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Old 12-31-2015, 10:31 PM   #1
Carrbeaz
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Default The hobby and the race to the bottom mentality

Lately I have been doing a lot of reading and research on this phenomena as it impacts my business and lively hood(I own a sports card store).

I have identified the 3 main culprits which cause this mindset in sellers.

1: Fear

Many breakers and sellers are simply scared their product won't sell or that somebody is going to lower their prices and will sell before them and will either set prices very low to combat this.

The other element of fear comes from the fact that many breakers and seller buy their product on credit and know a bill is coming soon. So they will undersell in order to get at least enough to make a decent payment back on the boxes or cases they purchased. This will work for a while, but the attrition will catch up with them and they will eventually max our their credit cards and be done with breaking.

2: Ignorance

Sometimes you will see breakers and sellers get into products without doing a little research about that product. Heritage High Numbers and Topps Update were great examples of that this year. I saw many sellers listing sets well under the average mean. For a time the market was about to bear the initial underselling and bounce back, but as more continued to list (at sometimes half the average sale price) the market went down.

This also happened recently with Bowman's Best sets and insert sets.

3: 99 cent auctions

Other than fear, this is probably the main culprit in the race to the bottom. The only cards that should ever be listed this way are players who are white hot with a huge collector base and even then it may not be a good idea. If you do some research and look at listings, almost always you will find that fixed price listings will have higher results than auctions that started at 99 cents.

Unless you are the very first listing of a new product, you are almost always going to see lower final prices from 99 cent auctions than from BIN/BO.

Now granted there are instances where a seller needs money fast and will sell far below the market in order to get a fast sale. And there are other circumstances that will account for sellers cutting prices as well. But overall the three factors mentioned above factor in most in the race to the bottom.

Also if you want to do some reading for yourself, the term race to the bottom is an actual economic term as is often associated with entire countries or economic systems.

Have a good 2016 and lets try to stay away from the race to the bottom as breakers and sellers, but there are never any winners in that race.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:35 PM   #2
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Here's another issue, sort of.

Say a product has been out a week or so and you have a low numbered autograph of a young star. Let's say, it's Noah Syndergaard and you have a #d 25 autograph refractor.

You put it out for a price or BO. You get a BO that isn't bad, but you really don't know if it's the right price or not. You check comparables and see cards ranging from $30-$200 and your offer is $80.

How do you know how to respond? Do you take the chance of losing the $80 offer by countering, or do you take the money and run?

All seriousness, when you have nothing to compare it to, you can often sell too cheap or get stuck with a card that you could have gotten at least something for but declined the offer.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:37 PM   #3
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Here's another issue, sort of.

Say a product has been out a week or so and you have a low numbered autograph of a young star. Let's say, it's Noah Syndergaard and you have a #d 25 autograph refractor.

You put it out for a price or BO. You get a BO that isn't bad, but you really don't know if it's the right price or not. You check comparables and see cards ranging from $30-$200 and your offer is $80.

How do you know how to respond? Do you take the chance of losing the $80 offer by countering, or do you take the money and run?

All seriousness, when you have nothing to compare it to, you can often sell too cheap or get stuck with a card that you could have gotten at least something for but declined the offer.
You look at the body of cards for this player as a guide, but sometimes you just stand firm and know that a player like this is going to have collectors who will pay well for lower numbered autos.

Patience is also a good weapon in your arsenal as a seller.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:40 PM   #4
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You look at the body of cards for this player as a guide, but sometimes you just stand firm and know that a player like this is going to have collectors who will pay well for lower numbered autos.

Patience is also a good weapon in your arsenal as a seller.
I agree with your last line most. I'm very lucky to not be desperate to move items in order to pay bills, but it pisses me off when I don't pull the trigger and see a card drop like a rock.

The Syndergaard is such a great example because a Bowman Chrome Orange 2015 went for $203 and a Tek #d to 25 went for $30. I realize Tek is not Chrome, but that's a huge, huge difference.

With the Mets all but assured the division in 2016, if Syndergaard continues to pitch well, an autograph #d to 25 could go through the roof.

