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The Price of Supply & Demand

There have been a lot of rumbling about pricing lately but we have to lay all the arguments on the table.

First, one reason I write about toys/diecast is that it’s not a respirator part, not baby formula or water purification – it’s not life or death. Okay, if you’re an 7-year old at heart, it does feel like LIFE or DEATH but it’s not, I know you don’t believe me but as an 11-year old with my 4 MORE years of life experience, I can tell you it’s not life or death. Trust me. I was alive BEFORE the first iPad ever came out, I know everything.  😆

Though it’s a good thing you’re fired up about it – because you care and we care – otherwise, it’s like the original Take5 … Take5AllAboutGinghamDresses.com – there were no fights, no name calling (well, hardly any) because millions of others did not want to fight over what you wanted or had.

So, remember that it’s because we are rationally irrational that we are all here at the corner of Mattel & Disney Pixar CARS – just around the corner of Rocket Firing Boba Feet Way and Apple CAR Turnpike.

I’m not saying everything is 100% perfect in toyland but if EVERYONE who wanted something could go in any store and buy it at “regular” retail, then you do NOT have a collector’s market. So, remember you need a little craziness – what amount is up to you.

CARS are not medical parts or even plumbing supplies when your basement is flooded. You should buy only what you like at the price you think is reasonable.

AND everyone’s “reasonable” price is different for every imaginable reason. There are the obvious reasons like your income but if I offered you 100 pianos for $100, would you take that deal? You could certainly afford it but would you take that deal? Some of you would see that as a selling opportunity, others of you would think – where would I put 100 pianos in my apartment? So, reasonable is a moving target.

Same with price and pricing. What is reasonable? How about the single Lightning McQueen with Racing Wheel?

The non-rubber tire version sells for $.99 to $5.99 on eBay right now. $.99 is clearly below wholesale & retail so do you feel bad some seller is losing $3 or more on each sale? Or even if they bought them at the $.99 clearance, clearly after eBay/PP fees, they are still losing money on the deal … isn’t that the price of doing business? You win some and you lose some?

And eBay is the essentially the purest form of supply and demand. You put in exactly what you want to pay. Sure, sometimes you get caught up in the frenzy which is the reason for the auction format but in theory, you should pay exactly what you want for it … just like sometimes you’ll scan pricing, decide it’s not for you and not bid on any of the items offered?

People will pay what they wanna pay. Buying online is convenient, safe and can even save you other monies. It is worth some money to you to have someone else drive around, buy up merchandise, pay the tax for it, photograph it and set a price. If you are the high bidder, they will pack it up & mail it to you to your doorstep AND it’s protected by purchase insurance. What is that worth to you? Again, it varies because ultimately, YOU put a price on it. Or a Super Chase – eBay Pricing? Or only at retail pricing?


(sorry I lost track of who sent me this fun photo).

You weigh how many stores you can drive to and the time you’re willing to spend chasing this. Or you can buy a case and pay around $4.50 for each CAR shipped to you? But again, it’s your call. You might personally set a $3.47 + tax limit figuring you’re driving to Target/WM already?  If you score like this shopper, woohoo but any unsuccessful trips?

For exclusives, I’ve argued that toy manufacturers are creating artificial shortages that serve no purpose anymore. Of course, as a manufacturer, it’s always better to sell out than end up with too many but when you sell out in hours? YOU MADE TOO FEW. So, for those who have extras to sell, it is a SELLER’S MARKET that was crated because the manufacturer made too few – this was NOT caused by the seller. They are only responding to market conditions. You look at the price that selling venue is offering and you decide if it’s what you are willing to pay. Most people are willing to pay $3.47 for a new release – sure, you would like to pay less but you are readily accepting the $3.47 price as within reason – most single CARS are around $6.99 at CVS/Walgreen’s – most people are unwilling to buy common releases at $6.99 but a Super Chase? You might, right? Again, it’s your call.

So, when you see a price, you either accept it or reject it (in some cases, you can start negotiations but you might only start this tact when you are buying in volume or a high price). And if the price is too high now, you weigh whether it will go higher or lower and make your decision based on that. Sometimes it pays to wait. Other times, it’s only going higher.

So, while we would all like to pay less for something but when it comes to toys, maybe YOU WANT a healthy, vibrant and a little craziness so you know you are collecting something at least a few other people want.


