A post about "Flipping"

Discussion in 'FAQs & Announcements' started by brianflynn, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. brianflynn

    brianflynn Post Pimp Staff Member

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    A post about "Flipping"
    An old thread worth revisiting:

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    I just recently had a quick PM from someone on the board about being perceived a "flipper". It strikes me that many newer board members do not have a clear idea of the expectations many board members have of each other, and what used to happen in a much larger context than it does now. In short, act with integrity to your fellow collectors, and they will help you with knowledge, access and finding toys.

    1. Most collectors help finance their collections from buying and/or selling other toys that are undervalued from one place to another. This is common, but there are wrong ways and right ways to do this. Basically, if you find an OLD toy for cheap (old being a very subjective word) and ask a fair price for it or offer it for trade, everyone will be fine. If you resell a NEW toy quickly upon receipt, or if you bought a NEW toy just for the purpose of using it as trade bait, you will get scolded.

    I define OLD as something that has been out long enough that the existing stock of it is still not swapping hands. This may take 2 months, 6 months or a year. Just because you are not seeing it swap hands, does not mean it is not moving around still. The RxH Fungus from last week is not old. The RxH Lucky bag figures from January are.

    I define NEW just the opposite way. If they are still running around, swapping hands, and the release is still fresh. Kozik Damnedron is still sort of new, as theya re still popping up. Trying to over capitalize on this would be a no-no.

    2. Don't go to ebay. The board is fairly insular, so when people get toys that they do not feel are up to snuff or not what they had hoped, they usually offer them on the boards first as a way to offer it to those who missed out, as releases are usually quite limited, and someone just like you missed out. It makes for good toy kharma, and there is nothing better than getting a figure you thought you missed for the same release price a few days later. If you do this, you will be surprised what comes back to you when you miss something. (Which I can guarantee will happen.)

    2. Don't go fishing for bids. Ask what you want. The open ended "make offers" is a sure way of politely saying "I want as much as you are willing to pay". The excuse of "I started the bidding at under what I paid" does not cut it either, as you are willing to take as much as they are willing to give. Don't capitalize on other collector's insecurities.

    Even if you list an auction or board sale at $50, but it ends at $150, regardless of your intenions while listing it, the end result is the same. If your intention is not to loose money on the toy, asking for any more than you paid on a brand new release is profiteering in some way. You just have to decide if you want others to treat you in that same way you are treating them or not.

    3. I think the concept of "perceived value" is a problem here. It all depends on your perspective. If something is released and a week later is selling for +$25 over the original release price, many people think they are getting "ripped off" if they do not receive the additional +$25. It is a theoretical number. The amount of money you paid for the toy is what you financially debted to it -nothing more. Everything over that is speculative. To reiterate, you just have to decide if you want others to treat you in that same way you are treating them or not.

    We had a really great thing going on for a while, where people steadily moved through new product that they did not like, passing it along to other board members at a retail price. This encouraged this behavior and allowed everyone to jump start their collections and try different items out without fear. The point of collecting is to buy toys that you like, regardless of value. Hopefully they will all acrue value. But, if you buy toys simply by the perceived dollar signs attached to them you will not only burn yourself, but others as well.

    To bring the point home, I will use a personal example.

    a. I did not have a cocky, it was the only skullbrain I was missing. I was missing it because I was not willing to pay the price of the figure based on how fugly it is. That said, I had every other skullbrain, I needed to "finish the set". I spent three years not paying for that brain, until a board member offered one up as a trade. Because he got it cheap, he passed it to me for cheap in a swap for a new toy he wanted. Could he have gotten more $ for his toy? Yes. But, we both got what we wanted out of the trade, and I will always make sure to treat him the same way as he treated me, because that is how we roll. Might he get preferential treatment sometime when he really needs it? Probably. The point is, he probably won't ask (unless he realllllly needs to), so it wouldn't even be an issue. He is not looking for a pay out on his good deed. That is how it is supposed to work. It is like a Family here, so treat them correctly.

    I hope that helps shed some light on some of our expectations for you. The point is to enjoy getting the toys, not paying $200 for them a week later.

    -brian
     
  2. brianflynn

    brianflynn Post Pimp Staff Member

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    A post about "Flipping"
    a few responses from an email so that you may get a better idea of where I am coming from.

    ----

    Here is something I was started typing up to post somewhere (unfinished), but decided not to. I was prompted to start writing in the first place by your “flipper” post on the S7 board. Instead of posting someplace else, I decided instead just to send my “draft” directly to you for your thoughts. It could be a lot of nonsense from your point of view. Convince me.

