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A G.I. Joe Horror Story


darthhenning
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Please, vh, you just don't want to change your old ways and buy all of your toys online like everyone else. It must be harder for you to conform to this way of doing things since the internet and things like post offices didn't exist when you started collecting @smilepunch@

 

 

aoldgu3.gif yerrrrr damn tottin' there skippy! When i was younger, my G.I.joe was a stick with a marshmellow slapped on top of it for a HEAD! errr..wait, maybe that was muh first campin' trip? HELL..i don't remem ba's!! Too dern long ago's!

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I have to say, finding Joes around here has been next to impossible. They trickle out every now and then, and when they do it's just a handful at a time, in less-than-mint packaging usually. When I was collecting them, I personally preferred buying them by the case from online stores. That way I knew I was getting the entire wave at once, and most if not all of them were on mint cards.

 

Would it be nice to save a little and find them at retail? Of course it would. There's nothing like the suprise and thrill of finding the latest figures unexpectedly in a brick-and-mortar store. But considering the current collecting climate (i.e. collecting competition, scalping, distribution, etc.), I just resort to online shopping. I can't help it; I totally agree with ARROW on this one. Before I sold all of my figures, I just about had them all, even with the lack of availability around here. I backed-up and got most of them in cases online. No big deal. (And...if I ever start back up...*ahem*...that's how I'll do it again.) (lol)

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My target stalking actions might seem very scalper-esk to an out side observer but i know I do out of my collecting obsession. I'm a pretty personable guy and i have meet several other collectors on my early morning and lunch toy runs but I'll tell you something... Toy collectors are a pretty socially inept bunch a lot of the time. This guy may have just been excited about his hot find and was paranoid you were gonna try and take it away from him. He may have never had an experince like that and didn't know how to react.

 

I've never met a collector that paranoid, but you may have a point. Personally, I'd always be happy to meet and talk to another collector even if I had beaten him to the pegs by seconds and had to surrender a couple of duplicates.

 

EDIT: thats not to say that I believe he would have had ANY obligation to surrender ANY of the items he had found (I would but thats a personal choice). He got there first fair and square. It's the deliberately anti-social stance he took that screamed scalper to me.

 

I hate how everyone just assumes that because someone else got YOUR toys, they are automatically a scalper. And you know... There is a very blurry line between what we do and what scalpers do. They are obviously just as dedicated to toys as we are. And how many collectors NEVER sell any of their collection to make a little extra cash? Why is it okay to sell a figure 3 years after you buy it and not the day after you buy it?

 

As for collection selling vs. scalping this is how I define it (not exhaustive, or necessairily accurate but my opinion none the less):

 

Scalpers: see the figure and start calculating online value; buy the figure only thinking about the profit they can make; sell at prices that are usually significantly inflated and indiscriminantly to the highest bidder

 

Collectors: see the figure and decide if they want to add it to their collection; buy the figure for their collection, even if they change their mind at a later date and decide to sell; sell at fair market value or slightly above, usually within the collecting community.

 

For me the difference is intention, not actions.

 

 

 

 

@can@

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I have to agree with KamenDreda on this. I think even as collectors we can have slight scalper tendencies.

 

I know personally, I weigh my purchases against what I'll be able to get out of them later on down the road, should I HAVE to sell them in a financial bind. Don't get me wrong, I love my collection and don't plan on parting with it anytime soon, but should I decide to get out of collecting or need the money, I want to at least get back what I put into it...possibly even turn a profit on it.

 

I'd like to know how many people here, if they happened upon a yellow Stalker sitting on a peg, if they didn't want it or have need for it, would pass it up and leave it for another collector? I'm sure just about everyone here would snatch it up, and either put it on ebay or use it for trades. @wink@

 

Although, I do see the difference in being smart about your collecting, and purposely wiping pegs of figures clean with the sole intention of turning a profit on ebay.

 

I guess for me, it's whether the person is doing it out of the fun and enjoyment of the hobby, or doing it out of pure greed.

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Wow, with that headline I thought I was going to read about someone's Joe collection getting damaged, or stolen.

So an old guy beats you to new Joes......get over it, it happens to everybody at some point. It's part of the game.

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But to avoid "scalpers" and their evil ways, wouldn't being able to buy at retail, for OURSELVES, be the best way to do so? Buying online, seems to be what's driving them to scalp even more and more. Those who are content to just stay inside, out of the elements of society and shop for almost anything and everything they can...ONLINE, hell, they're a scalpers wet dream.

 

Well, that's a good point..........I just don't agree that its quite that simple or basic.

I'll be re-stating the obvious ( again) so bear with me ( again).

 

See, when I'm talking about "shopping", I'm addressing the whole gamut of on-line commerce, including trading and karma.

A great example between the two of us: last year you graciously helped me out on the Hasbro DTC clearance sale-and acted as a proxy on some items I'd have had trouble getting otherwise. It was a straight cost plus shipping thing and there was no gouging.

Hence, no scalping.

 

A collector-to-collector exchange like that can be called a deal, or a trade or what have you....but its really just like buying from a story..........albeit using a proxy.

There's retailers on-line that offer pretty much the same thing........straight MSRP ( and whatever their mark-up is) and shipping.

SOME do gouge a bit, based upon items they think they will move faster than others--with their markup applied to dissuade buyers from leaving them with the less-desired figures over the highly sought-after.

Some places are a straight rip, a literal disembowelment of the wallet asking prices that are grossly in excess of what they need be.

The buyers prerogative to seek the best price is still intact......and the retailers that offer the best price tend to get most of the business.

 

 

In all that though, there remain the fact of all those different avenues.

Sure, a fellow collector might get the goods via a foot-hunt from HIS local store, but if he's got access, then great. You and he can both be served.

Sometimes the friend is located somewhere where the stuff is plentiful, sometimes the person just has the "knack" for finding stuff.

Its still a resource that can be used.

 

Scalpers..............are a fact of life these days, heck other toy collectors competing for the same items brings forth the old analogy of the watering hole.

Once the mouths drinking from the same water hole get too numerous.......its time for the thirsty to seek out a new water hole.

That usually means searching a bit further afield, and bit out of the way for another place to sate that thirst.