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29 August 2013 Toys 17 Comments


  • Those of you who have ordered and not received a shipping confimation should get one by next week. Mattel has shipped my entire order and they are in transit currently. With that said, I put up the remaining cases that I will be getting with this shipment up on the website this morning, they won’t last long.

  • wheelart New Zealand says:

    Hello Met

    As a Parent and purchaser of these wonderfully themed toys, I am and have enjoyed the information and updates posted here. Especially after the world of cars web page closed.

    Acknowledgements to the Indigenous People of North America.
    Nascarfan and Barbara, thankyou for contact during the D23 Dinoco Brothers weekend. Awesome hospitality.

    A neighborly Ki ora OssieMum

    Yes we can only drool at the peg prices that you enjoy there in USA. Cars 2 are 12.95 here in Godzone, Cars use to be 9.99 back in ’06, and we can pay anything up to $30 plus for many “canon” characters at auction locally. Buying off ebay with added shipping equates to expensive toys for the sake of smiling children’s faces.

    Didn’t Woody exclaim “You are a toy car!” Which is a sad reality because are not toys playthings? Otherwise they will turn out like stinky the gold miner in toy story, grumpy old cars.

    So down here supply is the key and I have not enjoyed that since the Supercharged series. You cannot know the fun (horror) of trying to accumulate the 36 Piston cup racers from here. Let alone securing a hero set to counter my plea’s of ‘don’t crash them together’ ( I worried about the paint). No more. And the Haulers!

    I remember seeing the SOTS set online at toywiz for 400 odd back in 2009 and contemplated melting the plastic, within 12 hours it had doubled, 24 hours later it had borrowed Jimi Hendrix’ Stratocaster and gone over the moon!

    Same scenario with the Convoy Bros, but this time I got in early on ebay and melt the button knowing that they were going to play that same Stratocaster. Sure enough 12 hours later my same seller had increased 30%.
    I thought the audacity of another seller to list at 499. Now that is getting to be the cheapest least not the listing for 900.
    Capitalism at work, Allah Akbar or what?

    2007 I was purchasing the entire supercharged carded characters available at a toyworld here in NZ and the owner asked whom was I buying for, myself or my son? (who was 3 at the time). As you can calculate, it was adding up. I remarked that it was not for me, she pointed out that Cars diecasts where becoming popular with ‘Collectors’. ..who are they?

    Six years later we have collections of 100’s including 15 tractors, to match the rampant Town invasion scene in Cars, all the haulers so far plus 2 Grey’s and the ever expanding universe of Planes, Boats, Trains, Banshee, Colossus, Oil rig, Race Tracks, Space Shuttle, Barry and Tokyo Mater (thanks Matty), 4 Mattel Radiator Springs shops, Flo’s Lizzie’s Luigi’s Ramone’s, the minnie playsets, Mater’s Junkyard and soon Fillmore’s geotrax Tent, Sally’s Cozy cone?. Books. Not to mention the Helicopters, Deluxe (big plastic) sound and lights DJ, McQueen, Mater. Disney 1.43 et all.

    I’ll need to purchase some American real estate to house it all!
    A room diaorama ‘a la model train’ comes to mind, …monumental Valley.

    Demand to provide my children with a quality play tool has lead to this, which I catch myself wondering, is this obsession? Seeing the glowing face, the positive and creative play he enjoys from all of it that I look past the endless researching and financial commitment and think yes! it is worth it, ( and leave the math out).

    Walt’s words at the beginning of the Disneyland TV show from the 60’s “…when you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are…” that can now be ‘…makes no difference where you are…’ seems true today.

    With the magic of the web, mr. gates and mr. apple, we would never know what we missed. Fantastic. I can sit here in New Zealand and access the World of Cars.

    So thank-you U.S.American’s, kin in China and Hong Kong and our local trademe sellers for keeping me supplied as 90% is sourced online.

    Car’s has been an adventure in itself to get the 1.55 diecasts, that I have taken the pedal off the metal and become selective of the characters from Cars2. Now it is enjoy what we have got and add those from Cars that are being released retrospectively. Its been fun.

    Did you mention Planes? Here we go again!

    Politics aside I love ZZ Top, they rock. Ted Nugent, Grand Funk Railroad.

    Go! Team New Zealand, fare well in the America’s Cup.