    There are two sides to every argument, both can be right, and lots of grey area. Here are my ten cents on a few of them, quick answers. Good discourse, nothing bitter.

    “Retailers buy low and sell high, presumably as high as they think the market will bear and to cover their costs (wholesale acquisition costs, overhead, etc.). They want to make as much profit as they can, while still being relatively competitive.

    In theory, but if that were true, we would sell all of our new exclusives at $125 apiece instead of $40-65. We don't sell as high as we could, and we try to be as fair as we can. If we don't burn our customers, we won't burn ourselves. Exxon may run their business differently than we do though, which is why they are a lot larger than we are.

    “Private collectors buy at retail prices or higher. Some spend a lot of time researching different figures, spending countless hours hunting figures down, watching retail sites relentlessly to try to get that “holy grail” figure (I do, and I am able to charge many hundreds of dollars for my regular work time – so I have incredibly high “lost opportunity costs”).

    I understand that argument, but that assumes you are doing this for pay, not for pleasure. While learning this stuff can take years, I have been giving it away for free (or a mere 5.95) since we started Super7 (and before that). Learning this stuff is a community learned operation for the most part, as information usually exists in fleeting bits and pieces that need to be pieced together through multiple sources for a full picture. If collecting toys are are business for you, you can look at it that way, and worry about your hours. If they are not, thinking that way will only drive you crazy. If I only dealt with this as lost time from billable hours, It makes me think I should be charging to use the restroom, as it is lost time as well.

    “When a collector decides to sell one of these hard-sought figures, for whatever reason, for more than what he or she paid for it (it wasn’t what they expected based on the pictures, it wasn’t up to snuff in terms of quality, or for whatever reason), is the collector a “flipper” in the pejorative sense?

    Not if the figure is "old" according to my criteria. This is an issue to brand new figures only in my mind, or someone gouging a price unreasonably for an older. With new toys, the dust has not settled long enough for prices to stabilize, and you are preying on the collector's fear that they will not be able to get the toy later, and people pay more on fear and insecurity, not on the toys merit. As I said in the beginning, everyone buys and resells, you just need to be friendly and ethical with it, not cutthroat.

    “Yes, there are people out there who buy toys “just” to sell them at a profit. But others who buy primarily as collectors just change their minds or their focus in collecting, or their desires, or there are changes in their economic status, their ability to ward off negative comments from a non-appreciative significant other. Some even lose their minds.

    I loose my mind continually. Not sure what the question is here.

    “If retailers buy low and sell whatever they think they can get for the figure, are retailers just legitimatized “flippers”? Why are collectors who seek to maximize the value of their sometimes very significant investments attacked for doing so? In many cases, the attackers are some of the most prolific turnover sellers of all.

    The first part I think I addressed in my first response. It is about being responsible to your fellow collector and/or customer. To your second part, there are quite a few people who are part time dealers out there. You have to watch and make sure they don;t cross the line either. We do our best but we cannot monitor everyone.

    “I raise these questions in part because I see a lot of hypocrisy out there in the toy world. Example: Toy shop owners (bricks/mortar and/or online) who “inflate” their retail prices and then scold or otherwise use “negative reinforcement” on their customers in the retailer’s own forums for turning around and selling those same limited items for more than what they bought them for.”

    I understand your frustration, but if you can show me a case of anyone from Super7 doing this, I would gladly take them down for it as well. I don't think you can show us ever doing this in any form.

    “Why shouldn’t anyone be able to charge what the market will bear for a particular item, regardless of how they came about it? If it is indeed a rare item, the person who acquired it was either entirely lucky (rare) or spend a lot of time trying to ensure the likelihood of success (much more common).

    No one said that you cannot charge what the market will bear. The point of my column was to say, that if you wanted to be on this particular little corner of the cyber-space world, this is a certain set of ways that the members here like to operate within each other. If you want to hang out here, try and play by our rules or show us a better way. If you don't like the way we play, there are ample other places that play by a different set of rules.

    The idea of a retailer holding a “captive” or “adoring” audience to some kind of “pledge” that they will never sell an item to anyone for anything more that what they bought it for is quaint, at best, and at worst, just some kind of attempt by the retailer to protect its own market.”

