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Thread: Toy collector community ethics ??? Fairness between collecting friends

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    Heroic Warrior atlas0413's Avatar
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    Toy collector community ethics ??? Fairness between collecting friends

    I have recently noticed that some 4H figures have popped up on eBay after someone at the 4H site posted the link to the original distributor - ravingtoymaniac. The seventh Kingdom Raavia is still available there for $20 and after the forum posting there are now new Raavia listings on eBay for $50 - $75.

    I am happy to pay a premium for toy lines that are completed or hard to find, and i have paid sometimes $150 or more than the original price for figures but for a member of a small collecting community like 4H to blatantly profit like this makes me frustrated.

    How do other collectors feel about this?

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    Always Hungry.... Megalodon's Avatar
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    Honestly if your not making any REAL money (Hundred's or thousands) it's not worth it between the price you paid and you sell it for $10-30 or more is a waste..

    I see a lot of collector's practicing this because they help fuel their toy habit (To help buy other toys) funny thing is that a lot of collector's etc. see dollar signs with EVERY toy they have and they only think inward and post when they have something to sell on some sites or I see this on a lot of boards when they make customs they only show up when they put the e-bay link in as marketplace...And don't post anything else but that...Sad but true There are ALOT of good people but ALOT of bad one's too you just have to feed thru the bad more than usual....

    And I see some sites that slap a premium on set toy because the site specializes in that same toy/line....

    I have found MORE things cheaper on E-Bay & Craigslist so why should I line somebody's pocket that doesn't work with me on the price? When they add every expense under the sun like waiting time (Yes I had someone pull that crap!)into the total I understand time but if someone see's ONE item on E-Bay at $150 and the rest at about $50-100 for the same thing they list it for $150.....

    And honestly a lot of fan's would be happier if they didn't have to deal with this (They're plastic TOYS!!!) When I get items by me that someone else needs I sell it to them cost & shipping (GASP!!) when you start charging more than a reasonable amount it puts the fu in fun...This is supposed to be a FUN Hobby right?
    Last edited by Megalodon; September 3, 2013 at 08:19pm.

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    Heroic Warrior Nekk-ra's Avatar
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    I tend to find it repulsive.

    I found out about Raavia from a blurb on Adam16bit's blog, and was delighted to be able to not only add her to my small collection of Alluxandra's guard, but also help Raving Toy Maniac move some stock. Wasn't thrilled (or quite frankly surprised) when I saw them popping up on Ebay at a huge mark-up. Reselling is one thing, but price-gouging people who weren't aware they were still available is just distasteful. If the Hippos weren't imperfects, they'd probably be popping up, too. Feel the same way about the people who are buying out Big Lots stores of their Classics figure stock and jacking up the prices big-time at flea markets and online venues.
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    Color'licious! JVS3's Avatar
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    I know it can be frustrating. But people have a right to sell non-essentials like toys and collectibles for what they want. If a person doesn't like it, the best thing they can do is just not buy it. If enough people subscribe to this notion, prices would come down from resellers.

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    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    I posted over at /toy/ long enough to know that there isn't much of an overall community of toy collectors.

    You do have smaller fan communities, and those who will help others find stuff, often by picking up a toy and shipping it to a person for base cost plus postage with no extra payment, but for the most part.... it's not really widespread as you'd hope. A fair number of collectors insist that any toy not sold through eBay be priced at a massive discount, and will get indignant if the price isn't at least 50% off. Some toy customizers are rather arrogant people, to the point they will obsess over, stalk and harass anyone who makes a custom they don't personally like. Toy collectors are also rather eager to defend stuff like terrible quality control, or just defend certain companies without argument, and even bringing up legit issues can set these types off.
    Certain fan groups can be full of insufferable types, so much so that their communities seem to be shrinking because the attitude of the die-hard members drive away the casual collectors.

    We want to think that toy collectors are always in it for the hobby, but that really isn't the truth. Lots want discounts, lots want to make money off reselling toys, a few are obsessed. Collecting because you want something is actually getting rarer, because a completist mentality is almost the norm- you have to buy all figures in the line, not just the ones you want.

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    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    Ultimately, the buying and selling of action figures does not fall under the heading of ethics. One reason is it's at the very bottom of the list of ethical concerns behind crime, war, pollution, political corruption, discrimination, etc,. Seriously, try writing a letter to your congressman or congresswoman and asking him or her to introduce new legislation to prevent the scalping of action figures and other toys. You will be the laughing stock of the entire office.

