Confessions Of A Wii, PS3, iPhone Reseller

I saw your article on the Wii shortage and in the spirit of the holiday I want to come clean and confess my consumer sins. I am a reseller.

I have resold : -3 Iphones (for 200 dollars over list, each) -5 Playstation3 consoles (for 300 to 500 dollars over list, each. A total of nearly 2000 in profit.) -10 Nintendo Wiis (each for 150 over list)

I started this side business with the release of the PS3. Months prior to launched to fund my purchase of one by buying five and reselling on Craiglist. I made the purchase on a credit card, in full, nearly 4 months before launch at a smaller electronics store in the Chicago suburbs…

I picked them up day of and listed them. By the end of the auctions I had made nearly 1000 dollar in excess of my own PS3 purchase. I ended up listing my own machine as well, as the demand was insane. All told, I cleared nearly 2000 dollars in profit. I still haven’t bought a PS3 actually.

I received death threats, e-mails from people saying I was “a monster” and someone claiming I was “selling her child’s Christmas away!” Someone even went so far as to contact Ebay and claim I was selling porn. People were livid at the profit being made.

The Iphone launch was even more insane. I saw people listing them on Craigslist just hours after launch for 800/900 bucks. So I went to the apple store in downtown chicago and bought 2, my girlfriend bought one as well. There was no line, it was the 30th of june, less than 24 hours after launch. I sold all three on Craigslist that night for 200 bucks over cost.

The Wiis have been a steady stream of income. I’m a casual video game player but I got to know the guy who runs my local Gamestop. He told me when they get their deliveries and said Wii’s were first come, first serve. Since the summer I’ve bought 10 of them and sold them for an average of 150 bucks over cost.

The Wiis are the where I feel some degree of guilt. After a year they’re still ridiculously rare. I’d really advise people to get to know their game-sellers. Think of what the average gamestore employee gets treated like by hyper kids, angry parents and surly trade-in people. Treat them as people, give them some empathy and chat them up a bit and they’ll happily get you in the know. They’re not breaking any laws or company policy, just helping out a ‘valued customer’.

The managers are the best to get to know. Their turnover is usually quote low. They usually work on new release days, especially for big games. Coming in when the store is slow (before school lets out) is a good time.

Avoid big box stores. Total waste of time. Their turnover rate of employees are ridiculous. No chance to build up a relationship. These stores also keep a very watchful eye on employees, so a lot of them might be nervous about anything that might get them in trouble. Even the “appearance of impropriety” can be enough.

Should you buy from me or other resellers? First and foremost, if you’re buying something for more than retail, you’re paying what I like to call “FIRSTIES!” tax. You want to be the first guy at the office to have an Iphone? Or have the first PS3 video on youtube? What is it worth to you? I sold two iphones to one guy who simply wanted to show it off to his fellow lawyers at court. One of the PS3 fans who bought from me wrote me a page long message of thanks. He’d just paid nearly a grand for a 600 game console and he could not stop thanking me.

I’ve had people in my life question the morality of what I’ve done. One friend stopped talking to me altogether, saying that the money I’d made selling Wiis was “like taking candy from kids”. To me, that’s nonsense.

I’ve never bribed anyone, lied to anybody or stalked any stores. I’d never camp out, never grabbed something from a kid or fought shoppers. Actually, I hate shopping, I do most of my buying online and deal hunt, comparison shop and consult sites like consumerist.

Look, if you really want an item, wait for it to be plentiful. The rush on stores, the camping the fighting? That’s a mug’s game. The people who I’ve sold things to…frankly…I don’t think they’re very bright. They’ve certainly helped me (paid off most of my car, rent for a couple months, some nice dinners with friends, plenty of books) but I think they were ultimately being led on by media hype and greed frenzy. Paying twice the price for something you can usually wait a while and get on sale? Not worth it.

-Garrett (a reseller)

Have you ever bought a hyped up product from someone like Garrett? Ever sold something on eBay or Craigslist for more than you paid for it? Why did you do it?



Edit Your Comment

  1. complexicated says:

    Absolutely!! My wife and I “flipped” Tickle Me Elmo TMX last Christmas. I found out when the local got stock in (every tues) and purchased them all as soon as the store opened. We made well over 3K. We got lots of looks and comments.. but you know what.. Thats how a capitalist market works! So good for you Garrett.

  2. darkened says:

    Good for you Garrett, more power to you! I had considered the very same idea as you with the PS3s but unfortunately I did not have the cashflow to attempt it.

  3. Shadowfire says:

    I’ve sold certain video games for more than their purchase price. I just did it because I could. Particularly games on the bargain bin (Panzer Dragoon Saga was in the TRU bargain bin for $19.99… I bought 3, kept one, and sold the other two on eBay for $170 a couple years later).

    At the same time, when I was managing a Gamestop, I’d consistently refuse to sell multiple systems to the same person. If they came in the week before and bought a Wii, then the next week came for another one, still not buying any games, we’d be mysteriously sold out. -shrug-

  4. savvy999 says:

    The only thing that Garrett would be “guilty” of– since he doesn’t seem to mention it– would be tax evasion on the tidy profits he’s making.

    Other than that, good for him for reaping rewards for his knack of finding things for other people.

  5. Buran says:

    No. Why should I pay more when I don’t get anything more for the money? I’m not interested in consoles, but I am interested in smartphones. But because the iphone is still missing some features I want, I have a Tilt. But when the iphone v2 is out, and IF it does what I need it to do, I’ll buy one … by placing an order directly with Apple and waiting for it to come in.

  6. bigdirty says:

    Call me red, but there aren’t enough expletives to describe people like Garrett. They’re leeches on the industry that they are scalping, and doing damage to it. If a person has to pay MSRP + Scalper Fee for a console, that scalper fee doesn’t come from thin air, and most of the time it’s games and accessories for the console that are taking the hit. This means less sales of titles, less titles being made, and the subsequent downfall of the industry. If Garrett got some horrible disease and was to die next Thursday, I for one wouldn’t feel bad at all.

  7. namenomore says:

    I guess I’m just suprised that people actually get upset that someone is willing to do the work for them of physically walking to the store to pick an item up so they can leisure their way to being broke.

  8. firefoxx66 says:

    As someone on Psych said last night, ‘Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t always mean that you SHOULD.’ I really don’t have much problem with him reselling stuff right after launches, etc. Nobody expects highly-anticipated stuff to be available after then, and it’s a war zone.

    However, if, a year on, a console is still in demand and still hard to get, it’s not the ‘mugs’ who are after it, or the ones who want ‘FIRSTIES’, these are just people who want to buy a system they’ve probably wanted for well over a year.

    After the first couple months of a release, come on, give the rest of the world who doesn’t have the time or the resources that you do a chance. You’ve made your money, move over.

  9. MercuryPDX says:

    I think anyone who REALLY wants a Wii can use a little determination and get one. That said, I have been toying with the idea of buying a few to resell on Ebay or Craigslist but it’s never gone beyond that.

  10. hubris says:

    @bigdirty: That’s the most asinine thinking I’ve ever seen. You think someone who pays 1000 for a PS3 is then going to sit on their couch and say “man, I sure wish I could buy some games to play with this PS3”? No. They’re people with disposable income or idiots who put shit on credit cards. Either way, they’ll have money to buy games.

    The prices wouldn’t be that high if people weren’t willing to pay it. Welcome to how supply and demand works. There’s a markup on everything that’s sold, because people want to make profits. If a third party can get a bigger markup than retailers, then more power to them.

  11. drjayphd says:

    …and cue the pitchfork-wielding mob right about… now.

    (Says the guy who trolls thrift stores for classic video games to sell on eBay.)

    @firefoxx66: Where would you like your +1? I could suggest a few places…

  12. trollkiller says:

    I am too cheap to be caught by the hype. Selling Wii, Tickle Me Elmos and what not at a profit does not bother me if the people are going through the proper channels. Hanna Montana tickets are another story.

  13. starrion says:

    @bigdirty “if a person has to pay”

    You don’t “Have to pay”. You don’t have to have it the first day. If people let the scalpers sit on their inventory till their credit cards came due, then there wouldn’t be a problem. Scalpers exist and profit because people are stupid enough to pay them the arm & leg they ask for. $2000 for a PS3? $5000 for “Hannah Montana” tickets? Please.
    These are not necessities.

    And the industry loves scarcity. They don’t give a rat’s posterior that accessories aren’t selling yet. If they sell every console they make at full mark-up as soon as it gets to the store- perfect.

    The same people that paid a $200 markup will be back to buy the contollers later.

    Want Garrett to die like a leech covered in salt? Don’t buy stuff at huge markups. Let him sit on 5 $300 consoles for six months.

  14. DeeJayQueue says:

    It’s flippers like that that keep prices artificially high in everything they do.

    Flippers fucked up the mortgage industry by buying and selling homes for profit instead of as places to live. It’s easy money, all you have to do is buy a shit hole, hire a few contractors and then wait till some “lucky” buyer comes along and pops a boner over your marble countertops and vintage brass fixtures. Meanwhile, most flips aren’t done that well. Corners get cut all over the place to maximize profit and speed up the flip so what you’re really getting is a polished turd, or a gilded shit-cage. Then, when all these artificially-inflated homes don’t sell, the industry collapses because people can’t pay their mortgage AND the flip, so they default. All the defaults and foreclosures make lenders wary and so they tighten up, making it harder and harder for joe average to afford a decent place to live.

    Console flippers make it even harder to find already rare items at christmas because they snap them up en masse and then sell them back, feeding off of high demand. It’s obvious that these people are sociopaths, no sense of fairness or equity. The only reason that they make money is because they have it and the store doesn’t. That’s not capitalism. That’s piracy. Best Buy doesn’t send cronys out to Circuit City to buy up all of the Rock Band boxes on sale so they can sell them at a regular price. That’s not allowed. So should the same be true for consumers.

    It should go without saying that if you’re not buying it to use it, you shouldn’t buy it, but trying to tell these soulless zombies that is like talking to a wall. Way to ruin Christmas. Assholes.

  15. startertan says:

    Now that seems kind of hypocritical to me. It’s ok for you to buy something and resell but if someone else wants to do the same you lie and stop them from doing it? That’s kind of f’ed up in my book. You’re not making any more or less profit from selling 3 systems to 1 person vs. 3 systems to 3 people. So why stop them?

    I stumbled onto a few Wiis at a local Gamestop this past summer. I asked if I could buy more than one, the manager told me I could only buy 1 at a time, if I wanted more than 1 I’d have leave and comeback. So I bought 1 for myself, went out to the car and put it away and then walked back and got another. A few months ago I purchased a bundle from CC for about $500, extra controllers games, etc. I ended up reselling both of those for $300 apiece…I’m kinda jealous that Garrett was selling them for $400. Oh well, enough profit to cover a few beers is enough for me.

  16. Fry says:

    @bigdirty: The eople who are buying are essentially paying for all the trouble the “scalper” went to toget it. They don’t have to wait in line, find the itme, develop relationships with employees to learn any secrets, etc.
    If you have ever used information you got from an employee, you are just as “guilty” as this guy is. The only difference is he is selling his service to make money and you aren’t. I see no problem with him.

  17. hollerhither says:

    Flipping toys for little kids seems pretty scummy.

    But for the “grown-up” tech stuff, people are old enough to know what they’re getting into by wanting to have a gadget right at first release, and if the market bears the price, then whatever.

    I can’t imagine a situation where I’d camp out overnight or show up at a store at 4am for something — I hate going to the mall even during its normal operating hours. Not to mention how much early openings suck for store employees who usually have to work holidays etc. anyway.

  18. gingerCE says:

    I know someone who kinda “overpaid” for a Wii. She bought it at a store, but they were only selling it with extra insurance–so you couldn’t buy it alone. It’s the store linked to Hollywood Video, but she got 12 free movie rentals–so she feels the extra insurance cost cancels out the price of the rentals. The reason being is she was headed off to work at a summer camp and wanted the game there for the kids to play. She bought extra controllers and stuff.

    They kids liked it. She came home from camp and has not unpacked the Wii or used it since. She considers it a business purchase (tax deductible) and plans to bring the Wii back to camp next year. She has also bought for the kids at camp in previous years an Xbox, PS2, and extra equipment, etc . . .