Its not like we can ask that the other thirsty ones just disappear--it just doesn't work that way....so we have to be proactive ourselves and find another venue that works for us. And the really lucky ones find a place that serves just them.

 

Let's be honest here: collecting is a selfish activity. That is what we are all doing distilled down to its very core.......we serve ourselves first, others second. If we can help others find and enjoy the hobby, great.........its pluses the enjoyment we get ourselves, but each of us is going to look out for our own hobby first. That is why we are pursuing this after all.

 

Like that watering hole analogy above, collecting remains a "me first" thing and always will.

 

 

I'd like to know how many people here, if they happened upon a yellow Stalker sitting on a peg, if they didn't want it or have need for it, would pass it up and leave it for another collector? I'm sure just about everyone here would snatch it up, and either put it on ebay or use it for trades. icon_wink.gif

 

Nope.

 

I'd leave it.

Unless I knew someone that specifically wanted the item, I'd leave it there on the pegs.....and I have done that dozens of times.

My experience has been that off loading the thing ( which I either already have, or do not want in the first place) is more trouble than its worth.

 

My observation of fellow collectors is that they are fickle and/or cheap......and offering a HTF item for double the cost, or even just $10 more than cost doesn't always attract buyers.

 

My hallucination about leaving a rare item on the pegs is that some other collector --not a scalper-- will find the items and gleefully add it to their collection--rather than sell it for a profit.

I consciously choose to see/hope that the person who buys that rare item does it for their own personal enjoyment--hence my "hallucination".

 

My own thing about finding rare items like that, IF I buy them to "scalp"..........is to do the opposite: ergo "reverse-scalp".

 

What is reverse-scalping?

Well, if the rare item was bought at retail, I'll sell it........trade it..........or give it away..........at either the retail cost I paid or LESS THAN the retail cost.

 

Just cuz.

I've done that more than a few times too ( and with a few odd looks and shakes-of-the-head to boot) because toy collecting just isn't about the money to me, its about collecting toys.

There's better, easier ways to make money, and selling toys isn't one of them, imo.

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I got some new figs coming from another board.. I was gonna use the Hawk for custom fodder, if you wanted him, the Snow Serpent and a Black SS, they're yours, I don't have the yet, so I don't know the condition of the cards, are you loking for them mint or openers?

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But some people who buy from scalpers are stupid.

 

I mean they need to have there brain examined. For example: If your going to shop online why not do some research first.

 

Like why in the hell would you buy the Toys 'R' us exclusive 5 packs from a e-bay scalpers priced at $60.00 - $80.00 each + shipping.

 

When You could head over to toysrus.com and get them for $24.99 each + shipping.

 

Think Mcfly, Think Mcfly. You need to remeber e-bay is not the only game in online.

 

Just like I saw some idiots on e-bay bidding on the DVD Battle Packs and the price was at $80.00+ w/ 6hours left in the auction. That is really funny because I saw them at Target the other day for $19.99.

 

I'm starting to think that I should become a scalper, because if people are going to give and throw away money like that, why not spend it on me. There really are some dumb ass people in this world.

 

And remember BEWARE OF THE SCALPER, COMING TO SCALP-UP STORES NEAR YOU.

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seriously, following a customer down the aisles is really stupid. whats the point? are you gonna tackle him and take the figures? if someone followed me around the store and then outside I would be really pissed off. from the old man's point of view he has no idea what you are going to do to him or why you are even following him. it seems far fetched but he could have grabbed a pocket knife or a bat and walloped you upside the head. if you work at a hospital in the neurology dept./lab one would think you'd have the money to buy them elsewhere (e.g., ebay, ig bad toystore, etc.). but, that's your decision to buy them at walmart. next time, don't follow people around who happened to get the item you wanted. he could have been buying them for his grandson or, as many of us dislike, to sell them on Ebay. try checking at night or calling them each morning or asking for a raincheck (doubtful that they will do this but it's worth a shot).

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seriously, following a customer down the aisles is really stupid. whats the point? are you gonna tackle him and take the figures? if someone followed me around the store and then outside I would be really pissed off. from the old man's point of view he has no idea what you are going to do to him or why you are even following him. it seems far fetched but he could have grabbed a pocket knife or a bat and walloped you upside the head.

 

I suppose I should clarify as you're the second person to interpret my explaination that as that I followed the guy. I didn't. After he left the toy aisle, I just saw him head to a different aisle (not that hard) and we left at the same time he did, not because we deliberately followed him. We were in a similar length line I guess and he happened to leave in front of us. AT NO TIME DID WE FOLLOW HIM. Again, in the parking lot, when he doges deliberatel y through 3 rows of cars to get to his parked one row away, it becomes kind of obvious again. Our car was parked 4 spaces from the door and we went right to it. However, with that coincidence I could understand how he might believe we followed him (although I see that as rather paranoid, several times I've seen a person at both TRU and Wal-mart the same day during toy runs, and I've never even considered they were following me, they just happened to be at the same two stores I was, nothing unusual in that, In my opinion even less so that you happen to leave at the same time as another customer you passed in an aisle).

 

if you work at a hospital in the neurology dept./lab one would think you'd have the money to buy them elsewhere (e.g., ebay, ig bad toystore, etc.). but, that's your decision to buy them at walmart. next time, don't follow people around who happened to get the item you wanted. he could have been buying them for his grandson or, as many of us dislike, to sell them on Ebay. try checking at night or calling them each morning or asking for a raincheck (doubtful that they will do this but it's worth a shot).

 

As students we get paid minimum wage (slightly below due to unpaid overtime actually)so I can't really afford to have a credit card or do online purchases. If I had that freedom, I worry that I might get more than I could pay off. So sadly I'm stuck with brick-and-mortor establishments. I used to know one of the clerks who worked in the department, but I think she was moved to management as I haven't seen her in 3 months. Even when she was around, the store was unable to order them from their Hasbro supplier (they are listed as an NRP (non-replenishable) item on their computers) and so they only what Hasbro chose to send (the head office may also have been involved, but I'd have no way of knowing) so a raincheck is out of the question. Also, they do their stocking between 2 and 4 here, not a night (don't know why).

