Another Question and Hobby Ethics

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Boba Debt

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
THEWRAPOFCONS posted a thread to discuss the Lost Virgin Mary statue, it seemed as if he was asking for help identifying it, then a little while later he posted that he had found it and that he was going to offer a repainted and weathered version for $50 -$75


I posted that I would be interested in an unmodified statue but he never replied.

I thought $50 was kind of high for this type of prop so I did a Goggle search and the first page contained plenty of places that sold this statue and one place had it listed for $30

Within a day I had located the wholesaler and I found out that I can buy these at wholesale for $18 plus about $3 each for shipping for each statue.

I didn't think THE WRAPOFCONS had any desire to offer these in an unmodified condition so last night I posted an interest thread offering the Lost Virgin Mary statue in the Junkyard for $25 as it comes from the factory.

If you deduct about $2 for PayPal fees and shipping supplies I was going to have a slim $2 profit margin.

I almost consider this to be an At Cost Project


The thread was pulled and this was the PM I received:



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David,

THEWRAPOFCONS contacted the staff regarding a possible hijack of his LOST statue project. I've temporarily pulled your thread from the JY until we can review the situation.

We appreciate your patience while we look into this.

Lonnie



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I almost went off the deep end, how could it be considered inappropriate for a second person to offer a "found" item in a different condition for a lower price?

MR Dealers compete on a daily basis and there have been parallel runs of machined parts that where reverse engineered from found items (Han Flash Hider and Obi Grenade)


What made this all more infuriating was that some people posting in the THEWRAPOFCONS thread have advocated the outright recasting of an original statue to save money.


When I got home today this was what the RPF Staff sent to both of us:



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I'm sending this PM to both THEWRAPOFCONS and Boba Debt.

After talking this over with the rest of the staff, this is our decision:

We put BD's thread back in the JY. We wish BD would have talked with TWOCs to work out something in advance, but he didn't. We're pretty sure if the roles had been reversed, BD would be up in arms about this kind of treatment, too.

The RPF has always been a free market, and there has always been a competition among sellers. While BD's apparent hijacking of this project is bad form, it is not against any rules that we have in place. Also, apparent price-jacking 2-3 times the cost of a found item (even for a better paintjob), while not against the rules, is also bad form.

The members will decide with their dollars who they want to do business with.

If you have any questions, please PM me or one of the other staff.



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Yes, I have a question,

HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MINDS?



PS: I have emailed the content of this post to 30 people and I intend to send it to many more, I highly recommend you allow this thread to remain so it can be debated until this issue is resolved.
 

blufive

Sr Member
I'm not sure I'm following the intent of the thread. Upon staff review, your thread was allowed back.

:)
 

Boba Debt

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The intent of this thread is to figure out why the STAFF thought they had to review my thread.

PM me your number and I'll give you a call.



Originally posted by blufive@Feb 10 2006, 12:12 AM
I'm not sure I'm following the intent of the thread.  Upon staff review, your thread was allowed back.

:)
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Macklin

Well-Known Member
I'd like to know what entails "hijacking a project."

This board has never self-destructed because two or three members offer up a project at the same time. Why is it an issue now?

Is there anything at all in the COC about this?

EDIT: After investigating the COC, no. Nothing even close.
 

TOKI

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
What I find incredibly disturbing is that the staff has apparently decided what a paint job is worth.

A member has every right to charge as he pleases for his services without remark from the staff. The consumer will decide through action if the price right.

Very bad form. VERY.

Arthur
 

rocketeer25

Sr Member
TWOC sent the staff a PM complaining that you had hijacked his project after participating in his research thread.

I temporarily pulled your JY thread until the rest of the staff could look over the situation and figure out what was going on. I told you in a PM that I was temporarily moving your thread.

I put your thread back today after the rest of the mods had a chance to look over the situation. We all agreed that your moving in on TWOC's project was bad form, but that since he was marking up the price on a found item (even if he was going to be making some changes to it), that in the end the membership would vote with their $$ on what they thought was the right thing to do. Free market and all that...

