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The Community Perspective on Reselling

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  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    If it weren't for resellers I wouldn't have gotten two sets that have been discontinued. Thank you @LegoFanTexas for awesome service and a great set and @tk79 for HAND DELIVERING a set to me when I couldn't find the time to grab it from you :) Fantastic communication and service. Exactly what I expect from a reseller :)
  • AmberylAmberyl Member Posts: 193
    We are really talking about three different categories of buyers here, and it's worth sorting out the distinctions.

    The first is the ordinary consumer -- the guy who's buying for himself, who might or might not be spending a lot of time bargain-hunting, but likes to get good value out of his purchases. He likes to buy things at the lowest price feasible, but really, he wants to buy things when he has the budget, get them when they're appealing, and buy only the things he's interested in.

    The second is the small-time reseller -- the guy who mostly buys for himself, but also buys to resell on the side. He could be anything from a hobbyist funding his Lego habit with a few deals and trades, to a guy with a small side business. This is usually a level of inventory that can be held in a closet or in a basement, maybe even a small storage locker. Chances are this is a sole proprietorship and it's probably not even incorporated; the reseller just declares this income on his personal income taxes (if he declares it at all).

    The third is the discount merchandiser -- a business that specializes in taking remaindered and clearance items, and selling them, mostly online. There's a variant of this that may specialize specifically in collectibles. This is often a level of inventory that requires warehousing. It's a business with employees, incorporated, and so on. It almost certainly doesn't do just Lego; it may do toys in general, or in many cases, more general merchandise period.

    The three categories are spending very different amounts on Lego, and behave in very different ways. The discount merchandiser is essentially an aftermarket wholesaler. Because he is cutting very large deals, he's really transacting business with the regular retailer in a business-to-business manner, even if the deal execution has some business-to-consumer trappings (i.e., items loaded from the shelves into the shopping carts for checkout, rather than simply being loaded from the back storeroom to trucks and invoiced).

    Ordinary consumers will never get the kind of bargains that the discount merchandiser gets. They are selective; the merchandiser is not. Ordinary consumers want to buy the single item they want; the discount merchandiser is willing to take every bit of inventory whether or not it's really desirable. That total lack of discrimination enables them to get better bargains. (For that matter, I suspect that if you're a Lego merchant who buys direct from Lego at distributor prices, they also make you take a pile of varied sets, not just the ones that you think are likely to sell, so if you want to sell Lego, you can't just, say, sell Star Wars, you also have to buy PQ and whatnot.)

    Ordinary consumers and small-time resellers occupy an essentially level playing field -- which is distinctly not the playing field that the wholesalers occupy.
    LegoFanTexasBumblepantsStuBoy
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    We sell hair products. Walmart buys so much they get it cheaper than us and we get screwed.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Our distributors have sales and when we get there the shelves are cleaned out. This is our livelihood not a hobby. I know it feel as though people sound unsympathetic towards other people, but it's really not the case. As mentioned before, Lego is NOT a necessity.
  • pvancil27pvancil27 Member Posts: 588

    After that kind of scenario is presented and defended as justified, there's not much more that can be said. C'est la vie...

    Yep. I'm just blow away that people find some of this stuff ok at all.
    Thego said:

    To be honest, I was ambivalent at best towards resellers before this thread. But having read a lot of what they have to say in justifying themselves, I am starting to really dislike them. Quite a few come across as solipsists who lack any sort of empathy for others. A really enlightening thread.

    I never thought it but solipsism is a pretty spot on description for the culture of resellers. As for the other part, sometimes you just have to let people talk enough to stick their own foot into their mouth.
    Pitfall69 said:

    We sell hair products. Walmart buys so much they get it cheaper than us and we get screwed.

    One of the many reasons I think Wal-Mart does more harm then good.

  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I'm really glad you posted this, you have had some great insights in this thread, thank you for that.
    We are really talking about three different categories of buyers here, and it's worth sorting out the distinctions.

    The first is the ordinary consumer
    The second is the small-time
    The third is the discount merchandiser
    I would be the third, and probably many people in this thread don't much like me. But I am incorportated, I do have a warehouse, and I do have employees, I do pay taxes, so my thought process and movidations are going to be quite different from the first two types of buyers.

    To @Thego making the comment that resellers lack "empathy", I think that is not true, however there is very little room for empathy in business, at the end of the day, my employees won't keep working if I don't pay them, and they won't have any "empathy" for me if I'm short on cash to pay them. They don't love me, I don't love them, they get paid to do a job, then they go home to their personal lives.

    To quote The Godfather: "It's nothing personal. Just business."
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    pvancil27 said:

    After that kind of scenario is presented and defended as justified, there's not much more that can be said. C'est la vie...

    Yep. I'm just blow away that people find some of this stuff ok at all.
    Do you have a job? Do you get paid to do what you do? Then you're really being a hyprocrite, because you're part of that system. That is just how business and economics work.