    A secondary reason is that buying and selling products does not violate moral codes--most of which stem from religious principles. "Thou shall not hoard King Grayskull's". Um, no. That's not much of a violation if it is one at all.

    I disagree with Megalodon. Toys are economically driven and economics is a science--not a set of beliefs that we can modify. As buyers and sellers we play by specific economic rules. The idea of a "toy utopia" where everyone helps each other out is completely contradictory to modern science. If you want to change the flow of the river with your little pebble, then have at it. But I have no qualms about paying resellers for figures I need when I have available funds. Likewise, I don't see the problem if I turn around and sell other figures to cover the cost. It evens out in the end. Ethics is subjective and varies from person to person.
    Last edited by Phil.Pastel; September 4, 2013 at 01:27pm.
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    Heroic Warrior mister_e's Avatar
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    It's not black and white for me. It's...nuanced. I don't buy toys that I don't want with the sole intent to resell or scalp them for a small profit. That said, if I do decide to sell anything from my collection I think it is completely fine to ask for the current market value. If that is less than I paid originally, then so be it. Conversely, if the current market value is higher than I originally paid then I would be a fool to sell it for less. I guess, in summary, I don't see anything unethical about selling something for what the market will bear, but I do loath speculators and scalpers that artificially drive up the price of items just to turn a short-term profit. Just my 2 cents.

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    Heroic Warrior wyldman11's Avatar
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    Not just with toys but most things in general I don't like people just buying something up to turn around and reseller it a higher 'street value.' Before someone mentions this what retail locations do, that is different.

    It's another issue to do it to actually help people out though and I more than understand finders fees. But would be honest if I posted something on ebay and some kind of bidding war went into the item I wouldn't just pull it down. I do try to be fair though with prices etc.
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    Heroic Warrior mister_e's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyldman11 View Post
    It's another issue to do it to actually help people out though and I more than understand finders fees. But would be honest if I posted something on ebay and some kind of bidding war went into the item I wouldn't just pull it down. I do try to be fair though with prices etc.
    That's a good point. If I am selling something to a friend or a fellow collector I will often times give a better/lower price just to help out. That's one of the things that make these types of communities so great.

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    Always Hungry.... Megalodon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
    I disagree with Megalodon. Toys are economically driven and economics is a science--not a set of beliefs that we can modify. As buyers and sellers we play by specific economic rules. The idea of a "toy utopia" where everyone helps each other out is completely contradictory to modern science. If you want to change the flow of the river with your little pebble, then have at it. But I have no qualms about paying resellers for figures I need when I have available funds. Likewise, I don't see the problem if I turn around and sell other figures to cover the cost. It evens out in the end. Ethics is subjective and varies from person to person.
    See alot of people won't put forth the effort to make a couple of bucks on something when it's not really worth it..Call it being GREEDY selling something that you paid $10 for $30-40 is a joke and I hope people get stuck with that..You have alot of disenchanted people out there who think they're going to make a killing selling newer toys. Ask your self it is really worth it to make $50-60 with all the time,money etc involved?? Like I said before it goes back into the pot to buy more toys you get that little bit that takes a long time to add up instead of selling a boxed Eternia,Megator,Tytus,Laser Power He-Man or a Laser Light Skeletor...That's worth it and makes sense....

    And just because a few people spend $100 or something and a month later it's $20 doesn't make it "worth" $100 it was worth $100 to ONE person...
    Last edited by Megalodon; September 4, 2013 at 06:47pm.

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    I usually sell stuff at fair market price. I don't like to overpay for stuff, so I try to be reasonable with what I ask for. With stuff like MotUC, I ask for what I paid for, plus shipping. I have no problem with people trying to make what they can, but if it's more than I'm willing to pay, I won't buy it. I do hate people that buy up some hot item just to sell it for a ridiculous price, though.
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    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalodon View Post
    See alot of people won't put forth the effort to make a couple of bucks on something when it's not really worth it..Call it being GREEDY selling something that you paid $10 for $30-40 is a joke and I hope people get stuck with that..You have alot of disenchanted people out there who think they're going to make a killing selling newer toys. Ask your self it is really worth it to make $50-60 with all the time,money etc involved?? Like I said before it goes back into the pot to buy more toys you get that little bit that takes a long time to add up instead of selling a boxed Eternia,Megator,Tytus,Laser Power He-Man or a Laser Light Skeletor...That's worth it and makes sense....

    And just because a few people spend $100 or something and a month later it's $20 doesn't make it "worth" $100 it was worth $100 to ONE person...