  19. PalmBayChuck says:

    You shouldn’t feel guilty at all. This is capitalism at it’s finest. Supply and Demand. The people who are getting ticked off have no reason to get mad at you. They certainly aren’t compelled to purchase from you. It’s a simple fair-market valuation of a product. Congratulations. Now, pay your taxes!

  20. jrdnjstn78 says:

    If I could get my hands on Wii, I’d sell it over cost too. if you’re determined to get that “hot” item but not determined to go and find it then shut up. Someone who says “you are taking my Christmas away from my child” is just mad because you didn’t get there earlier, if he hadn’t bought it then someone else would’ve. Wait until it’s not that hot anymore and they will pop up.

    I have 2 boys and I refuse to buy them something that I would have to pay extra for just because they want it and it’s what everyone wants. They know that I only buy things that are on sale or extras come with it. I just bought them a ps2 on Craigslist year for $50. So yeah I wait.

    It’s not against the law to resell things and quit trying to play the “moral game”.

    You really want something then find out when the stores get their shipments in and be there first thing in the morning or line up like everyone else. I find it wrong when companies let one person buy multiples of a “hot item”, it should be one per person.

  21. rewinditback says:

    how legit is this guy? i thought iphones had a one per customer limit and activation was necessary? Also – they had such a high number available… it squashed the profit from resale.

    as for the ps3… that thing was out of stock for like 2 weeks, how are you continually making profit on something thats readily available?


  22. AlisonAshleigh says:

    Hell, if I wasn’t so damn lazy, I’d do the same thing.

  23. Half Beast says:

    I have how made a pretty phat stack of cash doing this during the PS3/Wii rush last year.

    Since we’re buds, he let me get one of the Wiis at cost. I’ve thanked him profusely for the oppotunity many times after that. I’d never imagine they’d still be such a hot item a year later.

    I’m still torn over whether I should compliment the Wii with an Xbox 360 or a PS3…

  24. Half Beast says:

    @half-beast: Yeah, in english, that first line starts “I have a friend who”

  25. JMH says:


  26. JessiesMind says:

    Hey, more power to ya, Garrett! I’d be right there with ya, but the shop boys treat me like their Number One Enemy: The Suburban Housewife.

    Man, they see right past the rock music and nose ring. While nicer to me than others of my “caste” they still don’t trust me. Must be the Betty Crocker perfume.

  27. trollkiller says:

    Stores that sell the Wii only in bundles or with required insurance are scummier than this guy.

  28. mrdeeno says:

    Even if your kid may say he will “die” if he doesn’t get a Wii, this ain’t the basic necessities we’re talking here…we’re talking about “luxuries”. If you aren’t willing to pay “scalper” prices for something that is in demand and in short supply, then you can be the last on your block to get one. But if you’re going to condemn anyone, condemn the buyers that pay scalper prices because the scalper exists SOLELY because of these buyers.

  29. shan6 says:

    I don’t think it is THAT bad, but I wouldn’t feel right doing it. I’m a Marine, so I am in a pretty good position to buy things like this second hand. Just wait for the next unit to leave for Iraq (or anywhere for that matter) and all sorts of things are for sale. I bought my PS3 with 2 controllers and 4 games for $300.00.

  30. juri squared says:

    I could easily get a Wii from work and flip it, but I don’t because I also deal with sad little kids who really, really want one. I couldn’t look them in the eye and tell them we’re out of stock if I’m flipping them on the side.

    So yeah, morals win over money. I wish people would quit buying from resellers; that’s the only way to put them out of business.

  31. jasonorl says:

    @DeeJayQueue: It is not like Garett is taking not the Wii system out of circulation. Somebody else who wants a Wii gets one without the hassle of trying to locate one at a store and they are just paying a premium for the service. The impact of this is not very big as most consoles are still sold in store to the final consumer. If there were enough people who would buy a Wii for more than $250, believe me, Nintendo would be selling them for much more. “Console flippers” barely make a dent in the supply when you look at how many units are being sold.

  32. warf0x0r says:

    All I know is that if you really want a Wii you can get one. In the summer they were a plenty most stores had inventory. If you waited ’til now you just have to watch the adds and get up early. I can’t stand people who complain about how hard it is to get one or whatever.

    As for this guy I’m not a person who will pay over MSRP for an item so I’ll never do business with him, but he’s a perfect example of capitalism in america today.

    There is a quote from HBO’s The Wire that always rings in my mind when I hear about resellers:

    “You know what the trouble is, Brucey? We used to make shit in this country, build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy’s pocket.”

  33. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    I can’t believe folks are applauding this guy for doing the same thing y’all demonize corporations for. My, my, how consumerist has changed…

  34. joeflow44 says:

    Good for you Garrett. Like you said you aren’t waiting in line for products at launch, you’re simply buying products when they are available and if people are willing to pay more then why not charge more. Essentially people who want to be early adopters should be prepared to pay the “firsties” tax.

  35. AD8BC says:

    Supply, demand, capitatlism at it’s finest! This is how it should work. Garrett is being paid what others feel is fair to go through the time and effort to purchase these items. Plain and simple.

    If you were caught in a pouring rain, and were standing next to an overpriced souvenir stand, would you pay more for that souvenir umbrella?

    Would you pay more for an airplane ticket if you absolutely had to get somewhere during the holiday rush?

    Would you pay more if you had to have the latest video game system but didn’t feel like going to the store and waiting in line? Well, to be honest, I rarely have to have any kind of luxury… but, to each his own, and there are those out there that need a Wii. And because of them, there are capitalists and entrepreneurs like Garrett.

  36. exkon says:

    Same thing I’m doing with my Wii.

    The law of supply and demand…

  37. Copper says:

    Ahh, the beauty of capitalism. I love it.

    Anyone who doesn’t like this idea should go live in China for awhile…they don’t let this happen.

  38. AD8BC says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: I was surprised that many agreed with me, considering that many commenters on the Consumerist seem to have a liberal bent to them.

  39. skinny2 says:

    Seems to be a lot of sniveling whine-bags around here (and in the world in general….). Survival of the fittest folks. I know that doesn’t work in the Utopian world rolling around inside some heads….but here in the real world that’s how it goes down. I’m not saying you have to be a scumbag in general, but if one person is willing to overpay for something….no reason not to sell it to them. Carpe diem.

    I bought extra TMX’s last year and thought about selling them. Decided to give them away to some needy kids and that felt better than making $20 pop….but Iphones and Xboxes?? These are toys for adults or spoiled kids anyway. And yes I bought a wii for my spoiled kids too….sue me. At least they won’t be as fat as your spoiled kids!

  40. cde says:

    @savvy999: If he;s making that much on ebay, ebay would have reported the earnings to the IRS. So no he wouldn’t. Craigslist, thats another story.

  41. vongarr says:


    The entire stock? That’s abuse. Straght up abuse.

  42. joopiter says:

    I’ve purchased two Wiis this summer, at two separate times, right off the shelf in the middle of a Saturday at a Target. Every person I know who has wanted one has gotten one by exerting a little effort by either getting to a store early or by being vigilant. Are they really THAT hard to come by or is everybody just waiting until a month before Christmas to try to buy one? And no, I didn’t resell my Wiis – one was a birthday present for my brother and the other was for someone I knew wanted one who paid me back immediately. But I don’t begrudge Garrett his extra income. Maybe if people wouldn’t whip themselves up into a frenzy to get the latest, greatest whatever that they will pay anything in order to have it, ebay resellers wouldn’t be making a profit.

  43. scorcher says:

    You know, I see why some people are willing to shell out large sums of money for a Wii. I was fortunate enough to get on last year on pre-order, so I got it at Launch. BUT, demand has been astronomical. In one year, Nintendo has sold as much as Xbox 360 has done in 2. Everybody I know seems to want one.

    Now, if your going to pay a large sum of money . . . why give it to a guy with nothing in return? For example, right this minute, you can get a Wii at Walmart online for $677.00.

    Sounds like alot, but . . . you get the Wii System (Wii, Remote, Nunchuck, Wii Sports) ($250) + an extra remote ($40), Extra Nunchuck ($20), Mario Party 8 ($50), an option to pick an accessory like the classic controller ($20), plus you pick out 6 other games from a list of like 40 ($300).

    Add it all up ($680), and you’re getting your money’s worth, and while being forced into a large package, most “gamers” I know would end up spending that money within a year of purchase. If your a parent, just put back the extra games, and spread them out over the year, here’s a game for Valentines, Easter, your Birth day, etc.

    No need to pay somebody like this guy for nothing. Shop smart. Get your money’s worth.

  44. jasonorl says:

    I don’t get how anyone can have a problem with this and be pro-consumer. Wiis and iphones are both items where the manufacturer sets the retail price for the most part. Many pro-consumer groups think that this practice is like price fixing and don’t want manufacture dictating price. So the alternative that these groups want is for the retailers to set their own prices. Well, this is exactly what Garret did based on supply and demand. It is no different than if a large chain store sets the price at $400 for a Wii.

    This reminds me when I was selling a game on Craigslists and some guy saw the game for less elsewhere and claimed my price was a ripoff. Basically, he seemed to think that anyone who sold an item for more than the lowest priced seller anywhere was ripping people off.

  45. DeeJayQueue says:

    @jasonorl: First off, the “I’m saving time and effort driving to the store and looking for one, so I’m willing to pay more for the convenience” angle is 100% bullshit. Every store that sells these things has online fronts too, and the products can be ordered just as easily. Every unit these shit eaters buy and sell for more is one more that someone else couldn’t buy at a store for a reasonable cost. It would be one thing if these fuckers were going warehouse direct, or had an in in Chinatown for them or something, but they don’t. They camp out, they buy their way to the front of the line, the buy out entire inventories before anyone else has a chance to, then they mark it up and sell it on ebay. People buy from them because they’re desperate, not because they want to or because they feel like they’re getting added value or convenience. People buy from shitbags like this one because they don’t have a choice because they don’t have access to the supply. He may be able to walk into a store and pick stuff up off the shelf, but there are plenty of places that still can’t get stuff in stock. Sure, everyone has a choice, but when the choice is “Either buy it from a scalper or don’t buy it at all” and the consequence of not buying it is pissed off kids or not having it at all, (which is a whole other argument separate from this one) it’s not much of a choice.

  46. SaraAB87 says:

    I have been flipping toys on ebay for 3 years now, I don’t go for the most popular stuff but I try to sell things that are rather unknown but still have a huge amount of people going after them because they are no longer sold in stores or discontinued. I buy stuff at yard sales, save it for the holiday season and then flip it for profits. As other said this is the way the market goes, if someone wants it bad enough they will pay for it. I also get many ebay buyers thanking me for the opportunity to bid on the items because their kid wants it and its impossible to find, I don’t think I have had a sourpuss buyer yet.

    But if Nintendo would manufacturer enough Wii’s for the holiday season we would not have this issue. There would be no reseller market like there is today if they could keep their product on the shelves.

    If you have kids, you either stand in the cold for a Wii, tell them no, or overpay for it (or buy it during the non-christmas season). Some people elect to overpay and thats their business, as some people value convienience over price. People you know its gonna be a hot holiday item, if you don’t like it, buy one in the summer when its more available and then hide it until christmas, then you will not have to complain here.

    I really think its the American attitude that “if I do not get my little Johnny toy x then he will call me a bad parent and then I WILL be a bad parent” fear that drives parents to overpay for items like this instead of telling their kids no or to wait until its availiable. I have actually heard people badgering clerks and telling this to store clerks when an item is out of stock “I will be a BAD PARENT if I don’t get my son this item, your ruining my christmas and my son’s christmas because your store does not have this item in stock” etc…

  47. CapitalC says:

    I got my Wii at the Nintendo World store in NY last month – no waiting, no lines, no pushing, no shoving and I didn’t mind waiting a year for things to settle down and the price to slide a bit.

    I just don’t get the people who have such a hard-on for a material good that they’ll pay waaaaay above the retail price for it. MADNESS I TELL YOU!

  48. Skiffer says:

    Arbitragers are worse than brokers in my book – and that’s pretty bad.

    I think I’d hate him less if he camped out for them, had some kind of distribution connections, etc – but all he’s doing is getting chummy with some pimply faced kid at gamestop and blocking regular consumers from normal retail channels.

    May as well be scalping tickets to Hannah Montana concerts…

  49. crappedcrusader says:

    I got a Wii back in the summer (around July/August) for 10 dollars more than MSRP+tax (I think I paid $285) and it was a good deal (and really local). I saw the same poster on craigslist attempting to sell it for 315 just a week before. Demand was obviously much lower than it is now.

