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The Scalping Culture

Have you ever seen a car or bike and thought to yourself “I want that”, only to find out it’s out of stock? This can be a frustrating situation. If you’ve attempted to buy a newly imported vehicle in the past few months, you have encountered the stock issue. Everyone wants the new vehicles.

Every few weeks, dozens of people swarm PDM. Who are these people? Most of them are buyers who intend to be the end user. They are collectors who have come to purchase a car and take it home. Some of these collectors are quickly converted into sellers though. Once these collectors are offered easy profit, they normally accept. If you put yourself in their shoes, how can you blame them? Imagine buying a car for $20,000,000 and selling it for $25,000,000 only a few minutes later. If you are a patient person, it makes sense. You know the stock will come back sooner or later, and choose the easy profit and move on.

We know the story doesn’t end there. Most people aren’t lucky enough to get new vehicles in the beginning. The majority of the potential collectors leave empty-handed because the stock that is imported to the island is already gone. The patient collectors keep visiting PDM until they get what they want. The impatient collectors often turn to Twitter, which is filled with people who are reselling the new vehicles. Many of the resellers are asking for significant prices above MSRP. For example, I personally attempted to buy a new motorcycle off Twitter. I texted the number on the ad and was met with an asking price $15,000,000 above the MSRP. I politely responded by saying “thanks, but I’ll wait until I can get it for MSRP” and was met with a passive-aggressive message basically implying that I wouldn’t be able to find one for MSRP. I found one for the MSRP price a week or two later. Most of the population has experienced people pushing for ridiculous markups as well. In the picture below, three of the new BMW motorcycles are parked nicely next to each other. All three bikes are being sold by the same person.

This picture doesn’t tell the entire story though. The sellers are not the only people to blame for the increased asking prices of vehicles. There are two sides to the MSRP hiking issue. The buyers are just as responsible for the increased prices as the sellers are. Arguably, the buyers are more responsible. Frank Biggs recently offered to pay someone $70,000,000 for a bike listed for $27,000,000 at PDM. According to him, he did this because the seller had recently moved to the city, and he wanted to bless them. He believes “we should be helping new people out […] I love helping new people […] fuck the cash […] the bike is worth $100,000,000 to me.” Unfortunately, people who are willing to pay these insane prices are part of the reason the prices are set so high. During our interview, Jamaal Bashir explained the issue by saying “so many people are impatient and are willing to pay over shop price […] this creates a great demand for the new cars […] people are going to fill that demand.” Bashir further explained that if he did not fill the demand, someone else would.

This two-pronged issue has created a vehicle market that rewards people who are not contributing actual goods or services to the economy. Furthermore, buying cars from PDM and selling them for more has become a serious source of income for people. Instead of working for businesses and supporting the economy, people are turning to vehicle sales. During an interview with Enzo Warren and Renzo Warren, they both shared the opinion that “reselling vehicles from PDM should not be a side hustle for people like it has become.” It was not long ago that vehicles in PDM showed their true prices. An individual could visit PDM in search of a new vehicle, hand over some cash, and walk away with the vehicle. Remember those days? Obviously, times have changed. The seemingly unlimited stock of vehicles at PDM is no more, and those new vehicles are often out of stock.

When new vehicles are imported, collectors have three choices. First, they might experience some luck and be able to purchase the vehicle they desire from PDM. Second, they may have to patiently wait until the vehicle comes back in stock. Third, they can spend money above the MSRP to own the vehicle sooner than later. Ultimately, the buyer has the power to decide how much they want to pay for a vehicle.