    You might not like it, but not liking it doesn't make it any less true.

    If you really could snap your fingers and stop businesses in their tracks, you'd be happy for 1 day, then you'd really, really regret it.

    This is why I think business and economics courses should be required in high school.
    Canuck26
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Pitfall69 said:

    We sell hair products. Walmart buys so much they get it cheaper than us and we get screwed.

    What is really sad is that I'll bet when Walmart does rollbacks (since Walmart doesn't like the word "sale"), you can buy from them for less than you can buy from distrubitors.

    I buy a lot of grey market computer equipment, if I bought from Ingram Micro and Tech Data, I'd pay higher prices than Amazon SELLS the stuff for. :)

    Is there a gray market for hair products? Have you considered importing them, or is that an issue because it is a health care product?
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    There are issues. I will tell you 2 things. One, if you buy a professional hair product from a store and not a salon, the maker of the hair product will not guarantee its results or if your hair falls out...Why because 2) There are a lot of counterfeiting of hair products.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    So...because of Walmart and other big chains our hair product sales are down 84% since 2008. Remember, this is our livelihood, but what can we do? I don't hate Walmart(a reseller) It's business.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    :) Yep, it's just business... Maybe we should start posting a blog about how the hair care products at Walmart aren't as "safe" as those at salons, they are cheap made in China products that aren't always "tested" or might be Chinese counterfits!

    Yes, I'll go back to my Lego now... :)
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Yes, I was just using my business as an example. Back to your regular scheduled reseller bashing ;)
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    I don't think the thread should be closed because there is some great information here. As long as it doesn't get too nasty, I think it should stay open. We all come from all walks of life. Several different countries represent this forum. Lot's of different ages. We will have disagreements. It's only natural.
  • pvancil27pvancil27 Member Posts: 588
    edited October 2012

    pvancil27 said:

    After that kind of scenario is presented and defended as justified, there's not much more that can be said. C'est la vie...

    Yep. I'm just blow away that people find some of this stuff ok at all.
    Do you have a job? Do you get paid to do what you do? Then you're really being a hyprocrite, because you're part of that system. That is just how business and economics work.

    You might not like it, but not liking it doesn't make it any less true.

    If you really could snap your fingers and stop businesses in their tracks, you'd be happy for 1 day, then you'd really, really regret it.

    This is why I think business and economics courses should be required in high school.
    I cant even begin to explain the amount of things wrong with this post.

    I dont do not currently have a job. Since this is for some reason important, I'm 31. I got laid off at the end of 2008 when the economy went south. I spent the next four months after that Looking for anything that would pay the bills. during that time I was told I was overqualified to even work at burger king and then told I was under-qualified to work at McDonalds. So I re-enrolled in college and am now close to finishing a Poly Sci degree. So right now I'm studying full time and living of loans that I will have to pay back. Know why? Because when it's all said and done, I want to leave the world a better place then I found it. Before that I was a warehouse supervisor, and one thing I constantly did was fight for my workers rights. All the time. I also went out of my way to treat them fair. I worked an extra shift on a Super Bowl Sunday night to stay and pick product because one of our guys was a Colts fan the year they went to the Super Bowl against the Bears. I personally covered his shift so he could watch it. I didn't do it for the extra money, I did it because to me that was the right thing to do.

    At no point have I ever said I want to "stop business'." I hate the fact people keep twisting what I say to make me seem like something I'm not. Business is fin, hell big business is fine, I just dislike the methods and ethics many use. When Sam Walton ran Wal-Mart is was actually a model company, they were well known for good and fair pay and Sam never wanted to run everyone out of business because he understood competition is a good thing in the retail world. The problem was when his kids took over they gutted the company and changed the profile to profit over all else.

    And since it was brought up before, I can't tell you exactly what I'd change specifically about big business as each one has different issues, as well as the fact I am not overly well trained in that area. I'm not a trained surgeon or doctor but I know that is someone is laying on the ground bleeding and unconscious that there is something medically wrong with them.

    And I've taken a few econ and business classes, but I wont be mad about that because I did forget to send you my resume and list of qualifications before this discussion began.....
    BrickarmorLegoFanTexasmomof2boys99
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Yes, my reply was a bit harsh, for that I am sorry.
    pvancil27 said:

    Yep. I'm just blow away that people find some of this stuff ok at all.

    I'll point back to this statement you made. The implication is that you think resellers (and thus business people) are evil and bad and the world would be better off without them.

    That is what I read into it. If I am mistaken, please correct me.
    pvancil27 said:

    I dont do not currently have a job.

    Would you like one?
    pvancil27 said:

    I got laid off at the end of 2008 when the economy went south. I spent the next four months after that Looking for anything that would pay the bills.

    That sucks, no two ways about it. Sorry to hear it.

    All the economic theory in the world doesn't mean a damm to someone looking to put bread on the table.