  50. Anitra says:

    @Fry: Exactly. My husband has sold a few game consoles (two Wiis and one PS3 so far), and gotten several more for friends (having them pay him back, no profit made).

    Anywhere I see someone talk about how hard it is to get a Wii, I tell them exactly what my husband does. If they’re not willing to do the same, they need to either ask a friend to do it for them, or pay the price for their convenience on eBay.
    1) Develop relationships with your local gamestore employees.
    2) Be willing to “camp out” – either physically, by going early on a day like Black Friday, or vocally, by calling the store(s) every day.
    3) Do your research – building off my first two points – ask employees when they normally get the Wiis, look at fliers for the big box stores and see if there are a guaranteed number of Wiis for any given day.

  51. Adam Rock says:

    @gingerCE: I’ve never seen Game Crazy force people to get insurance on their Wiis. I was at one a month ago and watched two people buy Wiis that refused insurance with no problems (one of which was my friend that refused at my advice). They just pile on worries and stresses “what if it breaks…?”

  52. jasonorl says:

    @DeeJayQueue: Why would it make any difference using your logic if Garrett were “going warehouse direct” or not. Either way if he bough 10 Wii consoles form either a warehouse or a retail, it is still 10 less consoles that will reach consumers through the retail channel. I see no real difference here in the end.

    The real problem here (and I say this based purely on supply and demand because I didn’t want to pay more for a Wii either) is that Nintendo should sell the Wii to there retailers and not “suggest” the price it should sell for so retailers could set their own price. This is the fairest way but of course for something like a Wii, retailers would no doubt sell then for much more than $250 if they could. Garrett is just doing what mainstream retailers are artifically prevented from doing.

  53. Aladdyn says:


    So let me get this straight.. Prices are “artificially” high because people are willing to pay the prices being asked for things that other people are selling. Exactly how does supply and demand work in your mind? Maybe people should call you up to find out the “correct” prices for things. I think the people your looking to blame would be the people that are actually paying for a bad product/deal.

  54. ExtraCelestial says:

    my grandmother gave me a louis cerises purse a few years ago which i personally thought was the ugliest thing i had ever laid eyes on (sorry grandma) i saw all the hype the ugly little thing was getting and rather than letting it collect dust in my closet i sold it on ebay for something ridiculous. i slept just fine that night.

    in my defense (and im sure the op probably has a similar story) i started the auction at a reasonable no-reserve price, it was the bidders that decided how much they were willing to pay.

  55. MeOhMy says:

    It always amazes me how this practice really upsets people. By some of the reactions, you would think these people were selling drinking water to disaster victims at $500/bottle!

    Wiis and Furbies and Tickle Me Elmos and Cabbage Patch Kids are not life-sustaining items (no matter what your kid says). People keep buying them, so the resellers keep reselling them. The only way to shut them down is to resist. Kids are resilient…they will survive.

  56. Copillia says:

    You are fucking brilliant. Way to use consumerism to your advantage. If companies can do it, why not regular people?

  57. simplecreature says:

    Uh…hi. I’m Garrett.

    I was kind of surprised Consumerist ran my little confession actually. I sent it after having a huge row with a friend about reselling Wiis (which are damn weird sounding in the plural) and was feeling a bit crap.

    I’m pretty shocked by the positive, or at least neutral comments on here. I was thinking there would be nothign short of an angry mob, one without an appointment.

    To answer a few questions.

    -Yes, there was a 2 Iphone limit, I bought 2 and my girlfriend bought one. I did this not knowing about the limit though, I just didn’t want to put it all on my one credit card at the time.

    -PS3 Limit: Like I said, I bought them from a small electronics store months before. The store recieved a full shipment (lots of stores did not) upon release so I was able to get all of them on launch day.

    -Tax Evasion: Yeah, I worry a bit about that too. I think I’m small fish (said the bait) at this point. I have a W-2 and a legit job by the way. If I continue I’ve thought about consulting my tax preparer.

    -DEEJAYQUEUE really hates me and seems to be likening what I do to the house flippers and mortgage meltdown. Actually, that mess has more to do with deregulation by the federal government, the complete lack of oversight by many state agencies of the loans being approved and (here’s where I’d be in the analogy I guess) completely unscrupulous lenders/mortgage sellers who sold people mortgage products they could not afford. While it’s entirely possible that someone paying me 1000 bucks for a PS3 cannot afford it, it’s not quite the same credit-annhilating debt hole as foreclosure. I know it’s simply a matter of scale not morality, but scale matters.

    -Wii shortage: Yeah, this is where I feel a bit like a heel. Of the Wiis I’ve sold the bulk have gone to adults for adults (at least from what I’ve gotten from the brief exchanges I’ve had with people over craigslist/in person). One woman was buying it “for her son” but many of the purchases have been young people buying for themselves.

    Need and Want: Doing this has taught me alot about need and want. I’m in my 20’s and alot of people I work with around my age talk about “needing” things like the latest gadget, the coolest toy or expensive vacation. Most people I know my age are in stupid debt. Not understandable debt (school, cars, houses) but stupid debt buying crap they don’t need at prices they can’t afford. I work with a 27 year old with 80K in debt, only 20K of which was for school. She can’t even tell you what the rest was for “Living expenses” she says. Another guy has every console, a raft of games, a huge TV and jokes about how he has a credit score of 520.

    I want alot of things, but seeing people pay ridiculous amounts for hunks of plastic that they could get much cheaper with a bit of patience has made me rethink want and need quite a bit.

  58. Amsterdaam says:

    Ok, all the people here saying “More power to ya!” and calling people sniveling whine-bags (what a douche) fail to realize that the Nintendo Wii has been out of stock for an ENTIRE YEAR. These people do not obtain all their stock fairly. They pay managers extra cash to hold their stock and they don’t pay taxes (we pay their share). Sure, it’s capitalism at it’s finest, but that doesn’t make it right. It’s tantamount to a drug dealer or ticket scalper, no difference. Pay a certain amount for a quantity of something, inflate the price, and sell it off. And our little buddy Garrett here knows it’s wrong or he wouldn’t have written a diatribe defending it. This kind of situation is making console gaming a very expensive hobby. Sure I can just wait for the stock on Wii’s to replenish, but do you really think that’s ever going to happen with people like this buying up every shipment that comes out? And to the idiots that buy this over-inflated crap just perpetuate this douchebaggery.

    Just a quick search of EBay shows you exactly why there are none in stock, as there are 10380 Wii consoles listed at this very moment.

  59. Shadowfire says:

    @startertan: Not really. I mean, it’s not like that game was flying off the shelf. I bought them -out-of-the-bargain-bin- where they’d been sitting for weeks. I didn’t form some relationship with store managers so I could scalp the hot ticket Christmas item.

  60. Cad06 says:

    As Troy said – in summary – whatever the market will bear.

    Do I like resellers? Not really. Have I ever used one? No.

  61. Cad06 says:

    I’ve seen a few Wii’s, twice at my local WalMart and at Costco a few months back as a bundle.

    If you wanted it, you could have gotten one with a little pre-planning.

  62. unsunder says:

    I guess I’m a monster. I bought 3 on amazon last week. I can’t decide to sell them now or wait till a little closer to christmas.

    I’m not going to justify anything other than I would like some extra money and this is a way to get it.

  63. Amsterdaam says:

    @AnitraSmith: But a year later, should I really have to do that? I have 250 bucks, which is what the system costs. The reason I still can’t do that is because of these 10380 ebay listings. Why should the general consumer suffer so you can make a buck?

  64. Dibbler says:

    I’m not too sure I even believe his story. Profit from PS3? People like he claims to be lost tons on the PS3 because the demand just wasn’t there and people were selling them on Ebay for a loss a couple days after release. Are you sure you made $1000 profit on that last PS3 you sold? He’s full of shit…

  65. jasonorl says:

    @Amsterdaam: Well, I will agree that is wrong if they are paying off managers and if they are not paying taxes but plently of people selling them obtain them legitmaely by maybe buy one or two consoles that happen to be in stock. As long as they aren’t breaking any laws and obtained the console fairly by waiting in line or by luck finding one in stock, I see nothing wrong with this practice.

    Personally, I would not buy form a reseller. I got my Wii by waiting outside Best Buy for two hours last December.

  66. SaraAB87 says:

    You CAN get one at retail price with some pre-planning, there are tons of free resources on the net, itrackr, store locators etc, even gamestop has a store locator and a backdoor link to the Wii on the gamestop site was posted on consumerist just a few days ago. It just takes a bit of work and pre-planning to get one, and if your not going to go through with that (or too stupid or lazy to) then either tell your kid no (they will survive) or overpay, simple as that.

  67. 3drage says:

    What every helps you sleep at night bub.

    Jerks like you are the reason I had to camp out overnight for my Wii, as opposed to being able to walk in during the morning and have a few dozen on the shelves for people who actually want to play them.

    I liked gaming much better when it wasn’t so popular and jackals like yourself were busy scalping concert tickets.

  68. Dibbler says:

    @Amsterdaam: Eventually there will be plenty of the Wiis around and someone will be sitting on a bunch that they can’t get rid of and lose some money. It’s just like the current housing market. Eventually everything evens out and people can be all happy that they paid way too much for something just to be first. ;)

  69. tadowguy says:

    Yeah, I call BS on the PS3 profits. I personally know two people who were buying the PS3 hype and ended up selling theirs at cost or for a small loss. Even Sony had to recently lower PS3 prices because the demand just isn’t there.

  70. clarient says:

    It’s probably a really nice way to make some quick cash, as long as you don’t give a crap about anybody but yourself.

  71. trollkiller says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: I can’t find the parallel between what this guy does and what corporations do.

  72. castlecraver says:

    @ad8bc: I’m not. Despite what all the freepers and Ron Paul nuts out here on teh interwebs try to tell you, liberals aren’t necessarily “against” free market capitalism.

    The only thing I’m surprised by is the number of people who care. Perhaps if I had children to please this Christmas, I’d feel more strongly about it. But honestly, this is classic low risk, low reward. “Garrett” is small potatoes. Nobody dies, and the world keeps turning either way. Garrett will probably quit the first time he can’t float the outlay past his credit card’s grace period. I wish I could say the same thing about the “capitalists” who make their living off of short-selling, banks manufacturing money out of thin air, etc. Those are the guys worth worrying about. Not idiots who deal the latest hot gadget like it’s really worth something as a commodity.

    I get the feeling many of the same people who complain about scalpers causing Wii shortages have probably burned up more than the markup’s worth in $3.59/gal gas racing the UPS truck towards Toys-R-Us.

  73. @Amsterdaam I have to disagree with you that the Wii has been sold out for the entire year. I’m not sure what it’s been like in the States, but in Canada where we get much smaller shipments, I’ve seen Wii’s in stores while I’ve been shopping more than a handful of times. Usually at the big-box retailers too. The rush right now is the ridiculous Christmas demand, which always seems higher than actuality. While what Garrett is doing isn’t morally clear, it’s also not quite corrupt.

  74. MightyHorse says:

    the only thing funnier than people whining about resellers like garrett is the look on those people’s faces a week after christmas when their kids get bored with that $1000 wii and never touch it again.

  75. trollkiller says:

    @Cad06: Selling them as bundles is way worse than what this guy is doing. Forcing the customer to buy the extras is a bad business practice and extortion as far as I am concerned.

  76. Andy S. says:

    While I’ll admit that it does piss me off that asshats flipping high-demand items for profit on eBay end up creating artificial shortages (and creating higher demand in the process), people seem to forget that there is a simple solution to the problem.

    Don’t give in to the need.

    I wanted a Wii as badly as the next guy, so I bought one on Amazon at 3am during the 20 minutes that they were available. I didn’t camp out, I didn’t refresh my browser every 30 seconds for hours on end, I just kept checking stores (B&M and online), and eventually found what I wanted.

    Yes, I could have purchased a Wii on eBay, but I didn’t want to pay more than MSRP for an item that is technically commercially available, if in short supply.

