MSRP Guarantee

By now I’m sure you’ve noticed that the Pokemon TCG is experiencing a bubble. Demand is high, inventories are low, and the secondary-market has reacted accordingly; prices on Pokemon products — especially popular sets like Champion’s Path, Hidden Fates, and Shining Fates — are grossly over-inflated.

Making matters worse, the scalper-pricing model in the secondary market has bled over into the primary market under the guise of “market pricing.” For the last year or so, it’s been common to see primary market vendors with preorders for unreleased sets (i.e. Shining Fates) at 150% of MSRP and reprinted products (i.e. Hidden Fates ETBs) at 200-300% of MSRP. Additionally, short-printed regular release sets (i.e. Vivid Voltage) are seeing aggressive price inflation as well.

All of this is happening while Pokemon has never raised MSRP on these products. To be clear:
  • Special Set ETBs (i.e. Champion’s Path, Hidden Fates, Shining Fates) have always been $49.99 MSRP
  • Booster boxes (i.e. Unbroken Bonds, Ultra Prism reprints) have always been $143.64 MSRP
  • Hidden Fates Tins have always been $19.99 MSRP
  • Vivid Voltage Build & Battle boxes have always been $19.99 MSRP

It is true that occasionally some distributors have increased prices on some of these popular products, but those price hikes are always nominal ($3-10 depending on the product), telegraphed to primary market vendors (like me) well in advance of release, and have nothing to do with Pokemon HQ. Any price increases at the distribution/wholesale level come directly from managers at those specific distributors and do not change MSRP.

Admittedly, in the early days I also engaged in “market-pricing” some products on my site, but I always felt weird about it and could never really square that with my conscience and the need to provide value to the community, so I ended those shenanigans pretty quickly.

This is my long-winded of way saying:

You will never see an in-print or reprinted product on my site for more than MSRP.

There will, of course, be edge cases where a product is on the site for more than MSRP, but it will be for one of two reasons:

  1. my distributors have increased wholesale costs above normal for that product
  2. fundraiser for charity

In either case, there will be a transparent explanation of the cost increase listed in the product description, and the increase will be exactly proportional to the cause. For example, if my distributors charge an extra $5 for the Hidden Fates ETBs (they have done this before), then my price will be $54.99 (MSRP + $5).

The most important thing for us to remember is that we are a community and in order to thrive we need to grow. If new or returning players/collectors cannot find products for reasonable prices then it stands to reason that they will pursue other, more affordable hobbies instead. Fewer players today means a depressed singles market and lower bulk prices tomorrow. Fewer collectors today means a smaller market and lower value for those PSA 10 slabs tomorrow.

Just because some of us have the privilege of time, money, and know-how to acquire products does not give us license to exploit those people that haven’t been afforded those same privileges. At the end of the day, this is a hobby and our primary concern should be having fun as a community, not bleeding each other dry.

TL;DNR => Money is stupid. Be kind. Can somebody please help me off this horse? I'm scared of heights.