    I do get that, believe it or not.
    pvancil27 said:

    during that time I was told I was overqualified to even work at burger king and then told I was under-qualified to work at McDonalds.

    It is an old job that McDonalds is always hiring, but that isn't true for everyone, as you found out.

    I will give the government credit for one thing. When you're on unemployment, they only require you to accept a job at 25% less than your former pay. If you made $40/hr before, then you must accept a job paying $30/hr or more. They don't require that you take a $10/hr job, at least not in Texas.
    pvancil27 said:

    So I re-enrolled in college and am now close to finishing a Poly Sci degree. So right now I'm studying full time and living of loans that I will have to pay back.

    Oh lord, you and 100,000 other people who all did the same thing. That isn't a knock against you, but keep in mind that a lot of people went back to college, there will be a glut of graduates in the next few years. I have no idea if they will be in your field however, so that may or may not affect you.
    pvancil27 said:

    Know why? Because when it's all said and done, I want to leave the world a better place then I found it.

    Me too! Hey, we have something in common! *feints*

    I suspect of course that you and I would go about accomplishing that "better world" just a bit differently.
    pvancil27 said:

    Before that I was a warehouse supervisor, and one thing I constantly did was fight for my workers rights. All the time. I also went out of my way to treat them fair. I worked an extra shift on a Super Bowl Sunday night to stay and pick product because one of our guys was a Colts fan the year they went to the Super Bowl against the Bears. I personally covered his shift so he could watch it. I didn't do it for the extra money, I did it because to me that was the right thing to do.

    You were trying to keep a happy staff, and any good business person does that. Nothing wrong with that, if you don't treat people decently, they will go find somewhere else to work.

    The biggest mistake business owners can make is to take the attitude of "this is my business, I own it, I can do whatever I want!".

    Yes, this is true, but the workers don't have to stay, so such an owner might find himself with heavy employee turnover and the only ones who stay are the worse employees who can't find work elsewhere.
    pvancil27 said:

    At no point have I ever said I want to "stop business'." I hate the fact people keep twisting what I say to make me seem like something I'm not.

    I'm not trying to, that is really how you're coming across. Maybe you don't mean it the way it sounds, perhaps I'm reading into it too much. But that is honestly how it sounds on this end. It sounds like you think anyone out to make a profit is evil, you think everyone should just be nice and help people, and the 1% are the devil incarnate.
    pvancil27 said:

    Business is fin, hell big business is fine, I just dislike the methods and ethics many use.

    Like what? Normally I'd read into that, but give me a few examples so I don't assume. 'Cause we all know what assuming does. :)
    pvancil27 said:

    When Sam Walton ran Wal-Mart is was actually a model company, they were well known for good and fair pay and Sam never wanted to run everyone out of business because he understood competition is a good thing in the retail world. The problem was when his kids took over they gutted the company and changed the profile to profit over all else.

    CostCo is there today, they pay their staff well, provide good benefits, I find that generally the people who work there are happy and it shows.

    I see no reason why you can't have profits and happy employees. Look at Southwest Airlines, for many years they had profits year after year after year, while having fewer employee problems than other airlines.
    pvancil27 said:

    And I've taken a few econ and business classes, but I wont be mad about that because I did forget to send you my resume and list of qualifications before this discussion began.....

    :) I forgive you for that terrible oversight... :)
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    edited October 2012
    "Just business" is often a mere cloak for the business of injustice. But let's talk about LEGO. TLG takes pride in the fact that they are not just business, but rather a just business. If they swallowed the type of garbled social Darwinism predominant in American economics, they would not be the progressive company they are, they would be Walmart, whose warehouse workers are actually, incredibly, beginning to strike. "Just business" is a near and dear shibboleth and the Final Word only to those who abide in a world where the abstraction known as money overrules every other concrete relationship between humans and our environment. Unfortunately the rest of us have to exist in the same world, and nothing will change, no one will stop massively orchestrated caravans from gobbling up all your clearance, Li'l Jimmy won't never see no set under the xmas tree that was "too much" the other 364 days a year, you'll never get that modular because you're always at work when it comes in stock for a millisecond, as long as "just business" passes as an acceptable justification. I had somewhere else I was going with this post, some way I was going to preemptively fortify myself against all counterarguments, but I must break everyone's heart and leave it unfinished. But I do think the title of the thread should read "reselling," not "resellers," cuz I mean it's nothing personal. Just business.
    y2josh
  • doriansdaddoriansdad CTCMember Posts: 1,337
    streeker said:

    The Utah guy is an AFOL. He's on a LEGO sales/deals board. He's like you and me, no different, looking for some sets to buy while saving money, putting in the extra mileage, crossing his fingers.

    Let's bring it down to practical level. He knows his clearance day? Check. He gets to the store at opening? Check. And yet he walks away with one set, because 3 minutes after opening, 18 carts are already filled with toys.

