“All those people should be throat punched”
“What else are they gonna do when they have no life?”
“What a bunch of inbred mutants”
Just a small selection of comments that appeared under a photo I saw posted to a Facebook group this week.
So, what was the picture? Had the owners of a local dog fighting ring been captured? Was it a throwback shot of the Manson family? Nope, just a line of people at Wal-Mart picking up their limited per person allocation of Pokemon cards.
Disclaimer: Ludkins Media is a media outlet aimed at providing the most up-to-date TCG news. This is the opinion of our columnist, DJGigabyte, reflecting on the current landscape of the community and not of Ludkins Media as a whole. Whether you agree or disagree, comment on Facebook and Instagram and let’s spark a debate that allows us all to reflect.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the supply of cards has dropped due to a decrease in the number of centers that can print, and the number of workers that can be there at once. The demand for cards has increased for a huge variety of reasons. We are currently at a point where demand is higher than supply, especially at in-person stores, and we will likely remain this way until the pandemic has passed. The two main consequences of this have been: unless you arrive at a store right as they restock you probably are not going to be able to find any cards, and the cards you buy online will be higher prices than they were for previous sets. Both of these thing’s kind of suck, there’s no point pretending they don’t. When things in the hobby change for the negative, there is always a look for who to blame. In this case, members of the Pokemon TCG community blamed scalpers.
Am I now about to claim that scalpers do not exist? No, of course, they do.
Am I now about to claim that scalpers are all decent people, and we should embrace them with open arms in Pokemon TCG? God no, I work in a board game store, scalpers are awful people. We had staff receiving a ton of abuse during the Battle Styles Prerelease weekend due to our two per person limit, we’ve had people getting annoyed that we won’t give them full breakdowns of our full stores allocation, we have people coming in with a vague sense of wanting Pokemon because Pokemon is worth money, but having no real understanding of what they are looking for. (Yes, that Dreadnaw theme deck did have a lot of energy and a lot of duplicates, no it was not a scam.)
Here are the points that need to be made, scalpers are the HUGE minority in Pokemon TCG, and most importantly, you do not know who is a scalper.
The photo I mentioned earlier is just one of a number of these posts that seem to be made every day across the Pokemon community. Always by people with zero self-awareness or a sense of irony.
Look at all these asshole scalpers here at 8am at buy all the ETBs.
How do you know they were there at 8am to buy ETBs?
I was there.
Why were you there at 8am?
To buy an ETB.
Why were you there at 8am to buy an ETB?
I’m a collector and want the cards for my collection.
Is it possible the other people there were doing the same?
No, they’re dirty scalpers.
How do you know?
Because they were there at 8am to buy all the ETBs.
<Repeat until blood comes out of your ears>
The standard viewpoint of people complaining. Even though we are all doing the same thing, I’m doing it for the right reason and everyone else is the problem. Is it possible the other people are also collectors? Parents trying to pick up a birthday present for their child? No, they’re the problem.
The word scalper has lost all meaning within the Pokemon community. Buying a lot of products for your collection? Scalper. Traveling to two different stores on the same day to get products from each? Scalper. Being in the same place as a collector, at the same time, buying the same product? Scalper.
During the initial release of Shining Fates, I was called a scalper multiple times. Did it matter that I wasn’t scalping the product? No. Did it matter that it was all for my collection? No. Did it matter that I bought way fewer Shining Fates than I did Hidden Fates? No. I was buying a lot of products, therefore I was a scalper.
So, what is my issue with this? Well, Pokemon collecting is built around community. It is as much about the people as it is about the cards. To me, being called a scalper is water off a duck’s back, I’ve been called a lot worse in the time I’ve been collecting Pokemon TCG. But imagine you’re joining a new hobby, you make your first purchases, go into some groups to try and meet others who share the same interests, you post to show off what you’ve picked up. The comments yell at you for being a scalper and tell you that you need to be punched in the throat. How long are you staying in that hobby? Nothing you ever post on Facebook is going stop actual scalpers from scalping products, simply because they’ll never see it. But you might very well make the community seem so unappealing that the new genuine collectors that you’ve been so desperate to see are put off the moment they show up.
Am I expecting this article to change people’s minds? No. I imagine people will retain their superiority complex, act like this doesn’t apply to them, and continue to do what they believe is saving the hobby one comment at a time. I’ll probably get called a scalper on the way, because writing an article about not just being an awful person to people you don’t know in Pokemon TCG? Scalper.
But for anyone new to the hobby who sees this after being called inbred for buying four ETBs? Know that the community is mostly great and that these people are just a small (if annoying) section of the community.
Dan Norton – DJGigabyte
Read more from Dan here.
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