dinsdag 3 december 2013

The Death of a Market: + and - part 1

The last weeks I've been talking about the "why" I'm rounding up and closing down some chapters of my life, and why I'm getting a bit more structure in my cabinets with trying to get rid off any 'excess baggage' of no longer played miniatures and videogames.  When you are young, it is cool to have lots of loot in your dragon hoard, but when you get older you have to focus more and you go to the market to sell your apples like a girl goes to visit her granny...

But before I continue, let me tell you about my 'physical' position in the world, as this is actually crucial to the articles I'm going to be dedicating to this end the comming time.

I live in Antwerp, the second biggest city of Belgium, the country that doesn't exist (don't believe me, check that link).  And I have not a single independant source for miniatures at hand.  In the past two years, we did get a Games Workshop, but bar that one every other brick and mortar store closed down.  I need to import each and every model I would love to buy.

I also collect Saint Seiya anime merchandise, but again this is postal dependant.  But this, being mainly "hot" in the asian countries and especcially Japan, where it is paert of every day culture, is to be expected if you are into those things.

Wargames however have manufacturers in all surrounding countries: France, Germany and the UK to name but a few heavyweights in sheer number of small and large companies.  Yet it is easier, and sometimes even FASTER, to have a box of trading cards send from Japan to my doorstep, then it is to order some models from certain companies.  My three BTD orders are a prime example of this, one even taking in the end 14 months (!!!!!) to arrive and only in dribs and drabs to boot.  Needless to say my ordered Araby army never took off.  And when we talk Germany, it is cheaper to have something send from halfway across the globe, they are even sicker in postal rates then Belgium... and that is already pretty sick.

This has resulted in the years that off all the money I've spend on my hobbies, probably 2/3rds where for this or that postal service, import duty, insurance... then on actual miniatures.  See a model or three you like, pay like 8 euros for the booster, then add 15 or so for the postage.  That makes 23 euros for 3 models!!!
I'm kind of glad we at least have some model stores left, or I would have been forced to even have my brushes send to me.

Leaving my "untouchable" saints out of the equation, this has been one of the primary reasons the past years I seem to have shifted more towards my Lego bricks to "be creative" then my more longtime hobby.  It is more readily available, since a few months we even have a brandstore in Antwerp, and mail ordering bricks through the second hand market like BrickLink is due to the weight of bricks and the fact they can just be stuffed in a padded envellope cheaper.

And that market is stabler...

A trend I'm noticing, and a result of a global crisis, is that not only people tend to stop buying models for things "they might do" one day, but also that becomming rude.  It won't be the first mail I received that people offer half the asking price, but also want to force you in accepting their offer AND pay yourself for the postage.  And then start to curse for not accepting it.  Or they just outbid everyone with a crazy maximum bid, then don't pay for it.  This is happening more and more since eil bay no longer allows for sellers to give negative feedback for a buyer.  You get after a heap of clicks and a month of time your fee back, but the sale is gone, and they don't get anything for doing those things.

So that is becomming a very big downside of focussing: it is very hard not to throw everything in a big garbage bag and shoot it into orbit.  It would definitly be cheaper and less time investing!  During december, I'm really going to DUMP things on forums, and after that it all goes in boxes in a garage, until further notice or a collector passes along.

A benefit though of this sort of approach is that you get a fresh start and no longer tend to sigh at the idea of having to paint something.  This has been a serious let-down for me, life gets stressier and busier as you grow up, so I can do without game stress.

Now, to try the waters of the imploding markets, I'm running an experiment upon which I'll be reporting next week.  I've took 35 'rare or better' trading cards and 35 'oop and LE' models of GW and others, and have researched their average nominal value on various sites and forums.  I'm now in the process of trading them around and see what the result would be after one week of intens negotiating on deals and such, and with the premises that I wouldn't be comprimising on postage costs (as this is THE main reason of the series).
By the end of the experiment, in next week's blogpost of long ramblings, I'll be reporting on:

1. Discovered resources for trading around
2. Number of trading partners
3. Nominal value gained
4. Issues thatmight have turned up
5. Conclusion

So hopefully, I all see you next week!

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