 

 

 

 

 

@can@

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But some people who buy from scalpers are stupid.

 

I mean they need to have there brain examined. For example: If your going to shop online why not do some research first.

 

Like why in the hell would you buy the Toys 'R' us exclusive 5 packs from a e-bay scalpers priced at $60.00 - $80.00 each + shipping.

 

When You could head over to toysrus.com and get them for $24.99 each + shipping.

 

Think Mcfly, Think Mcfly. You need to remeber e-bay is not the only game in online.

 

Heh, I have bought from scalpers in the past ( like 18 years ago). Chalk it up to simple ignorance.

 

Back then, the Internet was just a-borning and information on toys was via magazines, word of mouth, line of sight, the very few mail-order places or blind luck.

 

I paid $200 Cdn for a $17 12" Target Duke back in 1991--and I did so because I was simply unawares that the Target in Bellingham, Washington (about 2hrs away then) had a stack of them on the shelf on a visit stateside 2 months later.

 

Yea......OUCH!.

 

Ignorance is how scalpers breed and flourish. Certainly no-one in these forums deals with scalpers very often anymore, it at all......because of the free-flow of information here.

My painful lesson was that by simply waiting a short while, and travelling a bit further afield, I could have saved over $150 on a single figure--could have bought nearly a dozen for what I paid for one.

 

 

As students we get paid minimum wage (slightly below due to unpaid overtime actually)so I can't really afford to have a credit card or do online purchases. If I had that freedom, I worry that I might get more than I could pay off.

 

You might be happy to know that there are options available to you.

You can acquire "credit cards" that actually operate as debit cards. Money is deposited to the cards giving you a "credit limit" up to the amount of those funds, and once the funds have been depleted you need to refill the amounts or toss the card--you cannot over extend your spending limit unless you add more money to the card. In all other respects it operates as a normal credit card for purchases. Check with your lending institution to see if they offer them.

 

The other option is a secured credit card, which is an actual credit card, complete with a credit history that you build up and address. A secured card requires a deposit, like the above, to establish a credit limit, but you then have monthly payments to address your purchases and interest. It takes more discipline and personal attention, but after the probationary period--usually about 2 years--a history of steady payments and sound use has the security probation come off the card and the credit limit increased and it is a normal credit card from that point on.

Lenders like Capital One offer them--but be aware that there are going to be conditions you must meet when you apply.

 

The third option you have is using a proxy....namely another person with a credit card to buy the items for you and then ship them to you. Yes, this is more expensive, and takes more time ( and trust) but it remains a method you can use when needed. I still do this on occasion because it works and I do not mind the extra expense--I'm not fixated on the cheapest for the mostest as other people can be.

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Thought this to be a pretty good read...

 

WHY IS SCALPING WRONG?

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That was agood read.

 

Really, scalpers need to leave the toys there for the consumers who want them to play with and collect not buy them for profit and to say they are helping us find them. We would find them if they were left there.

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Thought this to be a pretty good read...

 

WHY IS SCALPING WRONG?

 

Here, Here to everything in that article.

 

Often when I'm in TRU or Walmart and see joes on the rack, I'll notice one or two characters missing even though the rack is only half full. Because I'm tall, I'll usualy check on top of the shelves, or behind the signs at TRU and find, low and behold a stash of Joes that some scalper has hidden. If I find them, I'll put them back on the rack, unless they're a new wave I haden't found yet because there is only one reason they'd be up there: the store didn't put them out due to space considerations (and therefore I'm helping them stock), or a scalper hid them to come back to (and therefore I'm beating a scalper).

 

Scalping is wrong, fight it whenever and whereever you can!

 

 

 

 

 

@can@

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The article in the link is a good read and a noble sentiment, but I still have problems with it.

 

There's a double standard applied within the message of that article, and its a common one that collectors overlook.

 

If you and I have the right to buy something for our own purposes, then why is a "scalper" excluded from that same right?

 

The same tired old arguments reside in that article that reside in the arguments of other voices on the same subject: Toys should be kept available for the children, and scalping is not fair.

 

Lets be frank and candid about all this.....the "toys are for children" argument is bullshit. It always has been.

 

None of us...... not a single one of us....collects with that kind of altruism in mind. We all collect for selfish reasons. Each of us wants the stuff for OURSELVES FIRST, and anyone else comes second.

 

That just a "biological" fact.......none of us is collecting for others.

 

Using the "for the children" argument is weak, its meant to divert the emotions in the issue to something that people can empathize with, thus redirecting them from the issues of our own selfishness.

That......is called denial in action.

If the thought was that toys are genuinely for children first, none of us would collect toys as adults because there'd be too much shame/embarrassment involved in it.

 

Obviously, many of us consume and collect quite shamelessly and don't even think, much less consider another person in our consumption.

 

Toys are for children, indeed!

 

 

The second point is that scalping is not fair.

Well, is ANY act of consumption or commerce fair?

What's not fair here? That the "scalpers" are buying up goods BEFORE you and I can get to them?

Or that they are reselling them at a gross mark-up?

 

If its the former...........again, its a bullshit thought. EVERY item for sale in Western society typically is offered under the premise of "first come first served".

Its the same principle for real estate, financial items, food, clothing, services, you name it.

 

(If its the latter, isn't is a right and privilege for each of us in our free society to price our property for sale at a price WE believe the market will bear?? Do we not have a right to profit?)

 

In the 10+ years I have been on-line I have heard innumerable accounts of people complaining about some other person buying up toys before they could.........but never about buying up a house, or a electronic item, a car.........or food stuffs.

Those other events happen daily, but no-one ever complains about them........only with toys.

 

Why is that?

Do toys have this special clause about "fairness" about them? That, all of a sudden, toys are the ONE exception to "first come, first served"?

Or is fairness not really the issue here? Or are toy collectors just apt to be a deluded reactionary bunch??

 

Or both?

 

"Fairness" skitters all over the place, into issues and behaviours that become quite interpretive in scope.

Should collectors buy just one of each, or is army-building permitted? Can collectors buy for someone outside their area, or is the local supply meant only for the local consumer?

What is fair?