    While I agree with you, I still maintain it's not an ethical issue. It's an economic issue. People are greedy with toys because people are greedy with everything. That's economics in a nutshell.

    We don't place caps on what sellers can charge for items (to my knowledge, anyway). If someone is selling milk or cigarettes, we regulate the lowest price they can charge. We don't regulate the highest price they can charge. We don't have to because economic laws do that already. No one will pay $20 for milk that they can get somewhere else for $3.

    Economics are the only rules governing our hobby. They're the only rules we have because they're the only rules we need. Ethics come into play only rarely with such issues as toys being dangerous, trademark infringements, containing offensive content, etc,.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by wyldman11 View Post
    Not just with toys but most things in general I don't like people just buying something up to turn around and reseller it a higher 'street value.' Before someone mentions this what retail locations do, that is different.

    My favorite retail markup is the $7 popcorn at the movie theater.

    Is that unethical? Not really. You don't have to buy it. And you aren't being lied to about the price or the amount of popcorn you will be receiving. In the end, it's neither ethical nor unethical to charge that much. It's a simple business transaction.
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    Heroic Warrior atlas0413's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
    No one will pay $20 for milk that they can get somewhere else for $3.
    So if a particular figure is still available at the source for $20, but people are not aware about it and buying it from a re-seller (who has been buying from the source and reselling them) for $75 is that fair, is it ethical for someone to knowingly overcharge $55 for an item???

    Like your comment above they should be paying $20, not $75, and it is wrong for the reseller to not just redirect the buyer to the original site. Unlike MOTUC which sells out and has no more available so the supply and demand rule kick in, when these other figures sell out then the same rule can apply.

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    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atlas0413 View Post
    So if a particular figure is still available at the source for $20, but people are not aware about it and buying it from a re-seller (who has been buying from the source and reselling them) for $75 is that fair, is it ethical for someone to knowingly overcharge $55 for an item???

    If I am buying your car, are you obligated to tell me where you got it or how much you paid for it? Maybe you got a much better car at a local used car dealer who is getting out of the business and giving great deals? Since when is anyone who sells anything required to tell the buyer where they got it, or what they paid for it?

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm sure Mattel was selling figures for full price just prior to those same figures showing up at Big Lots. At one point, weren't they selling Man-E-Faces while he was showing up at Big Lots? Were they required to put up a disclaimer that the figures are soon going to be available for less?
    Last edited by Phil.Pastel; September 4, 2013 at 08:28pm.
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    Heroic Warrior atlas0413's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
    If I am buying your car, are you obligated to tell me where you got it or how much you paid for it? Maybe you got a much better car at a local used car dealer who is getting out of the business and giving great deals? Since when is anyone who sells anything required to tell the buyer where they got it, or what they paid for it?

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm sure Mattel was selling figures for full price just prior to those same figures showing up at Big Lots. At one point, weren't they selling Man-E-Faces while he was showing up at Big Lots? Were they required to put up a disclaimer that the figures are soon going to be available for less?
    There is a big difference between used cars and new toys, and between RRP and discounted clearance items v's items available at RRP and huge scalper markups. Don't try to complicate the issue that was originally raised

    I would never knowingly rip anyone off and would be really ****** off if I spent $75 to find out later that it was still available for $20.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JVS3 View Post
    I know it can be frustrating. But people have a right to sell non-essentials like toys and collectibles for what they want. If a person doesn't like it, the best thing they can do is just not buy it. If enough people subscribe to this notion, prices would come down from resellers.
    This.

    I've tried to make a few bucks on something I saw at Toys R us or Target that I heard was rare... but it's rarely worth it. Most of the time they just sit there and nobody bids on nuthin'

    I have a Clamp Champ that I'm not 100% I really want... but if someone made me an offer I couldn't refuse... I'd probably sell/trade him. If the price isn't good enough... I don't HATE the character... he can go on the shelf.

    But I do think it is a bit ridiculous to think that just because person A found a great deal or came across a sale... then Person B is entitled to the same price.

    If Grandma gives me a toy I had two of.... should I be morally obligated to just give it away for free? Every penny I can make on it... goes to feeding my habit of more toys

    Key is, things are only worth what people will pay. If the price is too high, it WILL come down. Or someone else will sell it for cheaper hoping to steal bidders from the more expensive guy.

    it really is a fascinating thing to watch...

