Jonathan Moore here, back with a topic that’s personal to me and so many Yu-Gi-Oh! players out there: What really constitutes as a vendor in the YGO scene?
I hear so many terms used loosely, and “vendor” is the one I hate most. Honestly, I would call most “self-proclaimed vendors” “dealers”: Someone who DEALS in the trade. Vendors are stores. Vendors are the ones who have booths at the event because they had the money to buy them, or had the connections/standings with Konami to get to have a table at the YCS as a tournament store. Vendors have the singles and cash flow to keep reappearing at every event as a vendor. They’re the stores that actually deal with singles and don’t just blindly offer 25-50% on every card. I recently watched a video on Youtube about the eight people you would see at a local, and while it hilariously covered every person’s over-the-top qualities (which to be fair, a lot of people in the game are either overflowing with personality), it really flung a large pile of doody onto the aspect of “vendors”, who again, really are dealers.
I’m writing articles for a well-known vendor and you’re on his website. Aaron Jarvis runs a great ship, and I’m not saying that just to be a plug to him. He offers more trade credit than anyone for cards while keeping his posted cards for the lowest retail out of most any major store, so he makes a lower cut on his cards in order not to spend the cash on them if he can help it, yet still offers competitive buy prices so as to keep everything in stock and keep the trade train rolling. If you look through all of the vendors that are name-brand in the community, they all offer something no one else does: ARG offers the best coverage anyone around has, and now you can’t even really compete with that as they host their own events. Game Time used to be the only ones who’d buy every card at every event because they would bring a van big enough to carry it all away and now CoreTCG seems to be filling those shoes. StrikeZone would buy very specific 1st edition and CP/Collector cards better than anyone. Each of them offered something the others wouldn’t or couldn’t because of their specific clients and what they are comfortable dealing in.
You hear so many common themes throughout stores that plague our community. There’s the random kid claiming to be the vendor who brags out loud to everyone about how they got the $100 deal for their $5 card and ripped the newbie off. I’ve literally seen posts in large Facebook groups like Zodiac Duelist that go “I’m not going to negotiate on prices. I’m trying to be a vendor.”, and needless to say, that community tears apart the people who wear that persona. Then there’s the guy with money who will only spend if he’s making the double or triple up. Sure, when making money you want to spend the minimum to maximize profit, but only to a point.
You want to keep repeat customers, people who are happy with you. Loyalty before royalty is a thing that develops when you earn someone’s trust and respect over time, and I have strong feelings towards that with any of my customers. Whenever I locally buy something, and they tell me “So and so offered me $2 more, but I’m going with you because you’ve always got me.” That’s a great feeling. I love keeping people happy. I try to beat other people’s prices on principle as much as I can too, and pay as much as I can percent wise if I think a card is going to go up. Those are two of my unique qualities as a vendor. If someone’s rent is due and they have to sell their collection, I’m not going to go as cut throat as I can knowing they’re in a pinch. I’m going to be as giving as possible because I know they’ll be back to this game when they recover.
People who take advantage of others exist, and it’s often because of the bullheadedness of the person they are happening to do it to. “I’m not comfortable sending it in to a site,” “I’m too lazy,” “I paid less anyways, I guess,” and “They take too long to pay,” are excuses I hear all the time. Rarely these days is someone just straight getting taken advantage of because of their lack of knowledge on a card because almost everyone has a smart phone and the ability to look up eBay’s lowest Buy It Now price on a card. The “They take too long to pay” excuse is the only one I could find acceptable as to why you wouldn’t send your cards on in for more money. However, you have to realize the sites have to get your cards in, grade, process, and go through everything to make sure it’s good before actually sending the payment to you. This takes a while, especially when a store is getting in hundreds of other orders that they have to do the same thing with. They’re not trying to be slow, they’re just swamped; they’re ACTUAL vendors with ACTUAL vendor problems. They don’t struggle to buy your cards at 66% where as your local guy is probably contemplating 33% like your local DEALER so that they can flip it to one of the real vendors for the double up. The people who are dealers often give a negative connotation to the word “vendor” by association as well. “I wouldn’t be taking the vendor price,” “Ugh, I hate vendors,” and “Are you trying to play or vend today?” are all common phrases I hear tossed around.
- Somebody floor trading an event is nine out of ten times (if not more) not a vendor, but rather a dealer,
- Dealer prices, also nine out of ten times, are worse than the vendor price because they’re probably selling to vendors and not putting the work in on eBay (which even then, after fees and shipping can be less that what a vendor with a real website would offer). This means that if you’re super eager to sell your cards, you’re most likely going to make more money by selling directly to an actual vendor.
- You can’t hate on vendors. They’re what keep a lot of the community going. Their investments and pricing on cards are often why people have rare cards to play with. They’re why people can afford to make it out to these events. They’re the reason why some kids can get the money to really compete and get out there. Without them, a large part of the community would have fallen flat by now.
Please please please please PLEAAAAAAASSSEEEEE stop confusing floor traders and dealers with vendors. It’s just not fair. Someone who does this for some side money doesn’t even begin to compare to the Hotsauce, ARG, Core, TNT, and Strikezone crews. All the places I just mentioned are places that employ people who make their actual livings by serving the gaming community. They do as much as possible for everyone to have the cards, playmats, sleeves, and more that people want and need in every area across the world. Their savvy business and allocation of resources keep the community thriving with the maximum potential that the gaming scene deserves. They also employee a total of hundreds upon hundreds of people total, create jobs, and help keep the tournament scene bumping hard.
Questions, comments, and concerns are always welcome with me and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what could improve the quality of the Yu-Gi-Oh! community, as well as other problems inside our community that could be addressed!