Monday, May 24, 2021

Do second hand markets and scalpers ruin hobbies and games for other people? Is unfettered capitalism good for anything?

Do second hand markets and scalpers ruin hobbies and games? I was having a quiet weekend when I saw a video of a mad rush of adult shoppers at a Wal-Mart trying to punch each other out over the last remaining Pokemon cards. Most of these are destined for Ebay, resale, flipping...or what have you. I doubt these people actually play Pokemon and have a passion for their rare card because it helps them win games.

I've also heard the stories from scalpers. This may surprise you, but most of the scalping being done is happening to other scalpers. It's the same mentality that you see in crypto trading or stock market memes like "Gamestop." That is...all of the buying and selling is happening between scalpers who actually have no interest in the product other than, "If I can take advantage of someone, I can make some money on this and not actually have to participate in back-breaking capitalism which would require me to work for a number of piss-poor dollars per hour." In other words, very little product from a Pokemon buying frenzy is actually making it to consumers. And then scalpers buying off scalpers essentially controls the supply, and that's how the price goes up.

I also hear that scalpers created a shortage in the Playstation 5 that was released some time ago. So I guess what I'm asking you to answer (dear reader) is this: products being sold NOW are brand new and are being snatched up by speculators who have no interest in actually consuming the products. They just want to exploit their ability to create artificial scarcity to rip other people off. So my question to you is should this be allowed? If so, I'd like to hear why. As for me, I don't think it should be allowed. I don't like "unfettered capitalism," which has no regulations to protect the public from predatory profit seekers. Unfortunately, we live in a country where half of the populations is okay to let greedy people bribe out politicians to change laws and create loopholes so that they can get away with monstrous actions for profit.


  1. How do you stop it though? Stores would have to limit how many items are purchased at a time, but you know they won't enforce that for something that isn't toilet paper.

  2. This is a problem in the toy industry too. It can be almost impossible to find Star Wars or Marvel or Transformers because the second new ones come out scalpers buy them up. But you can't do much about it; there's no way to vet the buyers. I wrote about it on my blog about 3 years ago.

    1. And really while people buying up cards or action figures or concert/sports tickets is annoying, like the Gamestop thing you have to tip your cap that they're finding a way to beat the system. Where it really becomes a problem is when people use that same technique to buy up things people really need, like TP at the start of the pandemic or gas in the southeast a week or so ago.

  3. I tend to agree with Alex. We don't really need Pokemon cards, and who even plays that game these days? If the price is too high, simply don't buy it.

  4. To answer the second question in your title, no.

    I remember my days at the evil toy store (now defunct) when it was all collectors buying up the various toys. The things they were buying up are now mostly worthless. The whole system is flawed.