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    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atlas0413 View Post
    There is a big difference between used cars and new toys, and between RRP and discounted clearance items v's items available at RRP and huge scalper markups. Don't try to complicate the issue that was originally raised

    I would never knowingly rip anyone off and would be really ****** off if I spent $75 to find out later that it was still available for $20.

    Technically, that's not a ripoff. It's a sale. And any time you buy something, there's a chance you could have gotten it cheaper somewhere else. Comparison shopping is up to the buyer since he is the one who is looking to pay the lowest possible price.

    BTW, the buyer doesn't give a hoot if the seller is taking a loss. Yet you expect the seller to care if the buyer takes a hit? You think someone out there gives a hoot that a seller paid somewhere around $50 for MO-LARR at SDCC?
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    Master of Shapeways He-bro's Avatar
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    I am a guy who does lots of reselling, mostly to support my habit. Usually I buy 3 subs, sell 2 and keep one. I have a wife, but she has little to no use for my figures, so If I break even at end of the year she "OK" it. Last year after all the sales, stamps.com, paypal and ebay fees (and keeping the figures I wanted to keep) I was up $15. That includes all the the custom stuff I did too and sold. I'm not in it to make a ton of money, just to pay for my own hobby. As we know some figures are just a loosing battle like the star sisters, so in order to make the difference up I do sell other figures at a high cost.

    I figured it out with 3 subs after shipping and tax each figure is approximately $33. To still have $33 the lowest I can sell a figure for on ebay is about $38. But right now They are going for about $34 and free shipping, so each normal figure I loose about $2 or $3 bucks, so on the rare figures I have to gouge buyers in order to make up the difference.

    I know it stinks, but there was a guy who wanted me to sell him Shadow Weaver at cost, I told him I would if he bought some other figures at cost from me, he declined, and that is the real issue, everyone wants rare figures at cost, except when the lame ducks figures come up, then we can't get rid of them even at a loss.

    (This year, there is no way I'm going to even come close to breaking even, my wife is going to be ticked when she see how far in the hole I am this year, so I only got 2 subs for next year, but I have a feeling there is no way I can convince her to let me get a sub in 2015, I kinda wish they had a 2 year sub sign up, then I could have signed up and told her, sorry it's too late I'm stuck for the next 2 years)

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    Always Hungry.... Megalodon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
    While I agree with you, I still maintain it's not an ethical issue. It's an economic issue. People are greedy with toys because people are greedy with everything. That's economics in a nutshell.
    Your right but the funny thing is that too many people are on the bandwagon where everything is worth a fortune and going to put there kids thru college because they saw it go for X Ammount on E-Bay....Really

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    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalodon View Post
    Your right but the funny thing is that too many people are on the bandwagon where everything is worth a fortune and going to put there kids thru college because they saw it go for X Ammount on E-Bay....Really

    That's psychology. People have to come up with a rational excuse to spend a fortune on toys (rather than on important stuff) and so they convince themselves that it will prove to be a profitable exercise.
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    Heroic Warrior wyldman11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post

    My favorite retail markup is the $7 popcorn at the movie theater.

    Is that unethical? Not really. You don't have to buy it. And you aren't being lied to about the price or the amount of popcorn you will be receiving. In the end, it's neither ethical nor unethical to charge that much. It's a simple business transaction.
    To be fair and what a lot of people don't understand, movie theatres aren't making the money off the movies at first. They longer the film is at a theatre the more percent of the ticket price the theatre itself makes. The first week or two they make nothing to almost nothing it's all going to the studio. the problem is by the time they are making a profit off a film, no one is in the theatre and it's better to put in another film which gets people buying concessions. This was why movie theatres liked the movie Titanic is hung around forever and was still drawing people in at the point they actually started making money off of it.

    Basically movie studios won't you to watch the movie opening weekend, movie theatres would like you to come a month or two later when they are making the profit the problem is if noone comes during those first few weeks they get rid of the film. so movie theatre's overprice their concessions.
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    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    I think the problem here is we haven't established what constitutes insider trading when toys are sold.

    Insider trading involves "secret information" that no one else has access to. If the information is available for anyone to access, the behavior isn't unethical.

    If I find a deluxe transformer at Ross for $6.99 and sell it to someone who isn't aware that the figure is showing up at Ross, that's not insider trading. Being more attuned to market conditions than the buyer does not make a seller guilty of insider trading.
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-bro View Post
    I am a guy who does lots of reselling, mostly to support my habit. Usually I buy 3 subs, sell 2 and keep one. I have a wife, but she has little to no use for my figures, so If I break even at end of the year she "OK" it. Last year after all the sales, stamps.com, paypal and ebay fees (and keeping the figures I wanted to keep) I was up $15. That includes all the the custom stuff I did too and sold. I'm not in it to make a ton of money, just to pay for my own hobby. As we know some figures are just a loosing battle like the star sisters, so in order to make the difference up I do sell other figures at a high cost.

