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joshuaslater

Tin Prices

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Scenario: I need about 20 orcs for a D&D game. I know the local store normally stocks this figure. I ALSO know there has been a price hike at the manufacturer. Lets say the store does NOT raise the price of all its stock. I walk in, wipe out all the orcs. Some are going for $3 per, some are going for $4 per. I point this out to the register clerk. Now they can either say "sorry, price as marked" or I can take advantage of the (AFAIK) common practice of taking the lowest ticketed price as the "correct" one and cheat the store out of the profit margin they need to cover the costs of that mini.

 

Damon.

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That's a really good point Lars. Not only is that a common practice, but I believe it's a legal right. I think many regions have laws to the effect of allowing the consumer to purchase an item for the lowest posted price, whether that's a sale sign someone forgot to take down or one item with a lower price sticker than the others. We used to go through the store with a fine-tooth comb after sales, but still sometimes we'd miss removing stickers, which we'd honour if customers discovered them before we did.

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I believe that currently there is a very small amount of lead in Reaper's minis.

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The small amount of lead in Reapers figs is what gives them the flexability to bend some w/out snapping. I do not remember what percentage is legal for minis but most legal alloys for other uses are up 37% lead, Far beyond what Our boys put in there alloy. If there is no ROHS compliance required in the casting business, then I bet 37% is the most legal lead amount that can be used to defray a rising tin cost. Talking with the guys who make the decisions about alloy mix, I have a feeling they would rather raise their cost some than gamble with the negative stigma of higher lead content. I would gladly pay a higher price for low lead minis. The alloy Reaper is using is just about the best mix I have ever worked with.

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Any price increase on the manufacturer's side, should be reflected at distributers and retailers at the same time. I would almost consider it amoral not to do so. If you have 3 stores in an area, and one of them just happens to have larger stock on hand, if they stayed with the old price, it would look like they are undercutting the price. Since gaming stock doesn't exactly move very fast, this can be a long period of time. While it's a free market and what they are doing is by no means illegal, it can be construed as trying to steal customers from other stores, which in the small business of game stores, does not go towards maintaining a good reputation.

 

Also the way most stores operate is they determine how much stock they can buy after paying employees, rent, etc, and examining their sales. So like Heisler said, if they want to restock what they sold, the cost that matters is the new cost.

 

Based on general market practices, when MSRP for an item changes, stores and distributors will immediately mark up their prices. FIFO inventory management has nothing to do with this practice in small or large businesses. It does affect profit calculations, but there is an invisible cost of an item sitting on a shelf that's difficult to take into account. The item marked up today may have been sitting on a shelf for 2 years. So when the store sells it after the mark up at the new MSRP, it may look like they are making more money on it, but that item in reality probably still lost them money for sitting on a shelf 2 years.

 

I honestly don't see anything wrong with the current widely accepted practice for price changes. From the consumer's POV, if they are buying it today, they are paying the value of the item for today. They can complain all they want about price hikes, and turn the flames on at the manufacturer, but blaming the store for marking up stock items is just sour grapes. If you are buying something today, you don't really have a right to ask for yesterday's price. Price increases are often (but not always) planned and announced in advance, so if you wanted yesterday's price, you should have gotten it yesterday.

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For Reaper, lead would be the last option.
Does that mean there is no lead in the figures at all as of this moment?

 

Thanks.

 

Let me clarify. There have always been a lot of misconceptions about the whole lead thing in figures. First, there are two levels you have to deal with, Federal Law and then individual state laws. Generally States adopt the Federal law word for word.

 

The Federal law concerning lead (Lead Reduction Act of 1987) exempts, by actual title and wording, miniatures from the law entirely. A few states modify the Federal law and have their own wording in the law for package marking or manufacture of items that contain lead, but all states bow to the federal law. So this means we could legally make a model using the old formula of 95% Lead and 5% Bismuth.

 

This said, we don't want to do lead models. The current mix (90% tin with the balance being bismuth, lead and antimony) produces a better piece that will not oxidize or corrode (lead rot). Is safer and easier to work with. Is safer to manufacture. Easier to package, handle and display.

 

If we were to go back to a lead based model we would have to:

-retool every product piece

-conduct a knowledge campaign about what we were doing and why

-repackage everything to differentiate it from the other pieces

So in the long run there would be no real savings and any cost savings from the cheaper material would be gone.

 

We could just do it and not tell anyone, and be perfectly legal. But I believe that discovery of what we did would be perceived as a fraud perpetrated on our consumers and the backlash in PR would be devastating.

 

Best,

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I like tin allow miniatures and will pay more for them. Lead is crap. Even high lead alloys will rot.

 

Lead is soft and heavy. Tin alloy is light and strong.

 

I recently had my first encounter with lead rot, and I would very much like to never see it again.

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"If it's old price was $4.00, and the retailers cost was $2.40, bumping the price up to the new MSRP of $5.00 nets the retailer an additional $1 that is going straight into the retailers pocket"

 

Wrong, wrong wrong. there are at least four ways the retailer is losing money.

 

1. A dollar now is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. A retail business is a business, and a dollar of inventory sitting idle is putting them behind every day it sits, see 2.

 

2. Opportunity cost. That blister was taking up space that might have been given to something that sold faster or at higher value. This sounds stupid, but it's actually vitally important to business. All successful businesses are either mindful of opportunity cost or are dumb-lucky.

 

3. Inflation. This is a separate issue to 1, because a dollar tomorrow will have a lower purchasing power than a dollar today, assuming some kind of inflation. In effect, having paid for the miniature a year ago means they paid more for it than they would have now assuming the label cost stays static. And then, the dollars they get for it today are worth less, assuming the label cost stays static.

 

4. Interest. Almost no business operates out of cash. Unless hobby shops are a big exception, the money to pay for that miniature was borrowed and for as long as that mini doesn't sell it can be considered to accrue additional debt at the market rate. Old stock usually doesn't get cut because it costs the business less but because the business cannot afford to take further losses on it and is better off selling it at an unprofitable price in the hopes of covering the interest.

 

 

I am not in retail, but I am in the family business. People think that business is something it isn't. Picture what you think being in business is like, add stress and hassle and long hours, then make it a thousand times worse, and you'll be close to reality.

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I just confirmed some information that I thought was correct but wanted to be sure. Mengu mentioned it in his post; the distributor immedietely increases his price to the retailer on the stock he has in the warehouse regardless of how long that stock has been in the warehouse. If the distributor bought a Reaper item three years ago and has not sold out of it and Reaper has gone through one or more price increases in that time then that piece will be sold at the current price to the retailer not at the original price.

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