Pricing Ethics (split from Shady Dealers)
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:37 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
To that person, and probably to a few others, yes. As a result, it would only seem profitable for a seller to look first for values in that ballpark when trying to unload it. If no one comes along, then the seller may wish to lower their price.

But to me, its a bunch of old pieces of paper that hold comparably very little value to me. Why would I pay $1000 for something I value only $100? I would only do so if I were an investor or looking to turn a profit... but not as a buyer or collector.

I've merely argued that value is always subjective. When you agree to pay a price for something, it must be "worth" what you paid for it. Otherwise you wouldn't buy it.

Now, how this relates to the manner in which some sites wish to ascribe "market values" to items is another thread entirely (and to which I have been silent).


Perhaps you have misjudged this site then. A vast majority of the people who post on this site are not investors.  They are collectors of a game that is very near and dear to their hearts. :) As a matter of fact, I am not sure if I have ever read anyone on hear claim that they are doing it as an investment venture.  To be 100% honest, I can't even count how many times I have read people say that if you are planning on doing this collecting D&D stuff as an investment, don't.  Go do mutual funds of something.

Do a forum search on the word "investment" and I a fairly confident you will see what I am saying.


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:41 pm 
 

Perhaps you have misjudged this site. A vast majority of the people who post on this site are not investors. They are collectors of a game that is very near and dear to their hearts.


Which is precisely why I find it odd that people who value things much more or much less than the average user get some sort of shock treatment around here. They are collectors. They pay what they feel the item is worth... to them. Why should they or I care what everyone else thinks? This would only be a concern if the item was to be resold or the object of profit... which seems to belie your comment.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:45 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
Which is precisely why I find it odd that people who value things much more or much less than the average user get some sort of shock treatment around here. They are collectors. They pay what they feel the item is worth... to them. Why should they or I care what everyone else thinks? This would only be a concern if the item was to be resold or the object of profit... which seems to belie your comment.


Well, to be quite honest, I am always quite shocked and amazed at how dumb people are sometimes.  I fail to see how spekaing out about sellers trying to take advantage of those very same dumb people is some how contradicting anyone's point.  :?


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:48 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:
The problem is, and you may find this out over time, the D&D market is unique from any of the larger collectible markets.  This is due in part to the niche market that actually collects it.  D&D even in its heyday back in the late 70's and early 80's could not and would not come anywhere close in potential volume of things that most other people collect.  This is why you see less eratic buying prices/selling prices.  Occasionally something comes up that raises some eyebrows and 99 times out 100 its either a buyer new to Ebay or one with very little or no D&D buying activity.  A large majority of the folks who are going to collect D&D stuff already do so or have done so and are gone.  That may sound like a crazy statement until you realize just how small the potential buying base is.  Ebay has brought out a vast majority of these people over the last 8 years or so.


You may be right (though I'm not entirely buying it  :D ). However, my point, my only point, is in keeping with the Acaeum valuation thread and the article on the status of this hobby: there is NO "true value" for any of these items. The only reason I ventured onto the boards to say this is my many memories of running a baseball card shop in the 90's and seeing the crushed looks on hundreds of young boys and men's faces when they came in to see what their cherished cards were worth (some of them had been paid well for just a year orso earlier) only to find that the price guide showed a sharp drop in the prices (sometimes 90%!). They were bewildered for many reasons. Some thought that prices always go up on collectibles. Some felt hurt and taken advantage of by the person who sold them the card just a few years before (even when they bought the card at guide prices). Some even seemed to feel as though their dreams and childhood were devalued!

I would go blue in the face trying to explain the ups and downs of collectibles, the way that values are set, and the fact that their cherished items should be no less cherished just because a book says it is worth 50% less than what they paid for it 3 years earlier (at book price). Maybe I came off the wrong way in my post. I really just wanted to make sure that people are aware of this ugly aspect of collectibles: modules, Honus Wagner cards, X-Men comics, First print Alice in Wonderlands, and Tsoj's ARE worth what they are worth to you. The only "objective" price associated with these cherished (and wonderful) items is the price you will get from a pulp paper recycler....

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:55 pm 
 

nevcoup wrote:
You may be right (though I'm not entirely buying it  :D ). However, my point, my only point, is in keeping with the Acaeum valuation thread and the article on the status of this hobby: there is NO "true value" for any of these items. The only reason I ventured onto the boards to say this is my many memories of running a baseball card shop in the 90's and seeing the crushed looks on hundreds of young boys and men's faces when they came in to see what their cherished cards were worth (some of them had been paid well for just a year orso earlier) only to find that the price guide showed a sharp drop in the prices (sometimes 90%!). They were bewildered for many reasons. Some thought that prices always go up on collectibles. Some felt hurt and taken advantage of by the person who sold them the card just a few years before (even when they bought the card at guide prices). Some even seemed to feel as though their dreams and childhood were devalued!