It turns out that TWOC stated in his original thread that he would be willing to sell the unmodified statues as well. He stated that in post #26 of his thread.

http://www.rpf.invisionzone.com/index.php?...%20statue&st=20

He also states that he hadn't nailed down a price yet. I guess that doesn't matter...

In the end, you should have communicated with TWOC if you were interested in doing a run of these statues. It would have saved everyone some hassle...

My personal preference is that on found items like this... a link should be posted to the vendor or manufacturer. Let members get it right from the source, unless a deal can be brokered to get a discount by buying in bulk. But thats just my way of looking at it.

In the end, a little tact and communication from Boba Debt would have gone a long way in diffusing a relatively simple matter. :rolleyes
 

Prop Runner

Sr Member
Originally posted by Boba Debt@Feb 9 2006, 03:55 PM
Within a day I had located the wholesaler and I found out that I can buy these at wholesale for $18 plus about $3 each for shipping for each statue.

I didn't think THE WRAPOFCONS had any desire to offer these in an unmodified condition so last night I posted an interest thread offering the Lost Virgin Mary statue in the Junkyard for $25 as it comes from the factory.
Maybe I'm not reading the timeline right, but because THE WRAPOFCONS didn't respond to you within 24-48 hours, you assumed he had no intention of selling unmodified statues, and without giving him the courtesy of first right of refusal, you unilaterally went ahead with your sale thread.

Since THE WRAPOFCONS' statues are repainted and weathered, I wouldn't go so far as calling your offer a hijack, but I'd venture that there was some potential stepping on toes. Still, shame on the staff for unilaterally pulling David's thread before contacting him for clarifications.

And yes, THE WRAPOFCONS can charge as much as he likes for paint jobs, but don't cry foul when somebody else offers a found item at cost.

My call:

Bobadebt - :thumbsup :thumbsdown
THE WRAPOFCONS - :thumbsup :thumbsdown
Staff - :thumbsdown

Well, you DID ask for feedback. ;)

- Gabe
 

TOKI

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
From the staffs own Junkyard guidelines:


Price Bashing
Please respect our fellow members' right to ask whatever price they like for an item and conduct yourself accordingly.


Seems the staff cannot even follow their own rules.

Are you guys going to issue yourself a "first warning"

This would be the appropriate step in "behaviour modification by choice."

Arthur
 

mez7

Sr Member
so just how is offering a found item for a more reasonable price hijacking a project?

i wouldnt mind hearing a definition of hijiacking a project, because i dont really understand why anyones thread would be pulled for simply offering a found item someone else is also offering, more reasonable price or not,

i just dont understand why a review was even needed?
 

exoray

Master Member
so just how is offering a found item for a more reasonable price hijacking a project?
Yeah WTF, so now selling a found part below the cost of another member is something the staff feels they need to investigate and review??? It's a found part...

So much for a free marketplace...
 

Boba Debt

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Please define "Bad Form"

Are all people supposed to contact other RPF members before they decide to offer a similar product.

If I wanted to sell MR Props, would I have to give Dave the Bookie and Phantom Collectables a heads up?

Why is this an issue now when it HAS NEVER BEEN AN ISSUE IN THE PAST.

In fact, in the past when a person whined about someone offering the same item they got the "it's a free market place" speech

I also want to know why the staff has not voiced a dissenting opinion about the out right avocation of recasting an original statue?

And I concur, who are you (the RPF Staff) to judge TWOCs on what he should and shouldn't charge for his work?

BTW: I somehow missed post 26, if he wants to sell unpainted Statues for $25 I will gladly step aside.
 

Gary Weaver II

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'm probably totally off here, but aren't we talking about two different items in the first place?

I understood that Max was going to mold and custom cast/paint some statue replicas.

David was going to simply offer the original unmodified statues direct from the wholesale source?

