I think I got a B in Economics in High School. I remember solidly understanding at least half of the things we discussed. I’m no expert, but I do know a little about supply and demand. Nintendo has, for the past decade, been notoriously poor at the supply side of things, while ravenous customers have the demand part nailed down.
When Nintendo announced last year that they would release the NES Classic Edition (a miniature NES-styled console with 30 games installed), gamers and non-gamers lit up. The NES is a classic gaming icon and having a retro re-release of sorts (the Classic Edition can’t play original cartridges) sparked nostalgia in people that wouldn’t otherwise purchase a new gaming console.
This spark was fanned into flame as each shipment from Nintendo was sold out more quickly than the previous. Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, all failing to get enough units to satisfy customers.
The rise of the scalper
As long as there is scarcity, there is a demand. In extreme cases of scarcity, such as original art pieces or antique cars, the demand exists for the sake of “collecting”. Some collect in order amass valuable assets, but often collecting is its own reward.
But in between those who have and those who want, there is a dark abyss full of disgusting middlemen, heartless greed-mongers. Were you unable to buy tickets to see your favorite band in concert? Oh, that’s too bad. But there’s great news, some trashbag bought a ticket with no intention of going and he’ll sell it to you for twice the price.
While some would call these folks “enterprising”, I don’t find anything clever about buying things you don’t intend to own and hocking them at a higher price. That’s just a scummy way of getting paid without doing any real work. Get a job, scalpers! Then you will be too busy to worry about buying up tickets to shows you aren’t actually interested in going to. StubHub is a stink-pit for lazy bums that stalk Ticketmaster to buy tickets as soon as they go on sale and immediately ratchet up the price for people who just want to see Steve Vai play the guitar.
I think scalping (buying products with the intent to mark up and resell them) should be illegal. It’s disingenuous, deceptive, and exploits and preys on the working class.
Nintendon’t understand supply and demand
In the case of the NES Classic Edition, Nintendo announced it ahead of release and had time to gauge customer interest. At a glance, you could see early on that there was high customer interest. We’ll call that customer interest demand. There was a high demand for the NES Classic Edition and in typical fashion, Nintendo shipped limited supply. They did it with the Wii, they did it with Amiibos. Nintendo doesn’t seem to get “supply and demand”.
If you announce a new product and there is tremendous feedback and desire to obtain your product, produce a large amount of that product. If you don’t provide the supply, you lose money. That part seems obvious, but it’s not the worst of it. The worst part comes next, and involves filthy scalpers.
After the initial batch of a hot, new product sells out, vultures swoop in to pick at the remains. That is, scumbaggery is afoot as scalpers (aka “resellers”) hover, looking for the next shipment of product. In the case of the Nintendo NES Classic Edition, it looks like this:
- NES Classic retails for $59.99 but sells out rapidly.
- Scalpers are on the lookout for next shipment.
- Scalpers acquire stock in hot product by
- Connection at big box store
- Grouping to get around “1 per customer” limits
- Camping out
- Scuzzy wretches sell stock at idiotic markup.
Here is an example from Amazon. In this case the starting price of an NES Classic Edition is $249.99, over 4 times the retail price. There are 255 turds selling NES Classics when those 255 units should have gone directly into the hands of people who actually wanted them. Those intended targets should have paid 60 bucks, not 250!
From the same image you can see 26 people are selling their Classics for over 273 dollars. They opened it up, played it, got their disgusting mitts all over it, got bored with it and still want to upcharge for it. It’s outrageous.
Look at this one:
“Just received final stock!” You scumbag!! That’s because Nintendo just shipped their final shipment and you swooped in before a genuine customer could get one. It’s not like you are a legitimate businessman, you are a conman!
Gone too soon
In mid-April of 2017, a little less than a year after announcing the NES Classic, Nintendo discontinued it. They never made enough to satisfy the demand that was there, and then they discontinued it. Why? Maybe they see it as cannibalizing the Switch’s market. Maybe they can’t afford to produce two consoles at same time. I don’t know. All I know is that the consumers that wanted one at a normal price are out of luck and the scalpers won.
If you bought an NES Classic Edition, not to play Super Mario Bros. or Contra, or Kirby, but to sell it to make a quick buck, you are not a reseller. You are not a businessperson. You are barely a human, you are the husk of a person. May your clothes rot and your food spoil.