This lies the difficulty of having nothing to compare it to!
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:41 PM   #5
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So you're opposed to free markets and instead support collusion. Interesting take.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:44 PM   #6
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So you're opposed to free markets and instead support collusion. Interesting take.
I'm opposed to ignorance and fear, not free markets.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:46 PM   #7
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Too much supply and sellers.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:46 PM   #8
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I'm opposed to ignorance and fear, not free markets.
So the people who sell their cards for lower prices than you do are either scared or stupid, or perhaps both.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:48 PM   #9
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So the people who sell their cards for lower prices than you do are either scared or stupid, or perhaps both.
I think his point was, if you wish to get the most money for your items, don't start them at $.99 and don't dump them a week later dirt cheap because you have to pay your credit card bill.

His logic is not wrong. I often get $5-$10 for cards that sell at auction for $.99.

If you have a card Player X numbered to 50 and there aren't any others on ebay, unless it's a hot player, don't do the $.99 thing. If only 1 guy wants it, it'll go for $.99. Meanwhile, that same guy will likely pay $5 or $10 if he wants it.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:49 PM   #10
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So the people who sell their cards for lower prices than you do are either scared or stupid, or perhaps both.
Ignorance isn't stupidity.

Ignorance is simply defined as without knowledge. If you do not do your own research on something then you are ignorant about it and it can and will cost you money. This is of course when speaking about sales on Ebay.

I realize you are trying to troll, but I want this discussion to be civil.

Have a good New Years.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:50 PM   #11
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I think his point was, if you wish to get the most money for your items, don't start them at $.99 and don't dump them a week later dirt cheap because you have to pay your credit card bill.

His logic is not wrong. I often get $5-$10 for cards that sell at auction for $.99.

If you have a card Player X numbered to 50 and there aren't any others on ebay, unless it's a hot player, don't do the $.99 thing. If only 1 guy wants it, it'll go for $.99. Meanwhile, that same guy will likely pay $5 or $10 if he wants it.
Spot on.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:52 PM   #12
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- the #1 culprit is that most inexperienced breakers simply spend money they can't afford to lose or can't afford to tie up for any length of time to realize a return.

they get caught up in the hype, drop a few grand and then panic to recoup as much as they can as fast as they can.

- I think the "race to the bottom" can be blamed just as much on buyers as it is with sellers. for some reason, buyers expect to pay less for a card than previously sold copies of that particular card. this isn't always the case with hot players..... but for the most part, it holds true. this drives down prices just as much.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:55 PM   #13
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Ignorance isn't stupidity.

Ignorance is simply defined as without knowledge. If you do not do your own research on something then you are ignorant about it and it can and will cost you money. This is of course when speaking about sales on Ebay.

I realize you are trying to troll, but I want this discussion to be civil.

Have a good New Years.
I'm not trolling at all. I may not be in your league as a salesman, but I had 2,000+ transactions in 2015. I am not blind to the subject at hand.

You're encouraging collusion. You want the sellers to all be on the same page and to price their items at the same rate so that we all get the revenue we deserve. That's not how things work.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:57 PM   #14
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The problem today for store owners is still the same issue that drove so many stores to close down and it also stopped the card show circuit.

The internet and Ebay!!!

Nothing more has drove this business/hobby to the bottom than this!!!

Everyone is a "breaker/seller" any 12 y/o with the financial means is just like the 35 y/o guy who studies all the business plans/trends he can but he will never beat the 12 y/o kid!!!

Sorry, the reason I got out of the business and breaking cases is because there is just too much competition and sellers willing to take a loss just to be in the game.

Music videos killed the radio star and the internet killed this business for those that want a store and/or do card shows.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:58 PM   #15
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- the #1 culprit is that most inexperienced breakers simply spend money they can't afford to lose or can't afford to tie up for any length of time to realize a return.

they get caught up in the hype, drop a few grand and then panic to recoup as much as they can as fast as they can.

- I think the "race to the bottom" can be blamed just as much on buyers as it is with sellers. for some reason, buyers expect to pay less for a card than previously sold copies of that particular card. this isn't always the case with hot players..... but for the most part, it holds true. this drives down prices just as much.
I like when say 5 cards have sold. The first 4 sold around $50. The 5th one sold for $35. All of a sudden, the buyers believe it should be a $35 card even though 4 of 5 sold for $50.

