Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"I can't have it? I want even more!"

When it comes to collectibles, I'm always leery of shortages. I'm always suspicious that the shortages are artificial and manipulated. Nothing boosts the appeal of a fading fad like creating the illusion of rarity. It's like catnip to collectors.

What do you mean I can't have it? I want twice as much!!

Of all the Magic product I get in, the 'Core Set' has always sold the least for me. This is the set where Magic wraps in old cards with new cards and makes them officially playable. It's a way of weeding out cards that don't work --too powerful, or not powerful enough-- or changing the dynamic of the game. It's often a necessary corrective.

Plus, it means that Magic players can never stand pat-- the temptation on the part of long time players is to never buy another card, because they have 'killer decks.'

It's always been a bit of a problem for games; how do you get continuing sales once the players have the core rules? D&D and Warhammer are constantly being 'revised', thus forcing players to buy the rules yet again. There are always a certain number of players who drop out of the game at that point. They are always a bit self-righteous about it, too, thinking that they don't need the new rules.

Unfortunately, what usually happens to such players is that they become marginalized, and eventually drop away completely.

So there is always a bit of tension between the players and the game; and the retailer is often the middle man, who gets to try to mediate that tension. Me? I just shrug and sympathize with the players, but advise them that if they want to keep playing the game, it's probably best to get with the program. (Or not.)

Anyway, like I said, the 'Core Set' has always sold the least for me, my Magic sales have been down lately; so I thought I'd order less product this time, but stay more firm on my prices.

So I come to discover by calling my secondary source that the Core Set is sold out. I had three boxes on order from them, and had planned on canceling them. So I wavered, and hummed and hawed and cut it to two boxes, then one box.

But by the time I got on the internet and checked what people where saying, I realized I'd probably made a mistake.

So I called my primary supplier, and he had a few boxes at a higher price, and I grabbed them.

If there is a rush on the product, it won't last long. I may be forced to 'limit' purchases -- which may only accelerate the process. Or just lie low, not tell anyone what's happening, and hope the product lasts.

I hope this isn't just hype, because I broke my damn budget to get the extra product in.

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