Tag Archives: Scalpers

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Chicago-land repacker strikes again – a new low with a custom Wheeljack stand-in

Generations Wheeljack fake repack returned to store

This is worse than bad comedy

Well the old “Illinois re-packer” has struck again. The group of us here in Chicago haved dubbed this shadowy figure as ‘the re-packer,’ his or her true identity unknown. We all assume it’s just one person, the same as that crafty ‘scalper’ that seems to be in every store in the United States right before YOU got there.

Most likely, this is the work of a few different people over time, but this particular example above shows some real lack of character, if not just plain scum-bag behavior. Considering my disdain for customizing Transformers, re-packing one’s horribly executed customs in place of a decent figure and returning it to a store is just asking for trouble. Someday we are going to find you, re-packer, and you will pay for the sins of everyone that has come before you. You will rue that day!

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Dark of the Moon toy binge – Day 2

Dark of the moon toy haul

Toy collecting is serious business

We are becoming masters of ass-holeish behavior. Each store is a different story. Some you win, some you lose.

Pile of Dark of the Moon toys

The spoils of War for Cybertron

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Belated Botcon 2010 online registration to cost $10 EXTRA

Botcon 2010 scoorge disney-label Donald

Botcon 2010 Disney-Label exclusive Scoorge McDuck remold! - additional illustrative help from Professor Smooth

Before you dig into this post, I find it necessary to make a few things clear. I am not attending Botcon 2010 this year, I never planned to. However, as an active overseer and participant in the Transformers collecting community, I have been paying close attention to the events and issues surrounding our once-a-year convention. I completely realize that the Transformers Collector Club is an entity created for the entertainment and benefit of those that are willing to participate, and no one is forcing anyone to participate. However, being that Botcon is the only officially sanctioned Hasbro convention, they have a bit of a monopoly on the market and as such, have a responsibility to the fans it consists of. That being said, the following is a completely editorial commentary and should be considered as such. I have no inside knowledge of how Fun Publications or the Transformers Collector Club operates on a day to day basis, and my assertions are made purely from observation.

Botcon 2010 Registration ot yet available

I stood by and watched the clock tick down to less than 60 days before the June 24th convention date without the typical registration announcement.

I stood by, amused, when the announcement that the belated online registration system required voluntary user-testing from the very people it is intended to placate. Very classy.

But I will not just stand by and let Fun Publications suck more and more money from the very people it is exists to placate to without speaking my mind a bit.

Anyone that signed up for the “mock registration” at Botcon may have noticed a registration fee that will be added to any registration conducted via the online system.

I’m sorry, was that $10 more to cover the club’s own additional operating costs? Don’t we already pay processing fees in the form of our $40 per year membership?

As a business owner, I am appalled. If I were to implement new procedures and processes to conduct my business in a more efficient manner, it would be the responsibility of myself and my business to pay the overhead involved with said additions, not the responsibility of my customers.

Essentially, the Botcon folks are having us, the members of the club, cover the club’s own expenses to get the online system running, which is late, unfinished, and a complete mess. Not only that, so far we have not yet been offered the chance to even apply via the fax forms. Any sort of stream-lining addition to workflow will increase productivity and efficiency for the people running it. If this is going to save a lot of time for the Botcon registration workers, why is this costing the attendees more money? If anything, Botcon should be eating the cost themselves as it should make their staff’s workload a little lighter.

And while we’re at it, the Primus Package is even more expensive this year at $305 for club members versus $275 last year. So now it’s going to cost Primus Package attendees $315 + travel + hotel + attendee packages. All you ‘scalpers’ better hope the market for fluorescent plastic goes through the roof this summer…

The Botcon people should be ashamed of themselves for the way the registration process has been handled thus far. Whomever was hired to create this online registration system is taking the club for a ride, and in turn, the fans as well. I am incredibly grateful to not be attending the convention this year because it would just leave an even nastier taste in my mouth. Had your online registration fee been more acceptable, say $1, this rant may have been avoided.

