Pricing Ethics (split from Shady Dealers)
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:19 am 
 

Blackmoor wrote: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.


That is a really good point that I've been thinking about for a while.  The upward trend that we had been witnessing the past couple years on the holy grails took a downward trend as soon as some of the big pockets pulled out of the hobby (no need to name names, we know who they are  :wink: ), and new big pocketed collectors have not appeared in sufficient numbers to replace them.  We are such a niche hobby that just a half-dozen big collectors pulling out of the active market will have a diminishing trend on big-ticket item prices, while the influx of a few David Van Wies (remember his White Box test?) sends big-ticket stuff way high, way fast.  
Long term in our lifetimes, I think most items will continue to push slowly higher as more Gen-Xers achieve higher income and nostalgia levels.  And then when their kids leave the nest, well, I expect a big price jump in about 20 years.  I just read an article about the collectible train market that is experiencing big growth now since most of the collectors are guys in their 50's and 60's with nice incomes and no kids to spend their money on anymore.  But after they die, the hobby may go with them.  So, yeah, in 70 years, a Tsoj or PotVQ may go for $10 after all.  None of us will probably be around to see it however.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:32 am 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote: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.


Actually I had someone recently spend over $250 for a super rare non-TSR adventure, and he said he couldn't wait to run it.  

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:The analogy is that you can "fly cards" with your friends, but that doesn't have any affect on the price.


Actually playing "fly cards" kills the collectible value of baseball cards.  
You can play a module carefully and still have it kept in excellent condition for a later sale if one desires.  

Sea-to-sky-games wrote: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?


A baseball card is about nostalgia, it has no intrinsic value besides its aesthetic design.  The statistics and information on the card can be easily garnered on the web or elsewhere.  The potential for the faint scent of bubblegum is the only sensational aspect of the card, otherwise they are almost all the same.  
I used to collect baseball cards as a kid but sold them this past summer without any regret or sense of attachment.  

A gaming item is much more than an object of aesthetic nostalgia.  It can be played.  Boardgames and miniatures are perhaps even better examples of this since they are tactile as well.  Modules tell a story, and human beings have pined for great stories since the advent of spoken language.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:59 am 
 

VermilionFire wrote:A gaming item is much more than an object of aesthetic nostalgia.  It can be played.  Boardgames and miniatures are perhaps even better examples of this since they are tactile as well.  Modules tell a story, and human beings have pined for great stories since the advent of spoken language.


This is very true, I spent $175.00 on a game once (Talisman with two expansions if you must know) and I play it all the time!!  I even considered updating some of the super rares like POVQ and Dwarven Glory to 3.5 rules so a new generation could enjoy them. :)


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:11 am 
 

Damn!  I go to sleep for 6 hours and there is a "split" thread and 70 new posts!

Maybe I can boil this down:

If an RPG item typically sells for somewhere in the range of $25 - $50 (which is a large range, allowing for a great difference in market fluctuation) and a knowledgeable seller with a store puts it for sale at $95, then that is shady.  A buyer who might someday purchase it, is NOT doing it because they THINK THAT IS WHAT IT IS WORTH or because it is WORTH it to them.  They are doing it because they DON'T know what to pay.  They were probably unfortunate and started searching ebay at the exact time that:

1) They decided they wanted to buy some item or items

and

2) It was the only one listed at the time.


Guaranteed, when they someday get a better handle on the market, they won't say "I was happy to pay $95 because it was WORTH IT TO ME", they will say:  "Shit, I got ripped off".


Life goes on, the seller isn't a criminal, the buyer hasn't lost any money  they weren't willing to pay.  But is it shady on the seller's part?  Hell yes it is.  Is it taking "unfair" advantage of a buyer?  In my book, it is.

I've had buyers contact me before asking about items I have on auction or other things that I might have that aren't listed.  I've had them plead that they desperately need something and some people (granted a little foolish) indicate they MUST have it and would pay anything!  Can you believe a buyer saying that?  Still, if I make a deal, I will only ask for what I would have without "knowledge" of their "desperation".  

What kind of person are you?  (you being general to mean "anyone" and not any acaeum member specifically  :D   )  If you see a buyer in need do you try and rip him off or give him a fair deal?

If you see the guy in front of you in line drop $5 on the ground, do you wait for him to leave and then pick it up or tap him on the shoulder to let him know?


As a final note:  "Worth it to that buyer" for exceedingly high prices ONLY applies to RARE items that are seldom seem.  If you buy an original painting and shell out $100,000 more than was expected . . . then it was worth it to you.  If you buy the home run ball that won a World Series it was "Worth it to You".  If you buy Gary Gygax's personal 1st owned copy of a Player's Handbook, it was "Worth it to you".  

