In the last decade, resell culture has invaded various markets. For a really long time, it was mostly sneakers that were the craze. People would line up at dawn outside Foot Lockers to get their hands on highly anticipated Air Jordans, just to resell them for over double the price.
The expectation that the shoes would become rare in the future is what fueled these eager sneakerheads. It's the same idea that now fuels current day flipping of collectible items.
In October, McDonald’s announced a limited time special, “Cactus Plant Flea Market Box,” which the public dubbed the “Adult Happy Meal.” In this, there was one of four toys based on the old McDonaldland commercials. The only real thing worth having in the eyes of the people was the toy. It was clear how badly the masses wanted that figurine because the boxed meal was quickly selling out at the golden arches nationwide.
Not long after the release of the proverbial grown up burger and nugget package, there were bids being placed on those little plastic friends. Offers were being made at unbelievable amounts for the newly distributed Hamburglar, Grimace, Birdie and Cactus Buddy. An earlier eBay listing showed 150 sealed toys at the mind-boggling price of $3,000. The same seller had previously sold the same amount for $2,400. This means that the person behind the happy plastic bought the same meal 150 times just to make a profit. If that seems unreasonable and highly outlandish, there’s also an unsold listing starting at $25,000 for a single unit. One would think that’s about as far as anybody can get with trying to sell such a rare item, but that is not the case. There is also a post on eBay for three toys that is actually advertised for a whopping $300,000.
Another industry with an insane resell market is video games. Locals in the Bay Area have been operating gaming resale stores and it looks like these stores are only growing in numbers. Game Platform in Pleasanton, CA has a wide array of rare games, consoles and accessories. Nicco Zaragoza, who has been in the resale game for over a year said, “Sharing a passion with people is something I like about reselling, it feels like passing on a treasure.”
Big price tags are no stranger to Zaragoza. “I once saw a cherry blossom GameCube being listed at $500, which was way too much compared to the $300 I paid,” Zaragoza reflected. In the time Zaragoza has been reselling, he has sold various collectibles. One of the most expensive he sold was a Nintendo Power Glove at over $500. The priciest item for sale at Game Platform is a gold Nintendo 64 with a $300 price tag.
Gen Z gamers come into Game Platform frequently to buy. “They mainly buy PlayStation 2 and Playstation 3 games,” Zaragoza said. Within the last year, there’s been a shift among young gamers. Zaragoza said, “The pandemic has caused an increased demand in portable gaming among the new generation.”
Ultimately, it can be understood that the only reason why things like shoes and collectibles sell for so much money comes down to being scarce. The less likely someone is to have something in their possession, the more it’s desired. Things inherently have a lot less value than what people give it, and the market that exists for rare items is full of things that people never thought they’d see being auctioned for insane amounts of money. It’s even gotten to a point where things that aren’t even tangible (hello, NFTs) are being considered for purchase at high prices simply because the owners can have the right to exclusivity.