If you are a snowflake, don’t bother reading this. But you probably don’t think you’re a snowflake, so you’ll probably read it anyway. If you are offended by anything in this article, be it known that only snowflakes are offended by what is written here.
Overpriced. Probably the most overused word in the Gunpla Buy and Sell community these days, but, a lot of people, buyers and sellers alike don't even know what overpriced kits are if it smacked them on the face.
Saturday. Or, any day actually. You go to the mall and just couldn’t resist going to the toy section, either Toy Kingdom, ToyTown or Toys’R’Us (or whatever toy or hobby store you go to where you are at) and check out the Gunpla kits on stock. You figured, they probably have it on sale, but, even so, they’re still a bit more expensive than online seller prices, thinking that the non-sale price is overpriced. So you take pictures, for record-keeping purposes.
And you wonder why that is. You then go online, post the prices, and you get a slew of uneducated and misinformed opinions, the most common of which is mall store prices are overpriced, that they rather buy from online sellers, and some even scream those kits are cheaper in Japan.
Well, they’re not overpriced. See, applying a little common sense as to why they are more expensive at malls (the proper terminology), you should have realized the difference right away, but, for some strange reason you do not. We were all given the same information, we all have equal access to it, yet, some, if not a lot of people, make incorrect conclusions and assumptions leading to misinformed opinions.
So, what’s the difference between overpriced and more expensive? We have to base it on the Yen price. Let’s take the RG Sazabi for example, which is tagged at ¥4860 (box price). I got mine at PhP2350, which is 0.48 of the Yen price. This is close to the PhP-Yen conversion rate at the time. At mall stores, this is priced at PhP3150-3250 (or more), which is roughly 0.65~ of the Yen price (and it could be higher). This is more expensive, rather than overpriced, because mall stores have higher overhead. Hobby Search (Japan) sells this at Yen 4050 sale price, but, factoring in the shipping, just for one kit, it will still be more expensive.
The highest factor a mall store has priced a kit is at 0.85 Yen, and these are often limited items. Now, if you encounter an online seller that sells a regular item at 0.85-1.0Yen:1.0PhP, or more, higher than the list price of a mall store, that is overpriced.
|Comparative Pricing and Overpricing|
First things first. Why is it more expensive at mall stores?
Short answer: Overhead.
Oh, you don’t know what that is? This is the age of the internet. As I have mentioned, we all have access to the same information. But for the sake of discussion, let’s just pretend you’re too lazy, or ignorant, or both, to do research.
Well, it’s like this: Overhead is what is known in business as the money a business person or a company has to put up every month and every year to keep the business running. All businesses have overheads, some more than others. There are two main types of businesses: single proprietorship and corporation. Your favorite online seller supplying you with your addic--, I mean, hobby, also has overhead, but it’s not as huge as a corporation’s overhead.
So, even though this has been discussed quite a few times, but, you were probably watching hentai, let’s dissect what a corporation, in this case, a mall store, has to pay for just to get to you the things you don’t even want to get from them because you’re too much of a cheapskate to understand why they have more expensive Gunpla prices.
- Mall Store Space Rental - This is rather obvious. Mall stores rent space to display what they sell. Mall store rental space is not cheap, as a 20sqm space can already go upwards of 30K rental a month (and that’s a conservative estimate).
- Warehouse Space Rental - Oh, did you think it’s just the mall space they are renting? Each mall store have their own warehouse space at the back of the store for additional stocks and inventory. In some cases, rental for those are separate. Since TK and TRU are officially licensed stores, part of their pricing is that licensing. They can only get their stocks from the main official distributor (we all know who that is). That distributor pays warehouse fees.
- Employee Salaries - Wait, did you think those people assisting you at the malls are working there for free? The official distributor also has employees to pay for.
- Customs Levy and Taxes - Did you think they just magically appear on store shelves, with Bandai teleporting these kits? All of these items pass through customs, and if you ever had anything pass through customs, it’s sometimes like threading a 2-inch rope through a sewing needle.
- Marketing, Advertising, Promotions and Events - How else would you know if the kit you were drooling for is already available, or if it’s on sale? Well, they advertise, create events and promotions. These events cost money, to be able to sell more kits, so they can pay for items 1 through 4. They also have to pay for that event space, and the prizes they give away for free are not really free, but, is covered by the sales they generate on that event and afterward.
- Country Distributor License - I forgot to mention this. Bankee is the licensed distributor of Bandai products, and they are the one that distribute these products to the mall stores. That operation is in no chance free of charge.