    Help out here. Give some useful advice. What could he, or I, ¨ the average AFOL¨ have done on that morning to secure a better chance of buying more LEGO?

    There are a few tricks but at the risk of inflaming the haters I won't mention them on this board. Checkout some other deals boards where reselling is not frowned upon, especially the slick one, for some good advice. There should be plenty of chatter with BF fast approaching.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    "Just business" is often a mere cloak for the business of injustice.

    That does make one feel better, doesn't it?

    But the truth of the matter is, it is actually correct, as much as no one wants to accept it.

    A business is in business to make money. It might choose to make choices such as treat it's workers well (CostCo is a current good example) because doing so makes the company more money in the long run.

    Any business that decides making money isn't all that important, will quickly be crushed by another business that does think it is important.

    But let's talk about LEGO. TLG takes pride in the fact that they are not just business, but rather a just business.

    Yes, they like to say so, don't they?

    Do you believe it? They almost went OUT of business a few years ago, until they got themselves a new CEO who actually started to run the place like a real corportation, and they have turned themselves around very well.

    They stopped doing all the sorts of things that tend to run a company out of business and started to focus on... wait for it... the bottom line of "profits"!

    Yea, those evil things... How dare they! :)
    Pitfall69dragonhawk
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    I think this is one huge thing that people miss. Lego almost did go under.
  • FizzlemesexyFizzlemesexy Member Posts: 123
    edited October 2012
    TLG is a better business then most, but be aware it's just business with them too. Only a few years ago they cut many corners. Everyone who has a set from then can talk about brick quality. I'm glad they have improved on them, but it's still no where near the older blocks.

    When Lego was new they stole ideas. In one of Gary's threads of Lego history you can see the copies they made of another Germany toy brand before they copied someone else's brick to create the Lego system. He has picture proof and would love to get a copy of his CD (does anyone have it?)

    Currently my only issue with lego is that in number of sets I purchase there are SIGNIFICANT numbers of mistakes. Some in directions, new parts with lesser quality then other brands and many flawed parts especially from sets this year. The last could just be my luck.

    With all this you might think I dislike LEGO but they are the only toy I purchase. They are doing a lot right however I acknowledge and am aware of a pinhole of their flaws.

    I buy 99.99% of my LEGO for myself and when it comes to resellers I am not happy that there is mark up however I've put 3 or so sets on ebay knowing what current trends are. I hold no resentment towards them as long as they don't ship it like Walmart.
    Pitfall69
  • pvancil27pvancil27 Member Posts: 588
    edited October 2012
    One thing a lot of people seem to be doing is placing profits and ethics on the same teeter totter. They are not linked with a finite amount, where you have to sacrifice ethics to improve profits, nor do you have to sacrifice profit in the name of ethics.

    There are many fairly ethical companies that have good profits, there are some unethical companies that have no profits. This idea people have that they are interlinked and you can have both is either being ignored for the sake of their argument or because they genuinely dont get it.

    Would you like one?

    I'd love a job, but Tallahassee to Texas is a bit of a drive for a part time lego shipping job ;)

    Like what? Normally I'd read into that, but give me a few examples so I don't assume. 'Cause we all know what assuming does. :)

    Using the easy example of Wal-Mart as an example, Intentionally hiring at part time to avoid paying benefits, Strong arming other companies into conforming to them (Example, notice Coffee Creamer is in plastic containers now instead of the old cardboard tubes? That was a Wal-Mart Edict to Nestle, Switch to plastic or lose the shelf spot.) Trying to run competition out of business. I'm sure there are more but I haven't slept well the past week and am kinda running on fumes.

    I'm not trying to, that is really how you're coming across. Maybe you don't mean it the way it sounds, perhaps I'm reading into it too much. But that is honestly how it sounds on this end. It sounds like you think anyone out to make a profit is evil, you think everyone should just be nice and help people, and the 1% are the devil incarnate.

    I've said 10 times there is nothing wrong with turning a profit and that has never been my issue. It's the complete disregard to other people that resellers have when it comes to buying stock that I have the issue with. The difference between Wal-Mart and you is when WM buys from a distributor, it does not remove product from the marketplace. For example Wal Mart doesn't buy every Lego set Lego makes freezing out other companies and then turn around and offer to sell those to those companies for a mark up. In turn when a reseller buys everything it does remove it from the marketplace (if only temporarily.)

    Oh lord, you and 100,000 other people who all did the same thing. That isn't a knock against you, but keep in mind that a lot of people went back to college, there will be a glut of graduates in the next few years. I have no idea if they will be in your field however, so that may or may not affect you.

