Console scalpers. Even if you’ve never seen one in person, you’ve probably spotted them online. Whenever a new console hits the market, so do the ads on Amazon, EBay, and Craigslist for PlayStations, Xboxes, and Nintendo Systems at three times their retail price.
Don’t have a Nintendo Switch Yet?
This is how scalpers operate. They buy dozens of consoles ahead of everyone else and resell them at exaggerated costs. Because of market demand, they usually make their profit – even if they only end up selling a fraction of what they bought.
This leaves the average consumer raging. Either they must go without and wait for stores to replenish their stock, or they’ll have to pay the scalper’s exorbitant cost and encourage the perpetual cycle.
So, it’s needless to say that when this photo popped up online this week, Reddit exploded.
The original post generated more than 1200 comments and sparked numerous discussions. Some claimed that stores should establish a “one-per-customer” policy. Others went as far as trashing capitalism and corporations. Most were hating on the guy himself.
But did the photo really demonstrate what this man was up to?
Is it just a misunderstanding?
Under the onslaught of comments, some Redditors came to the guy’s rescue, claiming he buys stacks of consoles and games to create custom mod jobs and resells them at a fair price. They even revealed his online name.
Scrolling through his Instagram does seem to confirm their claims. Before I clicked the link to his feed, I expected to find some douchbag photo-bragging about his swaths of horded consoles. Instead, I was greeted by an artist who uses his talents and love of gaming to create one-of-a-kind treasures.
Just a quick scan down his page revealed some amazing custom-modded consoles, cartridges, and other video game memorabilia. Whether he’s in it more for money or passion, clearly this guy is a fan.
Maybe I’m a little too soft-hearted, or perhaps his photos of classic cartridges put me into a nostalgia-based stupor, but I do give him the benefit of the doubt. Still, the double-middle-finger flip-off pose in the original viral photo didn’t help his cause.
The real problem: battling scalpers
Even if the whole incident with MikeDee77 is just a misunderstanding, there is a bigger issue at the core here…
How should we battle console scalpers? And whose responsibility is it?
In the original Reddit thread, most commenters on the subject called for stores to limit sales per customer. However, that doesn’t stop some people from cheating the system and buying consoles one at a time.
One Redditor, that_one_redhead, claims that their store keeps printouts of known scalpers and turns them away whenever they show up. Still, this problem wouldn’t exist in the first place if nobody paid for a scalped console. So, are we really the ones to blame?
What’s your solution? Comment below!