It's a fact of life these days in the hobby. Way too many people are sellers and few are collectors. Everyone is buying to re-sell, which is fine, but it also kills the market.
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:01 PM   #16
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Too much supply and sellers.
This is actually the most accurate post that I have read. This is the true culprit.

The original poster is the poster child for the local hobby shop. It used to be that the guy in the mall could charge what he wanted, because that's where you got your cards. Now, any one of us can pick up a box or a case. And we can keep the cards or sell them.

Many sellers are happy collecting the cards they want and then recouping their money by unloading the rest. Other sellers do it as a hobby and don't mind making a few extra bucks as fun money. But make no mistake, none of those sellers are obligated to keep prices high just so the OP can make a living. Those days are gone.
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:03 PM   #17
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Three of us in a row seem to agree.
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:03 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by go_steelers07 View Post
- the #1 culprit is that most inexperienced breakers simply spend money they can't afford to lose or can't afford to tie up for any length of time to realize a return.

they get caught up in the hype, drop a few grand and then panic to recoup as much as they can as fast as they can.

- I think the "race to the bottom" can be blamed just as much on buyers as it is with sellers. for some reason, buyers expect to pay less for a card than previously sold copies of that particular card. this isn't always the case with hot players..... but for the most part, it holds true. this drives down prices just as much.
That is definitely a factor as I sort of mentioned it while talking about 99 cent listings.

Oh I agree we have quite a bit of entitled buyers out there who believe sellers should sell lower than the last sale, but also we as sellers have brought this onto ourselves by acquiescing to it as well.
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:06 PM   #19
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Car dealerships are in the same position that we are. They shot themselves in the foot years ago by beating each other one dollar at a time until the prices hit invoice and now below invoice. There's no coming out of this. We'll be in this situation in the car business forever.

in the card business, we started beating each other by a dollar then 2, then 3, etc and now everyone expects every card for nothing. There really isn't much a value anymore compared to the good old days.

If people would sell a bit smarter, things could change a little bit. Stopping the $.99 auctions would be a great way to start. A lot of people did the $.99 because ebay used to charge more for over $1. Now they don't so you might as well start the item at whatever price you want for the item.
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:06 PM   #20
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Sellers that try to squeeze every single cent possible out of their card........

Why call this a hobby when it feels like everyone is trying to do this for a living?
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:08 PM   #21
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$0.99 auctions are the bomb. See you at the bottom!!
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:09 PM   #22
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If people would sell a bit smarter, things could change a little bit.
And that's where I have a problem with yours and the OP's mindset. You can't stand it that people are able to survive by charging less than you. That's the market at work.

Thankfully, the gas stations in my area don't think like this. "If you guys would just be smarter, people WILL pay $3.50 for gas......"
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:11 PM   #23
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Sellers that try to squeeze every single cent possible out of their card........

Why call this a hobby when it feels like everyone is trying to do this for a living?
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:18 PM   #24
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And that's where I have a problem with yours and the OP's mindset. You can't stand it that people are able to survive by charging less than you. That's the market at work.

Thankfully, the gas stations in my area don't think like this. "If you guys would just be smarter, people WILL pay $3.50 for gas......"
For those that don't care about the value of their cards, you're opinion is fine.

But a bulk of people that buy do care about the value of their cards. They don't understand when Card X is going for $2 even though their bible says it's a $15 card. They get upset and leave the hobby.

They don't realize it's a $2 card because of people not understanding how the market itself works.

Bottom feeders love $.99 auctions and I can't blame them. But they aren't helping the hobby grow unfortunately. Items have to have value or nobody is going to want them.
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:19 PM   #25
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Sellers that try to squeeze every single cent possible out of their card........

Why call this a hobby when it feels like everyone is trying to do this for a living?
Great point but...without people doing this for a living (or part time for kicks,) where are you going to get your cards from?

The only way you'll get your cards is if you break $100 plus boxes yourself. You may be okay with that, but how many people just want their team, player, etc and not the other 95% of the box?

What then?

Since ebay has been around, everybody is now a dealer which is fine in theory, but when they don't understand the concept of business, it hurts everyone long term, including those enjoying the $.99 auctions.
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