I would go blue in the face trying to explain the ups and downs of collectibles, the way that values are set, and the fact that their cherished items should be no less cherished just because a book says it is worth 50% less than what they paid for it 3 years earlier (at book price). Maybe I came off the wrong way in my post. I really just wanted to make sure that people are aware of this ugly aspect of collectibles: modules, Honus Wagner cards, X-Men comics, First print Alice in Wonderlands, and Tsoj's ARE worth what they are worth to you. The only "objective" price associated with these cherished (and wonderful) items is the price you will get from a pulp paper recycler....


Believe me, I know all about Baseball Cards, I used to collect them. :oops: Not signifigantly, but I did have a fair sized collection back in the early 1990's.

The fact of the matter is that with Baseball Cards a few things really destroyed the value.  First off and foremost market saturation in both new companies producing the cards and the sheer volume of the cards being produced IMO was the primary reason for the signifigant drop.

The second culprit in the market collapse on cards was in general the world wide web and more specifically online auctions sites like Ebay & Amazon(in the early days). People started to find out that the cards that owned or aspired to own were not quite as hard to find as once thoght they were prior to the internet.  I can specifically remember reading an article in the newspaper(I think it was the Boston Globe) back in 1997 or 1998 about the big hubbub about a Nolan Ryan rookie card that sold at auction for $1600.00.  Now, you can hop on Ebay 10 years later and pick one up a lot of times for $250 to $300.  granted thats not chump change, but it is a signifigant price drop for a collectible over a 10 year period.   With D&D stuff these days, those issues are either completely moot or have already been addressed.


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Last edited by bclarkie on Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:58 pm 
 

those very same dumb people


By "dumb" you mean, "atypical"?

In some ways, we ALL are dumb. When I score a shrinkwrapped CM9 for $10 I'm laughing all the way to the bank (and did). But should I? Let's look at it:

The store manager is thinking, this is garbage I'll charge it high just to snare some stupid collector who walks in. When I buy it for $10, from the sellers perspective, he is getting a great deal "taking advantage of some newbie".

The fact is, the average person does not value this stuff at all... it is junk to them. We as a group are -- to normal people -- that infamous "Tsojoconth guy".

The point is, the guy who plunked down $1900 is in some sense some ultra-collector .. relative to us "normal or typical" folk here at the Acaeum (for argument's sake, suppose he was willing to pay $2500 for it and paid $1900, just as I was willing to pay $50 for the CM9 and paid the exhorbitant $10).

All this means is people value things differently and it would be stupid for a store or seller not to notice the difference. As such, there's nothing shady about pricing accordingly.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:03 pm 
 

Then I'll remain silent about it. I have lurked here for a long time, so I know the names (including you) of the folks who know their stuff. I am just skeptical that this market has somehow transcended the vicissitudes of all other collectible markets. Heck, even markets that are not prone to over printing and flooding (e.g., depression glass, old paper money, antique furniture, etc...) ebb and flow, sometimes to the extreme.

Nevertheless, I am happy I finally broke in on a thread and hope I didn't come off on the wrong foot. Really, my motivation has just been to sound a warning on collectibles. If I am wrong about this market, then I'll switch my handle to Village Idiot (might be fun to do anyway  :lol: ).

Well met, all!

(as an aside, I HOPE you are right about the general stability of this market because I have a long way to go before I complete my collection and I'd hate to be buying items when they are at a freak all-time high...)

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:05 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:All this means is people value things differently and it would be stupid for a store or seller not to notice the difference. As such, there's nothing shady about pricing accordingly.


If that was really the case then why don't all stores(and I mean grocery stores, gas stations Wal-Mart, etc.) Just either have huge prices or run auctions all day.  I mean they could really be screwing themselves out of good money. There might be some buyer out there that values that pack of toliet paper to the tune of $100.  

Store owners(both on and off Ebay) who have ridiculous prices believe that the marketplace is a lottery there for them to get rich in hopes some fool and his money will stroll along.  This is what makes them shady.