Again, apply the analogy of other products to this..........would anyone give a rat's patootie if this was about a tv, or a set of towels, or a can of spaghetti sauce?

Do you stamp your feet and protest when the last can of Coca Cola is grabbed by someone else at the 711???

 

I think the answer is obvious. Fairness has nothing to do with this.

Each of us blithely consumes as much as we like....conspicuous consumption and all that--fairness does not compute unless we are denied, and then it become hypocritical.

 

And even then, how is it to say what someone else does with their purchases?

When you see someone buying a can of cola, do you think that they MUST pour it in a glass, over ice and drink it on an especially hot day?

Do you apply conditions AT ALL to another's act of consumption? Is it any of your business to do so??

 

Of course not.

But "toys must be played with".....pfffft.

 

 

 

If someone wants to buy a toy to play with, or army-build, or horde, or stash to sell later, or to keep MOC, or.....to scalp.........who are we to apply conditions to them? If one condition applies, then ALL must apply, no? Are there not valid arguments against ALL of those above reasons for consumption?

 

Maybe the inalienable right we have, is to do what we please with what we buy and that grudgingly must include scalping a toy....unless local laws address this.

That's the thing about a law or a rule.....if it serves you exclusively, it denies someone else exclusively.

And THAT is not fair, is it?

 

 

Now, does all this mean I support scalping??

 

Oh gawd no.

 

Is scalping bad??

 

 

 

Yes, it is.

 

 

 

But let's address why it REALLY is.

Scalping is wrong because its black marketing and monopolizing goods.

 

That's it.

 

The question each person needs to ask themselves is if those two issues address them and their collecting hobbies/habits in a personal way.

 

9 times of out 10, I bet the final answer would be...............no.

 

The initial knee-jerk emotive answer would be a resounding 'YES!", but in the final analysis, the answer is bound to be "no".

 

It will always be "no".

 

That is because, as I have long said now, your ability to acquire goods far exceeds the scalpers ability to monopolize goods.

Look, any given scalper operates PHYSICALLY only in a defined area.

They are limited by geography, and ability to physically be in a given place at a given time.

Even if they bypass a physical hunt, and order on-line--they STILL cannot horde sufficient goods to monopolize the market on any given item.

There is NO WAY POSSIBLE for a scalper or even group of scalpers to monopolize enough goods to deny you and me a chance to buy via the many avenues open to us. The very psychology of scalping precludes that possibility.

 

You, as a consumer, will ALWAYS have some kind of opportunity to gain the same sought items OUTSIDE of the scalpers sphere of influence.

 

Scalpers operate locally, perhaps regionally.........you can conduct commerce GLOBALLY.

 

You, as a consumer, will ALWAYS retain the advantage over scalpers.

 

I'm not saying things will be easy, nor am I saying they will be hard.

 

I AM saying that with patience and persistence and a bit of a plan you, and every other collector, can bypass scalpers and NEVER have traffic with them.

 

Most of the tools to do this are right in front of you, right at this moment.

The biggest weapon against scalpers is educating and sharing what you know and what you find with other collectors.

You, as a collector/consumer, MUST be willing to try new and different strategies in collecting, perhaps be willing to trust a tiny bit more.

 

There are thousands of fellow collectors that already practise these strategies and they work for them flawlessly.

Trust me, when I say they'll work for you as well.

 

Scalpers depend upon ignorant and impatient collectors to buy their marked-up goods from them.

Cultivating knowledge on what is out there and practising patience will stymie scalpers at every turn.

Without easy marks, scalpers lose their profits, and with no profits........there's no reason to practise.

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Geez, is that the first chapter of your novel?

 

I don't know too many people who buy a house or food out from under someone else and then sell it on e-bay for a 40% mark up and say they are helping starving homeless people.

 

But people DO buy homes, and turn around and sell them for "40% mark-ups".

 

The house we bought 4 years ago, and then had to give up, at $119K, we learned it recently sold for $225K .

What would you say the percentage of mark-up is on that?

 

It doesn't matter why, or even what someone else does with their consumption--its their right/privilege to do as they please, subject to their local laws.

 

Also you couched what you said with phrases such as " buy something out from under someone else", and " mark-up and say they are helping starving homeless people" as if those qualifiers matter.

 

They don't matter, anymore than the reasons you and I have for buying something.

 

That's the point I was getting at; collectors tend to internalize this thing called scalping as if its a personal affront, and yet their own acts of/reasons for consumption are externalized as if they are universally applicable.

 

That is not reality, thats a hypocritical delusion.

It really should be the reverse, because scalping is something that someone else can do if they choose to ( external), but you and I can choose ( internal) NOT let scalping have any effect on the enjoyment of our hobbies.

We cannot directly stop people from scalping, we can, however, operate in many ways that bypass what scalpers do.

 

( and yes, what I wrote above was a little long, but I had many points to make and a lot of things to say. I did try to make it easy to read though....)

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Arrow, while I agree with many of the points you make in your post, there are a few areas I'd like to address.

 

 

The same tired old arguments reside in that article that reside in the arguments of other voices on the same subject: Toys should be kept available for the children, and scalping is not fair.

 

Lets be frank and candid about all this.....the "toys are for children" argument is bullshit. It always has been.

 

None of us...... not a single one of us....collects with that kind of altruism in mind. We all collect for selfish reasons. Each of us wants the stuff for OURSELVES FIRST, and anyone else comes second.

 

That just a "biological" fact.......none of us is collecting for others.

 

Using the "for the children" argument is weak, its meant to divert the emotions in the issue to something that people can empathize with, thus redirecting them from the issues of our own selfishness.

That......is called denial in action.

If the thought was that toys are genuinely for children first, none of us would collect toys as adults because there'd be too much shame/embarrassment involved in it.

 

Obviously, many of us consume and collect quite shamelessly and don't even think, much less consider another person in our consumption.

 

Toys are for children, indeed!

 

Admittedly, none of the collectors who post on forums are children. But you have to consider: 1) how many children discuss toys and their availability on forums, and 2) how many children do you think understand the concept of scalping?

