to make him wealther and more secure to little benefit of the child or child's family.
I think most people understand #1, and don't like #2 very much. I'm one of them.
Which is why it isn't illegal for me to put my own children to work in my own business in the United States, but it is illegal to send them to work in someone else's. No, it isn't of course... But communes don't work beyond a very small scale and trying to limit how much people can earn becomes a very slipery slope. Who gets to make that decision? What happens when you start taking away people's success?
It is a complex subject, that is for sure. I'm one of them, believe it or not. :)
The trick is figuring out what to do about it, which is really beyond the scope of this forum.
We need an off-topic section! :)
Alien Conquest - Earth Defense HQ was retired last Christmas with a RRP of $90
Mutliple copies selling for under $70 on Bricklink.
Ditto for the following:
Alien Conquest - Space Tripod Invader - 7051
Atlantis - Portal of Atlantis - 8078
Atlantis - Undersea Explorer - 8080
Ninjago - Skull Truck - 2506
Star Wars - Clone Turbo Tank - 8098
Star Wars - Freeco Speeder - 8085
I'll grant you, many sets do go up, but from what I'm seeing, not as many as it might seem. I'm still holding a lot of inventory past 6 months that still isn't in the black, I'm rather surprised at it, but I suppose I shouldn't be.
Perhaps we need a thread on "best value post-EOL set" in past few years. :)
Atlantis was a dud theme. A couple of cool sets, but way too much technic.
The other Star Wars sets are kind of nondescript.
Anyway, back on topic: I just want to make it clear that I don't hate resellers. I'm personally neutral on them as a whole. They can serve a purpose down the road if you're willing to pay a premium for an OOP item. To be fair, the hard core collectors are actually more frustrating. Buying up clearance sets and then hoarding them away just because they can. It really shouldn't be a competition. Buy a set because you like it. Buy a set to trade. Then that's it. Leave a few for the kids or other people. Don't worry about some other AFOL beating you to the punch.
Some of you just take random observations and comments way too personally.
I think we all have a bit of Al in us. Some of us more than others....
Amberyl points out the oversimplification of people's points of view, but even worse was the generalization. As an example, I defend many of the reselling activities that are being condemned, but I couldn't disagree more with the views on tax policy. Likewise, I am sure that there are many people criticizing resellers that do not aspire to live on a commune in a world completely free of capitalism.
Removing the comments was probably heavy-handed, but had I left them, the posting of a counter-argument would have been likely and warranted, and the course the thread was going would have imperiled it to being closed.
That is why it directly relates to the thread and was the point @Pitfall69 was trying to make.
You're not amazon or Wal-Mart. They add value by taking items to the market, whether directly from manufacturers or distributors. Resellers add nothing, they take products at the market and keep them there withstand modification or improvement. They have zero impact on the economy at the macro level because they fundamentally add no value.
There are a few that I think view Lego as a golden goose and nothing more @cheshirecat cited a good example of this.
Resellers do have a place in the community and provide a valuable service.
Can you imagine if all the sets produced fell into the hands of children and parts are lost forever and are covered in pen? that would mean no preserved sets left in the wild.
I would like to see a thread in the marketplace listing Brickset endorsed resellers. That's not to say they are a charity and cant turn a profit but conduct themselves as a respectable business and refrain from posting brags about clearing shelves because that will always leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth.
This is just the opinion of an AFOL on what is clearly a very divided subject.
If someone capitalises on a bargain though good fortune or motivation to jump in the car and visit a Tesco branch or two, I think they've earnt the right to resell them, and good on them if it funds their next big Lego purchase. People actively posting on here are Lego enthusiasts, i'm sure there are moochers here who don't contribute to posting on here that just jump in and get bargains, those are the ones who maybe deserve a bit of scorn, but of course they remain anonymous.
There is the other side of the reselling coin - Parting out. Say you can buy a £20 set with a good selection of minifigs that may go for
Perhaps the members in the US haven't spent time reading the Tesco thread where you mentioned 'nasty greedy resellers' but when the crazy prices glitch went off in June i do believe that you were ordering multiples but blamed people who orderd 20+ sets as the reason for most of everbody's orders being cancelled. I honestly fail to see the difference. Where is the line, where you choose to draw it?
And hand on heart, when you were half way up the escalator last night searching the £20 #4841 out how many would you have bought had you been faced with a shelf full. I'll answer hand on heart that I would have cleared the lot. But what about yourself?
Go re-read the other thread and tell me where you where then when you were in the group of nine instead of the one....
On EOL RRP sets... I actually think Earth Defense HQ is a far better set than it looks like. I bought mine because of the reviews here and its currently discounted price, and it turned out to be an awesome, detailed build. If you like Alien Conquest at all, or just big heavy trucks filled with details and a pretty cool little jet, I'd encourage you to grab it.
If you're looking for gifts for kids, the Pixar Cars sets are a good bet below RRP. I just bought Ultimate Building Lightning McQueen and Mater as a pair from a Bricklink seller, well below RRP even after shipping was factored in. Had a blast teaching my 3-year-old godson how to put together a set for the very first time today. (Completely astonished that he had no trouble building Guido from the instruction -- once I explained to him how to sort, count out the pieces in each step, and match what he saw in the picture -- and started in on McQueen, Technic bits and all.)
A similar set is the Agents mobile command base...tons of playability in both those sets.