    If everybody did this — just started refusing to pay a couple hundred dollars (or more) just to get an iPhone NOW, or to get little Timmy this year’s must-have high-demand toy in time for Christmas — the reseller market would dry up. If a person like Garrett were to buy a half-dozen PS3s to resell, and then find himself unable to sell them on eBay for a profit, he’d quickly find himself wanting to get out of the business. That’s three-thousand dollars invested in merchandise that he can’t sell. That’s a loss. If the best he could hope for was to sell them at MSRP and make back his investment, the reselling business would quickly lose its luster for him.

    Complain all you want about how reselling whatever — be it toys or electronics or event tickets or real estate — for a profit is slimy and despicable and morally reprehensible, but the simple fact is that it’s stupid consumers that make it possible, and that in fact perpetuate the problem.

    Don’t yell at Garrett. Yell at the person you know who bought a Wii/Elmo/PS3/iPhone/whatever on eBay for more than it was really worth. That’s the person that needs to be kicked in the teeth.

  77. Spaniard says:

    I have received the comment by a co-worker… “I hate people like you, hoarding all the Nintendo Wiis for yourself. You are really going to make children disappointed that their parents could not buy a Wii for them.”

    My response – “I don’t give a F***, I spent my time finding these Wiis and I expect the people whom I sell the Wiis to to compensate me for my time in finding these Wiis so that YOU have a F***ing chance to buy your children this item. If you don’t like it, suck it up and drive on; otherwise buy my Wii for $600!”

    ‘Nuff Said!!!!

  78. hollerhither says:

    You should continue to sleep just fine. You sold a personal item at a price the market would bear. Apples and oranges.

  79. milty45654 says:

    Garrett=Low Life Scumbag

  80. howie_in_az says:

    @bigdirty: I’m sorry, which person HAS TO PAY Garrett’s scalper fees? I certainly don’t. Neither do you.

    @DeeJayQueue: Perhaps you should opt for the “not buy at all” route, then. There’s nothing preventing you from NOT buying anything. You want it so badly that you’re willing to pay scalper prices or you’re not, it’s pretty simple.

    @Amsterdaam: Scalpers are buying the Wii at the same place you and I are. They’re paying taxes and so forth when they originally buy the unit. Of course they’re not charging tax when they sell the unit, nor are they declaring the extra income on their taxes. Oh well.

    To all the people complaining about scalpers: When the PS3 came out and people were selling them for $2500, did you get one? Probably not, because $2500 for a gaming console is utterly absurd. A year later and the PS3 is down to $399 and readily available. And guess what? Every game that you ‘had to play right when it came out’ can now be had used (err, ‘previously played’) for half the price.

    Wow, and people are wishing death upon this guy. Priorities, people, priorities.

  81. JeffM says:

    Capitalism in action… he is not doing anything wrong. It isn’t like he is stealing stuff and selling it- anyone who wanted these items could employ the same tactics to get items for their own personal use.

  82. simplecreature says:

    A couple other follow-ups:

    I didnt’t make a 1000 dollar profit on a single PS3. I sold them on Ebay and Craigslist day of and was stunned by the amounts. Like I said, I ended up putting the PS3 I wanted to keep on there. Within 3 days, the market collapsed, supply and demand. By then I was out of the market.

    Bribes: I’ve never bribed anyone. And truthfully, neither have any of the other resellers I know. There’s no need to do that. I’ve treated the guys at my gameshop like humans, talked to them and they’ve told me information they would likely tell anyone who was polite to them. Those guys get treated like dung day in and day out. Look at people on here calling them “pimply face teens” and all that.

    Responsibility: Those people saying I’m a jackal and I’m the reason they don’t have a Wii are sincerely mistaken.

    There’s a certain amount of responsibility everyone in the pipeline has to take. First, the manufacturer. They create the media hype, stoking it to such a point that it tips over into frenzy. Last november there were people lined up for DAYS in the freezing Chicago weather for a PS3. People in tents on Clark street. That’s nuts. That’s hype.

    Then there is the consumer who buys into this. Parents spending themselves into debt so their kids can have the latest and greatest? Where’s your responsibility in this?

    And finally, me. I fully confess to what I do and my part in this economic drama. The notion that I’m the problem ignores the consumer and the manufacturer. Everyone has a part, everyone gets something out of it.

    Finally, someone quoted “The Wire” at me. Ouch. I love that show and I love that speech from Frank Sobatka. I’m the child of immigrants who worked blue collar jobs all their lives to put me through school. I never had the fancy toys at Christmas, and I’ll be frank, I kind of resented the kids who did. But as an adult, I’m glad I had parents who socked away money for my college fund, helped me put a downpayment on my first car and taught me the value of money instead of indulging my burning desire for a Super Nintendo.

  83. trollkiller says:

    For all those worried they can’t get their snowflakes a Wii for Christmas here is a little hint. If they don’t get one THEY WON’T DIE. If they don’t get one YOU WON’T DIE either.

    Kids need to learn that in life there will be disappointments and it is how you handle the disappointments that show the world your character. You want to be a good parent, teach your children that you don’t always get what you want.

  84. Laffy Daffy says:

    I hit the jackpot. I ordered 1 Wii from amazon 2 weeks ago and they shipped 3. I checked my credit card again today and I’m only being charged for 1.

  85. matt1978 says:

    @milty45654: WAAHHHH!! I wasn’t smart enough to wait in line!!! WAAAHHH!!!Everybody who does something better than me is BAD!!! WAAAAHHHH

  86. Me - now with more humidity says:

    DeeJay: You’re a moron. You rail against people who took crap houses, fixed them up at their own financial risk, then resold them at a profit to people too lazy to do the work themselves. Welcome to America. That’s free enterprise, skippy.

    Bottom line to all of you is, if you don;t want to pay a certain price, then wait for them to come down. Simple enough.

  87. Mauvaise says:

    ***Quote: BY DEEJAYQUEUE AT 12:16 PM

    …but trying to tell these soulless zombies that is like talking to a wall. Way to ruin Christmas. Assholes. ***End Quote****

    Seriously? “Ruin” Christmas because someone couldn’t find some video game console? You’re going to stick with that?

    I think more than one person has forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. I’m not even Christian and I know that Christmas shouldn’t be about gross materialism.

  88. trollkiller says:

    I think what makes me ok with this guy is he is not paying a kickback to the manager. He simply buddied up with the guy to get information. If I ask my Game Stop manager when the next shipment is coming in would that be cheating? Hell no. If he is being allowed to purchase more than one and that is against store policy, I put that on the manager not him. If the store policy allows him to buy all the inventory then the store is being short sighted and will eventually fail.

    The difference between this guy and a concert scalper is the scalper is using software to beat others out of the tickets. The scalper is buying extra of a finite quantity item. Once they are gone there ain’t no more.

  89. lincolnparadox says:

    “Caveat emptor.”

    Lots of people do this. Is it right? It’s about as right as investing in the Market (especially commodities) or gambling. These folks are playing an odds game. They buy a product and expect its value to be more when they sell it. It is truly capitalism incarnate.

    Now, many of you can be mad at these folks for scalping, and you should be…

    …if the people in question are the vultures who wait for Target to open on Tuesdays to buy up all of the Wiis (or short-packed Darth Revan’s and Malak’s). But Garrett here is not that guy. He doesn’t take the product out of anyone’s hands. He’s admitted to either being lucky, or being smart.

    IMHO, that is what the consumerist is partly designed for: making us smarter shoppers. So what if Garrett gets his hands on some tech and sells it. My opinion is, the best thing to do with an iPhone is turn it into cost+$200.

    If you want to hate people, find out when your local Target opens (or does their restocking on toys or electronics), and wait for the scalpers. Then, beat them to their prize. Do this every week for a month, and they’ll move on.

    But, when you have those Wiis and you’ve already kept one and given one away for Xmas, what will you do with the other two?

    Ebay is a suckers game, fyi.

    Oh, and if you find any Darth Malak or Darth Revan figures, I’ll give you cost+ $5 plus shipping.

  90. Smackdown says:

    While scalpers are just, in general, douches (the first poster buying the entire stock of a store in order to create false supply and demand issues illustrates my point exactly), the real, fundamental problem lies with parents who can’t tell their children no.

    It’s the overweening desire to purchase any fucking thing for your goddamned child that is causing this situation – otherwise people would realize a stupid doll that costs $1.50 to make is not worth $150, and it’s a much more valuable lesson to teach your kid that nothing material is worth such attention or importance.

    Frankly, I think it’s probably some sort of Parental Pissing Match that it really boils down to. More like “oh, I got my kid a Wii, you didn’t?” kind of thing, because there’s such rampant insecurity and competition when it comes to parenting.

    Teach your kids that possessions are fleeting, and shit, have them save up money to get one themselves. Kids are so fucking spoiled these days, because it’s like a parent who buys a dumb mechanical screech doll can forgive themselves for any other mistakes they’ve made throughout the year if their kid is screaming in a Lord-of-the-Fliesian wail of sheer, unmitigated, id-borne greed.

    The Church of Consumerism, indeed.

  91. coan_net says:

    I collect soda cans, and do you remember back when Coke changed their formula, and brought out “New Coke” – and soon brought back Coke Classic, and changed the name of New Coke to Coke II.

    Well Coke II did not last very long…. well that is everywhere except around Chicago – where it lasted about 10 years longer then everywhere else. (I live about 100 miles south of Chicago).

    But when I made it up there, I would buy a few cased of Coke II (about $5 for 24 cans) – go on eBay, and I could sell 1 can for up to $20 each.

    I was making some good profit until they did finally discontinue it in Chicago and I ran out of cans.

    Thing is – Supply & demand – if people would just stop paying a higher then sticker price for the Wii’s, the price will come down to sticker price. It is that simple. (I lucky got mine soon after it was released)

  92. goller321 says:

    @trollkiller: I have to agree. First off, it’s a freakin’ video GAME system. We’re not talking dialysis machines and heart valves.
    I do take issue with ticket scalpers, for several reasons- they cheat the system to get the tickets, they are buying a very limited commodity and their effect is far reaching (affecting a very wide range of the public.)
    What this guy does is simply smart. I have no compassion for the people willing to shell out extra money for such a non-essential item. “Oh my god, you mean little Timmy has to go outside to play???” the horror! (end sarcasm)
    If people really want this thing then a little investigation can yield one through retail venues. I had heard about the shortage, and at Thanksgiving I was at my brothers and was surprised to see one sitting on the console. They said they’d had no problem getting one.

  93. digitalgimpus says:

    I’m no lawyer… but if he *interacts* with the retailer to secure a few units, might not be legal.

    At that point, it would essentially be working together to raise the average price of purchase and make availability more limited. Even easier to prove if the employee knows what they are for (though it would be obvious if more than 1 unit purchased).

    That smells of anti-trust violations.

  94. jmschn says:

    The people blasting Garret are the ones who either do no t have the capital to support what he’s doing or are jealous of the $$ he’s made from his venture. Grow up people. it’s a dog eat dog world. there’s no need to turn a blind eye.

  95. goller321 says:

    @Me: Exactly. But I will say I find it quite amusing when people get shafted trying to game the system like this. Like when some shlub gets stuck with 5 PS3s and is unable to unload them even for retail, or all the “speculators” that got hit by Apple dropping the price of the iphone (remember the lawsuit- what a joke…)

  96. HaloZero says:

    This is bullshit, all your people who say this is capitalism are assholes. Unbridled capitalism = BAD. We know what happens with unbridled capitalism, its called the industrial revolution where people worked 60-80 hours a week in shitty environments. They lived horrible lives, their entire family had to work. THAT’S CAPITALISM, all following the profit margin.

    We are a capitalist society, and I don’t mind scalpers doing it like the first month or so of a new release, but your still doing Wii’s. WTF is wrong with you? I guess there will always be immoral bastards like you out there.

  97. zibby says:

    I have no problem with it – none of this stuff is at all necessary. He’s not gouging people for bread or milk. Nobody needs a Wii or an iPhone, but some people WANT them badly enough to pay more than others – and if you made some rash promise to your children, well, consider it a lesson learned. Me, I just tell ’em “no” and troop on with the Treo.

  98. goller321 says:

    @goller321: BTW- I did something similar and occasionally still do. I bought several sliding compound miters saws at a bargain price and sold them at a profit (but still cheaper than retail) to offset the cost of MY saw. I’ve done it with LCD projectors too. If I do the work to find the deals that others are too lazy to (and most people are) why should I or anyone else be blamed.

    If anything, blame the morons out there that are artificially raising the worth of these things by paying these outrageous prices.