    I had actually been taking a class each semester anyway, so for me it was more of a decision to just go full time, eat the loans and be done with it. You are right, but like any job, it's about setting yourself apart and being able to be that. I for sure don't look at the degree as a free job button. From the day I turns about 12 (starting with a paper route) up until I lost my job in 08 at 28, I had never been without a job for more then about two weeks. that's why the concept of being unable to find work for 4 months (and in the last three years I haven't been able to find a non school related part-time job either, although in fairness I also haven't pounded the pavement day in and out like I did before coming back)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    I hold no resentment towards them as long as they don't ship it like Walmart.

    Amen to that... there is just no excuse for that nonsense... From a small reseller, much less the largest retail company on Earth...
    Pitfall69
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    @pvancil27

    I feel for you brother. I lost my job in 2001. While I was on unemployment, I studied to get my personal trainer certification. I was presented an opportunity to buy a salon a few months later and cashed in my 401k to put a down payment on it and finance the rest. I bought it September 1st and 10 days later the World Trade Center was attacked and I thought the end was near. Since I have owned the shop I paid for 2 employees education so they could work at my salon and I am now doing the same right now for another. I try to do my best to help people in need.
  • AmberylAmberyl Member Posts: 193
    pvancil27 said:

    The difference between Wal-Mart and you is when WM buys from a distributor, it does not remove product from the marketplace. For example Wal Mart doesn't buy every Lego set Lego makes freezing out other companies and then turn around and offer to sell those to those companies for a mark up. In turn when a reseller buys everything it does remove it from the marketplace (if only temporarily.)

    Actually, that's not true. The reseller may be buying out the stock at a particular store, but it's not making things generally unavailable. Moreover, the big-box stores sometimes do make things generally unavailable -- for instance, TRU's Exclusives with Lego do indeed freeze out other companies from carrying the sets. This is arguably bad for the marketplace, especially with TRU's mark-ups, but again, it's just business -- it makes sense for TRU and it makes sense for Lego, and frankly if consumers didn't like it, it would stop, since the whole point is to get consumers to buy their Lego at TRU.

    As I said earlier in the thread, everyone has to decide their balance between social and economic good. It's one of the reasons that sometimes company founders like to keep their successful company private -- because once you're public you're legally obligated to maximize shareholder profits, but when you're private you can decide how you want to balance your priorities.

    The prices you see for after-markets sets aren't the fault of the resellers. Fundamentally, the real value of a set is pretty much set by what the set auctions for on eBay. The set is worth what bidders are willing to pay, and if that's 75% RRP, 2x RRP, or 10x RRP, then that's it. Resellers who price their goods too high will find that they won't sell. No reseller is likely to sell for so substantially below the eBay price that it will simply be opportunistically bought and flipped on eBay. You're looking at real market values, set by what real consumers are willing to pay.

  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Are @LegoFanTexas and @Amberyl the same person?
  • pvancil27pvancil27 Member Posts: 588
    Amberyl said:

    No reseller is likely to sell for so substantially below the eBay price that it will simply be opportunistically bought and flipped on eBay. You're looking at real market values, set by what real consumers are willing to pay.

    And this is one reason why having resellers within a collector roll as well becomes problematic. I have always said if I ever found a Cafe Corner for liek 50 bucks i'd turn around and offer it up to someone here for that same price, because I dont collect modulars personally. And predictable LFT said he;d buy it for that price, but the truth is I'd never sell it to him for that price, because I just have zero faith that it wouldnt be bought just to be resold for a higher price. Look at most of the good deals on these boards that get offered (publicly) at least and it;s usually a reseller buying it up. I mean fair marks on them for being fast I guess but when I see that (and others I'd assume) it just makes you not want to offer a deal. Thats one of the reasons I dont understand the community as a whole so openly embracing the reseller mentality, and frankly its one that Is rare in collectables. Go to other forums for Star Wars, Hot Wheels, wrestling Figures ect ect and dealers are tolerated but not embraced as something great for the community.

    As for the other part of your post, its a fair and valid point.
  • AmberylAmberyl Member Posts: 193
    No, @Pitfall69, I am definitely not LFT. Among other things, I'm female. ;-) Actually, I suspect that LFT and I have totally different beliefs about politics in general, but on the business aspects, I suspect we share a practical viewpoint of the world born from experience.

    I suspect the reason that the community embraces the reseller mindset is that unlike Eurobricks, for instance, Brickset seems to be much more oriented towards collecting/buying/selling discussions, so the readers and posters here will be much more into the financial aspects. Also, it seems like an awful lot of the collectors here are small-time resellers -- i.e., they pick up an extra set here or there to keep and sell at some point in time so their hobby is self-funding.

    I don't resell and I don't ever plan to, as it seems to me to be an inefficient and risky use of capital, time, and effort, but to each his own. (I think about all of those people sitting on Fire Brigades and Death Stars waiting for an EOL that seems to be continuously delayed, and it serves as a vivid reminder that Lego can change the rules at any time.)

