Pricing Ethics (split from Shady Dealers)
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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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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:34 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
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 an everyone is willing to pay for something (though they try.. coupons anyone?).


For one, I don't consider anything Wal-Mart does to subtle. For two its not even something that Wal-Mart advertised, it was something that their competion advertised by thier complaints about this practice.


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:34 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:He did that? Seems pretty difficult to do..


I didn't say he was smart

Sea-to-sky-games wrote: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.


Missed the point.  I bid, win one and move on.  I don't hang around bidding on every auction and driving the price up for all other buyers.  

Getting back to our car example earlier in this thread.  Imagine you find a car you like. You put in an offer only to be beaten by another seller who then tries to sell you the same car at a higher price.  No one is forcing you to by the car.  So you don't.  Now imagine this happens everytime you try to buy a similar car.

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:36 pm 
 

For one, I don't consider anything Wal-Mart does to subtle. For two its not even something that Wal-Mart advertised, it was something that their competion advertised by thier complaints about this practice.


Ah yes, the competition. When they can't beat Walmart on price they need to revert to something else.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:40 pm 
 

Missed the point.  I bid, win one and move on.  I don't hang around bidding on every auction and driving the price up for all other buyers.  

Getting back to our car example earlier in this thread.  Imagine you find a car you like. You put in an offer only to be beaten by another seller who then tries to sell you the same car at a higher price.  No one is forcing you to by the car.  So you don't.  Now imagine this happens everytime you try to buy a similar car.


I wasn't equating buying Tsojoconth's with the H1 scheme, only stating that you're never forced to pay what the "market" wishes you to pay.

As to the car example, if this happened then the price would reach a lot higher than I was willing to pay. So instead of the 300zx -- for example -- costing $8000, it now costs $12,000. The car is no longer attractive to me and I look to buy a different car, or ride the bus.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:06 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
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.


And there it is, exactly. We as a group are NOT in the "business" of selling RPG's. RPG collecting is a hobby we love. We all work for our livings.
We have no issues with those who buy items and resell them for profit. We DO have issues with those who pay stupid prices for items and then try to flip them for even stupider amounts. This concept may be hard for you to grasp, not being an actual collector and all, but when some asshole who is only interested in money pays a fortune for a rare item, it fucks us all. It removes it from the collecting pool, and insures that no one who cares about it for it's historic value will ever own it, since we are not typically willing to take it up the can.
I can tell you are American, since the concept of running a business to make a living, not to fuck everyone possible, is foreign to you. I have seen this trend in every facet of American life; get as much as you can out of everyone and everything you can. No wonder everyone hates us.


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:27 pm 
 

We DO have issues with those who pay stupid prices for items and then try to flip them for even stupider amounts. This concept may be hard for you to grasp, not being an actual collector and all, but when some asshole who is only interested in money pays a fortune for a rare item, it fucks us all. It removes it from the collecting pool, and insures that no one who cares about it for it's historic value will ever own it, since we are not typically willing to take it up the can.


No need to insult me. I'm frustrated a bit by those who pay more than $100 for a Tsojoconth -- thus depriving me of the chance to buy one -- but I don't castigate them for paying what they want to pay for it. More power to them.

And I do collect quite a few TSR things (my room is full of the stuff). I just happen to follow my own tune.. ie. actually paying what I think it is worth not what others think about it.

[Do not take that the wrong way -- the Acaeum is a brilliant resource for me as a buyer and seller. I've used the site at least for the last 6 years or so.]

I can tell you are American, since the concept of running a business to make a living, not to fuck everyone possible, is foreign to you.


I'm not an American, but still:

Suppose there was a store that just wanted to "make a living" (whatever that means), by selling a good for less than a buyer was willing to pay. When such a discrepancy was noticed -- probably by an entrepreneur -- that person would make a profit by just buying low from that store and selling high. Does it make a difference whether the store gets all the profit or it is split by the store and entrepreneur? The consumer is still likely to get gouged, or however you wish to express it.

Pricing efficiently coordinates market activity, sending goods to where they are needed and wanted the most. If people didn't do that, we'd be like the Soviet Union.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:47 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:
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.


