Man made $2500 in a day buying Monopoly for Millennials at Walmart and selling them online


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/30/man-made-2500-in-a-day-buying.html


#2


#3

Judging by the grey in his beard, it looks like the Bearded Picker is not a Millenial himself. Also taking into account the likely ages of the edition’s designers, manufacturers, retailer’s executives, and end customers, the name “Monopoly for Millenials” is a grave misnomer.

Related:


#4

When did “scalping” become “arbitrage”?


#5

I wouldn’t call this scalping, because scalping is usually buying a lot of things at face value now, knowing they will be worth more later. Arbitrage is buying something that sells for one price in location A, and a higher price at location B. Depending on your personal views either or both might be distasteful.

Maybe I’m biased because in my youth I bought old cameras and accessories from a local camera shop and sold them on ebay for a profit.


#6

This story does have a very early to mid 00’s feeling.


#7

So wait…when I buy a comic book for $2.50 and 50 years from now it’s worth $500…you think that’s scalping?

Also technically ticket scalping is the exact same thing as what this guy did which is in fact by definition arbitrage. If we are going to be pedantic.

This being said…I really don’t have an issue with what this guy did. The idiots who paid the $55 at amazon for the game they already have 18 versions of…yeah, first world problems and all that.


#8

After some thought I might agree that scalping is a form of arbitrage. I initially didn’t think so because you’re selling it back to the same market at a later date, but that’s not really true. The initial market is the ticket seller, the secondary market is the general public or maybe like, people on ebay or whatever.

The comic book is an example of speculation. From your link about arbitrage, arbitrage is taking advantage of a known pricing discrepancy - unless you screw something up you’re guaranteed to make money because the price in both markets is known (this is also a minor point against calling scalping arbitrage, except that future price for ticekts is probably somewhat more predictable). For your comic book though, it may be worth very little or nothing. You are not guaranteed a profit without a chance of a loss.

Although also your link talks about statistical arbitrage. Hoarding comic books, or scalping tickets, are more justifiable as examples of that. Any individual ticket or comic doesn’t have a guaranteed profit, but some of them will and I guess if you have some skill or predictive power you can guarantee statistical profits.


#9

It’s a form of arbitrage – a dodgy one, although I’m not going to waste my outrage on someone trying to corner the market on a bunch of novelty board games in one location (WalMart) at a discount, holding them briefly, and then selling them for a higher price in another location (Amazon) where they’re scarce.

The egregious thing about current ticket scalping is that the ticket sellers are semi-monopolies that not only control both primary and secondary markets (taking a cut from sales in each) but also actively privilege the scalpers with special accounts and incentives in the primary markets (e.g. early access, no purchase limits).


#10

You’re missing another part of it. Some times it’s also about creating a demand…buy all of item A and suddenly you have a monopoly on a product that people perceive to be valuable because of the limited availability.

Excellent example: Pop Funko figures.

I get your points, its mainly that arbitrage is a broader term that covers an array of various pricing changes. Point blank what this guy did is perfectly fine. Ticket scalping is actually a different problem. In those instances the buyer may have wanted to buy a ticket but the scalper bought them all up and is price gouging specifically to take advantage.

But hey…Capitalism in action AMIRITE!!!


#11

OK but a Walmart shopper may have wanted a Millennial Monopoly at these locations but now they can’t get them, but can buy them at a huge markup from amazon?

It is quintessential capitalism, though, like an econ 101 example of market efficiency. The amazon crowd apparently either has better market reach or a better idea of the true price of a good. If people are willing to pay $55 for a product, but someone else is selling it for $20, then the true price should be somewhere between the two.


#12

So he discovered scalping? LOL.

Yeah, the toy collector market has had this for decades. Can’t ever find that short packed figure? Some guy is there every day when the truck comes in and sells it on ebay. Some even have friends who work there let them know when something comes in.

I can’t for the live of me find the new Boba Fett Hot Wheels from the Bountry Hunter series… probably will break down and buy a set on ebay at some point. Though to be fair, I only look when I am out, but I have found all the other characters at some point, never a Fett.


#13

“And that, you overgrown children, is how one plays MONOPOLY!”


#14

I think the difference is that scalping exploits a single source (such as event tickets) whereas arbitrage exploits differences between markets (you can buy board games anywhere).

In this case, though, there is an incidental element of scalping because WalMart dumping a hot Xmas item at clearance prices was extremely odd and distorted the natural market for it.


#15

I used to buy vintage Star Wars toys on ebay, but never enjoyed the running around town looking for new releases of “exclusive products” simply because I knew the people that comb through that stuff are very efficient (but I still like to go look whenever I’m already at a store!). That’s why one day I was crazy thrilled to stumble upon a bloody stump Luke just sitting on a retail shelf!! Same feeling I have when I get secure tickets to my favorite band when they are first released- I felt like I beat the scalper.


#16

Diamonds are a prime example of how you do this in a large scale. Creating an artificial shortage to sell a common item at inflated prices.


#17

That is (or was) a cartel situation. The global oil market is strongly influenced by the OPEC cartel as well.


#18

again…I hear you. But I really cannot give any fucks on the “must have every version of monopoly” crowd. It’s normal retail price is $55. This guy took advantage of a local deal to sell it at the normal rate on Amazon. That’s more distribution discount than price gouging.

Think of it this way. You or I walk into a liquor store. Bottle of Bourbon XYZ retails for $40. The liquor store didn’t make it. They are retailing it. But they didn’t pay $40 from the distributor…they got it at a discount…say $20. So they make a profit on it. This guy followed that model essentially.


#19

$2500 can buy a lot of


#20

In the 1990s we have Winona Ryder’s doing this in gas stations with her dad’s credit card.