If you buy a module for triple the going rate that had a print run of 50,000 . . . then you got ripped off!


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 9:23 am 
 

What he said.


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:49 pm 
 

Wow! Hot topic.

I don't think that setting your price high in the market is in any way unethical or immoral. If no one buys then you have to either continue to pay eBay for the privelidge of having your item displayed, or lower your price to sell it.

If this system of business affects price in any way, then there are two sides to the arguement. If you havent got a Tsoj' and are pissed off that the price is being driven up, then for those who do have a Tsoj' their investment value is going up.

It seems odd that we are arguing here over what is essentially the capitalist market economy, and we are living in the most prosperous capitalist societies in the world, and some of you are pissed off 'cos some people run their businesses in what is considered 'sacred collector terratory'.

It's business. I'm sure you all run your own businesses, or work for employers wh do, who always put the interest of their business first. Sometimes that means keeping your prices high and squeezing he market, and sometimes that means dropping them to cost and getting rid of stock.

You can't lambast someone because they have something you want and you can't afford to pay their asking price. And if you don't have the option to shop elsewhere, then that just goes to show he's running his business well.

Believe me, all of us who sell on eBay know EXACTLY what effect our pricing has on our sales. I stock neiche market goods price at the upper end of what the market will bear. I also conciously bid on items on eBay that I already have in my store in order to ensure that I either have additional stock or maintain a high price when I am outbid. Either outcome is benefitial to me business and maintains the value of my stock.

I would really like a Hummer. But they are f"ckin expensive in the UK and those people who bring them here double the price on them. A mid range new Hummer would cost me $120K-$150K. I'm not really pissed off about that however. I'm certainly not gonna start complaining that some US capitalist car maker is trying to f"ck over the Brits byrestricting the flow of goods and price fixing high in the market.

That's life in a rich capitalist society. I have no naive ideologies towards a world where everyone will shop in my shop just because mine is the same as everyone elses and carries the same stock. And of course, if our friend wants or needs different stock to make his shop different from the thousands of others, then he needs to bid high to get that stock in the first place. Maybe you'd rather there were RRPs on all goods and it was illegal to sell beyond it. Then everything you collected would never go up in value at all. But at least other collectors could buy your rares cheaply.


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:21 pm 
 

Interesting points from all here.

I believe the future of RPGs has more to do with playability - to - price value than anything. How many 3.0-3.5 players even bother with 1st and 2nd edition stuff when WotC is pushing out more products month after month than TSR ever did? Not to mention DMs converting 1st/2nd edition modules to 3.0 status. Why do that when WotC otr other sanctioned companies are just coverting it already and producing it as there own new product (yah, I know WotC own the rights to it).

I know this to be true for when I recently went to a game store and saw the PBH 2 for the 3.0 system with practically the same cover art as the 1st edition. I told the store operator (maybe 20 years of age) that it was basically just a work over of the 1st edition cover and he gave me the 'deer in the headlights' look. When I pointed his computer to the Acaeum and showed him he could not believe it.

The thing is that the old stuff for the most part is not 'playable' any more with the current market of 3.5 stuff. Only us old timers use it and value it more than the current 3.5 players. If WotC still produced 1st/2nd edition D&D the the old TSR stuff would sky rocket in price.

Just as the CCG market is so sustainable because of this fact. Take MtG, how many of the first card sets produced cannot be used in competition today? Yu-Gi-Oh? LotR? These games can still use the old stuff along with the new because the format has not changed.

So the value of 1st/2nd edition D&D is finite/tied to the current collecting community (ie us old timers). In the next 20-30 years we will pass on and our children will inherit our stuff. They will be playing the current incarnation of D&D (current growth rate will put it at 8.5-9.0) and look at our stuff as Junk. There will be a few 2nd editon players still alive and will pick up this junk for a few pennies or nickles and then they will die off. !st and 2nd edition will be in the grave along with there owners and it will become just a memory or something to be viewed in a museum.

So who cares if noobies come along and pay an ass load for something that in the next few decades will only be worth worm food?! You're better off making PDFs of it all and selling it back to recoup your money (that is what I decided). You will still have it in the same condition as when you bought it. You can print as many playing copies you want and the shelf/room space you save will be better used for other things (like expanding families, college books or whatever)

For me it is frustrating to not be able to get an item due to the noobie or reseller who has the money to pay the outrageous amount that it gets to. It's especially frustrating trying to get something only to be betten buy a deep pocketted reseller. Either way you will have to pay a premium for an item due to these two individual types of buyers, plain and simple.

