The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of millions of people all over the world in a variety of ways. Some of us have had to put up with the relatively mild inconvenience of stores being shut and schools closing, while others have seen loved ones succumb to the virus – or have even tragically lost their lives themselves.
While a global lockdown resulted in bumper sales for many video game companies – including Nintendo – it's given others the chance to make a quick buck, too. Take 16-year-old Max Hayden, for example; by flipping games consoles, Pokémon trading cards and other 'luxury' items, he pulled in $1.7 million in revenue, making $110,000 in profit.
Hayden focused his attention on goods that were in high demand during the pandemic, such as patio heaters and gaming systems, including the PS5 and Xbox Series X. He has sold 'dozens' of the latter items for as much as $1,100 each, double the typical ticket price. He's hoping to have just as good a year in 2021, once again targeting items that are in short supply and high demand.
Resellers are one of the biggest issues in the world of gaming right now, with 'scalpers' snapping up rare items with the sole intention of selling them for a healthy profit. However, The Wall Street Journal has produced a glowing report on Hayden (thanks to Kotaku for bringing this to our attention), praising his savvy nature when it comes to turning a profit.
Despite the praise, this passage from WSJ's report sums up exactly what's wrong with resellers in general:
Reselling nonessential goods in most cases is legal, though retailers generally frown upon it as it can create friction with consumers. Hate mail and trolling from shoppers angry about the marked-up prices comes with the territory. [The teen’s father] said he was initially uncomfortable with his son’s business success because he benefited from a situation created by the health crisis. But he concluded that it was permissible because his son only resells luxury goods, not necessities.
“It is a real distinction,” said [the dad], 61. “This is capitalism.”
You know what? Sometimes, capitalism kinda sucks.