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:12 pm 
 

nevcoup wrote:Then I'll remain silent about it. I have lurked here for a long time, so I know the names (including you) of the folks who know their stuff. I am just skeptical that this market has somehow transcended the vicissitudes of all other collectible markets. Heck, even markets that are not prone to over printing and flooding (e.g., depression glass, old paper money, antique furniture, etc...) ebb and flow, sometimes to the extreme.

Nevertheless, I am happy I finally broke in on a thread and hope I didn't come off on the wrong foot. Really, my motivation has just been to sound a warning on collectibles. If I am wrong about this market, then I'll switch my handle to Village Idiot (might be fun to do anyway  :lol: ).

Well met, all!

(as an aside, I HOPE you are right about the general stability of this market because I have a long way to go before I complete my collection and I'd hate to be buying items when they are at a freak all-time high...)


Don't get me wrong, as I am sure you know, there are no guarantees, especially when it comes to this type of thing.  

I do believe though that the market will continualy(albiet slowly for the most part) rise over time to a certain point.  That said, I also believe that this market in the distant future will (with the exception of a very few select items such as the woodgrain sets due to their huge part in the history of RPGs) slowly start to fade as the folks who now collect this stuff move on to that big D&D adventure in the sky. :wink:


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:13 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
All this means is people value things differently and it would be stupid for a store or seller not to notice the difference. As such, there's nothing shady about pricing accordingly.


I have no problems with sellers trying to make a profit.  However what I see more and more is sellers buying at the going rates then attempting to drive up the prices by a huge amount.  I have seen high price items put at BINs which are triple their market value.  

Lets not forget our friend Cougie who attempted to buy every H1 on the face of the planet.  To what end?  So the buyers such as my self are forced to purchase at inflated prices?  Fine I will (and did) but not one cent of my money went to that idiot.

To Brian and the rest of the crew who flag those shady sellers out there.  You have my thanks.  Keep up the good work and don't let the current discussion disuade you.  I would rather have the opportunity to read this discussion and form my own opinion of a seller.

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:13 pm 
 

If that was really the case then why don't all stores(and I mean grocery stores, gas stations Wal-Mart, etc.) Just either have huge prices or run auctions all day. I mean they could really be screwing themselves out of good money. There might be some buyer out there that values that pack of toliet paper to the tune of $100.


Perhaps you could be an entrepreneur and try this. If you're successful then you'd probably see a lot of other companies following you.

The reason why they don't is not because they are not shady, but for other reasons:

1. food is non-durable
2. some products are easy to gauge their condition online.. others are not (an apple anyone?)
3. the cost of shipping relative to the price of the item (most people won't like to pay $3.00 shipping for a $0.50 item).
4. exceptional values for food are very, very, very, very unusual.. likely because there is little subjectivity. Food is meant to provide nutrition and nothing else. A D&D module can contain value in how it looks, the nostalgia, the quality of its adventure, et al.

Don't be fooled. Every store on Earth is price gouging you as best they can... all the time. When you are buying food they are charging the most that they can get away with -- subject to competition -- so long as you are willing to pay.

Store owners(both on and off Ebay) who have ridiculous prices believe that the marketplace is a lottery there for them to get rich in hopes some fool and his money will stroll along. This is what makes them shady.


As I was trying to illustrate, we all are fools by this criterion. But frankly, I don't think that store who sold me 20 CM9s shrinkwrapped at $10 apiece was shady in the least.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:18 pm 
 

One of the big differences between RPG collectibles and other collectibles is that the former can actually be used for something fun and useful, namely playing the game.  And they can be played with multiple times.  What can you do with a baseball card besides frame it or look at it... and there are thousands and thousands of them printed, they're not unique like artwork.  It's amazing that baseball cards were ever worth as much as they were.  Modern life favors niche interests.  RPG collecting has always been a niche and always will, and that favors their continued value.  
But if you want an investment that will almost certainly increase in value then history shows that real estate is a pretty good one.  When a young boy asked John Jakob Astor at the turn of the 20th century what to invest in, Astor replied, "Manhattan real estate, they're not making any more of it you know..."

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:19 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:I do believe though that the market will continualy(albiet slowly for the most part) rise over time to a certain point.  That said, I also believe that this market in the distant future will (with the exception of a very few select items such as the woodgrain sets due to their huge part in the history of RPGs) slowly start to fade as the folks who now collect this stuff move on to that big D&D adventure in the sky. :wink:


Agreed.  But then I didn't purchase the items for thier collectablilty value but rather my love of the game.  Having certain items hanging on my wall are worth far more in the smile they bring to my face than the $ spent.   :D

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:19 pm 
 

Yawn...