    I never said that. I said to not do that to a figure that still (metaphorically speaking) has not let the paint dry. Brand new releases are in such hot demand, that one of your "friends" just missed it. If you were truly friends, and you did not like the figure, hook your friend up. If you have had that figure for a year, and it is "old" (in my definition), you have allowed it to properly age and acrue value, just like a wine or any other analogy you like. Asking a fair price for something that has had time to settle into a solid value is no problem at all. I would not expect someone to sell a vintage Skullbrain, Damnedron or RealxHead for retail if it is now stabilized at a much higher price. That would be unrealistic.

    You seem like a rational, straightforward person in your posts to the masses. Yet, I still have questions about your ultimate motivations.

    Fair enough, time will tell the true story, and I hope time will prove that we (and I ) have been nothing but honorable.

    -brian
     
  3. locomoto566

    locomoto566 Super Deformed

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    A post about "Flipping"
    Spot on.
     
  4. jltohru

    jltohru S7 Royalty

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    A post about "Flipping"
    Questions about your motives?
    None here. S7 has been a truly stand up company since day 1 of all my experiences with them.

    Great post Brian.
     
  5. bryanarchy

    bryanarchy Comment King

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    A post about "Flipping"
    I could be wrong, but I think that Brian's piece about flippers isn't necessarily from the desk of "super 7" so much as it is from a person who's collected and has an interest in this scene beyond being a retailer.

    I think you're reading into Brian's words a bit too much. Whether or not his motivations are in question, I feel the sum of the message he put forward benefits the vast majority of people on this board.
     
    Nuggets303420 likes this.
  6. uub

    uub Toy Prince

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    A post about "Flipping"
    I agree completely with Brian's posts on the matter. I'd say the bottom line is that you can do what you want and make whatever rationalizations help you sleep at night. Just don't expect people to open their arms and embrace you if they don't agree with what you are doing. If you don't care about the community enough to respect its wishes, why come play here?
     
  7. Chuck

    Chuck Line of Credit

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    A post about "Flipping"
    The Cocky brain is NOT fugly. :razz:
     
  8. bigstar13

    bigstar13 Line of Credit

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    A post about "Flipping"
    There is a notion that the PM implies, and it's been made by people on this board before, that the rest of us are f-ing morons, that we are somehow being fooled and that "RFSO" is some bullshit made up to dupe us into worshiping at the Super 7 alter.

    If I thought for a second that Super 7 was jacking me on prices I'd go elsewhere. But I'm not a f-ing moron. I know how much a piece costs, I know how rare it is, I know how hard it is to get and I know when some one is screwing me.

    And to be honest I don’t solely buy my figures through here or at Super 7. But I have gotten too many great deals on these boards and from them not to believe in RFSO at least a little…
     
  9. living dead

    living dead Prototype

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    A post about "Flipping"
    So TRUE :!:
     
  10. jltohru

    jltohru S7 Royalty

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    A post about "Flipping"
    you know when i first started collecting SB? it was on toyshoprough... for over 2 months before i bought it!! was cheap too ><

    i thought i'd hate it!
    i didn't want it. LOL. i didn't think i would like it.

    i love it. :D
    i love it!!
     
  11. skylar

    skylar Post Pimp

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    A post about "Flipping"
    now I'm hungry for pancakes. seriously.
     
  12. Robert DeCastro

    Robert DeCastro Side Dealer

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    A post about "Flipping"
    Gospel according to Flynn. Well said. I think that was a much needed post to refresh the minds of folks here about what RFSO is all a bout. I think this is a great place and love the close knit aspect of it. I've already experienced some RFSO luv and hope to spread the good karma around.
     
  13. KJB

    KJB Comment King

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    A post about "Flipping"
    Very well said, BF. Thanks.
     
  14. zadzaczadlin

    zadzaczadlin Toy Prince

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    A post about "Flipping"
    maybe my perspective comes from being on a fairly limited budget. i generally have to sell off bits of my collection if i want to change dirsctions, and for that reason i try to keep fairly focused in my collection. i dont have the available cash to just buy up every new release, and while it's true that occasionally by making a purchase purely on speculation there is the possiblity of making a profit, even if this would allow me to buy more for myself, it just seems wrong, for me.
    i've seen the idea posted around here that much as we hate flippers buying up new releases for profit, at least those toys are still for sale and accesible, albeit at inflated prices. it strikes me as somewhat of an odd idea, in that, if flippers weren't buying these releases for resale, wouldn't that just mean that there would be more available far true fans at retail? now, dont get me wrong, i understand that's a somewhat idealistic perspective, after all, any time there is profit to be made readily there will be people who capitalize on it. that is, after all what a free market is all about. but isn't this board about being in the company of fellow collectors? enjoying not just our collections and the acquisition of new pieces, but also the feeling of being part of a community? i try to think of this board and its members as a kind of tribe or village. small town mentality. would you charge your friend to use your weed eater? or sell tyour neighbor a cup of sugar at a 50% markup because otherwise they would have to go to the store right?
    in the end everyone here is free to do as they see fit. it just comes down to what you are comfortable with and how you feel about your fellow boardmembers. ive gotten some great deals, and in return ive tried to give some as well. i like the idea of RFSO.

    ive just realized this is probably the longest thing ive ever written here. i think ive said what i had to say, something thats been on my mind for a while.
    peace.
     