    By the way, one of the things that is perfectly okay in a community marketplace is that you don't have to sell to the first bidder or the highest bidder. It's not eBay or the like. If you don't want to sell to someone who's going to flip the set, just decide not to do so.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    ^I was just kidding of course.

    As I was saying before, there is a lot of useful information in this thread.

    Right now I only resell to fund my ever growing hobby and to buy Lego for my daughter. I'm certainly not buying up Lego stocks everywhere. I'm only "defending" reselling and not necessarily defending resellers. What is funny is they have numerous television shows that have people making profit off of others misfortunes. All those Storage shows for example, buy lockers that people walked away from because they couldn't or didn't pay their storage bills. They don't think anything of it. Pawn shops mostly do the same thing. They all are resellers.

    @pvancil27 It is actually refreshing that you have a good heart. Please understand that most people would NEVER pass along a Cafe Corner to someone if they found it for $50. It would be like finding $1,200 and just handing it to someone who wants $1,200. That would be...well...everyone. It's great that you say you would do such a thing, but anyone can say anything in a hypothetical situation. I think only Jesus and you would do that :)


  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    pvancil27 said:

    Look at most of the good deals on these boards that get offered (publicly) at least and it;s usually a reseller buying it up.

    Not always. :) I picked up that deal on UCS Falcon for $1,250... and built it! :)

    I picked up a UCS Yoda complete in box for $100... and my wife built it...

    Most of the really good deals that I've gotten here, I've kept.

    Remember, I love LEGO too! :)
    pvancil27 said:

    Thats one of the reasons I dont understand the community as a whole so openly embracing the reseller mentality, and frankly its one that Is rare in collectables.

    Just to make the point... I have several at-cost deals running here right now. The Brickmaster polybags, the City Campers, etc. The Darth Mauls I'm making maybe $3 on (whee!).

    The deals I offer here are not for a profit, but to help the community.

    I think we should simply call a truce, I have no desire to fight with you (or anyone else), I think we'd all be better off just getting along here and loving the Brick. :)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Pitfall69 said:

    Are @LegoFanTexas and @Amberyl the same person?

    Nope, she writes much more evenly and with less emotion than I do. :) I have to say, I've been very impressed by her posts in this thread, I'd hire to her write PR for me any day of the week. :)
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444

    @LegoFanTexas said

    I think we should simply call a truce, I have no desire to fight with you (or anyone else), I think we'd all be better off just getting along here and loving the Brick. :)

    Amen ;)

  • pvancil27pvancil27 Member Posts: 588
    edited October 2012

    I picked up that deal on UCS Falcon for $1,250... and built it! :)

    True, but you also already owned one, and bought that one because of its price and sold your other one. While that isn't selling the same one you bought, it's not far off that wheel house.
  • lulwutlulwut Member Posts: 417
    Because no one likes the middleman.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    lulwut said:

    Because no one likes the middleman.

    I think we have a winner!

    The End
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    Amberyl said:

    pvancil27 said:

    The difference between Wal-Mart and you is when WM buys from a distributor, it does not remove product from the marketplace. For example Wal Mart doesn't buy every Lego set Lego makes freezing out other companies and then turn around and offer to sell those to those companies for a mark up. In turn when a reseller buys everything it does remove it from the marketplace (if only temporarily.)

    Actually, that's not true. The reseller may be buying out the stock at a particular store, but it's not making things generally unavailable. Moreover, the big-box stores sometimes do make things generally unavailable -- for instance, TRU's Exclusives with Lego do indeed freeze out other companies from carrying the sets. This is arguably bad for the marketplace, especially with TRU's mark-ups, but again, it's just business -- it makes sense for TRU and it makes sense for Lego, and frankly if consumers didn't like it, it would stop, since the whole point is to get consumers to buy their Lego at TRU.

    As I said earlier in the thread, everyone has to decide their balance between social and economic good. It's one of the reasons that sometimes company founders like to keep their successful company private -- because once you're public you're legally obligated to maximize shareholder profits, but when you're private you can decide how you want to balance your priorities.
    True in some cases, but if we assume resellers are buying minecraft, friends advent calendars and to a lesser extent Lloyds then they are exactly making items unavailable with the sole intent of making more money in the future. Whilst there is merit in some of the arguments for clearing clearanced items I can't see any of that and also haven't read a defense of it.

    The reality is its all a question of morals, I and I think most on this side of the debate aren't questioning your right to resell. Rather we think it would be better if you didnt, that generally it takes from society and the community. Of course within that there are different extremes of behaviour. It's kind of like a swathe of companies we have in the UK called pay day loan companies. They loan money at short notice to high risk customers at very high interest rates. It's their right to do do, there are reasoned arguments for doing it and yet most people would call them despicable.