    Aroha nui ki a koutou ( love to you all )

  • Wraukn says:

    That photo was taken in Springfield, MA Walmart. I’ve found quite a few super chases at retail. I send Met pictures every time I find them. They are out there, unfortunately you just have to beat the Hot Wheels guys. And I think the HW guys only think that there is 1 super chase in the case as I have found a few single Takeshi’s and no Hiroaki’s. Who would only buy 1 super? Hopefully a kid who was told by their parent that they can only pick one.

    • MoMcQueen says:

      I am in awe. And envious. I’m in Canada; the only way that I’d ever see the pegs looking like that would be if I walked into the store carrying my two case Ns ordered from Children’s Toy Closet and put them there myself! They’re still pulling out sealed cases that are angle-cut Porto Corsa cards where I live. In fact, the last sealed case of singles that I saw had the ‘Don’t display before Cars 2 hits theatres’ band on it. That was earlier this summer at our Toys R Us. And our price is double what’s pictured here.

  • Mine sorta looked like this morn at Target Everett MA. Found those two super chases as pictured.

    • sloths14 says:

      Glad I read your post old friend. Found Maurice, Takeshi, J. Curby Gremlin, Rip, and Alex Carvill at the Woburn MA Target this morning. Have had a bit of better luck at Target lately, as I got Materhosen and Kabuki Mater at the Somerville Target last week. Lowell Target still has nothing but Finns from years ago.

  • Supply and Demand, N cases avialability is going to be drying up, hence the price will be going up shortly. Not much left to order through the Mothership!

  • OzzieMum says:

    Aside from the awesome pricing in the US (compared to the $10 price tag we pay), I’m still wondering why our pegs don’t look like that…*Drool*! Oh & great read too Met – lol.

  • MoMcQueen says:

    Nicely put. It’s some peculiarity of human nature that we want most what is beyond our reach. I see examples of this daily in my living room with my youngest ones. Some junky toy can sit unloved and forgotten at the bottom of a pile of toys for weeks if not months until the moment it is rediscovered in the hands of one child. At that moment, it becomes the most important thing in the history of mankind to the other. War erupts. Over this thing that neither actually cared about three seconds previous to that moment. It all ends in bared teeth and tear-stained little faces. Low supply plus high demand equals high price paid. 

    That’s me as I approach the toy section at Walmart. Heaven forbid that someone else is standing in front of the Cars, I’ll have heart palpitations if they actually hold something in their hand. Fewer tears, though. 

  • Dickbaer says:

    Hi there,
    what wonderful prices!
    In Europe you pay 7.99 – 9.99 Euros for a Single.
    That is 10.65 – 13.32 USD!
    A Deluxe is mostly 14.99 Euros (around 20 USD)

    Okay this price includes 19% VAT (in Europa you see prices in stores always Complete with taxes)
    The tax is much higher of course but Even without tax it is nearly 3 Times more.

  • elixirdream says:

    Nice article.. LOL..

    First thing, can all the cars collector unite together and say NO to all the crazy priced item? I doubt so. There will always be people willing to bite and spend.
    This is why the price hike..

    If we collectors or buyers can’t help ourself then we should stop pointing our fingers on the sellers and their price tag. Not as if someone is pointing a gun on you and make you click to BUY IT NOW. LOL… We the buyers are the one that determine the price by paying it.

    I still need a Convoy Bros. Yet for some reason i still don’t have one. If 500 USD is the price tag in future and i can afford it then why not. Again i won’t be regret i missed the 100 USD price tag. :>

    Often i see collectors complaint about how Mattel works. Again can we boycott Cars say for 6-12 months? I could but can you? Maybe that is enough to send some serious message to them on their EXCLUSIVE .. TERRIBLE ASSORTMENT .. RERERERE-RELEASE. Hey, they have a business to run. They can give you everything from day 1 but i don’t think their financial report will look good for the rest of 364.25 days

    Exclusive? Yeah, i agree it means nothing and is mere marketing gimmick. I got an odd feeling Cars like mama, denise beam might be back for 2014. Yeah, exclusive from Mattel sounds like a seasonal thing.

    • MoMcQueen says:

      To be honest, I was a little surprised to see the going rate for the Convoy Brothers on eBay has now risen to $300 or so at auction and almost $500 as a buy-it-now! No matter how a person looks at it, that’s a lot of coin for four characters in a great display even with that nifty box. Demand here has certainly exceeding what I would have expected. And I totally hear what you’re saying. I’m frustrated at times myself but alone that’s not enough to make any difference.

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