Friday, November 17, 2006


I'm going to write a column for the weekend on "scalping." I just don't understand why it's illegal for tickets to sporting and entertainment events, but legal for just about anything else.

I bring this up because of our story today on people waiting in line for the new Playstation 3. Many of them freely admitted they are buying the new "toys" just so they can resell them on E-bay at a profit. That is, they are going to scalp the Playstations -- why is this legal, when doing the exact same thing for football tickets isn't?

My question to all of you is this -- what are some other commonly "scalped" things? Antique furniture, sports memorabilia ... what else?



stump said...

do they not call that free enterprise

Anonymous said...

Hording, scalping,...... all the same. Scalpers also get information prior to events that the general public doesn't to inform them of availability dates to purchase. If a limit were imposed on the quantity, this might be a deterrant.
We wanted to go to an event but all the good seats were sold out the day tickets went on sale. To think we would have to drive 85 miles in hopes of purchasing a good seat for more money isn't fair to the honest event-goer.
We wanted to purchase a notebook computer from Best Buy. Only six notebooks were available per store as per the advertisement. We ended up paying more, losing warranty, and risked no return buying from ebay.
So, free enterprise should mean no government regulations, right? Let's say Mr. Brown owns a gas station. He is the only gas station around for 50 miles. Mr. Brown can sell his gas for $2.00 more per gallon or........ Mr. Jones buys up gasoline and carries it to Mr. Brown's store sitting across the street selling gasoline out of containers for $2.50 less than Mr. Brown. Free enterprise?
When it comes to making a buck off your fellow man people need more of a conscious than a governed regulation.
This happens when natural disasters occur and it is called 'Price Gauging'.
It is all the same - purchases for personal gain. Nevermind that someone would actually desire to purchase the product or ticket for the purpose of using it.
Oh.........ebay? We purchased tickets to a concert in Charlotte and because of an illness in the family could not attend. I sold my tickets honestly on ebay to someone who sincerely desired to attend the concert. I sold them for the same price as purchased. I have seen others sell an unrelated item for big bucks and throw in the tickets for free.

Greed............... that is the problem.

Bruce Buchanan said...

Good question, Skip.

I personally don't see a difference and I don't have a problem with it. If people are willing to camp out to buy a Playstation 3 or Super Bowl tickets with the intent to resell them, more power to them.

Besides, anti-scalping laws only create another victimless crime that divert police resources from real crimes.

The one caveat I have to this is that scalpers should have to play by the same rules as any other consumer.

What sometimes happens is that the scalper will pay off a box office employee, who in return, will allow the scalper to buy up the best seats before they are supposed to go on sale. That strikes me as unfair. Several years ago, I was the first person in line to buy concert tickets in Charlotte when they went on sale, yet ended up on the 8th row.

Beyond that, though, I don't have a problem with scalpers. I've bought scalped basketball tickets over the years, but that was my choice - no one put a gun to my head and made me do it.