Auction Watch #286


It is a good thing I don’t believe in hell, because this is what it would look like for me.

I forced myself to watch the entire What it’s like to be a professional eBay seller video. I doubt you’ll be able to make it through the entire thing.

I have often lamented how much I hate eBay; buying, selling, it is all terrible. But it is a necessary evil because it is literally the only game in town. Aside from fellow collectors and pure dumb luck, eBay is the only hope for M.U.S.C.L.E. items.

I feel that sad, desperate eBay situation is what killed Auction Watch and most of the eBay links in the Epilogue. Instead of eBay trying to settle comfortably into this collectible niche (for better or worse), they are worried about Amazon poaching their big sellers.

I would never buy anything on eBay that I can easily get on Amazon. Never.

That shows me eBay is more concerned with macro-issues, than micro-issues. And I 100% understand it as a corporate directive. It worries me as a M.U.S.C.L.E. collector. Evidence is provided that eBay cares about the violation of its rules – when it hurts their bottom-line. They don’t care when it happens other times.

“Dude. Why do you care? What’s the point?”

M.U.S.C.L.E. is a crazy little niche. And, we have evidence, that eBay will not be worried about M.U.S.C.L.E. listings.

I believe eBay sellers are getting better and better at recognizing this situation. And better and better at exploiting collector fear, impatience, and ignorance. Need some more evidence?

This lot, M.U.S.C.L.E. Street Sharks Big Slammu,Slash,Street,Ripster,Jab,Piranoid MATTEL, sold for $315. There are other listings like this one with absurd premiums paid for the figures.

Mattel MUSCLE Street Sharkes

Six Loose Figures Sold for $315

Why did they sell for so much?

I think the answer is simple: fear, impatience, and ignorance.

“Dude, aren’t you being a little melodramatic?

No. I have seen this trend for well over 10 years. And I think eBay sellers are getting better and better at recognizing this situation too.

Why wasn’t there any information in the auction listing? Why wasn’t any provenance offered?

Because knowledge is power. A lack of knowledge creates fear. That ignorance stokes a malleable fear in buyers. Fear of missing out. Fear of not having “it.” There isn’t one specific fear. It gets to fester in each person – they make it their own. Buyers couldn’t wait to learn more. Overpriced sets continued to sell due to impatience. Fear, impatience, and ignorance become an ugly cocktail.

Mattel Carded Street Sharks

Picture taken from Facebook

Currently these figures are for sale, at retail, for $1.99 at discount dollar stores.

If that fear, impatience, and ignorance is too still too overpowering, then you can pick-up an entire carded set for $25.

I won’t be buying any of these figures. They are perfectly fine minifigures, but I’m not a minifigure collector. I am a M.U.S.C.L.E. collector. When I buy other minifigures I need to feel some type of M.U.S.C.L.E. connection. I recognize how absurdly subjective that sounds and it is absurdly subjective. But I know some collectors understand it.

Slapping the trademarked name of M.U.S.C.L.E. on a minifigure doesn’t make it a M.U.S.C.L.E. figure in my book.

I wonder if Mattel might feel the same way? They took this brand new inventory and sold it directly to discount retail. That doesn’t sound like a brand receiving a vote of confidence.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Mattel is focusing on a new revenue stream through dollar store toys? Maybe.

However, I think Mattel will start doing that when I become a professional eBay seller.

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