Now, there are silly comments, like “those kits are cheaper with online sellers.” Well, duh, online sellers do not have that big an overhead. Most online sellers sell you stuff on pre-order, and, sometimes, what they have on stock, which is usually left when flakers flake on their pre-order, leaving some of the small-time sellers hanging with a huge bill. They can afford to lower the price of what they sell because they have less overhead. Still they do have to go through customs, and if you’re any of the cheapskate flakers they have encountered, just stop ordering things you’re not going to get later because you didn’t have the money to get it the first place.
Another one, talking about the price of one, single, solitary kit is “It’s cheaper in Japan.”
Yeah.Yeah. If you live in Japan. This is probably one of the dumbest comments one could make just so one could say something (as in, memasabi lang). Since it’s technically cheaper in Japan, well, why don’t you fly there to get that one, single, solitary kit and come back here to the Philippines. You’ll end up paying a whole lot more than the yen price of that MG Gundam Wing verTV, but hey, you got to go to Japan just to get that one, single, solitary kit. Of course, you can also go to Japan and get a whole lot of kits so your trip there won’t be a waste, but, you’ll still end up paying for customs levy and taxes (like what online sellers and mall stores do) when you arrive at customs. You’ll still end up paying for more, since customs officials won’t really believe you bought a shit ton of kits for your personal tower of power backlog. They will charge you commercial sale taxes (not to mention the other thing they call ‘tax’).
Now, people who usually scream an item being overpriced are those who
- want things they can't afford.
- can afford things but want something else.
- can afford things, but still prefer things cheap (quality notwithstanding), aka "cheapskates."
And there’s that dreaded “P.” As in P-Bandai. The MG Barbatos has been announced, and everyone who has P-allergy won’t be late to the screaming party, that Bandai is definitely going to milk this one for all its worth, releasing the next kit variants as P-Bandai till kingdom come. So we’re sure to have P-Bandai 6th Form, or P-Bandai Add-ons from Form 1 to 6 (update, this one came true, the other two aren’t too far behind), a P-Bandai Barbatos Lupus, and P-Bandai Barbatos Lupus Rex.
|Called it! And it's a P-Bandai nonetheless (I got this set at Shopee at base PO price)...|
Now, here’s the thing: It’s usually people who have no plans getting a P-Bandai (or people who have no budget for it aka #CheapskatePolycaps) who complain and rant about P-Bandai and Bandai kits in general being more expensive and milking the kit lines.
Well, since you’re a cheapskate, opting to wait for the bootleg instead, Bandai wouldn’t have the need to milk kit lines, especially if you’re too much in denial to acknowledge that Bandai is losing profits to bootlegs. Bandai is now reprinting more and more older kits as re-issues, and releasing more P-Bandai variants because it needs to maximize the RnD and production costs from that line. Developing a kit is not a cheap undertaking. And even though they are actively fighting bootlegs, Bandai is still losing the fight because bootleggers are now pre-empting their releases with “bett--,” I mean more detailed kits with plenty of add-ons because bootleggers know bootleg lovers love more details and add-ons rather than actual quality kits. Bandai isn’t losing the fight because there are more bootleggers, it’s losing the fight because you opt to wait for the bootlegs.
|A 20-year old kit with a rare Blue Logo*|
See what happened there? No?
Well, that’s called denial.
Whereas Bandai employs top artisans and engineers and use top quality equipment and materials, who knows where bootleggers get their employees and materials from? (And just in case you are too ignorant, that was sarcasm). Bandai produces kits from ground up, whereas bootleggers will just mostly copy existing kits, if not copy existing designs.
Do you think Katoki and Kawaguchi work for peanuts?
|The Whys and Wherefores|
Bandai doesn’t owe us anything. They produce what they produce under their own production schedule. We get what they have in their production line, not what we want them to produce. Sure, we’re consumers, we deserve to get what we want, and Bandai knows that, enough to surprise us with kits people want every now and then, but, to scream “I’ll just wait for or get the bootleg version because Bandai is an evil corporation out to get my money” is just as dumb as it sounds.
Bandai is not a charity institution. It’s a business that needs to make profit in order to continue producing kits.
But wait, even certain bootlegs have gone P-Bootleg because scalpers held back old raided stock and gouged the prices later on, to the point that some bootlegs are even more expensive than a P-Bandai, because a rare bootleg is, well, rare. The funny thing is, idiots were buying it, and it’s basically the same idiots complaining about Bandai being too expensive.
Incidentally, we got this as soon as the HiRM God Gundam was announced.
This is NOT the MG Barbatos
All because a lot of people are just too lazy, or too ignorant.
To begin with, this hobby is expensive. I’m not saying you don’t have a right to have a hobby, but again, this hobby is frakking expensive. If you’re barely making ends meet, stop being a self-entitled prick and prioritize your needs instead of screaming all over the forums how expensive a kit you will never be able to get is.
Because this hobby is just frakking expensive!
Now, presented with these options, what would you choose?