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:20 pm 
 

I have no problems with sellers trying to make a profit.  However what I see more and more is sellers buying at the going rates then attempting to drive up the prices by a huge amount.  I have seen high price items put at BINs which are triple their market value.  


Seems as though BINs should have a higher value than normal, should it not? After all, there is great value to me as a buyer knowing that I can guarantee I get the item with a simple click of a button .. whenever I want.. at a price I know for certain.

Lets not forget our friend Cougie who attempted to buy every H1 on the face of the planet.  To what end?  So the buyers such as my self are forced to purchase at inflated prices?  Fine I will (and did) but not one cent of my money went to that idiot.


He did that? Seems pretty difficult to do..

Anyways, no one is forced to buy an H1.. just like no one is forced to buy a Tsojoconth. I mean, all you serious collectors prevent me from owning one by driving up the price. When it gets down to $100 I'll start to hand over my money.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:23 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:Don't be fooled. Every store on Earth is price gouging you as best they can... all the time. When you are buying food they are charging the most that they can get away with -- subject to competition -- so long as you are willing to pay.  


I don't agree with this point.  Don't get me wrong I am in no way naive about it, stores are in business to make money, but I do not believe that they try to gouge there customers to the limit.  Case in point, Wal-Mart the company that everyone oloves to hate, does and in the past has been known to take losses on certain toys and other things that they sell in an effort to drive more customers to their stores. Of course this is done with the hopes that these same customers also buy other things, but they are in fact  taking losses on specific items with the hope that they will pick up residual sales that help offset and overcome those losses.


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:26 pm 
 

One of the big differences between RPG collectibles and other collectibles is that the former can actually be used for something fun and useful, namely playing the game.


But are those interested in using the products in playing the game at all influencing what an Egg of Phoenix goes for? Most players will pay no more than $10.. but they go for a lot more than that.

The analogy is that you can "fly cards" with your friends, but that doesn't have any affect on the price.

What can you do with a baseball card besides frame it or look at it... and there are thousands and thousands of them printed, they're not unique like artwork.  It's amazing that baseball cards were ever worth as much as they were.


Not really. They hold tremendous nostalgic value which drives up the price.. precisely what happens with rpgs.

In fact, who is to say staring at your sports hero is any less volatile a characteristic for purposes of garnering nostalgia then playing a 20-year-old game?

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:27 pm 
 

This thread is starting to remind me of the owner of the comic/game store from Eastern Canada that came on here about a year ago with the argument that the listings on The Acaeum are underpriced just because he was able to gouge far larger amounts of money from his customers.
Once he had them in his store he would tell them that the price on his goods were the going rate and that the values were appreciating.
Essentially he would pressure his customers into believing whatever he told them was the value and that this might be their last chance to purchase one of these rare items.  :lol:

Bargains can be had if you educate yourself (The Acaeum is providing this service) and if you are willing to be patient.

We have all seen newbies driving up auction prices and in some cases the items are not even amongst the "rares". :roll: If it happens to be your own auction that this happens with then that is a bonus. However a realistic seller does not expect that to happen.

As stated in the past, some of the sellers with the outrageous BIN's make regular sellers look like they are offering fabulous bargains. :twisted:

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:30 pm 
 

I don't agree with this point.  Don't get me wrong I am in no way naive about it, stores are in business to make money, but I do not believe that they try to gouge there customers to the limit.  Case in point, Wal-Mart the company that everyone oloves to hate, does and in the past has been known to take losses on certain toys and other things that they sell in an effort to drive more customers to their stores. Of course this is done with the hopes that these same customers also buy other things, but they are in fact  taking losses on specific items with the hope that they will pick up residual sales that help offset and overcome those losses.


Sure, if you want to get into subtle practices of advertising and what not, then of course not every item you buy will come at your maximum willingness to pay. Moreover, the store cannot identify perfectly what each and everyone is willing to pay for something (though they try.. coupons anyone?).

That notwithstanding, businesses operate to maximize profit which -- as a whole -- means they will charge the highest amount of money for a good that they can get away with.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:33 pm 
 

This thread is starting to remind me of the owner of the comic/game store from Eastern Canada that came on here about a year ago with the argument that the listings on The Acaeum are underpriced just because he was able to gouge far larger amounts of money from his customers.


As someone else has done in the classifieds, maybe the owner is factoring appreciation into the prices he offers  :)


Last edited by Sea-to-sky-games on Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  
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