  99. brew400 says:

    dam the man

  100. The Cynical Librarian says:

    While I’m not pissed at the guy; The whole “paying for my time” argument is kind of lost on me. Sure you went and got them, but you said yourself it wasn’t hard. On the other hand, I don’t really feel sympathy for people who buy them off of a reseller because between May and September, if you wanted one, you could find one. My wife and I bought ours while just walking through the store, it was there, we bought it (It was the last one at the store). The next week, we saw more there, just sitting on the shelf. Now it seems that everyone waited until November to buy one and are pissed at Nintendo because there aren’t enough to go around.

  101. Flibbetigibbet says:

    I wiped out all my post-college credit card debt reselling Apex DVD players with the “secret code” that removed copy protection way back in 1999. A story in the Washington Post about the players set off a buying frenzy, and I cleaned up in the aftermath.

    I resold over 30 of them by the time my local Circuit City cut me off. They were very nice about it, but the store manager finally said, “Thanks for your business, but we aren’t a wholesaler. Please call this number and they’ll take care of you.” By then, I was tired of the whole thing and profits were too low to make it worth carrying on.

    I’ve hit it lucky on other items occasionally since then, but nothing as long-term profitable as those Apexes.

  102. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    Supply and price should be set to keep sales high, inventory low, and product available to all.

    Forgot about the debate of Nintendo restricting the supply. Much more important is that they have restricted the price. If you attempt to manipulate the market, you will have consequences like the resellers here.

    But here’s the rub: if price was not restricted, retailers would raise price to the point where Garrett would be out of the picture, but you’d still be paying his price. And no one would get the MSRP ($300?).

    Which raises the question, why are people unhappy with Garrett? Because they would rather pay his price but to Best Buy? Of course not. They want to pay the artificially low price at a retail store. And that will always be impossible, the market will simply not allow it. Without the resellers, endusers would still be gobbling thes up, and you will not be able to find them.

    Your problem is you want to buy something for less than it’s worth.

  103. howie_in_az says:

    @HaloZero: Yes, and most of them get elected to office.

    Where is the outrage over the current president’s actions towards iRan? Where is the outrage over the situation in iRaq? Why is there such outrage towards a guy selling marked-up gaming consoles?

  104. jtheletter says:

    I would like to point to people who claim that current ebay stats for the Wii somehow “prove” it is all the fault of the flippers – that 10,380 is 0.58% of the MONTHLY production total of 1.8 million Wiis. That’s not a typo, ONE HALF of ONE PERCENT of the monthly production total is what’s on ebay. Now I know that 1.8M is worldwide numbers and I don’t have data on how many the US gets but let’s do some estimates and see what we get. Also we know Wiis are being sold on craiglist, and let’s assume it takes your average ebayer or craigslister 5 days to sell a Wii.
    there are roughly six 5 day periods per month, and let’s assume there are an equal number of Wiis sold on CL as ebay. So 0.57 + 0.57 x 6 = 6.84% of worldwide production. We’ll also assume that only 25% of that 1.8M goes to the US (but I have a feeling we get closer to 900,000 per month). So 6.84% x 4 = 27.36%.

    Which means that if the US is only receiving 450,000 wii’s per month, roughly 1 in 4 of them are being resold by scalpers. While that’s a large percentage, it is not even near a majority! it means about 3 out of 4 Wiis go directly to end users, not scalpers. Also, my estimates are rather pessimistic, especially the monthly stock numbers for the US.

    What it amounts to is that while the Wii is indeed hard to get, the shortage is not being driven by scalpers. If we assume half the 1.8M Wiis produced monthly go to the US then the scalper percentage estimate drops to 13.7%.
    If anyone has better numbers to run this with I’d love to see the results.

    Disclaimer: I have not scalped Wiis but I managed to get 2 on last week using WiiAlerts in only 2 days with a total of about 10 minutes of effort, so it can be done if you use the right tools.

  105. dexterdog says:

    Mine was an unexpected and fast addiction to the world of “flipping”, it all started with five bucks and a Beanie Baby. I unwittingly purchased the last “Peanuts” elephant Beanie Baby, for one of my little nephews, apparently someone had stashed it off to the side and others overlooked it, my nephew found it. When I took it up to the counter to pay for it, store customers became both angry and excited, the cashier asked me if I knew how lucky I was. I was naturally confused as I walked out of the store. It began then, I told my nephew he couldn’t have the Beanie Baby, I’d buy him a Hot Wheel instead, I just couldn’t let go of it.

    The next day I went to work and told my co-workers what happened, they were as perplexed as I was. Unbeknownst to me, while I was telling my co-workers about what had happened with the Beanie Baby, one of the owners of the company I worked for overheard my conversation. He came up to me and asked that come into his office, he had never spoken to me before, I thought I was fired.

    I went into his office and he leaned over his desk and whispered, I heard you have “Peanuts” the Beanie Baby… I told him yes. He asked how much I wanted for it, I stared at him. He offered me $100.00, I almost ran to my car so I could retrieve the Beanie Baby but something stopped me, this guy had always been kind of weasley. I said it’s going to take more than $100.00 and held my breath, he grimaced and offered me $500.00, the inside of my body became hot, I said no, he said $1,000.00, I didn’t know what to do. I stared him down, he told me he and his wife buy and sell Beanie Babies at a large profit.

    Then he made an offer I couldn’t refuse, if I took $1,500.00 for it, he would take me to a small convention hall, where black market buying and selling of Beanie Babies took place, all for cash. He told me if I had any more Beanie Babies to bring them. I didn’t have any others, so driving home from work that night, I stopped at every Hallmark store and put all that they had, one store had just put out 20 lamb Beanie Babies, I bought them all, I couldn’t stop. I was perspiring and anxious, I had the shakes, while I was standing at the counter, I looked around to see if people were staring, they were. I wondered what they thought of me…

    Part II after I do some work!

  106. gingerCE says:

    @Adam Rock: Hi. I was there and talked with the salesperson too. He said the manager would not allow him to sell wiis without the extended warranty OR by purchasing a bundle–it may have just been this particular Game Crazy.

  107. azntg says:

    Reseller? More like profiteers! People who purchase in bulk, intending to deliberately mark up prices to unreasonable levels for their own personal gain and in the grand scheme of defrauding others gets absolutely no sympathy from me. Got death threats? Got penalized by the IRS? Got arrested? You had it coming!

    @howie_in_az: Who says that there’s no outrage to our dear beloved president? We’re just sticking with the topic, ’tis all!

  108. sifr says:

    @Fry: If the scalpers weren’t constantly depleting stock, average people wouldn’t HAVE to develop relationships, learn ‘tricks’, wait in lines, etc.

    So, by saying you’re paying a premium for avoiding that, you’re being disingenuous. Those conditions wouldn’t exist if the scalpers didn’t create them.

  109. coren says:

    @rewinditback: Well, what happened was he got 5 or 6 PS3’s early in the game when the demand was there and people were getting shot for them, at which point turning 1000 bucks on one system alone wasn’t unheard of. I can’t speak to the iPhone though.

  110. johnnyboi1016 says:

    Wow, lots of poo being flung around.. here’s mine:

    First off, Nintendo is NOT intentionally holding back supply to further increase hype, that opinion needs to be analyzed a bit. There is NO WAY IN HELL they would not be shipping Wii units the moment they are produced if they are flying off the shelves, especially knowing the resellers are making 5x more profit than they are per unit. That’s potential $$ out of their pocket, from hype and good press created by their company and their product. I notice that many discussions about this fail to mention that Nintendo has another KILLER product which has been selling like mad for years now… the DS. My guess is that some of the factory/manufacturing space is being shared but most definitely maxed out. Keep in mind they are trying to meet a GLOBAL demand that consistently is higher than supply.

    Now, about the resellers, let’s go back to Econ 101 where we learn that price is defined as ‘what the seller is willing to sell at and what the buyer is willing to pay for’ (not verbatim). Any exchange at an agreed price is MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL. (unless the buyer is FORCED to pay the price, let’s say at gunpoint) When people start playing the game of what a price is SUPPOSED to be, that’s when things get mucked up. Wasn’t there an article on consumerist about how NYC has hugely inflated prices, along with fast food ‘dollar menu’ items that are priced a lot higher? How come people don’t cause a big stink how hot dogs and soda cost 5-10x more at a ballgame, other than that it’s been this way for years? America has been built on capitalism and that will never change. IMO the lending sharks, fraudulent CPA’s, etc have a much bigger morality issue. In my eyes the resellers are only getting compensated for their time and effort they need to put forth to get these units. As a final word, let’s remember that nearly every retailer had or still has a 1 Wii per customer rule…

  111. UpsetPanda says:

    My problem with the resellers is that they are, like others have said, creating a false low supply. A store could be packed with Wiis but someone came in and bought three of them. No, people don’t have to go onto ebay or craig’s list to get a Wii, it’s not a necessary item. …but the principle of the matter is that it is simply slimy for someone to mark up a Wii for $500. There is no “effort” in driving to a store when they were available. Since you were doing it to make a profit, you were doing it anyway. It’s not as if stores mark it up $250 bucks because they had to go through the trouble of unloading it off a truck for you.

  112. coren says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: It’s different, because A) Garett can’t strangle the entire market on his own (and with only 10 wiis, he probably hasn’t even gotten one store’s full regular shipment) like a corporation could and B) the profits don’t end up lining some already rich guy’s pockets or going towards that third mercedes or whatever.

  113. trollkiller says:

    @howie_in_az: Damn I just knew it was all Bush’s fault.

  114. theDevilsDue says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. If you are out driving from store to store or waiting in lines to get the consoles then I don’t have a problem because you are investing your time. When you are in cahoots with store employees, you’re a fucking scum bag. And not because you take money from the morons who are willing to pay but because you make it extremely difficult for working parents (who can’t take time off to camp-out) to get a console for their kids.

  115. coren says:

    @DeeJayQueue: Most online storefronts for places like Best Buy and what have you aren’t having these on a regular basis, it’s all about the instore. What you see online are ridiculous bundles like the Walmart 700 + after shipping (yes, the stuff in the bundle is close to worth it, but I sure don’t want to be told I have to buy 6 games and some accessories to have a console) or the out of stock in 20 minutes Amazon units. So yeah, you might be able to get it online.

    But what if you live in bumfuck nowhere? Are you gonna spend an hour or more driving into town to get a console with no guarantees? Try doing that a couple times a month in the hopes of scoring one of teh consoles. For some people, this is a service worth their while.

    And buying up all the stock? You’ve gotta be kidding me. With as rare as these things are, I’ve never once been to a store that doesn’t enforce a one per person limit, and they keep your information so you can’t come back later that day.

  116. The Meathead says:

    @bigdirty: Wah.

    @azntg: Wah.

  117. coren says:

    @Amsterdaam: Based on this article…no. All he does is get friendly with game store people. No camping..hell, let me quote the article.

    “I’ve never bribed anyone, lied to anybody or stalked any stores. I’d never camp out, never grabbed something from a kid or fought shoppers.”

    Also, it hasn’t “been out of stock for the entire year”, or no one would have gotten it.

    And lastly, Garrett is the guy who decided the 360 and PS3 should have high price points and games that cost more than 50 dollars? If so, shame on him, because that’s what’s making console gaming expesive, not some guy flipping stuff on ebay.

  118. sifr says:

    @coren: “Based on this article…no. All he does is get friendly with game store people. “

    also known as collusion.

  119. 3ZKL says:

    what about people buying foreclosed/shitty houses, fixing them up, and flipping them for hundreds of thousands of dollars of profit?! often they claim to be ‘revitalizing’ a neighborhood. . .give me a damn break!

    and we wonder why the economy is collapsing!

    as an avid/nerdy as hell sneaker collector, i found it really strange to find out housewives were camping on the street for ‘the hottest new thing’. it used to be nerdy sneaker dudes trying to snatch a 1 of 500 pair of gaudy patent leather nikes. now its people in minivans with perms buying big box stuff produced in the MILLIONS of units.

    all you weiners can cry about it, but the kid is doing just what society already set up. LOOK COOL, GET MONEY! have you watched a rap video (or flip that house on TLC) lately?!