 

1) probably none. even if they have access to the internet, the generally lack the skills to communicate with other collectors effectively. No one has ever said that toys are ONLY for children, only that they are PRIMAIRILY for children, ie. children have the first right to them. In that way collectors who attempt to disuade scalpers are helping. Does that make collectors free from blame if they buy up toys before a child can get to them? NO. In that way there is something of a double standard, I'll admit, but at least collectors are buying them to enjoy them because they are 'children at heart' (if you will accept the use of such a hackneyed phrase).

 

2) again, probably very few. When a child sees another person buying toys, they assume its for themselves (if they're old enough to understand collecting) or for their own kids or grandkids. None would have the economical accuity to understand that some of them are buying them to resell to their parents (or other parents and collectors) at an often ridiculous markup.

 

As for your comment "none of us is collecting for others" this may or may not be true. Many collectors (including yourself) trade figures with other collectors who cannot find that specific product where they are located, and if I may hazard a guess, many of the collectors on this and other forums would be happy to pass their collection onto their children.

 

I'm not saying that the primary motivation for collecting is not to get it for youself, it is, unquestionably. But to say that collectors have no conscience or consideration is a little strong.

 

The second point is that scalping is not fair.

Well, is ANY act of consumption or commerce fair?

What's not fair here? That the "scalpers" are buying up goods BEFORE you and I can get to them?

Or that they are reselling them at a gross mark-up?

 

If its the former...........again, its a bullshit thought. EVERY item for sale in Western society typically is offered under the premise of "first come first served".

Its the same principle for real estate, financial items, food, clothing, services, you name it.

 

(If its the latter, isn't is a right and privilege for each of us in our free society to price our property for sale at a price WE believe the market will bear?? Do we not have a right to profit?)

 

If it is the latter, admittedly you have the right, but if you look through the criminal code, there is a section that describes how (I'm paraphrasing, its been a while since I saw something about this in a newspaper) "the purchase of a comidity only for sale at a grossly inflated price....something something something...is illegal." Several oil companies created around 1900 were shut down for this exact reason, and scalping definately falls into the same legal territory.

 

In the 10+ years I have been on-line I have heard innumerable accounts of people complaining about some other person buying up toys before they could.........but never about buying up a house, or a electronic item, a car.........or food stuffs.

Those other events happen daily, but no-one ever complains about them........only with toys.

 

Why is that?

Do toys have this special clause about "fairness" about them? That, all of a sudden, toys are the ONE exception to "first come, first served"?

Or is fairness not really the issue here? Or are toy collectors just apt to be a deluded reactionary bunch??

 

Or both?

 

How about neither.

 

No one complains about houses, cars or food stuffs because there is a gross excess of supply. People will occassionally complain about the loss of a house they attempted to buy (I have a friend in Real Estate, some people can get very violent if they lose a bid). But generally there is another house that is of similar quality somewhere in the same section of the city, or an even nicer one in the remander of the city.

 

As for cars and food stuffs, there are hundreds of companies that make each kind of product: if you want a sports car you can get a chev, ford, nissan, mitsubishi, mazda.... you get the idea. And while you may not get the one that you chose that was sitting on the showroom floor two weeks ago, guess what, they probably have one that is exactly the same in their lot out back, or in a dealership in the same state. In the category of food stuff, have you ever walked into a grocery store where there was no fruit and vegetables, or no meat etc.? I'd guess not. Thats because, while a specific package may sell out, there is almost always something almost the same there (assuming the food is in season).

 

Even in the majority of electronics there remains an excess of supply. Would you be terribly upset if you had to get a Sony DVD player instead of a RCA? (assuming brand quality was equal) Again I'd guess not. However, if you look at sales of specialty electronics, lets take WIIs for example, you see a frenzy equal to or greater than that seen in toy collecting. In many stores, there are fights between customers over who gets the last WII on the shelf (I've witnessed two in the last few months), and these aren't collectors of electronics, just average people who wanted to get them for their homes. And in this area of specialty electronics, scalping exists as well. I've see WIIs listed at varrious stores for 2 to 3 times the price at say Best Buy, and 5 to 6 times that price on-line.

 

But lets say you're looking for the latest wave of G.I. Joes, if they're sold before you get there, you're out of luck. Only ONE company makes them, and in limited quantities. Unless you collect other toy lines, you're out of luck untill the next shipment.

 

I'm sure that if someone went into the local Best Buy and bought up every television the day they came in and then tried to re-sell it to you at an inflated price, you'd be pretty mad. But because most people lack that amount of disposable income, it doesn't happen. However, with toys, this is both affordable and practicable.

 

So to compare toy collecting to food, housing, cars and electronics is highly inaccurate.

 

"Fairness" skitters all over the place, into issues and behaviours that become quite interpretive in scope.

Should collectors buy just one of each, or is army-building permitted? Can collectors buy for someone outside their area, or is the local supply meant only for the local consumer?

What is fair?

Again, apply the analogy of other products to this..........would anyone give a rat's patootie if this was about a tv, or a set of towels, or a can of spaghetti sauce?

Do you stamp your feet and protest when the last can of Coca Cola is grabbed by someone else at the 711???

 

I've actually never seen a store run out of coke, but for sake of argument, I probably would, if I was really looking forward to it. However, i wouldn't go talk to fellow coke buyers about it because I could go next door to A&W and buy the same thing there. With Joes, most stores don't stock toys, and only about half of those stock Joes, if you're lucky.

 

I think the answer is obvious. Fairness has nothing to do with this.

Each of us blithely consumes as much as we like....conspicuous consumption and all that--fairness does not compute unless we are denied, and then it become hypocritical.

 

And even then, how is it to say what someone else does with their purchases?

When you see someone buying a can of cola, do you think that they MUST pour it in a glass, over ice and drink it on an especially hot day?

Do you apply conditions AT ALL to another's act of consumption? Is it any of your business to do so??

 

No one cares what someone does with a coke if they keep it to themselves, just as no one cares about what a collector does with his toys as long as he keeps it to himself. If some guy went and bought out all the coke in an area of the city (not actually possible, but lets say it was), and then set up a trailor where he sold it for twice the price he paid and this was the only place you could get the coke easily, then it would become you're business pretty quickly. Most people would call the police to complain about that sort of thing, and while there could be no legal action taken, most stores would be told to ban him from the premisis.