Ditto for comics. I was heavily involved in buying and selling comics in the early 90's, and got out before it got really ugly.  It's taken 10 years for the hobby to recover from greedy companies and sellers trying to overinflate values.
  Ebay has changed a lot of the dynamics of collectibles, though.  Hell, I look at some of my old price lists when I used to sell RPGs on the old AOL forums (pre-ebay) and laugh.  Stuff like B1-9 or T1-4 going for $100 a pop; common letter modules for $25-$30 each.  While I would probably make a helluva lot more money at the old prices, the market has corrected itself, and I feel the prices for D&D items is probably the most accurate it's ever been....maybe even a little lower than it should be, if you want to be honest.  
  I guess I've evolved from the rightgeous rage of days gone by.  I just can't muster up anything but head shaking disgust and amusement at the Valhalla and Troll& Toads of the world.   I've seen so many "entrepreneurs" come and go, all the Creep1962's who were going to RULE THE WORLD by turning the collectible market on it's head.  They have all either been buried, or will be in the future, because no one person will ever corner the market by RAISING prices to godawful levels.   The quickest way to make me a sale is to price that Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil at $85, because mine at $45 looks like a kick ass deal.  And for every one you find to put up at $85, I'll find another to toss up there at $45 and undercut every sale you make.  Sure you might make a sale or two to a desperate newbie, but guys like myself, BTB, BC, Ian, etc, are going to bust your balls year after year after year until you move along to another overpriced collectible (garden gnomes, anyone?).
   I'll let these guys in on a secret...you want to shut me down?  Start UNDERPRICING me.  You'll wear me down by attrition.  If you start putting letter modules up for $5, you'll lose money for awhile, but you'll have me eating out of a trash can in 6 months, guaranteed, if you can sustain your inventory.  Luckily most of the guys who could do this (they have the deep pockets or inventory) just can't see the forest for the trees.  Titan Games for ex. could kick our ass if they ever pulled their head out.  Luckily, greed and bad judgement motivate most of the larger outfits.
  So I guess IMO I don't know if I'd call the overchargers "shady", dumb maybe, but no one is pointing a gun at a newbie's head to make him pay $2k for a Tso or whatever.

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:51 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:
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.


Yeh, but the spirit of competition keeps those toilet paper rolls in the reasonable range (thank god for that, I'm not going to use old Dragon mags for that business).  Store owners with ridiculous prices might make a sale or two, but in the long run those clueless doinks are just going to disappear when guys like myself or BTB keep beating their brains in with reasonable prices.  The marketplace will sort itself out eventually....hey, how's Creepie's plan to RULE THE WORLD working out for him?  If they stopped making D&D minis he'd be out of luck I guess.

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:56 pm 
 

improvstone wrote:
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.


Yeh, Cougie tried to RULE THE WORLD also...how'd that work out for him?  Trying to corner the market on a product that wasn't quite as rare as it needed to be for his plan to work (as seen by the dozens that have gone on sale since Cougie attempted his coup).  What a frikken idiot.

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:59 pm 
 

jasonw1239 wrote:
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:

JasonW


Bingo.  I need to send out some Christmas cards to these guys, they made my holiday great... :twisted:

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:01 am 
 

I am involved at pricing at a large American owned oilfield service company and I assure you we price things with an attitude of what the market will bear.  I can name several situations where our prices were in the neighborhood of 10-50 times what we paid for the product, some products are only 12-20% margins but these are uncommon.  It's up-sold by creative marketing techniques and value added type marketing.  I have seen a $700,000.00 invoice come across my desk where I knew $500,000 was the gross profit.  Crazy but that is how some large corporations work.

RPG collectables has very few deep pocketed collectors; it is a very poor choice for investors.  It may be a better investment at some time in the future but probably not.  For investments to work you require sustained growth.  There is just not enough big spenders to soak up $2000.00 TSOJ's for very long.  Maybe some day that $100.00 TSOJ will be available.


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:15 am 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
I'm not an American, but still:

Suppose there was a store that just wanted to "make a living" (whatever that means), by selling a good for less than a buyer was willing to pay. When such a discrepancy was noticed -- probably by an entrepreneur -- that person would make a profit by just buying low from that store and selling high. Does it make a difference whether the store gets all the profit or it is split by the store and entrepreneur? The consumer is still likely to get gouged, or however you wish to express it.

Pricing efficiently coordinates market activity, sending goods to where they are needed and wanted the most. If people didn't do that, we'd be like the Soviet Union.


That's exactly what places like Half Price Books do..they underprice goods that may or may not be sold for more.  In a perfect model (for them), everything would be priced exactly what the market would bear.  Unfortunately (for them) this is impossible, as sheer volume makes it unlikely they will ever be able to comb through every single item they get to discover the "true value".  Not to mention, that by pricing every single item at exactly what the market would bear, they would soon be up to their eyeballs in inventory and unable to effectively function as a used goods store. Their business model is to pay low, sell underneath what the market will bear....not high or even exactly what the market will bear...and accumulate profit by sheer volume.  Sure they "nostalgia price" a Beatles Butcher Cut cover or 1st edition Tom Sawyer hardback that comes through the line ocassionally, but this is the exception.  Which leaves a nice window of opportunity for entrepeneurs to buy items low, then sell for a profit because most individuals, unlike corporations, can afford to price more towards what a market will bear and actually wait until that price is met.  Sure McDonalds could price their hamburgers at $15 each if some moron decided this would insure maximum profit, but they would go broke in a week.
   I don't even know what I'm babbling about anymore, just downed 4 Shiners in an hour while watching the Mavs whip the Spurs to hell and back...all this free market/price manipulation talk has gotten me all goosebumpy though.... :wink:

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