  120. samh5621 says:

    I waited in line for the ps2 back in the day and had an opportunity and means to buy 2 to resell one and passed…looking back on it, I regret it…PS2s were selling for $1000 at the time ON MY COLLEGE CAMPUS…I could’ve paid for my own purchase and a ton of games with the profit…

    The same thing happened with the 360, I waited overnight but this time when I could only get a core system I DID sell it on ebay and made a pretty fair profit. Since then I’ve gotten a real 360, found a PS3 in Target launch week (just sitting there), and got a Wii 2 days after launch of ebay for $50 extra total (but after taking into account tax I only ended up paying like $26 extra)

    All in all, I agree with the poster…it’s a tax on those willing to pay extra to have something right away…A couple of months ago I was seeing Wiis in best buy, gamestop, even my law school bookstore…I picked one up because a guy in one of my classes wanted one for his daughter, but I sold it to him for exactly what I paid…(can’t overcharge a guy who’s buying something for his daughter)

  121. Just like so many other issues on Consumerist, it comes back to basic economics.

    If someone is willing to pay all that markup to have it RIGHT NOW, then fine, let them buy it. All you have to do is not create the black market demand for these items and you’ll be fine.

    Look at the iPhone’s price drop. Same thing. They all paid the “firsties” tax because they couldn’t wait.

  122. cef21 says:

    @Troy F.: Actually, selling water to disaster victims at a high price is a good thing. Here’s what happens:

    (1) Disaster — no water
    (2) Guy sees way to make easy buck, loads up truck with water bottles, goes to disaster area
    (3) Guys starts selling water bottles for, say $20.
    (4) People start buying
    (5) 2nd – 5th Guys sees first guy making money, do the same thing
    (6) competition and the price drops

    Now, you have 5 trucks of water when before you had none.

    The problem is that you never get to step (6) unless you have step (3), and step (3) has to be possible for step (2). Forcing the guy to sell at the pre-disaster price ensures that he doesn’t sell at all.

  123. coren says:

    @azntg: 10 over the course of a year is “in bulk”? Considering that there’s what, a million times that in the market right now…

  124. bigdirty says:

    @The Meathead:
    I’m not a whiner – some people do actually make the games that are played on these systems for a living, and when a bunch of douchebags squat on inventories of the units, it’s got a ripple down effect. It comes down to like I said before, the budget to buy X games isn’t there, or the people that want to buy Game Y, can’t for the sole reason that Garret and his like are sitting on a bunch of consoles that they don’t want to pay 2X MSRP, and by the time these people are able to buy the console at MSRP, its well into the lifecyle of the title, where it is either hard to find, or is able to be purchased used, which is an entirely different argument on how that is a detriment to the industry.

  125. @darkened: Nor did I have the intestinal fortitude to even take doing it with a Credit Card into consideration.

  126. LTS! says:

    Anyone who has a problem with this should simply put things in these terms.

    You are walking down the street, and some guy offers you twice what you paid for your plain, ordinary, watch. Would you sell it? If not, then you are a fool.

    Don’t be mad at the people willing to do the work to get the items so they can be sold for more, they are simply supplying the demand by the morons in this world who are willing to not do the work and overpay just so they can have something that they feel they need.

    It’s hard for others to understand the “needs” of these people, but why should you question it? It’s not my concern that someone else is willing to overpay, that’s their choice. If I could get a Wii or two I would sell them if I could. If the value of the keeping the item is more than what I can sell it, I’d keep it. But it is just a gaming system, and so I would gladly sell it for cash now.

    The other points that are being brought up is that this is income and people do need to claim it to be legal in regards to taxes. You, in essence, have become a store, and your profits are taxable. It’s a shame that the IRS isn’t monitoring those people who are listing items on Ebay and then seeing if they report those profits. It wouldn’t be hard to do.

  127. floydianslip6 says:

    I don’t get all this crazy hype. As for Garrett, I don’t think selling things at WAY over retail is a great idea. However, I also don’t understand why people BUY IT. It’s not like he’s breaking into your house, reverse robbing you MAKING you buy it.

    None of these items are essential, for children OR adults. If Timmy doesn’t get a $300+ video game console or Johny Lawyer Pants doesn’t get his brand new iPhone it really doesn’t matter.

  128. Anitra says:

    @Amsterdaam: Like I said, ask a friend to do it for you, then. I don’t think the 2 he’s sold are your problem. If it makes a difference to you, I’d like to let you know that he bought them one at a time, and stood in line for at least half of them. No unfair advantage here, just willingness to spend time and effort.

    There is obviously too much demand for the $250 pricetag Nintendo sets on it. Otherwise, the scalping wouldn’t be profitable.

  129. jasonorl says:

    @azntg: So making profits is bad in your mind? What criteria do you use to determine if prices are unreasonable? Products are only worth what others are willing to pay. …please tell me where the fraud is? Do you think these the people buying these items don’t have a clue as to what prices they go for in stores?

  130. coren says:

    @sifr: Actually, they would. There’s only maybe 20,000 consoles out and about on ebay and craigslist and what have you and these things are STILL selling out all the time. Even assuming there’s another 20,000 waiting to be sold or in transit or what have you..that’s not even 1 percent of what’s been manufactured thus far (hell it’s just over a quarter percent, if that).

    So if there’s so few consoles, regardless of scalpers, demand would still be insane, thus requiring that some people go through those ridiculous steps in order to achieve a console.

  131. FredTheGreat says:

    Shouldn’t this be posted on the Opportunist not the Consumerist.

  132. coren says:


    Uh, what? I always thought collusion implied illegality, which doesn’t seem to be occurring in this case. Is it somehow illegal for Bob at Gamestop to tell you when a shipment gets in? Hell, Gamestop is very obvious about posting when games and systems and accessories and what have you are out, and have no problem asking if I even want to put money down in advance.

  133. Phildawg says:

    Those who think this is okay are the same that will scream gas prices are to high! You don’t have to drive to work do you? You should live in the city and take public transportation! Living far from your work is a privilege, not a right. So get to huffing it, I think somebody should buy up all the gasoline and resell it for a tidy profit… oh wait, I think that already happens =)

  134. startertan says:

    @GreatCaesarsGhost: I couldn’t agree with your last statement more. The bottom line is that there are people willing to pay the resellers asking price for it.

    @trollkiller: Along those same lines, Garrett does not have an inside track that any other person could not also get. He isn’t paying anyone off to hold Wiis for him or to not tell others when the shipment is coming in.

    He does not have an edge over anyone else. He is simply doing what Bill Gates did, having a little ingenuity and being in the right place at the right time.

  135. shertzerj says:

    I purchased a pair of Wii component cables last year from Nintendo when they first came out for $30. I sold these cables on eBay for $130. A few weeks later (two weeks before Christmas) I bought the same cables from Nintendo’s web site again, when they said they got them back in stock, for $30 (but kept those for myself). I didn’t feel bad in the slightest.

  136. kingoftheroad40 says:

    @bigdirty: Supply and demand

  137. floydianslip6 says:

    @Phildawg: While the idea is not wrong it’s a nonsense comparison. Several people don’t live in cities or have access to public trans and still need to get to work. Gasoline is not ALWAYS a luxury. Video games and fancy pants cell phones are.

  138. drjayphd says:

    @Phildawg: No. No, they won’t. And living far isn’t a luxury; sometimes, it’s all you can afford.

    Nothing like a popular post to bring out the utterly ignorant among us.

  139. 3drage says:

    People commenting that this is only one guy with 10 units, need to calculate the other 1000+ scumbags who sell 10+ units.

  140. ivanthepig says:

    Not being the first to own a Wii is not life threatening. People are indulging on it mostly because of its lack of availability. It sounds appealing when you hear ‘product A’ has been sold out at 90% of retailers and online stores.

    The way I look at it, if you want something THAT bad and are KNOWINGLY paying $300 more then retail value – then why the hell do you blame the seller?

  141. ivanthepig says:

    *looks through Craigslist*

    Thats a lot of people to be arrested for “tax evasion”.

  142. MeOhMy says:

    @cef21: Uhh…I have no idea what that has to do with anything.

    My point is that people are expressing over video games and dolls the type of moral outrage that would be more appropriate for people price gouging life-sustaining items during a disaster.

  143. jeffeb3 says:

    This isn’t free market techniques though, because you’re creating an artificial demand for a product, which, in turn, creates your profits. Shame shame.

    My GF let someone at her work log into our home machine (I have spent some time setting this up so I can get to files, and functions on my home machine) to buy rockies tickets. He made a killing, and didn’t even thank me. I can’t help but think that rockies tickets are pretty close to the same morals as game consoles or tickle me elmos. I guess we’ll just have to get our congressman to create legislation against you people.

  144. econobiker says:


    Hey I’ve actually purchased older complete, good condition, PC games at Goodwill/Salvation Army/second hand stores for a few dollars and sold them for multiple times purchase price to the collector market (via ebay). Does that make me rude? They still got a deal on a game that originally cost $49.95 in 1990 and are paying $18 for now… even though I only paid $3 for it.

    Supply/demand and informed sellers/uninformed buyers equals profit for seller…

  145. JPinCLE says:

    Supply. Demand. Capitalism. The only problem (that others have already pointed out) is if he’s not claiming the income on his tax return. Other than that, I see a smattering of comments from people who think we’d be better off as socialists. The “but what about the children?!” bullshit is just a poor disguise for your jealousy that someone else came up with a way to make a buck. If Garrett claims the income on his taxes, he’s just working hard to supply a demand. The demand in this case is lazy people with enough money or credit to pay a premium because they didn’t want to wake up early to stand in line. The retailers can’t meet that demand, so Garrett did. The stores would have run out before these lazy people got there regardless of whether or not Garrett bought 5 or 6 units.

    Conventional way to live the American Dream? No, not conventional… but to say you wouldn’t feel bad if the guy died next week? Come on!

  146. Tank says:

    holy fuck, you’d think he was feeding crystal meth to a puppy. it’s a fucking gadget, and people who think they need them pay too much buy them. i can’t believe this post generated so much response.

    the profit numbers he’s talking about – well, i’m calling bullshit there, but at the end of the day, i really don’t care how much he sells stuff for.

  147. UpsetPanda says:

    @ivanthepig: Because there will always be people who go ‘shame on you for making it possible for me to feel as if I can’t live without buying things I don’t need for twice the advertised amount!’

  148. chili_dog says:

    There has been a sucker born every minute since the beginning of man that will overpay for something. And this will go on till the 2nd to last human dies.

    But then again that MackBookPRO you just bought has only $1 in profit. Yea Right.

  149. Dorgon says:

    I used to have an eBay business (buying bulk lots at auctions and selling them piecemeal). Did it full time for a few years. I assure you that we paid income taxes (quarterly estimated tax payments — I don’t miss them) and charged sales tax within our state, as required by law. You should NOT assume that every eBay reseller is not taking care of the taxes the way that they should.

  150. ivanthepig says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: I think that this would apply to all early adopters as well. That whole iPhone thing? Standing in line to get it. Why? Is an electronic device going to change your life SO dramatically that you just HAVE to have it? Well, maybe not. Then again, to be cool, you need to have the latest and greatest. You also need to start smoking too. Thats cool too. As a matter of fact, start drinking and driving and snorting coke – celebrities do it. Must be cool, right?

    I think its rediculous that people have the nerve to buy a product at an inflated price, then complain about how much they spent on it. Thats what America is though. Buyers. We’re all just buyers. We see it. We want it. We get it. Then complain about it.

    The company I work for has 16 boxes of a specific high-demand-low-supply product that they give out to employees as prizes. Lets boycott the company because little Timmy doesn’t get his gadget.

    What happened to the old fashioned boardgame? Chess? Checkers? Card games? Gin Rummy? Poker? Things that require thought, and the ability to exercise the mind. Getting a Wii now is a win in the short run, but a loss in the long run.

    Dear America,

    Stop staring at computer/tv screens on your off time. Read a book.

  151. velvetjones says:

    @bigdirty: Garrett is participating in the secondary market, which is another word for the stock market, now do you believe that all of those people should drop dead? Do you get this worked up when you open your 401(k) statement and see your portfolio has increased in value? Its the same thing.

  152. jimconsumer says:

    @cde: Uh, sorry, but eBay has no way of reporting his “earnings” to the IRS. Zilch. Nada. For one, they don’t have his social security number. For two, they have no idea what his profit/loss is, thus no way to report “earnings”. Just because one sells a wii for $500 does not mean there is a $250 profit. He might have paid more or less than $250 for it.