 

If someone wants to buy a toy to play with, or army-build, or horde, or stash to sell later, or to keep MOC, or.....to scalp.........who are we to apply conditions to them? If one condition applies, then ALL must apply, no? Are there not valid arguments against ALL of those above reasons for consumption?

 

Maybe the inalienable right we have, is to do what we please with what we buy and that grudgingly must include scalping a toy....unless local laws address this.

That's the thing about a law or a rule.....if it serves you exclusively, it denies someone else exclusively.

And THAT is not fair, is it?

 

Actually if a scalper monopolizes a local supply of a rare commodity, that IS illegal.

 

 

But let's address why it REALLY is.

Scalping is wrong because its black marketing and monopolizing goods.

 

That's it.

 

The question each person needs to ask themselves is if those two issues address them and their collecting hobbies/habits in a personal way.

 

9 times of out 10, I bet the final answer would be...............no.

 

The initial knee-jerk emotive answer would be a resounding 'YES!", but in the final analysis, the answer is bound to be "no".

 

It will always be "no".

 

That is because, as I have long said now, your ability to acquire goods far exceeds the scalpers ability to monopolize goods.

Look, any given scalper operates PHYSICALLY only in a defined area.

They are limited by geography, and ability to physically be in a given place at a given time.

Even if they bypass a physical hunt, and order on-line--they STILL cannot horde sufficient goods to monopolize the market on any given item.

There is NO WAY POSSIBLE for a scalper or even group of scalpers to monopolize enough goods to deny you and me a chance to buy via the many avenues open to us. The very psychology of scalping precludes that possibility.

 

You, as a consumer, will ALWAYS have some kind of opportunity to gain the same sought items OUTSIDE of the scalpers sphere of influence.

 

Scalpers operate locally, perhaps regionally.........you can conduct commerce GLOBALLY.

 

Yes, scalpers operate locally, and don't block supply globaly. But put a whole bunch of regional scalpers together each ripping off an area, and pretty soon they are global as a group. And therefore many other areas you would generally use to conduct global commerse will be equally problematic for finding the goods.

 

 

 

Most of the tools to do this are right in front of you, right at this moment.

The biggest weapon against scalpers is educating and sharing what you know and what you find with other collectors.

You, as a collector/consumer, MUST be willing to try new and different strategies in collecting, perhaps be willing to trust a tiny bit more.

 

There are thousands of fellow collectors that already practise these strategies and they work for them flawlessly.

Trust me, when I say they'll work for you as well.

 

Scalpers depend upon ignorant and impatient collectors to buy their marked-up goods from them.

Cultivating knowledge on what is out there and practising patience will stymie scalpers at every turn.

Without easy marks, scalpers lose their profits, and with no profits........there's no reason to practise.

 

While this is all well and good to suggest, and even to practice (something I fully support BTW) it doesn't adress the basic problem of a scarcity of goods at fair market price that affects various regions. Collector communities can help the problem, but they cannot eliminate it. Even if one collector or a group of collectors lives in a scalper-free region, the supply they find and trade with the community cannot make up for the supply lost to scalpers, and therefore, many collectors will wind up paying the inflated prices set by scalpers despite their best efforts to the contrary.

 

 

 

 

 

@can@

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From the way you described the guy, he probably was a scalper but there's no guarantees. The easiest way I've found to determine is to try and strike up a conversation with them. Something like "Man, you're lucky to grab those. I've been looking for them everywhere" or even quicker "Great find man, what else do you collect?" If they turn and say thanks and start showing them to you and talking about them and other stuff coming out, probably a collector. If they ignore you and blow you off and run, they are probably a scalper.

 

Another sure scalper sign is a cart full of hot wheels with only a couple of figures that happen to be rare/htf. Those are profiteers of the worst kind.

 

Just a couple of observations.

 

As for ways of "beating" them, the best way I've found is to befriend those that work at the places you frequent. Scalpers are rude to workers and they hate them. If you get to know them, let them know you a little. Do things like clean up the aisle as your looking, make small talk, really kid with them and such, when you ask they'll help. In WM's they'll run scalpers off of pallets when they get the chance but if they get to know you, they'll open the box on the pallet for you. In TRU, get to know them by name, specifically the managers in charge of that area, and they'll put stuff back for you a lot of the time. KB's will hold cases if you get to be good enough friends with them. Relationships have become the best way I've found to combat scalpers.

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The article in the link is a good read and a noble sentiment, but I still have problems with it.

 

There's a double standard applied within the message of that article, and its a common one that collectors overlook.

 

If you and I have the right to buy something for our own purposes, then why is a "scalper" excluded from that same right?

 

The same tired old arguments reside in that article that reside in the arguments of other voices on the same subject: Toys should be kept available for the children, and scalping is not fair.

 

Lets be frank and candid about all this.....the "toys are for children" argument is bullshit. It always has been.

 

None of us...... not a single one of us....collects with that kind of altruism in mind. We all collect for selfish reasons. Each of us wants the stuff for OURSELVES FIRST, and anyone else comes second.

 

That just a "biological" fact.......none of us is collecting for others.

 

Using the "for the children" argument is weak, its meant to divert the emotions in the issue to something that people can empathize with, thus redirecting them from the issues of our own selfishness.

That......is called denial in action.

If the thought was that toys are genuinely for children first, none of us would collect toys as adults because there'd be too much shame/embarrassment involved in it.

 

Obviously, many of us consume and collect quite shamelessly and don't even think, much less consider another person in our consumption.

 

Toys are for children, indeed!

 

 

Yeah, I had the same thoughts on it as well and agree with what you're saying on it here. Using the argument of "toys are for children" wouldn't just lay waste to the act of scalping them, but would do so to ANY adult who buys them at ALL! That angle didn't quite work for me either. I read it, and thought, "gee...if that's to be adhered to in WHOLE, why the hell am I buying up so damn much of it? I'm depriving a child!" Adult collectors go down in flames right along with the scalpers in that regard. :(

 

 

The second point is that scalping is not fair.

Well, is ANY act of consumption or commerce fair?