    I agree that the title should be why the hate towards reselling rather than resellers, because other than at the extremes of behaviour the sellers themselves are probably perfectly nice people. LFT interests me because everything I read makes me feel he'd be successful at whatever he did, just makes me think his talents are wasted reselling lego when he could make as much money in the same amount of time doing something that also had more/some benefit to society.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 7,001
    I think both sides of this discussion either are or are perceived as painting with too large a brush. There are plenty of resellers who are helpful and generous and there are others who are selfish jerks. It is not fair to lump the nice resellers (many in the Brickset crowd) with the guys loading up trailers at Target or whatever.

    Conversely, it is perfectly fine for people to not like reselling, but it would probably go a lot better to argue against reselling practices than picking on people.

    One other thing is that when 'life is not fair' gets brought up, I don't believe it was ever intended to imply "therefore we should act unfairly" or justify unkind reselling practices. Just to point out there will always be people who take advantage in every arena, including Lego. However, many people, resellers included, try to be fair when selling, especially on this forum, precisely because life is not fair and they are trying to balance that out by acting generous. Babies have been tossed out with the bathwater in both directions.
  • FizzlemesexyFizzlemesexy Member Posts: 123
    edited October 2012
    ^ I agree that there are plenty of resellers who are helpful, especially here. This place however is very different. I think there is only one person on brickset I would not conduct a trade with even if I had a bargain. Their morals and mine don't match up and I'd rather pay a premium to not receive an item knowingly from dirty hands.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,826
    There is clearly never an end to this.

    If people hate resellers, that is fine, they do not need to tell anyone, they just need to make sure they never buy from one. That is simple to achieve, they need to buy from lego or amazon or any other major retailer, and make sure they do it when the set is in production. Otherwise they cannot have the item in a new state. They can buy second hand, opened and used if they miss out.

    If reseller haters want to make it public, again, that's fine. Maybe we need a list of people that publically state they hate resellers, and those people should not be sold to via marketplace.

    Similarly, if people hate smaller time resellers or traders that will gladly take all clearance items remaining on a shelf, without thinking of the kids that might come across them later, and want to make this public, then again, let's have a list of people that hate this practice. If a seller / trader has a something on marketplace where they removed all remaining stock from the shelf, then they can just check the list and not trade with anyone who openly hates this practice. Thus they will be protected from being a hypocrite, ensuring that they do not receive goods that were on clearance that little timmy might have wanted if he had been there earlier.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    edited October 2012
    Just want to point out, I said 'hate' in my last comment, meant 'anger'. Was writing on my phone and forgot to check the title of the thread. Suffice to say I don't hate anyone on this forum, nor any reseller. Not sure I could hate someone without knowing them.
  • AmberylAmberyl Member Posts: 193
    Just a quick comment on Minecraft... most of the ones sold have been at single-quantity limits, haven't they? It's just that there's crazy demand for them compared to the available quantities.

    Many of us, unfortunately, spend our lives at jobs that don't necessarily generate a lot of social good, even if they generate a lot of economic good and result in things that people want to buy. (Facebook's Jeff Hammerbacher put it well: "The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks." - http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm)

    It should be noted that by and large, I do not notice most Lego resellers engaging in practices that I would consider deceptive. That's not true of all sellers, though, as a trawl through eBay will show you -- the not-uncommon practice of listing still-in-print sets as rare and/or unavailable, at high mark-ups. I hope that this doesn't routinely sucker people in, but I assume it must or it wouldn't be worth the eBay listing fee.

    Oh, and thanks, LFT. :-)
    LegoFanTexas
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    @Amberyl - You're very welcome... :) If there was ever going to be another mod/admin, I nominate you because of your ability to remain polite and level headed. You have given thoughts and input on both sides, without being judgemental or actually taking sides, that is a gift of talent. :)
    Pitfall69
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,979
    That was an enjoyable article.
  • FizzlemesexyFizzlemesexy Member Posts: 123
    The short answer:
    There never is an end to it. Someone will always be unhappy.

    The long answer:
    I think most could care less how they get their product as long as it's in one piece. If people did care, Apple computers would be associated with some pretty bad things... It's not hard to find out, it's just being aware of what someone does that will create resentment. Value, cost, results all play a factor too. People overlook what the other costs are because of that.

    People get mad at any markup because it's easy. They were aware it was less at one point in time. I expect someone is buying something at a fraction of the price before selling it. I could care less what their cost was. TLG, retail outlets, resellers are all the same. If I calculated LEGO's cost of a lego set, it would be very different. No one typically does that.

    People will say it's nothing personal but business is always personal. It's how anyone survives. I think LFT is an ideal seller because his prices are fair to the market value, he's active, and vocal- warns what will go up in value and what will EOL so you have the option to pick it up before markup. The friendly and personal approach has made me consider buying from him without hesitation because he's personable. I've never bought from him and I don't need to vouch for him either. He has mentioned countless times places with poor service wont get his business (ie Best Buy) and has learned to not act like these places so he would be comfortable to buy from himself. Again, that is ideal. It's also a lot of work.