    I figured it out with 3 subs after shipping and tax each figure is approximately $33. To still have $33 the lowest I can sell a figure for on ebay is about $38. But right now They are going for about $34 and free shipping, so each normal figure I loose about $2 or $3 bucks, so on the rare figures I have to gouge buyers in order to make up the difference.

    I know it stinks, but there was a guy who wanted me to sell him Shadow Weaver at cost, I told him I would if he bought some other figures at cost from me, he declined, and that is the real issue, everyone wants rare figures at cost, except when the lame ducks figures come up, then we can't get rid of them even at a loss.
    I think everyone wants to get their figures for dirt cheap and sell their unwanted ones for a big profit-it's just common sense. But, people shouldn't be upset when they can't sell their figures for a lot or buy them for really cheap.

    As for the lame duck figures, I took your advice (which you jokingly made in another thread) with the Star Sisters. There was no way I was going to get anywhere close to what they cost me, so I packaged them with Fisto (who I didn't want to sell). I sold Fisto for $120 and the SS were included. If the buyer didn't want the SS, they would still have to pay $120. A fellow Orger wanted Fisto, and his daughter wanted the SS, so he was glad to buy them. I ended up making about $11 on each figure. He was happy and I was happy.
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    Heroic Warrior atlas0413's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
    I think the problem here is we haven't established what constitutes insider trading when toys are sold.

    Insider trading involves "secret information" that no one else has access to. If the information is available for anyone to access, the behavior isn't unethical.

    If I find a deluxe transformer at Ross for $6.99 and sell it to someone who isn't aware that the figure is showing up at Ross, that's not insider trading. Being more attuned to market conditions than the buyer does not make a seller guilty of insider trading.
    Hi, I want you to consider this scenario: someone asks you about the new He-Man figure you have on your desk (motuc). They love it and want to get one as well because they loved He-Man as a kid. They also don't know about mattycollector or the line at all.

    Would you
    A: say yes this is a rare figure and if you want I will sell him to you for say $80 (then you just buy another one later from Matty) or;
    B: say these are for sale at mattycollector for $27, go to the site and hae a look around as there are more figures these as well

    Ethics, morals, whatever you want to call it will determine what you do. Everyone likes money but it is what you do to get it that is the important thing. Either A or B will be acceptable as a sale, it is how you fell later that counts.

    In this example however, if it was say a Fisto or equivalent rare item and you say, it is rare and you want the current market value then this is appropriate as there is only one alternative for the buyer to obtain it - take it or Leave it so to speak
    Last edited by atlas0413; September 5, 2013 at 09:02pm.

  25. #25
    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atlas0413 View Post
    Hi, I want you to consider this scenario: someone asks you about the new He-Man figure you have on your desk (motuc). They love it and want to get one as well because they loved He-Man as a kid. They also don't know about mattycollector or the line at all.

    Would you
    A: say yes this is a rare figure and if you want I will sell him to you for say $80 (then you just buy another one later from Matty) or;
    B: say these are for sale at mattycollector for $27, go to the site and hae a look around as there are more figures these as well

    Ethics, morals, whatever you want to call it will determine what you do. Everyone likes money but it is what you do to get it that is the important thing. Either A or B will be acceptable as a sale, it is how you fell later that counts.

    In this example however, if it was say a Fisto or equivalent rare item and you say, it is rare and you want the current market value then this is appropriate as there is only one alternative for the buyer to obtain it - take it or Leave it so to speak

    The obvious response is option B. If the buyer does any research whatsoever, it won't take him or her long to realize that your asking price was high. People won't bother to buy from you in the future if they feel your prices are high. Anyway, this is a flawed hypothetical. The buyer would clearly ask for more information about the figure. If you lie about it ("Found it at a pawn shop") or refuse to provide any details about it, you lose the buyer's respect. As a seller, you can't sacrifice your reputation on a single sale--you have to have an eye towards the future. Give some credit to Buzz. If he's got 6 Adora's, he lists that he's got 6 of them--rather than pretending he's down to his last one or whatever.
    "The better you get at this job, the more dangerous it becomes."

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