So get it while you can, make a profit while you can, collect it while you can and in the end just bury it with you when you go. At least then in 200+ years when the new civilizations dig you up (like the Egyptians of old) you will be worth more due to the size of your collection.  :D


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 6:49 pm 
 

If an RPG item typically sells for somewhere in the range of $25 - $50 (which is a large range, allowing for a great difference in market fluctuation) and a knowledgeable seller with a store puts it for sale at $95, then that is shady.  A buyer who might someday purchase it, is NOT doing it because they THINK THAT IS WHAT IT IS WORTH or because it is WORTH it to them.  They are doing it because they DON'T know what to pay.  They were probably unfortunate and started searching ebay at the exact time that:

1) They decided they wanted to buy some item or items

and

2) It was the only one listed at the time.


Guaranteed, when they someday get a better handle on the market, they won't say "I was happy to pay $95 because it was WORTH IT TO ME", they will say:  "Shit, I got ripped off".


This seems like strange reasoning to me and not one that has any explanatory power over human behavior. After all, it means all of us -- whether it is in rpgs at times, or buying food, or whatever -- go walking around with really no idea what things are worth to ourselves and we just fork out money like zombies.

Value is always subjective. It is preposterous for anyone to impose their personal valuations (ie. many on this forum) upon another person, or somehow perceive their valuations to be superior.

Every time someone here says "this newbie got ripped off" just remember some Half-priced books, flea market, or game store said the exact same thing to you.

  


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 7:18 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
This seems like strange reasoning to me and not one that has any explanatory power over human behavior. After all, it means all of us -- whether it is in rpgs at times, or buying food, or whatever -- go walking around with really no idea what things are worth to ourselves and we just fork out money like zombies.


I don't know how they do things up there in Canada but people in the US are notrious for pissing thier money away.  It's what defines us.  In regards to the rest of the nonsense that you just posted, I say its preposterous for you pass to judgement on those that you are deriding for passing judgement on others.  You know what they call that? Its called being a hypocrite.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 7:41 pm 
 

This discussion seems to come up twice a year, when a noobie comes on the scene and thinks he knows how the RPG economy works. I am tired of raking Seesaw over the coals, so here is my advice: follow your business plan, buy up lots of rare items at high prices, and sell them for even higher prices. It's been SOOOOO successful in the past.


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 7:45 pm 
 

Deadlord39 wrote:This discussion seems to come up twice a year, when a noobie comes on the scene and thinks he knows how the RPG economy works. I am tired of raking Seesaw over the coals, so here is my advice: follow your business plan, buy up lots of rare items at high prices, and sell them for even higher prices. It's been SOOOOO successful in the past.

Considering the fact that he  teetered back and forth about 4 times now on what he thinks and how he actually acts, I think Seesaw is the perfect name for him. Personally I think he is just a forum troll here to do nothing other than piss people off and try to start fights.  He should from now on  be treated just like every other forum troll and just flat out ignored by everyone.

  


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 7:59 pm 
 

This discussion seems to come up twice a year, when a noobie comes on the scene and thinks he knows how the RPG economy works. I am tired of raking Seesaw over the coals, so here is my advice: follow your business plan, buy up lots of rare items at high prices, and sell them for even higher prices. It's been SOOOOO successful in the past.


Actually, what this discussion seems to indicate is that there appears some hostility to new voices. I've never belittled anyone nor spoken in an adversarial manner... yet this is precisely what I've encountered from some others (to put in mildly). Is this how all "newbies" are treated?

Moreover, I'm far from a "newbie" as I've been collecting tsr material for well over a decade and have lurked on this forum for awhile. I certainly don't run any business. But I am doing my graduate degree in economics, so I'd like to think I have some vague understanding of how economies work. But even so, surely all of is entirely irrelevant.

After all, the one and only thing I've "contended" is that valuations are entirely subjective, which is what anyone without any background in any rpg or "rpg economics" can firmly postulate and defend. It is certainly not any novel idea or concept... except perhaps in this forum.

  


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:13 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
Actually, what this discussion seems to indicate is that there appears some hostility to new voices. I've never belittled anyone nor spoken in an adversarial manner... yet this is precisely what I've encountered from some others (to put in mildly). Is this how all "newbies" are treated?

Moreover, I'm far from a "newbie" as I've been collecting tsr material for well over a decade and have lurked on this forum for awhile. I certainly don't run any business. But I am doing my graduate degree in economics, so I'd like to think I have some vague understanding of how economies work. But even so, surely all of is entirely irrelevant.

After all, the one and only thing I've "contended" is that valuations are entirely subjective, which is what anyone without any background in any rpg or "rpg economics" can firmly postulate and defend. It is certainly not any novel idea or concept... except perhaps in this forum.