  153. howie_in_az says:

    @ivanthepig: I think it’s more Americans’ sense of entitlement than the Wii being something bad.

  154. dsgnomite says:

    Please, enough of the terrible two’s in the candy isile “mommy I WANT it NOW!”.
    1. The NEED for consumable goods by any means necessary is what fuels this capitalistic behavior. Anyone hear about an iphone price drop? How about a PS2 for $129?
    2. Nobody is robbing banks, donating organs, or starving out their kids, to buy a black market PS3, Wii, iphone, etc. How about not feeding into the hype in not paying twice retail just to have the newest stuff the day it comes out?
    3. Like a leased car, let someone else take the initial price hit. Besides, wouldn’t you be suspicious of someone selling a blackmarket item twice the price with no guarante?

  155. UpsetPanda says:

    @ivanthepig: My fiancee and I looked into getting iPhones. We’re on Verizon and we estimated that it would take about $1,000 for us to both switch to Cingulatt, buy iPhones, start paying for the first month of the plan. Early adpoters, we are not in most cases. Not that we’re still using floppies, but I have friends who went crazy when the iPhone came out and for some reason, it never occurred to some of them that the phone could be half a paycheck to some people! You would’ve thought they were all made of money all of a sudden, not poor college kids who try to mooch for money and free pizza.

  156. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    Back when I was in College I worked at Best Buy. Somehow even though I worked in games I was off on the day of the PS2 release. Our store was pretty strict that you had to be off work to buy one, no putting one away. I knew we had 40 of them so when a co-worker asked me to stand in line for him in exchange for a $100 I took it. I arrived at 6am for a 10am opening and was 3rd in line. I got a PS2 for him and then I saw that there were about 8 more PS2’s than customers so I got one for myself as well. It was a seperate transaction and there wasn’t anyone waiting so my GM was cool with it. It was the 1st and only time I have ever waited in line to buy something on sale.

    I took my PS2 home with 2 games, memory card and a extra controller. Played it for about 2 weeks beat the games and rented what looked interesting. I got bored with it and decided to sell it on Ebay. This was at the height of the PS2 madness. Total I think I spent $450 on the PS2 and acces. I sold it for $1300 and the guy wanted me to deliver it personally so he could check it out and make sure he got it before christmas. Made another $300 on delivery..$1 per mile each way. Do I feel bad? Nope I bought it with no intention of selling it and I statrted the auction at a penny. It went to $1300 on its own.

  157. SaraAB87 says:


    This is how I started reselling too, except I was 12 at the time. This also helped me to learn the value of money. At the height of the beanie baby craze I bought a radar the bat for 5$ and sold it for about 70$ by answering a guy’s ad in the newspaper, thats quite a profit for a 12 year old to make and I put the money into my savings account that I had since I was 8 years old. I have been collecting things in the package since I was 10 years old with strawberry shortcake dolls and hello kitty merchandise. My parents saved all my old toys that were in good condition, so I took them to ebay and sold them since I don’t want them anymore (talk about getting your value out of toys!!). The grandkids also played with these toys but they are much too old for them now and have no interest. I recently made a hefty profit off ebay on these items and I don’t feel bad about selling them because I do not use them anymore.

    If you have kids, especially with the high costs of college nowadays you would be smart to scalp Wii’s and put the money into your son or daughter’s college saving fund, even if you have really young kids they grow up fast! Trust me they will appreciate the money when they REALLY need it later in life.

    I buy all my video game consoles when they hit the yard sale market prices (aka about $50 or under), most of my game consoles I paid under 25$ for. Spending more than $100 on a video game system just seems absurd to me. I have an awesome collection, people think I am rich but its really just from yard sales! Also thanks to ebay I can resell the yard sale games that I don’t really need. Plus I get to make up for the fact that I didn’t own any video games as a kid, at a fraction of the price. I cannot wait till all these people who paid $500-1000 for a Wii toss it out on the lawn for 50$ because their kids have outgrown it! Also the kids that get an expensive Wii for christmas this year will likely be bored with it within a week anyways..

  158. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to capitalism.

  159. MrEvil says:

    I’m tired of all the crybaby candy-asses that send death-threats to Garrett there. It’s called the FREE MARKET people. Garrett is free to buy however many Wii’s he has money for, and then he’s free to do with them as he pleases. He could take them out to his back yard and shoot them. Instead he takes his property and sells it to people for a profit. Welcome to capitalism… don’t like it, move to China.

  160. mgyqmb says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with what he’s doing. By buying the Wii and offering it to people who want it more at a higher price point, he’s actually doing you a favor. Sure, it costs more, but there’s no guarantee you yourself could even find one. So by raising the price, people who don’t see it as being worth that much scour the stores, while you have an open opportunity to take one home and play. Microecon 101 :

  161. Lady Di says:

    My biggest problem with people who do this is that they don’t realize who they are hurting the most. Rich people always get what they want, but people who don’t have disposable income and have to work many hours and multiple jobs don’t. They don’t have time to wait in line or call every game store in the area each day to find a Wii or whatever because they have to work. And even if they’ve worked solely to save up money for the Wii they have to work even more to pay for the new market price from people who have the time and money to find them, snatch them up, and sell them for huge profit. Most of the people I know who want one, and have saved up money for them… can’t find them and are debating whether they should save up more money to get one off of ebay.

    Sure, it is just a product, but why do you have to buy 10 of them and make money off of them, when months after it’s been on the market, it is still a hard to come by item. Stores are only getting 1-2 in at a time, and it’s just not fair to everyone else who doesn’t have the time or the energy to find one. And what is even more special about the Wii is that it goes across gender and age for who wants one. This is something young girls want, housewives, and the teenage boy. I’ve never wanted a game console before, but I do want a Wii… I’m wiling to be patient and wait a few more months to hope that people stop buying them up before the average Joe can, and I can find it at Target like anything else.

    Not everyone has time to research blogs online to find the wii info online and then wait for the urgent text message to drop everything to purchase it! Have a heart and stop doing this during Christmas at least. Or sell them at cost plus a $10 convince fee or something and be nice to housewives and working kids.

  162. grantness says:

    If someone out there is smart enough to find something someone wants, more power to them for grabbing it and re-selling it. People aren’t forced to pay huge markup for PS3’s and Wii’s, they do it because they want to, or they are lazy and don’t want to actually do the work to source one out themselves.

    People can hem and haw all they want about this, but I think in some respect people are upset they couldn’t do it themselves. If I didn’t have work and school, i’d have waited to get a PS3. My friend did, and he flipped it in the BB parking lot for 1500 dollars profit, cash in hand.

    People will always have wants, and will fulfill those wants if they are financially able to do so.

    BTW: The Wii is an awesome system, and the OP is right. If you want one, befriend a Gamestop or EB manager.

  163. leaknoil says:

    A fool and their money is soon parted. Usually its uninformed consumers that allow these guys to make any money at all. You can always find these things if you look hard enough.

    Obviously they don’t worry about the morality of the issue. That said, it is all happening illegally because nobody is claiming the income on it. Lot of minors and min wage clerks at best buys etc.

    If they had to pay taxes on the profit it would be way less then they would make putting in the same hours at McDonalds.

  164. leaknoil says:

    All you guys saying, “it’s just economics!” are missing the part about paying taxes. Even the guy admits he isn’t paying them. Its not an optional part of economics in the US.

  165. gibbersome says:

    Yes, it’s harmless enough when flippers are reselling non-essential items such as Wii’s and PS3’s. But imagine what would happen in a state of crisis. I’m not sure I’d want such blatant opportunism in my neighborhood. Lets confine such practices to ebay and craigslist.

  166. m4nea says:

    @complexicated: Tickle me ELMO???
    What is this, 1995???

  167. startertan says:


    Like most people said, the Wii is a non-essential luxury item and if you want one bad enough you either do the work to get it or you pay a premium for it. I can’t believe how upset some people are getting over this.

    The real scumbags are the ones that my buddy saw when he lived in Florida during Hurricane Andrew (I think). He said he saw guys going to Home Depot, buying ALL of the gas generators and then reselling them off the back of a truck for 2x retail price. Now that’s being a scumbag. Reselling a Wii and a few iPhones is not a big deal.

  168. robertcole says:


    I have to pipe in here now at this comment. Many of you are patting Garrett on the back, but also many of you are upset with him for buying/reselling a console that is still in such demand.

    As a couple others have said, even though the wii is in incredible demand still, and even though you can’t just walk in to target or walmart or whatever and pick one up off the shelf, getting one is not impossible. I know, because I have purchased 2 in the last year.

    No, I didn’t pay extra for them, nor did I buy a bundle. When I set out getting the first one, I vowed to only pay MSRP, and to buy the console only. That was back in March or so that I picked it up from after a couple months of monitoring “in stock” sites.

    The second one my wife and I are giving to our ex-roommates who are getting married in a couple weeks here as a wedding gift. I also picked it up for MSRP, console only, this time from, and this time after watching the “in stock” tracker for about a week. Oddly enough, I actually paid less for this one because I didn’t have to pay tax or shipping to amazon, whereas sears charges both.

    So anyhow, moral of the story is: If you want one, you can get one. If you want one *NOW*, you’ll pay a scalper tax on it, or you’ll be paying a bundle tax. If you’re patient and keep an eye out online or at your local store (I’ve seen our local target happen upon a couple in stock periodically while shopping for games/accessories), you CAN get one for MSRP, unbundled.

    Stop bitching, do some homework if you really want one.

  169. jimmy43 says:

    The real question is why these products are not priced what they are worth as MSRP. Are the companies just completely mis-estimating demand, or are they purposely selling products with too-low prices to artificially create shortages?

  170. SaraAB87 says:

    Reselling is VERY different when its an essential item you need to live, such as food, water or disaster supplies. We had a similar situation as last year we had the dreaded October storm in Buffalo, NY and retailers and people were price gouging. However it turns out this type of price gouging is ILLEGAL and the police soon took care of it. A store cannot raise prices on bread to $10 a loaf just because there has been a disaster in the area and people are buying more than usual.

  171. MostNutsEver says:

    It kills me to see how dead the entrepreneurial spirit is. Is it just because its a video game? Something kids want? If this were anything else, I don’t think most of you would have a problem with it. But because its a toy around Christmas you’re not supposed to make any profit? A 10 dollar convenience charge? Thats ridiculous. He is entitled to whatever the market will bear for his services. Should you work for less money than you’re entitled to? It reminds me of people complaining about how sports players make too much money. Well if thats what the market will bear, then thats what they are worth! And if someone will pony up the extra cash for the Wii, then thats what its worth. Everyone should be getting what they are worth, and if that is somehow unfair, then that is too bad.

  172. h4b1t says:

    I say good for you! I just scored 3 Wii’s at Best Buy this weekend and I plan on paying for my other Christmas purchases with the profits. I had to stand outside in 10 degree weather so I earned it!

    Like some others have pointed out. Like it or not we live in a capitalist society. To those who say that scalping has a negative effect on the economy I say I’m buying things with the profits. We aren’t socialists, thank GOD!

  173. trekkie says:

    I bought some kind of in car MP3 player thing back in 2000 or 2001. Can’t remember the company name but they had a fire sale as they were getting out of the business of making them. It had a 40GB hard drive in it if I remember right.

    Anyway, I decided I didn’t want to ruin my Audi TT dash by trying to put it in myself, and didn’t htink it matched the asthetics so I went to sell it. I posted on the forum I got it at the sale price, hadn’t used it, and wanted to part with it. Showed what I paid for it.

    20 min later, someone said they’d pay 2x what I paid for it to get one.

    I’m not gonna argue.

  174. Obviously not quite as true now, but all it takes to get a Wii now is persistence. I don’t know anyone who wants a Wii that hasn’t had a chance to buy one at MSRP.

  175. mzs says:

    @scorcher: Plus you can probably buy six games and return say three for store credit at a Walmart and use that for other Xmas gifts.