What's not fair here? That the "scalpers" are buying up goods BEFORE you and I can get to them?

Or that they are reselling them at a gross mark-up?

 

If its the former...........again, its a bullshit thought. EVERY item for sale in Western society typically is offered under the premise of "first come first served".

Its the same principle for real estate, financial items, food, clothing, services, you name it.

 

(If its the latter, isn't is a right and privilege for each of us in our free society to price our property for sale at a price WE believe the market will bear?? Do we not have a right to profit?)

 

In the 10+ years I have been on-line I have heard innumerable accounts of people complaining about some other person buying up toys before they could.........but never about buying up a house, or a electronic item, a car.........or food stuffs.

Those other events happen daily, but no-one ever complains about them........only with toys.

 

Why is that?

Do toys have this special clause about "fairness" about them? That, all of a sudden, toys are the ONE exception to "first come, first served"?

Or is fairness not really the issue here? Or are toy collectors just apt to be a deluded reactionary bunch??

 

Or both?

 

"Fairness" skitters all over the place, into issues and behaviours that become quite interpretive in scope.

Should collectors buy just one of each, or is army-building permitted? Can collectors buy for someone outside their area, or is the local supply meant only for the local consumer?

What is fair?

Again, apply the analogy of other products to this..........would anyone give a rat's patootie if this was about a tv, or a set of towels, or a can of spaghetti sauce?

Do you stamp your feet and protest when the last can of Coca Cola is grabbed by someone else at the 711???

 

I think the answer is obvious. Fairness has nothing to do with this.

Each of us blithely consumes as much as we like....conspicuous consumption and all that--fairness does not compute unless we are denied, and then it become hypocritical.

 

And even then, how is it to say what someone else does with their purchases?

When you see someone buying a can of cola, do you think that they MUST pour it in a glass, over ice and drink it on an especially hot day?

Do you apply conditions AT ALL to another's act of consumption? Is it any of your business to do so??

 

Of course not.

But "toys must be played with".....pfffft.

 

 

 

If someone wants to buy a toy to play with, or army-build, or horde, or stash to sell later, or to keep MOC, or.....to scalp.........who are we to apply conditions to them? If one condition applies, then ALL must apply, no? Are there not valid arguments against ALL of those above reasons for consumption?

 

Maybe the inalienable right we have, is to do what we please with what we buy and that grudgingly must include scalping a toy....unless local laws address this.

That's the thing about a law or a rule.....if it serves you exclusively, it denies someone else exclusively.

And THAT is not fair, is it?

 

 

Now, does all this mean I support scalping??

 

Oh gawd no.

 

Is scalping bad??

 

 

 

Yes, it is.

 

 

That's about as far as you can go with it. YES...scalping is a major pain-in-the-ass for geniune collectors, the people who truly want to HAVE that particular item..to KEEP, not sell. Trying to make it sound like some immoral or illegal act though, is a little bit of an exaggeration though. it's annoying and frustrating and it makes our hobby a little more difficult and frustrating along with it. it was fun to find out that OTHERS collected these "toys" at first and even added more enjoyment to it, but once it grows and grows and gathers groupuies and attention, the scalpers come a hoarding. It sucks, but it's their money and their RIGHTS!

 

 

 

 

That is because, as I have long said now, your ability to acquire goods far exceeds the scalpers ability to monopolize goods.

Look, any given scalper operates PHYSICALLY only in a defined area.

They are limited by geography, and ability to physically be in a given place at a given time.

Even if they bypass a physical hunt, and order on-line--they STILL cannot horde sufficient goods to monopolize the market on any given item.

There is NO WAY POSSIBLE for a scalper or even group of scalpers to monopolize enough goods to deny you and me a chance to buy via the many avenues open to us. The very psychology of scalping precludes that possibility.

 

You, as a consumer, will ALWAYS have some kind of opportunity to gain the same sought items OUTSIDE of the scalpers sphere of influence.

 

Scalpers operate locally, perhaps regionally.........you can conduct commerce GLOBALLY.

 

You, as a consumer, will ALWAYS retain the advantage over scalpers.

 

I'm not saying things will be easy, nor am I saying they will be hard.

 

I AM saying that with patience and persistence and a bit of a plan you, and every other collector, can bypass scalpers and NEVER have traffic with them.

 

Most of the tools to do this are right in front of you, right at this moment.

The biggest weapon against scalpers is educating and sharing what you know and what you find with other collectors.

You, as a collector/consumer, MUST be willing to try new and different strategies in collecting, perhaps be willing to trust a tiny bit more.

 

There are thousands of fellow collectors that already practise these strategies and they work for them flawlessly.

Trust me, when I say they'll work for you as well.

 

Scalpers depend upon ignorant and impatient collectors to buy their marked-up goods from them.

Cultivating knowledge on what is out there and practising patience will stymie scalpers at every turn.

Without easy marks, scalpers lose their profits, and with no profits........there's no reason to practise.

 

 

All that last part I'm iffy on.

 

Scalpers DO make the hobby frustrating and difficult, and they make it MORE expensive in the end. If you have absolutely NO opportunity for yourself, to walk into a retail chain and buy these items at retail costs and you can't even manage (with a heavy work schedule like many have) to hit the online shops at the right time, before other anxious collectors and scalpers clean out the stock, there's very little else you can do to BEAT the system that these scalpers have going for them. They're just as skilled in their craft as you seem to think you are in yours (in ours) at getting the things you want. They know all the tricks and have plenty of their own "resources" to make damn sure they get the items they want. I'm a pretty independant person, hate obligations and relying on anyone else to get me things. I mean..I'm grateful and thnkful when the times come up that I have help, but my own personal preference is to be able to manage for myself and that's even part of the fun of the hobby for me...the hunt, the fact that I GOT IT FOR MYSELF MAN, I FOUND IT...WOO HOO!! it's not as much fun to just wait for the mailman to show up with it, and merely claim it's now part of my collection, there it is!

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Okay, I'm not going to address everything darthhenning countered with, simply because both our posts are so long--but I will encapsulate some comments and generalize my responses toward others:

 

I'm not saying that the primary motivation for collecting is not to get it for youself, it is, unquestionably. But to say that collectors have no conscience or consideration is a little strong.