-Gary
 

CeSquared

Sr Member
Originally posted by rocketeer25@Feb 10 2006, 12:29 AM
TWOC sent the staff a PM complaining that you had hijacked his project after participating in his research thread. 

I temporarily pulled your JY thread until the rest of the staff could look over the situation and figure out what was going on.  I told you in a PM that I was temporarily moving your thread.

I put your thread back today after the rest of the mods had a chance to look over the situation.  We all agreed that your moving in on TWOC's project was bad form, but that since he was marking up the price on a found item (even if he was going to be making some changes to it), that in the end the membership would vote with their $$ on what they thought was the right thing to do.  Free market and all that...

It turns out that TWOC stated in his original thread that he would be willing to sell the unmodified statues as well.  He stated that in post #26 of his thread.

http://www.rpf.invisionzone.com/index.php?...%20statue&st=20

He also states that he hadn't nailed down a price yet.  I guess that doesn't matter...

In the end, you should have communicated with TWOC if you were interested in doing a run of these statues.  It would have saved everyone some hassle...

My personal preference is that on found items like this... a link should be posted to the vendor or manufacturer.  Let members get it right from the source, unless a deal can be brokered to get a discount by buying in bulk.  But thats just my way of looking at it.

In the end, a little tact and communication from Boba Debt would have gone a long way in diffusing a relatively simple matter.   :rolleyes
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Thanks for the explanation Rocketeer25.

I was reading through this thread, then I went to the JY and read BD's original thread.

My opinion?

1) TWOC should have nailed down all of the specifics before posting his initial thread. By posting his "interest" thread but leaving so many doors open, he was inviting someone else to step through the door and offer this item for less.

It is a "found" item. He can't call "dibs" on it and expect nobody else to do some research and sell their own.

He should have kept his mouth shut until he nailed down the prices, availability, etc.

2) BD stepping in to offer this himself is arguably bad form, but he has to be commended for quickly doing the research, contacting a distributor, and getting the numbers figured out. It isn't his fault TWOC didn't reply to his inquiry and he can't be blamed for wanting something so easily found for a little less money.

3) I don't think the RPF was wrong in temporarily pulling BD's thread. They were investigating a complaint and after they found that no COC was broken, put the thread back up.

Since it is a found item, this shouldn't even be an issue.

If I actually wanted this piece (which I don't), I would just do the research myself. I've seen this statue at a local Mexican Grocery Store for about $11 and the first thing I said to myself was "Huh...That is the statue from LOST."
 

rocketeer25

Sr Member
i just dont understand why a review was even needed?
Because we got a complaint from a member about another member. We get those from time to time. :rolleyes

Since I was the only one of the mods online at the time last night, and the complaint involved potential transactions, I temporarily moved BD's thread, and told him I was doing so. It was put back today.

Imagine that you started a thread trying to find a "widget" from the movie of the week. After a couple of dozen posts, you get the info you need to track them down. While you thinking about how to offer them to the board, someone who had been active in your research thread jumps the gun and decides to post in the JY about the very same "widget". Now you complain to the staff. What would you want the staff to do?

We took a couple of hours, reviewed the situation, and put everything back the way it was. No harm, no foul. Except BD's pride was hurt, I guess.
 

JD

Master Member
BD,

I can't really blame the RPF for taking a moment to review your thread and the history that details it. It my look black and white to you, but to others it may need some review and some backstory.

I do think it's wrong for the staff to state that you are "hijacking" the project, that's poor form. But, it's easy to see how someone might get that impression.

I think better communication might have solved this before it got to this point - did you PM or talk to the other "seller?" Rocketeer25 points out that the other "seller" did note in a post that he was going to offer this unmodified, and state that you felt he implied that he did not plan to offer them like this.

It is a free market, it is a found item - an item many people might have access to. I can see how both parties can have a problem with this incident and I can't blame either for their responses. But, had we a little more communication it might not have gotten this far.
 

