This weekend, Disneyland and Walt Disney World will welcome Star Wars fans for "Force Friday," the latest big merchandise event at the parks. If you can't make it to Anaheim or Orlando, don't worry. Pretty much everything offered for sale at the event will be available for purchase on eBay by the end of the day.
Theme park fans know the drill by now. Whether it's Tiki mugs at Trader Sam's bar, Beauty and the Beast rose-adorned beverage cups, or the latest collectible pin, fans can expect long lines as people queue to buy whatever limited-edition thing Disney is selling. But more and more often, the people who are lining up to buy this stuff are not fans who want to get their hands on something that gives them bragging rights. They are opportunists looking to make a quick buck by flipping the souvenirs online.
That's frustrating for fans who have to wait in ever-growing lines for the souvenirs they want... or worse, can't get them at all when flippers ahead of them in line buy up all the merchandise. That forces true fans to have to log onto eBay and pay inflated prices for an item that could have been theirs had the park enforced purchase limits.
It's a classic bubble. High resale prices for souvenirs inspires hype, which lures more people into flipping, which reduces availability for core fans, which drives them into an escalating secondary market. Lather, rinse, repeat.
This isn't exclusive to theme parks, of course. I see pop-up stores around the Los Angeles area all the time, which seem to exist for the sole purpose of stocking kids and young adults who immediately resell the hyped-up "luxury" merchandise online. And why wouldn't they? My son made more money flipping one Supreme T-shirt than my daughter made in an entire week working at a local sandwich shop last summer.
And that's a problem. You see, despite the windfall he made, my son flipped only that one shirt. That's because one shirt was all he could afford to buy, in case the flip went south and he lost his money. Flipping is a rich person's game. When you are working paycheck to paycheck, you can't afford to gamble on a box full of $200 T-shirts, no matter how hot the market might appear.
So the people who have money to gamble make more and more flipping — with almost no effort — while those who do not work harder and harder at real jobs, only to fall further and further behind the flippers.
But reselling theme park tchotchkes and over-hyped T-shirts are flipping's amateur hour.... Keep reading Flipping is ruining everything at RobertNiles.com.
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