  176. LOAGeeks says:

    More power to you, and congratulations. Not being sarcastic here. I for one give you credit, and you deserve the spoils you worked for. I have never done what you did, because I am lazy to, and Im not like those who are to lazy to do anything but when someone else does it I have to say something negative about them. Those people are just JEALOUS!!. I agree 100% with you said, and what you have done to earn that extra cash, and you have done it in an HONEST way. Like you said people who buy these things ain’t that bright, or just got cash to burn. You have pinned down exactly the type of folks who will do anything for these products, that by a few years are worth next to nothing. I own a PS3 and I waited until the price went down and got 8 free movies with it. Hell, if I would have waited a little longer, I could have gotten it free with the deal WalMart had after black friday. I feel life is to short to let these products, and its hype get to my head, that I am willing to overpay(equivalent to bending over and taking it), sleep outside (My bed is too comfy), or punch a couple of old ladies in the face. In short, I agree that a lot of these folks are just morons.

  177. Jordan Lund says:

    I think he’s just taking advantage of the gullible people out there…

    The PS3 has never really been in short supply, same with the iPhone. If someone wants to give him more money than they would if they just went down to a store then who is he to say different?

    The Wii thing though, he’s clearly an ass there.

  178. shades_of_blue says:

    I’m in the middle, for this one. I find it amusing that you cannot legally resell sports event tickets above cost in certain states, but reselling electronics is perfectly legal. Merchandise like this was specifically bought with the intent to resell, as such it should rule under the same laws. But that’s too utopian, I suppose.

    With that said, the largest reason most people are having issues obtaining Wii systems is because of people like him. By buying from him and eBay scalpers you encourage this behavior. And since it’s already successful, if he stops someone else will just fill his place.

    This electronics phenomenon was never a large issue prior to the xbox360 release date shortage, thanks to the media making a big stink about eBay scalpers and no one stepping in to prevent it from escalating early adaptors of the PlayStation 3, Wii and iPhone suffered from it. But the real kicker is that would be Wii owners continue to suffer from it.

    That’s the part which pisses me off, after 1 full year the same scalpers are still at it, driving up cost and demand. I don’t expect eBay will ever do something about this behavior, because they mutually benefit from it. So the only way it’ll stop is if the government steps in or people stop over paying for something they don’t need this minute.

    In any case kudos to you capitalist, reseller, scalper or whatever you wish to call yourself. You’ve taken advantage of supply shortages and the whole family structure for your own benefit. You must truly be proud, but remember if this behavior continues eventually someone will stick their nose up your ass and the asses of others like you. The clowns on capitolhill will only ignore someone until it affects their bottom dollar and I’d imagine their kids want a Wii too, assuming they don’t already have one.

  179. FredTheCat says:

    What cracks me up is that somehow a “retail store” buying goods from a manufacturer well below cost and selling them at retail prices is ok…but somebody buying them from a retailer at retail prices and selling them for a profit is not. You people don’t think Walmart, BestBuy, Gamestop, etc. pay the retail price for their units, do you?

  180. mmr says:

    This is basic arbitrage, buying something in a grey market and selling it for more than it is worth in your area (think globally) or for what it is worth at the time.

    Anyone getting upset about someone selling a console for more than the stores are selling it for must not have ever seen a movie or taken a plane ride, because if they did then maybe they would either have some common sense.

    At the theater you can pay less if you are a child or senior, student or early in the day. What makes charging for a movie ticket at different prices any different than charging more for a console? If you go at noon on a Saturday it is 7 bucks but if you go 5 hours later it will be about 4 dollars more. Who is the fool in that situation? The patron for paying the premium or the theater for ‘taking advantage’ of their clear ability to charge more during peak times.

    The fact of the matter is that these things go on every day, but since the main topic at hand seems to be game consoles that everyone wants it somehow makes it wrong.

  181. Raiden47 says:

    This “controversy” could be ended quite easily. If companies would just build up an ample stock of their products before sending them out to stores, this “problem” would not exist.

    Microsoft felt the effects of releasing the Xbox 360 far too early. It had many defects, many shortages, games not making the launch deadline, and God only knows what else.

    The Wii has hade very few technical problems, and has been in high demand since its debut. The system itself, in my opinion, is more of a “party” system. I often ask myself “why did I even buy this?, on regular basis. I have put in less than 24 hours total playtime in over half a year, and probably won’t be taking it out of my cabinet for a while. But the point is, because of the high demand, the Wii is selling just as strong as when it first came out, if not better. Nintendo did something everyone else seems to have done wrong. They put out a short supply, but did not cause chaos and havoc. What did they do differently? I haven’t the foggiest.

    Whatever Nintendo did, they did it right. Let’s just hope the others are taking notes.


  182. Konchu says:

    I personally have no issue with an individual reselling. I do have a slight issue if retailers allow one person to clear stock when there is high demand but not the act of reselling. If you were to figure the time it takes to track these down and buy these, gas involved etc and then all the auction cost then the sellers have a good ammount invested in these systems.

    Stores have agreements with the makers that is why they cannot jack the price up on stuff or they would, I suspect that is why they do bundles to take advantage of the demand as the systems really are not huge money makers for the stores, that alone is really the reason stores should limit sales per user cause if people are not buying games controllers etc they are not making as much money as they could. Overall this doesn’t hurt Nintendo and some other stores will benifit from the resell of these systems cause they will need games extra controllers etc.

    The Wii has been somewhat availible up to the holiday so this really is just the cool toy and people should have just bought it earlier if they wanted it. But they can do all the same tricks that these sellers do.

    On the PS3 comments yes the PS3 did not do well on Ebay infact alot of those systems made it back to the stores(Thats why comments of resellers getting stuck with stock are foolish sure they loose time and some cash on gas etc but the biggest loss is the stores that lost chances to sell merchandise and attached sells of games etc). There were only 200,000 units released in North America way too few. But there were people that did make some money those that were ready to sell day one and some that presold. Sales on the system tapered off to close to retail in around a week.

  183. BugMeNot2 says:

    Good for you Garrett.
    As a GameStop manager, we appreciate politeness…not the rude remarks, the insinuations of reselling, or just the usual crappy attitude that this year’s holiday shoppers exemplify. And to all the little soccer moms/dads that can’t get Bobby Jr. that Wii for Xmas, my suggestion is simple: get them a book or wait until July. Until then, if you want to bitch at someone, call Nintendo.

  184. thisisjason says:

    All these people that are saying that Garrett is providing a service, think about what you’re saying. He’s only providing a “service” that he’s creating the need for. If he wasn’t out buying multiple Wiis, people wouldn’t need his “service”, would they? If it weren’t for people like him, parents and video game fans would be able to make a legitimate purchase without having to pay his “Firsties” tax a year later…

    I agree that he is the epitome of Capitalism. Take that however you will.

  185. The Southsider says:

    As much as scalpers in general disgust me, I can’t really blame them, I blame Nintendo. This is a company, who in the last 6 years, has made it a habit fucking consumers out of hard earned money.

    The Game Boy Advance saw numerous versions, I bought the first one, then got burned when they released the slim game boy SP which was backlit. So I sold my old one and bought the new one while in the process, losing 50 bones.

    The Nintendo DS burned me again, I bout one of the original models for 150 a while back and then look what happens, DS lite. Better design, brighter screen, cool colors. So what is that all about I say: Nintendo stumbles accross a lost design that they felt was better so they release a new one at equal cost? BS. Needless to say, I refuse to buy the DS lite at all.

    As for the Wii, I want to get my hands on a few of those games, but not enough to have me camping out stores or paying blood sucking scalpers on ebay for. This is coming from a lifelong hard core gamer that has owned EVERY system through the years.

    Everyone I know that bought one (about 15), RARELY plays it once they finish that “one game” they wanted to play. What’s happened is that a LOT of false demand has built up beyond what it would be at if the system was 400 dollars MSRP. The reason people buy it is because it’s an impulse buy for the typical gamer.

    Now beyond retail, it’s just silly. It’s REALLY not worth more than 200 if you ask me. Especially if you pay The author of this article 500 for it. For 500, you can get an xbox, or PS3 WITH a game, and automatically have access to tons of other great games, and even a Blue Ray Player from sony via PS3. With the Wii, you get a game system with a few really awsome games, and thats pretty much it.

    I just don’t get it. These must be some really retarded kids we’re raising.

  186. ConRoo says:

    Scalping is illegal in the US and that is exactly what this guy is doing. His letter is so smug. It seems even he can’t grasp the bigger picture here. Does he have a vendor’s license? I seriously doubt it.
    He is ripping off everyone in a trickle down sort of way. Scum in my book. I sure hope he never raises children.

  187. Clutch414 says:

    Although I think reselling is wrong…there is a simple fix to all of this…just don’t buy stuff from resellers on Ebay or Craigslist.

    The people who do buy from these scalpers are morons. They probably shouldn’t be allowed out in public, near swimming pools, or near sharp objects without an attendant. People are really that desperate? Sheesh.

    Seriously, is it really all that hard to put a preorder in for something that you want? Most stores offer them.

  188. wring says:

    oh plz at all this whingeing. dude is making money off konsumterror and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s the pure essence of capitalism. People need to curb their desire of stuff and fear that stores will run out of said stuff.

  189. dgcaste says:

    @JAKEAMOORE: you can charge however much you want for a service. if you don’t agree to pay for it, don’t.

    @ZIBBY: can’t agree more.

    @JMSCHN: don’t take it too far, buddy. it’s not dog eating dog here. if it were that kind of world it’d be OK to go to garrett’s house, kill him, and take his wiis.

  190. dgcaste says:

    @CONROO: wrong, scalping is not illegal. ticket resale at certain venues in certain states is illegal, but still legal if done in a different location or under certain limits.

  191. coold8 says:

    I think there are a lot of people who just don’t care what they spend, it is the same people who pay a ton on Mercedes, and Porsche, and they just spend alot because they want it. I think this is common times forgetted, more power to them!

  192. baalam says:

    I’ve done the same thing as Garrett. I started doing it to pay for the Wii we bought our kids for Christmas. I did wait in line for the one for my kids ( and one later before I knew where else to get one.) but I have never done that before this.

    I made enough that it paid for our Christmas purchase and I saw that the market was/is still hot, so I continued to look for Wiis. I have never paid anyone, bribed a store worker, or done anything illegal to obtain one. I watch for trends in delivery at local stores and I have programs that notify me when they are available online. Nothing that anyone else couldn’t do themselves.

    So where do you draw the line at what you can sell (or resell)? If you buy a used car from someone and then turn around and sell it for a profit are you evil? Even a house, as was mentioned earlier, is that taking advantage of someone? If you have the home inspected, you will find out about most short-cuts that were taken. You can run into these just as easily from someone that is not “flipping” a home, but just selling a house that they did various projects as DIY or maybe “with a friend who knows how to do this.” Your arguments don’t hold water, unless you expect everyone to sell at no profit.

    If someone decides to sell dog poop at $10 a bag, he will most likely not be successful. Why? Because there is no market for $10 dog poo! If there is a market for something, then why not divulge into it? (As long as it’s legal obviously.)

    Wiis, PS3’s, iPhones, et al. are not necessities, they are wants. No one here or anywhere is going to be in danger of basic life function because of Wii prices.

    I wish I could check a buyer’s bank account and see if he/she should be spending the extra money for a Wii, retail or otherwise, but I cannot. I would not suggest buying one, if you cannot afford it, nor would I sell one if I knew they were struggling financially. Anyone that has asked me about getting a Wii I’ve helped them get one for retail price. I sell only because the market supports my efforts. When it’s gone, I’m gone. (Actually, I’m probably done right now anyways.)

    If you want a Wii, you can get one for retail. Do a little research and you’ll find it achievable. Life it too short to whine!!

  193. Triterion says:

    That’s business! The only people in the wrong are the idiots that buy the stuff from people like this guy. They are the ones that make it hard for everyone to get a fair deal. That’s kind of funny- that the people that don’t bother to get a deal make it harder for everyone else to.

  194. ShibaniKhavaran says:

    I saw a guy at Game Crazy trying to buy 10 Wiis and 10 Wii Fits. When I asked him if he was opening a fitness club or something, he got defensive and asked if I was “Kevin so-and-so”.

    I said, “No. Is he some kind of corporate policeman?”

    The guy was clearly buying them up to scalp for the holiday season.

    The store cashier was okay with it, but said he would only sell the guy 2 Wiis that week, and to come back next week.

    The lesson for consumers is to buy early, before the scalping begins. Right now Wiis are in stock for $249. In another 6 weeks near Black Friday, there will be a shortage caused by legitimate buyers and scalpers.

    I think electronics scalping is legal and moral, but consumers need to be educated.

  195. Adam says:

    Great way to capitalize on how foolish people can be when they are desperate!