Scalpers

Anthony Acevedo

In today’s day and age, there are people who want to make a quick or large profit by simply selling inflated priced items. These people are called Scalpers

Scalpers are people who buy in large quantities and resell them at a higher price, compared to retail. Common items that are often scalped are Sport tickets, Tech items, Video Games and Consoles, and, to an extent, toilet paper and Hand Sanitizer. They buy in large quantities when there is high demand, but low supply. This leaves those who want to buy at retail price to either buy from Scalpers, wait till there’s another shipment, or not buy the product. The prices that most scalpers are asking tend to be 50%-200% more than the original price, making it seem like they’re holding the item “for ransom”. 

Whether it be old or new, video games and consoles are often targeted by scalpers, which causes and outrage within the community. Back in November 2016, the NES Classic was released for $59.99, retail price. There was a limited stock of the NES Classic in stores, which created a craze for them when they were released. Scalpers targeted the crazed item and bought in large quantities, only to be resold on eBay for over $100. With how fast the Console sold, the Nintendo Switch was a scalped item. With a price of $299, Scalpers resold the console for hundreds of dollars more. When preorders for the PS5 and Xbox Series X were available to the public, scalpers resold their preorders with prices over $1,000. Not only that, but they also created a mess when preorders were available, making the gaming community become outraged. 

When the Coronavirus started to impact the United States back in March, people were scrabbling to buy Toilet Paper, water, and other sanitary products. People bought in large amounts making the demand high and supply low, causing a shortage of these products. Some people decided to take advantage of this and wanted to make a quick profit. In Denver, CBS4 reported that there was a man who was selling 4 packs of Toilet Paper, that usually go for $1, for $4-$5 a pack. Another Denver man was selling Hand Sanitizer with a markup price of $20, which is about a 500% price increase. During this time, people were being let off work due to the spread of the virus, causing money to become scarce for families. With the high priced sanitary items, many families were given the choice to buy from the resellers or find a store that still sold said items. 

Scalping in the United States is illegal in some way, but mainly for movie and sport Tickets. According to an article on legalzoom, “There is no federal law against scalping, but, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 15 states ban the practice in some way, most labeling it as a misdemeanor with penalties including fines and/or up to a year in jail” (Kaminsky). Though it is illegal to resell tickets at a high markup price, there’s still other items that are being scalped, with little to no help from the manufacturers. eBay took measures into their own hand by banning the accounts of people who sold high priced toilet paper and other sanitary items on their website. Meanwhile, Amazon takes on scalpers by reducing the amount of items a person can buy. With all their attempts, the issue hasn’t been resolved, and they’re only getting worse.

Scalpers are getting advanced by creating bots to buy out the inventory, and reselling the items on popular shopping sites. The moment the new graphics card, RTX 3080, was available to the public, scalping bots bought out most of the item. The product was sold out everywhere, online and in stores, within mere seconds, causing real buyers angered and frustrated. Minutes later, the product was resold for over a thousand dollars on eBay. Due to how fast the RTX 3080 was sold, the company, NVIDIA, says that the earliest restock date is around January 2021. Even with the PS5 preorders, scalping bots bought some of the orders and again resold for thousands of dollars. 

Buyers often blame the company for not handling the situation better, and taking action to stop Scalpers. Companies only care that their products are being sold, which leaves buyers the choice to buy from scalpers, wait till they restock, or not buy the item. Nintendo products are often targeted by scalpers, and it’s only getting worse since the company has been recently supplying products for a set amount of months. Super Mario 3D All Stars is an example. Will only be sold till the end of March 2021. When the game was released for the public, scalpers did their job and caused the game to be sold out just about everywhere. Mostly resale copies of the game were for sale with $10-$20 more than the retail price. 

There doesn’t seem to be an end to Scalpers. They’re just about everywhere in the market, toys, games, tech, tickets, even sanitary items. With little to no help from the companies, Scalpers will continue to buy out products and resell them with inflated prices. However, who is it to blame for allowing the activity to continue? The government that has a lack of laws against Scalping? The Companies who don’t try to handle the situation properly? Or is it the buyer’s fault for buying from these people? In the end, scalping is a greedy activity that causes outrage in communities and creates unnecessary shortages of products.