While I don't necessarily agree with all these points anymore, it's still a good read and I wanted to keep it available for when I need it.
The Collect To Collect Code Of Honor
Collect to Collect is a program started by Mr. Philip Wise to promote the hobby of Star Wars collecting. The principles behind the Collect to Collect credo are two-fold: aid your fellow Star Wars enthusiast and discourage those who collect strictly for the sake of profit. Collect to Collect means doing your best to observe the following collecting etiquette:
- Buy only what you need and make sure others get one before you get many.
- Acquire pieces for your collection because you want them, not because you plan to profit from them.
- Help others achieve their collecting goals for the sake of the hobby, not profit.
- When you trade or sell available toys, do so at cost.
- When you trade or sell unavailable toys, do so keeping the golden rule in mind: you'll always win in the long run if you don't take advantage of people.
- Buy from scalpers as a very last resort. They exist because people buy from them and do not make collecting toys easier. Scalping only promotes decay within the hobby.
- Understand it is more important for a kid to have the toys than you; help them out whenever possible. You're likely to get another chance at the toy, he/she may not.
Collecting Star Wars toys means different things to different people. For some it may be one of each Star Wars action figure to play with, for others it may be two of each package and figure variation in the world. Either way, it's up to you. You don't have to agree with the collecting goals of others, but you should respect them.
What is "scalping"?
Toy scalping is an often misunderstood term within collecting. The simplest definition of scalping is:
Somebody who buys currently available toys from any source other than an authorized toy distributor or manufacturer, to sell at a profit.
Scalping is not about money or price. Scalping is about limiting the availability of toys, which in turn makes it both difficult and frustrating for collectors to complete their collections. Below are a few examples to make it easier to grasp the "scalping" concept:
Joe goes to Wal-Mart and buys five desirable figures for later resale at the local flea market where he charges $10.00 each. Joe is a scalper. Avoid Joe. The results of his actions means less desirable toys at the store, frustrated toy buyers and higher prices for everybody. The trickle down effect is enormous, even affecting how stores purchase the toys and Hasbro's distribution decisions.
Wal-Mart and FAO Schwarz both buy from Hasbro directly. Wal-Mart sells figures for $5.76 or less, and FAO Schwarz typically sells them for about $9.99. While FAO sells figures at a substantially higher price, neither of these companies is scalping. Neither company is making it more difficult for collectors to complete their collections by taking toys from the hands of a kid or a collector solely for the purpose of making a quick buck off of a potential buyer.
George, a collector, goes to Wal-Mart and buys two Biker Scouts: one for himself and an extra to sell to a dealer at a toy show. George is a scalper. He not only bought a toy he didn't need (a toy the next collector won't be finding on the shelf), but become a supplier to a scalper.
Ben, another collector, walked into his local Toys 'R' Us and bought three orange-carded C-3PO. He opened two for his diorama and kept the third in package. Two years later Ben decided to sell that third packaged trooper to a friend for $15.00. Is Ben scalping? No, and only because after two years that C-3PO is no longer available on store shelves. True, Ben did buy too many figures and made it difficult for another collector to waltz into that same TRU to buy a C-3PO. Bad form. His action did not help the collecting community at large. He is not branded a scalper, however, because he did not set out to buy an available toy then turn around to sell it at a profit.
If you fit within the above definition of scalping and you aren't happy, or disagree, with our position on this, we have just one thing to say: we don't argue your right to scalp. We do, in the interest of our hobby, have every right to attempt to prevent you from being successful doing it.
Discouraging scalping and being an active member in the Collect to Collect community is not easy, particularly if you are in an area where new toys are difficult to find. Observing the Collect to Collect methodology will, however, help keep the hobby healthy and enjoyable.
The eBay Equation:
Are eBay auctions a form of scalping? Some are, yes. Not all auctions can be considered scalping, however. Auctioning vintage toys is not scalping. Auctioning a prototype is not scalping. Auctioning any item not currently available in a store is not scalping. Auctioning the Stormtrooper you bought yesterday at K-Mart is scalping.
See the trend? The key is to remember that scalping is not about price - scalping is about availability. The auction for the vintage 12-back Ben Kenobi doesn't stop anyone from walking into a store and finding the latest figure.