RedTwoX

Sr Member
In my opinion Boba Debt is over reacting. The sale was reviewed and allowed to continue. So what's the big deal? I'm sure THE WRAPOFCONS felt like his business was being cut into, so he turned to the forum moderators. Of course he has no claim to be the sole provider of Mary statues to the RPF, and the competitve sale was allowed to continue. "Bad form" is up to personal opinion, but I really son't see anything wrong here. Disputes between members are going to happen here. It's the domain of the admin and mods to review those situations. They did, and in this case made the right call.

The "price bashing" occured in a private message. It was intended only for Boda Debt and THE WRAPOFCONS. It was not an open bash of TWOC's pricing, and the only reason we know about it is because of Boba Debt's actions (IMO over-reactions).

My 2 cents. Keep the change
 

Boba Debt

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I dissagree with most of your post except for this part


Originally posted by CeSquared@Feb 10 2006, 12:49 AM

Since it is a found item, this shouldn't even be an issue.

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Prop Runner

Sr Member
Originally posted by Boba Debt@Feb 9 2006, 04:40 PM
Please define "Bad Form"

Are all people supposed to contact other RPF members before they decide to offer a similar product.

If I wanted to sell MR Props, would I have to give Dave the Bookie and Phantom Collectables a heads up?
Well, no, because afiliates make separate deals with MR, not each other, and undercut one another to recruit more customers. It's competitive, and there is a profit margin involved - theoretically. ;)

But since you're not making any money off offering unaltered statues, and in fact are expending time, energy, and materials to offer them at a wholesale discount, (which in my book ARE worth some compensation), I'm not sure what you're gaining personally. I would have just told TWOP - "dude, you can get these for $18 wholesale and charge less money to RPF customers while still making the same markup for painting & finishing services." Then again, TWOP would probably have arrived at his own volume discount given enough orders, and dropped his price a bit (even though I'm not saying he overcharged without knowledge of the statue's cost: $40-$50 for a professional paint and weathering job is VERY reasonable.)

I *DO* believe your intent was to "pay it forward" to the RPF, but since the majority probably would prefer a repainted/weathered statue, you could have paid it forward through TWOP. Overlooking post #26 was an honest mistake, but better communication and patience BETWEEN ALL PARTIES could have avoided this incident altogether. :)

- Gabe
 

Boba Debt

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Let's see, Amish started a thread about the Han ANH Flash Hider, Darth Lars made a positive ID and then after a lot of leg work I found a person willing to ship me a real flash hider at my own expence.

Prop Runner also found a source, except his was better.

When he posted that he was interested in doing a run I NEVER ONCE felt offended.

In fact, I stepped aside because I knew he could offer a BETTER Part at a BETTER PRICE.

Then I returned the Flash Hider to the original owner.

In the big picture I lost about $70, the cost of shipping, but It doesn't bother me a nit because I know the RPF is going to get a better Part.

So stop claiming i would have done the same thing, that judgment has no basis in reality.



As for my pride being hurt, that is laughable since I am the one making this a public issue.

I made this info public because i am dumbfounded by your logic and I think that the members of the RPF DESERVE to understand the mentality that went into your decision to review my thread.


I'M STILL WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO EXPLAIN HOW IT IS BAD FORM FOR A PERSON TO OFFER A FOUND "RETAIL" ITEM FOR LESS THEN ANOTHER MEMBER?


Imagine that you started a thread trying to find a "widget" from the movie of the week. After a couple of dozen posts, you get the info you need to track them down. While you thinking about how to offer them to the board, someone who had been active in your research thread jumps the gun and decides to post in the JY about the very same "widget". Now you complain to the staff. What would you want the staff to do?

We took a couple of hours, reviewed the situation, and put everything back the way it was. No harm, no foul. Except BD's pride was hurt, I guess.
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Kerr Avon

Master Member
Welcome to the world of capitalism. If someone can provide the same product at a lower price, I'll buy from him.
 
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