  15. Darky

    Darky Line of Credit

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    A post about "Flipping"
    Excellent post

    And a good read
     
  16. turtletooth

    turtletooth Post Pimp

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    A post about "Flipping"
    I really can't believe that someone who collects toys as a hobby would mention "lost opportunitiy costs", and market values. Lame.

    Bean counters of the world unite!

    Great post Brian.
     
  17. michael

    michael Side Dealer

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    A post about "Flipping"
    i love this forum, and i feel that this place regulates on everything. wether or not people are getting awesome deals on great toys, or recieving information on international auction sites and new kaiju.

    this place has been a wonderful source of toys and ideas, and i love it. i think the ones who formed this site and the many members who care about other members will thrive and continue to collect and help others out, and the others who come and go for the 8) factor and to make a buck with leave sooner or later.
     
  18. liquidsky

    liquidsky Vintage

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    A post about "Flipping"
    Another well written post, Brian.
     
  19. decypher

    decypher Comment King

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    A post about "Flipping"
    There have been some damn good and fair deals going on at this place and I'm glad to hear everyone wants to keep it that way.

    S7 and the people here have made the best collecting experience and a great venue to talk about this stuff. I'm guessing most of us westerners know limited people in real life to talk kaiju.
     
  20. yiminy

    yiminy Toy Prince

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    A post about "Flipping"
    Or lawyers of the world unite. Of course, no offense to the legal types who still post here... ;)
     
  21. Shelf Monkey

    Shelf Monkey Toy Prince

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    A post about "Flipping"
    I'm new to the whole scene, but from what I've seen so far, the reputations of Super7, Max Toy, etc. et. el is golden. I'm personally indebted to Hiro for a few toys and feel as if there's much more community on RFSO than anywhere else. Kozik is here and accessible. The posts are more interesting and informational than elsewhere else.. And I feel that it's not simply a cut-throat, me-me-me atmosphere. Some people are lame, but most are the type I'd kick back and drink tea with.

    If and when I sell, I'll pass the good karma along, and not get too greedy. And when I see my shelf, I see if half full of cool "dollies" not half empty because I bought into a marketing strategy and can't get 1 of 50 Hydraglow Dorkblob's to feel fulfilled.

    E-bay is a different story entirely. But this place ain't like that at all.
     
  22. booschwobe

    booschwobe Addicted

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    A post about "Flipping"
    Thanks for the clarification, Bryan. This is the main reason I joined this board, the collector's comraderie. I've gone amost 13 years of fairly isolated collecting before being turned onto RFSO by one of the members here I sold a Gas Bawer to on eBay this spring. Would rather "flip" a figure at cost to me to someone I can correspond with here and provide a good home to a chunk of vinyl...
     
  23. locomoto566

    locomoto566 Super Deformed

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    A post about "Flipping"
    I got that Bawer from ya'. Good to see you over here.
     
  24. bannedindc

    bannedindc S7 Royalty

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    A post about "Flipping"
    giving super 7 shit??

    these people have obviously never collected records... where flipping has always been accepted and if not encouraged...

    we're not talking free market economy... were talking about not getting shit on the process of getting our things.

    I dont think I have to tell anyone what board they need to go on if they think RFSO is too much to handle...

    LONG LIVE BRIAN/SUPER 7 & RAMOS/RFSO!
     
  25. redhanded

    redhanded Side Dealer

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    A post about "Flipping"
    Amen
    Bryans post reminded me of my record collecting haydays during the late 80s- mid 90s. I recall when people were going nuts when hardcore bands and labels ( ex. Revalation) were charging 4 or 5 bucks instead of 3 for a 7 inch record all because it was on splatter vinyl or the word limited was used. I recall bands mocking it with adds in MRR and Heartattack selling "OIL SPILL" black vinyl.
    I still like the notion of pricing for fan sake
     

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