Rather than run your mouth on and on about everything, how about proving it.  You speak a lot and yet you say absolutely nothing.  You have yet to post anything on this forum that says really anything other than "I am right and you are wrong". When you are provided with facts that counter your mouthy claims, you either say "despite what you say you are still wrong" or you flat out ignore it.   Also, if you were so firmly in belief of what you write here about knowing it all, how about putting some of that know it allness into some action.  At least the ass holes who came here before telling everyone that they were wrong had the guts to try and back it up with some actions and with their checkbooks.  In the end they all ended up in the I know everything and you all know nothing scrap heap, but at least that had the balls to try and act on it, unlike yourself.  Like I said above, you are here as nothing morew than a forum troll with nothing better to do then to try and stir up some trouble.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:48 pm 
 

Now on page 5 and the point is still missed :cry:


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:55 pm 
 

thehiddenone wrote:Considering the fact that he  teetered back and forth about 4 times now on what he thinks and how he actually acts, I think Seesaw is the perfect name for him. Personally I think he is just a forum troll here to do nothing other than piss people off and try to start fights.  He should from now on  be treated just like every other forum troll and just flat out ignored by everyone.


All SeaTSky has basically said in his many posts is that pricing is subjective.  I fail to see how that should generate the bile, nastiness and insults I've seen the last few days.  Man, I've been on this forum for years, and I know the initiation ceremony can be a little rough for those that start posting for the first time, but this is flat out ridiculous.  I've met STS in person, done business with him, and I can confirm he's both a  long time lurker, a D&D guy,  and definitely not a troll.  Cmon guys there is absolutely no right or wrong answers here, it's OPINIONS.     STS thinks pricing is subjective and whatever someone wants to pay for items is fine, a lot of you think that what you consider excessive pricing is unethical. I can see both sides.  
     Unfortunately there are still those on these boards that refuse to recognize reselling of used items as a legitimate business, for whatever misguided and nostalgic reasons, and perhaps hold on to ideals in regard to RPG collectibles far longer than they should.  They get angrier at a reseller gouging prices on an H1 than the multi-national bad guys raping us everyday at the gas pump.  Hey, I understand, there is a lot of emotion invested in those funny looking pieces of paper.  And sure guys who make it their specialty to prey on newbies, the uneducated, the uninitiated, the unenlightened, are scum sucking pigs.  But man, when did we start ripping people for simply giving their opinions and daring to back them up with further posts?
  I'm going to have to say this, IT'S A BUSINESS NOW.  If Seller Dumfuk wants to charge 10k for a Lost Tamoachoan, that's between him and any moron who is not fond of his money willing to pay that ludicrous amount.  Sure Seller Dumfuck is an opportunistic ass...but that's the way it is.  I was offered two tickets to the Dallas Mavericks game the other night, for face value.....$140 not included parking.  You've got to be kidding me.  and those aren't even particularly good tickets.  I have a lawyer friend in LA that was once gifted floor seats to the Lakers after he won a big case...face value $2200 a ticket...for one game.  That billionaire owners of sports franchises overcharge for sporting events and laugh their rich asses to the bank is far, far more an ethical and moral crime than some moron trying to break the bank on a D&D rarity.  Please put the picture in perspective guys.  All STS is arguing is that an asshole seller can charge stupid prices if some moron is willing to pay those stupid prices.  Yet half of us here wouldn't bat an eye overpaying to see our favorite sports team in a playoff game or rock band in a front row seat.  Give a guy a break.

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:55 pm 
 

Kosh Vorlontay wrote:Now on page 5 and the point is still missed :cry:


What is the point then since it doesn't seem anyone else gets it?

  


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 9:01 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
All SeaTSky has basically said in his many posts is that pricing is subjective.

Mike B.


No that is not all he has said. You must have missed the posts were he said that how dare anyone act surprised and laugh that some stupid ass buyer paid far and above the going rate for an item.  He has also defended the practices of just about every shady seller listed on this thread. I fail to see how because you have met this guy that it makes him any better than sellers like creep1962 and titan games. His philosophy about the economics of these sellers is the exact same yet no one until this guy has yet to defend it.  Why now? Because you met him person, then he must be a swell guy?  I don't buy it.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 9:08 pm 
 

thehiddenone wrote:
No that is not all he has said. You must have missed the posts were he said that how dare anyone act surprised and laugh that some stupid ass buyer paid far and above the going rate for an item.  He has also defended the practices of just about every shady seller listed on this thread. I fail to see how because you have met this guy that it makes him any better than sellers like creep1962 and titan games. His philosophy about the economics of these sellers is the exact same yet no one until this guy has yet to defend it.  Why now? Because you met him person, then he must be a swell guy?  I don't buy it.



Well, conversely, I've never met you and I'm already fairly certain you're a schmuck.  

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