Stir Up Saturday – More Words, Less Gifs

Ok. First things first. I love every Kids in the Hall gif on this website. Probably because I love the Kids in the Hall. They never fail to make me laugh. I saw their live show a few years ago. I pray a post-Covid world has another tour.

Back to the Beer Truck SUS. At that time I believed M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors were being more open and honest. I don’t feel that as much today. I think there are two contributing factors: (1) new people looking for figures; and (2) social desirability.

Any time new collectors are looking for figures there will be people trying to rip them off (or, minimally, price gouge). That’s why you have some collectors celebrating and perpetuating overpriced sales. It helps their bottom-line, not the community.

And social desirability is also more important in the community than ever. I have always rocked the boat. Asshole. Realist. Emotionless. Pragmatic. Mean. Sarcastic. Honest. I’m probably missing some other obvious ones. For better or worse I haven’t changed, and it seems more dangerous to others in the community than ever. That’s why I keep pointing back to this quote.

I wouldn’t be melodramatic enough to suggest it is becoming M.U.S.C.L.E. cult-like instead of M.U.S.C.L.E. community-like, but it is certainly, “If you’re not with us, then you’re against us.” Dissention is only viewed as adversarial. Not great for conversation and learning, but awesome for pleasantries, gumdrops, and lollipops.

Monday Morning M.U.S.C.L.E. MusingSpeaking of unpopular suggestions, nobody wants to write an MMMM. That always make me snicker, but there’s a good reason.

Every now and then somebody thinks they have pointed out my total and complete hypocrisy.

“How can you say ____? You have Professor Terry on your site.”

Apparently Terry did have a bad trade/interaction with someone at LRG. However I don’t know the details and I can’t find the documentation on LRG. That certainly sucks.

But he’s not buying, selling, and trading here. Nobody is buying selling, or trading here. What is the danger/harm in him sharing his collection? It’s not like he could do that on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, or whatever comes next. The only harm-answer I have ever heard is, “You’re validating him and giving him a platform.”

Huh? Again, How Much Influence Does This Website Have On M.U.S.C.L.E. Collectors? If you think I somehow empower/glorify/aggrandize Terry in the community, then…thank you? If I am able to do that for Terry, then I must literally be the most influential person in the M.U.S.C.L.E. community. I don’t believe that, but I’m humbled if you think it.

The truth is, I want every M.U.S.C.L.E. collector to contribute to this website. I want every collector to show exactly how intelligent or stupid they can be online. I would love for Alex Forbes to come on here and be interviewed. Would he be honest? Lie? Both? It would be fascinating.

I was hoping those kind of interactions were going to be a part of eBay Entrepreneur Exchange. It didn’t quite workout that way.

Still, I loved this interview. It’s amazing this seller was willing to answer any of my questions. I withheld commentary in the post. I still think that was the correct decision. Five years later I think it is safe for me to say, “Holy shit.”

I’ll try to be succinct, but I do want to quickly touch on each point.

  1. It’s a hobby.
    • I totally believe the guy. There’s no reason not to believe him. However, I think most sellers don’t understand what they are doing is hobby/extra income. Oh sure, there are some people doing this full-time but those people are the exception – especially dealing with M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. Sellers are mostly playing “business.” They might have bins and Excel sheets, and even fill out a 1040, but its still a game.
  2. Reselling eBay purchases.
    • Flipping M.U.S.C.L.E. figures is not a business nor profitable. Any person that bought a lot for “inventory” is deluding themselves.
  3. Research.
    • I believe this is the most honest part of the interview. It also provides the most insight into non-M.U.S.C.L.E. people pricing listings. They want to impart their own experience and expertise and interpret prices on eBay. However, to interpret M.U.S.C.L.E. prices you need to know they hobby – previous eBay experience doesn’t really help you. Take 4-packs as an example. The French-Canadian sales ranged from $15 to over $400. They only way to understand those prices is to fully understand the figures. It is completely impractical to think a seller will take the time and effort to understand that minutia.
  4. Accepted Prices.
    • This felt like the second most insightful portion, even if it was brief. Being willing to accept half your price is an admission you have no idea of a fair price. Is there any other sale situation where you would be willing to accept half your asking price? Selling your house? Selling a car? Absolutely not in either case. And forget it with an actual product in a business setting. When I was consulting I would have been immediately fired if I reduced a project fee by 50%. Forget consulting, I can’t think of any job I’ve had where an unexplained 50% price reduction wouldn’t have ended in termination. I felt like this is the closest to a seller admitting, “I have no idea. I’d like to get X, but I’d be happy with half.”
  5. Fun.
    • I imagine people find eBaying fun because it can be a role-playing game with a payout. The seller gets to pretend they are a business without the risks of a real business.

Nobody, even myself, is going to be comfortable with me overly praising myself. But I have to admit I was 100% correct with AW #175. I fucking nailed it. The proliferation of over-priced single figures is ruining the hobby.

What is my proof? The Double Trouble post. We don’t see a fraction of the kit-bashed figures we used to see. If more people are genuinely coming to the hobby, then we should see more kit-bashed figures than ever.

Double Trouble by Iconoclast Toys

We don’t.

“Yeah, but not everybody coming in is an artist.”

They weren’t then either. But it wasn’t crazy to cut-up worthless figures. As the price of figures goes up, it becomes harder to destroy them.

Sure, we do see some kit-bashed figures. Most of what I have seen sucks; equivalent to throwing a Boba Fett Helmet on a #153 figure. I hope this inspires collectors to cut up figures and prove me wrong. Or if I’ve missed something, then post it in the Comments section below.

The Epilogue from five years ago is a dud. Not much to revisit.

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