Computer Console Hoarding

I read this report with some sense of incredulity: Sky News Link

“Calls are growing for the government to step in as some families face a second Christmas without being able to purchase a gaming console unless they pay a “hugely inflated” price.”

I am not sure that the government can actually make anything happen – their job is to be in charge not to get anything done – and given that they seem to treat hardworking families with contempt (you know the JAFFAS – Just About F**ked, with F**k All Savings). But to ask the government to step in to guarantee computer games for all is a bit far-fetched.

Of course, just by reading the article or even this post is likely to drive up your cortisol levels and make you panic buy! So much of modern news/media is designed to elicit a response and there’s nothing better than panic buying toilet roll/pasta/petrol/bottled water/computer consoles – whatever takes your fancy there will be a time to panic.

Supply and Demand

Asking the government to do something about it is a funny response. The Conservative Party is the party bereft of any ideology; they might all claim to support the Free Market but how many have actually read the Wealth of Nations, let alone understood it?

In any case, if you explained to them that some people are hoarding something that others want to push up the price, they’d probably be on the phone to their mates to get in on the action. Today PS5, tomorrow insulin, cling film, “real” HP sauce or windscreen wipers. So long as you can make a profit on it, there will be someone out there trying to screw everyone else over a barrel.

Their attitude to the increasingly out of reach cost of shelter (housing) is noteworthy as they’ve not done anything to make it cheaper or better for those who don’t own property – which tends to be the young who don’t inherit castles or have their parents buy them one to give them another leg up in life. Why should toys be any different?

Depriv-playstation4

I used to play computer games when I was a kid but I’ve since stopped when I decided to grow up. Since then, I’ve had trouble with gamers – if you are with them and they are gaming, they pay no attention to anything else, so you might as well either join or leave. But I’m in a shrinking band of people who don’t play games and much like tattoos (I don’t like), or superheroes (I don’t get it) it’s unwise to bad-mouth them in public lest someone pitifully tells you that “my husband is a gamer”.

The quote somehow implies that life without the latest computer console is unbearably miserable. Forget about holiday hunger or being without heat, power & water for a week – these guys don’t have the latest toy! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT IT!!!

Hoarding / Price-Gouging / Arbitrage / Public Service

I’ve read stories about people who buy all of a type of fancy shoe and sell it for double the price. Shoe costs $500, they sell for $1,000; for 1,000 shoes that’s an easy $500,000 profit – make sure to post all about it on Instagram! My own view is that (along with much on social media) it’s all smoke and mirrors – $500 buys me maybe a decade worth of shoes! So who is buying shoes for that amount? Some TikTok celebrity? An Instagram Influencer? I don’t know – and I’m glad I’m old enough to not be curious enough to care too much.

But if someone sees the opportunity to buy in bulk and sell for a profit (like everyone on eBay or Amazon or the entire business model of Tescos/Curry’s/retail in general), what’s the problem? Nobody is being forced to buy and

But if you are able to pull off a trade like that – it’s a pretty amazing thing. I personally don’t think that it’s possible and if it is, it’s only possible once for one person. Sadly, there will be copycats who come in and try the same thing and lose money and have a garage full of trainers at home.

Margin x Volume = Profit

That’s the secret of trade and it’s pretty simple really. Want to double your profits, just sell more but when the marketplace is tight and market share is fought over, you might not be able to do that. So you try increasing your margin but if everyone focuses on price you need to differentiate what you offer (unique Adidas shoes that are “limited edition”), market better (go viral obvs) and try upselling.

I recently went to buy a car and said that it was to be bought in cash – well, you’d think that I could just get a price but no, I couldn’t. They were more interested in selling me “free” this and that and everything else.  I was bamboozled and left unconvinced I’d be making the best sale. But I think with my critical functions and people who are willing to pay £1,000 for a new computer console are acting on impulse. Throw in a few articles about everyone panicking and they’ll probably end up paying £5,000 for 4 so that they can sell 3 for £2,000 each and keep £1,000 in profit and get a free machine. The same principle works if you are planning to buy drugs – or Hello Fresh for that matter.

GFF the Hypocrite?

My own side-hustle involves a bit buying and selling and I have the audacity to suppose that I’m actually providing a public service for my buy/hoard/gouge business model. Unfortunately, I am not making $500,000 – which is a shame. But it does make some money and there’s significant risk involved for me person.

He Who Dares Wins

I suppose that these people who are trying to make a bit of money from families (although, let’s face it, most gamers are middle aged men) can rationalise that an extra £100 isn’t that much to pay and it gives them a business to run – but does the world need more middlemen; all taking and not giving anything back in return? I am not entirely sure – maybe it’s modern capitalism but it seems like the price of essential (and non-essential) goods and services are ratcheted up by people who offer nothing of value other than costing you money.

I’ll resist the urge to splurge on consumer electronics and making a quick fortune. If you are interested in learning more about a great money making scheme, this blog post can give you some ideas.

Thanks, GFF

4 Comments

  1. Sometimes there are quirks and manufacturer promotions that make buying and selling worth it. Presently Samsung are running a “gifts that give back” promotion. You can buy 5 lots of Samsung Buds2 for £500 and then get £400 cashback from Samsung. Sell the items on for £50 a unit and then you are (all things being equal) you are £150 in profit. Buy on your 0% credit card and you’ve made money from thin air.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. As a former gamer (former only because I don’t have the time right now to play), I get where you’re coming from as none of my friends are gamers so don’t understand my enjoyment of it. It’s just something to pass the time, while other people spend their time doing something else which might be considered inane or boring (scrolling through social media, TikTok, etc) – each to their own!

    The last Playstation I owned was the original PS1 – I recognised my gaming addiction (surviving on 4 hours sleep a night was not good for my health!) so vowed not to get another console while I was working. I did succumb to a gaming PC much later on but my gaming was more controlled then and I was more sensible.

    I don’t crave the latest consoles or technology (my gaming PC is over 10 years old) – from being an early adopter of tech in the 90s, over the years, I’ve turned into someone who carries on using old tech until I have no choice but to upgrade (eg upgraded my phone only because critical app upddates were required). I don’t really care what my tech looks like – my Kindle is over 11 years old and looks like a brick compared to the sleek new ones!

    I came across a lot of old gadgets/consoles while packing up for my house move – I’m sure I could have made a few quid if I had the patience to find the right market and research the prices etc. But my head was just too full of other stuff to contemplate ‘doing something’ like this so all I did was take it all to the local recycling centre and it all got chucked into a big container with broken tvs etc.

    Liked by 2 people

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