    Resellers should profit or at least try to. Ideally if it's not in the person's budget, they should look elsewhere but this frustration is directed towards to those who "deny".

    Take it with a grain of salt. If someone can mark up, they will. If they can't, they can't.
  • duilimduilim Member Posts: 61
    edited October 2012
    I personally have no problems with peole who resell Lego sets but the situation is a bit different here in Australia. We have no official Lego stores which means that all the 10*** sets are made exclusive to one retail store (i.e. you can't buy it at any other store). For example, this year, the large R2D2 was exclusive to Target and the Sopwith camel exclusive to Myer. What bothers me is that these sets are often released on the first day of our mid year toy sale, which is always on a Thursday. I am at work. I can't get to the store till after 5. As a result, every year, i miss out because some people buy multiple sets and everything's gone long before then. In 2010 I missed out on the Emerald Night, this year, it was the VW camper van (we're a year late over here) so it get's frustrating. The next day or two, these sets will appear on ebay at inflated prices. Yes I can buy from Lego [email protected] but they charge $45 for postage and that's alreay on top of the inflated Aussie prices I have to pay.

    I'm not saying that reselling is a bad thing and I'm certainly not against it, but in my situation, I wish that people would leave stock for others who may also want that set when it's a store exclusive and therefore, difficult to find.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    edited October 2012
    I think resellers are a necessary part of the hobby that keeps it growing in different ways. Retaining sets that are still new many years after EOL, overall depressing the aftermarket prices by keeping supply ample, and the immense contribution of part sellers (which is under appreciated imo).

    Just certain tactics seem wrong and shouldn't be condoned i.e. trailer teams and semi-stealing from kids for Con-exclusives. Clearing shelves is borderline and is understandable under certain situations. But that doesn't include looking a person in the eye and coldly saying no you can't have 1 of my dozens. Doesn't that just seem wrong? It's just a few bucks difference in profit, but you have to live with that moment forever. You gotta draw the line somewhere as a matter of personal integrity. If not for the other person, then for yourself.

    Also, I think @LFT gets a bad rap and doesn't deserve the amount of heat he gets. He's personally helped me out on a few occassions and been a stand-up fellow every time. He's just the most vocal on the board and embodies the big time seller, so makes for an easy target. But I think he's done much more positive than credited for.
  • AmberylAmberyl Member Posts: 193
    I wonder if the resellers in Australia really contribute that heavily to the sets being cleared out. People buying multiples could just as readily be buying for their friends or for their local LUG. (I am speculating here: I'm assuming that your local stores aren't letting a single reseller come in and clear all of their inventory. How many sets typically appear on eBay in that next day or two, relative to total supply?)
  • duilimduilim Member Posts: 61
    @Amberyl, I can't say for sure but I did send my wife to pick up the Emerald Night when it first came out 2 years ago, she was the second customer through that morning and the first person bought the lot so I missed out on that occaision. I did pick it up 6 months later after considerable effort to track one down at a reasonable price.
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    @duilim that does suck, I missed out initially on the VW camper, but got my Mum to check her local Myer and they had 2 left. R2D2 I missed initially as I went to the store at lunch time, none left, but I did manage to order one online at about 1:00am that night (the site was having heaps of issues, that's why It was 1:00am when I finally got it to work). The Sopwith Camel I went to Myer at 10:00 am and they had 6, I do resell sometimes but I only grabbed 2 (One for a friend).

    Saying all that, the sales are still not that great compared to OS, for instance the VW Camper 10220 is available form amazon.fr now for $126.36AUD Shipped, that's $3 less then the initial Myer sale price.

    After getting my Camper from Myer I looked on eBay and saw they were selling for about $170, I found if I ordered 3 (Limit per order) from Amazon Spain I could get them for $109 shipped, So I bought some and resold them, In total I sold about 12, but as with all these things more and more people start doing this and I stopped when the average eBay price got down to about $145.



  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 533
    I've not had time to read everything in this thread, but here's my two cents. I'm more familiar with this from the Star Wars action figure side. There are basically a lot of scalpers in the action figure market.

    These people go out and buy up the desirable pieces, making them hard to find at retail, and then selling them for an inflated price. So if I have to pay someone $20 for something I should be able to pay $10 for at Target that makes me mad. I don't think it's fair or right and people just doing business don't fly with me. It's my opinion and only my opinion.

    Retired items are bit of a different story. I may question the mark up, motivation of selling and how people got sets, but it's a different market. I think the perceived rarity and value of a set may be skewed by people with large inventories of these sets.

    Other part that gets to me is the price people sometime ask for. There's a few retired sets I'm searching that people are ask hundreds of dollars for that are really only worth fraction of that. And some idiot is willing to pay that, which encourages more people to ask for unreasonable prices. Well you know what they say about a fool and his money.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    So, is this about missing out on a sale or missing out on a set completely because someone else beat you to it?
This discussion has been closed.

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