 

I'm not saying collectors have no conscience, but I AM saying our primary drive is to buy for ourselves FIRST and then others. When I buy a toy for myself......or anything else, I simply do not lament that someone else is missing out because I bought that item. I know of no-one who thinks in that way, and I imagine that if they do.......they've got issues I don't care to know about.

 

 

But lets say you're looking for the latest wave of G.I. Joes, if they're sold before you get there, you're out of luck. Only ONE company makes them, and in limited quantities. Unless you collect other toy lines, you're out of luck untill the next shipment.

 

But does only one store sell them? Are they sold in only one city? Can only one group of people get the toys?

Of course not, so "out of luck" doesn't apply here.

Someone else out there is selling the same goods and you can access that venue if you know how.

 

 

Yes, scalpers operate locally, and don't block supply globaly. But put a whole bunch of regional scalpers together each ripping off an area, and pretty soon they are global as a group.

 

No they are not--you have a contradiction there.

They are still only local, perhaps regional at best--their sphere of influence is only what they can physically visit or what they can order. Unless they make extraordinary arrangements for exclusivity, they cannot corner the available global supply--this has never happened before, and will very likely never happen because you are talking the capital required to be in the millions.

Do you know of scalpers with access to that kind of $$??

You can still shop across an entire continent or internationally. You STILL retain the choice and options to buy. No single or group of scalpers can corner the entire market--certainly not with toys.

 

While this is all well and good to suggest, and even to practice (something I fully support BTW) it doesn't adress the basic problem of a scarcity of goods at fair market price that affects various regions. Collector communities can help the problem, but they cannot eliminate it. Even if one collector or a group of collectors lives in a scalper-free region, the supply they find and trade with the community cannot make up for the supply lost to scalpers, and therefore, many collectors will wind up paying the inflated prices set by scalpers despite their best efforts to the contrary.

 

You got some classic limiting beliefs and assumptions there.

One being that the supply is limited and these goods are scarce.

Two that there's not enough collectors with access to help others.

 

For the former, that's poppycock. Here's a good example: those GIJOE figures out right now became "hard to find" right? No they didn't, Hasbro is re-releasing some of the ones that were acknowledged as hard to find. There's re-supply happening in this instance, and even so......have all the available supplies been tapped?

Nope. Were they ever? Nope.

People say that the first issue Flint was hard to find..........sold out in fact, but I have seen retailers in the last month carry the figure in question. Yes, some marked up the price, and some did not.

But there was a supply?

The assumption is that if a few places sell out, then the "rule" must be that other places have sold out as well.

That's not the case usually, one just has to search a bit further afield.

 

 

The second one is that there's not enough fellow collectors with access to help out.

Again, poppycock.

Have you tried getting people to help? How many people try this route? Probably less than we'd expect, but more than we hope.

For me, its part of my repertoire.......sometimes it works........sometimes not. But its ONE strategy that can bring results.

See, this is really what we are debating here.

 

Are collectors hamstrung or are they not?

You cling to the idea that they are, I advocate that they are not.

I maintain that IF you persist and be patient, you will persevere.

 

I'm telling you implicitly that I have collected happily and bountifully for over 20 years using the ideas and philosophies I've mentioned, and those strategies do indeed work. I've had minimal interaction with scalpers--and only then in the very early years of my collecting.

If you believe that there is nothing you can do, then you are correct. Alternatively, if you believe ( as I do) that there is always a way, then you are also correct.

 

If you do not believe, ask yourself why does this guy just not fret about scalpers....maybe he's doing something............different.

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If you have absolutely NO opportunity for yourself, to walk into a retail chain and buy these items at retail costs and you can't even manage (with a heavy work schedule like many have) to hit the online shops at the right time, before other anxious collectors and scalpers clean out the stock, there's very little else you can do to BEAT the system that these scalpers have going for them.

 

 

 

Here's my own story, to put this in some perspective:

In Oct of 2003 I moved to the BC Interior.........its essentially about 2 to 5 hrs min driving time to the nearest city.

There's a small town about 30 minutes away ( and hour now because we have moved further away from it) which at the time, had no toy stores, and the few retailers that did carry toys, certainly did not stock collectibles.

 

By rights, this situation should have crippled my toy collecting hobby.

 

It didn't.

Far from it in fact. I've been able to pursue my hobby as much as I ever have, and its relatively EASIER as a result.

 

Mail-order is a god-send in my case, it truly is..........but there's more to it than that.

 

I'm not ordering from just on-line retailers, I'm doing trades, receiving ( and sending out) karma, having other collectors I know buy for me and ship to me etc.

6 months after I moved to the area I live in, a small store opened up in the nearby town that just happened to be a dedicated toy-store, and just happened to stock items I collected. In patronizing that store when I could, I struck up a customer relationship with the owner and he offered to order in what I was looking for, if he could get it.

Often, I'd get first pick of the stuff that came in--because I was a steady customer.

Clearly an arrangement that suited me.

Additionally, other retailers in cities some distance away who I had forged relationships with in years prior were still around to serve me.

 

The gist of all this is that there IS ALWAYS a way to get the stuff.

 

I do not have Walmarts, Targets or TRUs around me. I may as well live in Fairbanks Alaska, or Kabul Afghanistan. It would not make any difference as long as the mail can get to me.

 

I thought that moving to the BC Cariboo, would put a severe crimp into my collecting.........that never happened.

I pay, on average, about 10 to maybe 15% more all told for the same stuff others buy, when its all averaged out.

 

If me living in the boonies presents no problem collecting, then I have to wonder why it presents others with problems.

 

I've come to observe that many other collectors have this limiting belief that collecting is hard and scalpers make collecting harder.

Make note of the sentence I emboldened above.......nowhere in that am I wrestling with scalpers.

I simply do not let them have any influence with my collecting.

Sure, they are out there, I just ignore them............bypass them. Someone else out there has the stuff, and someone out there can help me get it.

That is my core collecting belief.

 

I do not fret with the "how will i get stuff" part of the equation--because I know that .....in my gut......I CAN get it.

If you want it badly enough, it will come to you, and at a price you'll be willing to pay.

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