To those of you that are now at the mercy of the club, I hope all of this back and forth ends up being worth it and you have a delightful Botcon experience. Let’s hope for better in 2011, Fun Pub… Oh, the toys look great, I’ll at least give you that.

Scrooge McDuck enjoys Botcon 2010 in Disney World

Could it be that Scoorge McDuck is really pulling the strings at Botcon in Disney World this year?

Blog

Scalpers and scalping: The Dark Side of Transformers Collecting?

This is a response to a blog posted at ArticulatedDiscussion.com

“My fellow Collecticons, as your new leader I… WHO DISRUPTS MY CORONATION?”

Scalpers of course!!!  Who else, but the vile scum of the collecting community!!!!  I, king Diablien, decree that these heathens be banned from my kingdom!

If only it were that simple.  Scalpers.  The very term can make a collector’s blood boil, and for various reasons.  What does the term actually mean?  The very question could be answered a multitude of different ways by different people.  I’ll give you my personal definition: A scalper is someone who purchases figures en masse with the sole intention of re-selling the figures at a bloated price to a collector of such items.

Simple, right?  Not so fast…

After reading an article on Articulated Discussion, I once again realized how difficult it can be to point the blame when a certain toy appears to be just out of your reach no matter how many times you look.  A few notable cases of accused scalping come to mind: Alternator Swerve, hording of the G1 redeco Jazz and Starscream Target exclusives, and Wal-mart Exclusive Masterpiece Starscream.  Each of these figures was at times very difficult to find.  After the dust settled and the fandom moved on, it became apparent that most of the problems with these figures were caused by poor distrobution and low production of the toys.  The G1 Jazz and Starscream ended up being very easy to get, but suffered like most of the first Transformers Movie line from delayed distrobution in certain parts of the country.  It didn’t help that the fanbase was rabid for these redecos before they hit the shelves and nothing and cause an influx in supply and demand like asking Transformers collectors to be patient.

Transformers Movie G1 Jazz

Like a taunting child, this ebay seller wanted to make sure you knew he had ALL of the G1 Jazz's that you were looking for. You HAD to buy them from him! Not sure if this guy was a scalper or just an asshole. The funny thing is that these came out all across the country in more than ample supply less than two weeks after this guy. Photo courtesy of TFwiki, but I remember seeing these Ebay auctions as well.

In Articulated Discussions article, two self-described “scalpers” are interviewed independently of each other.  As I read their responses, it donned on me that these people shared some of my own disgretions towards toy collecting, and they did not partake in human sacrifice, as the author so colorfully jabbed at them.  One quote in particular stuck me:

The jealous people who complain about scalping are the same hypocrites who will buy items at retail to stash away for twenty years to sell to try to put their kids through college… which would be “Future-Scalping”.

What’s that?  Come again?  My methods are being described as “Future-scalping”, by a scalper himself!!  The idea of it blew me away.  He is describing the very heart of Collecticon: Helping to define the foresight of what figures will be worth finding now, and being happy you have later down the road.  Is this what I am doing by locking away the entire Transformers Movie toyline MISB in a basement for years, Future-scalping?  It seems logical…  but I’ve never thought twice about it.

Are these “scalpers” correct?  Is what they do no different than just being a collector in general?  These questions will never find a true answer and to be completely serious, I would have to agree that the term “scalper” is quick to be thrown around when someone can’t get what they want, when they want it.  I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to store hoping to find a particular toy, only to be greeted by shelf-warmers and empty space, but I have never once grumbled to myself “Damn scalpers…” as I hang my head in shame as I creepily exit the Toys R Us parking lot.

I guess I would request that you ask yourself what it really means to you to be a scalper, and I’d love to see what you have to say in the comments.  The debate will continue and as long as there is a demand for short-packed toys, there will be these archetypes there to swipe the goods: the vigilant collector, the lucky bastard, the little kid, and the dastardly shadowy scalper figure whom you may find staring you straight in the eye next time you look in the mirror!