Monday, June 25, 2012

PIN SHARKS!! OH MY! What Can Disney Do to Help!?

PIN SHARKS!! OH MY! What Can Disney Do to Help!?

Over all my hubby and I love Disney Collectable trading pins. We don’t normally collect sets or go get picky about what people trade when trading with us. We go for the pins we like and it does not matter if they are Limited Edition or Open Edition. Does it make us smile or remember a special time? If so we want it!

Overall we do not trade with other adult guests. We choose to trade with Cast Members and children. Cast Members have a simple rule for trading. Pin for a pin period and it does not matter if it is Limited Edition or Open Edition. They limit it to two pins per person. We hold to the same pin for pin rule when we trade. If the pin is in our trading group of pins they can take it and give us any pin they want. If someone does not want to trade a pin we want for a pin we wish to give that is fine.

We like trading pins with children. Part of the reason we like trading with kids is we hope to keep them away from the “Pin Sharks” that would take a highly collectable pin the child may have and give them a pin of much lesser value or no real collectable value. The other reason we like doing it is we enjoy seeing their faces when they get a pin they like. If a child tries to give us a pin we know is of value for a lesser value pin we let them know and let the child and parent make the final decision to trade or not. We are not avid pin traders so we don’t always know.

If a child wants a pin my husband has but does not have a pin to trade my husband will send the child over to me telling them, “Tell my wife her husband needs a pin for trading.” I’ll give the child a pin and my husband will let the child either keep that pin or trade for any pin he has.

Now here is my problem. We have been helping a friend get a set of very limited edition pins that are being released one pin per month. We make a special trip to the park to get them. These pins are so treasured and limited in number that by the end of the day they are released the pins are gone. In fact now they are selling out within the first couple of hours the park is open. Disney limits the sale of the pins to two pins per person. That is great as there are not many of the pins. The problem is the pin sharks find their way past that rule and somehow purchase five or more pins. The Pin Sharks then turn around and sell the pins online for an outrageous profit.

A pin they purchase for $25 will be sold online for $50 in just a couple of hours. The price goes up from there. One pin I saw was going for $150 in just a couple of days. The pin sharks breaking the rules and purchasing more than allowed takes all the fun and simple pleasure out of collecting. They make it so we have to get to the park when the park first opens and run to the pin shop if we want just one pin.

One way the Pin Sharks get past the limit is by teaming up with others. One “friend” will stand in one line to purchase pins. When they are done they run to another shop where another friend is standing in another line. This way they can purchase pins at more than one store. They will run to as many shops as possible purchasing the limit at each shop.

There are ways for Disney to stop the Pin Sharks. One was is to stop selling pins at all. This is what happened at Disneyland Tokyo. They Pin Sharks were so aggressive there they eliminated pins all together.

There are other less drastic ways to handle the Pin Shark problem. One simple solution is linking all the cash registers. The majority of Pin Sharks are Annual Passholders and use their pass to save money on the purchase of the pins. A 10-20% discount is not to be ignored! The registers could inform the Cast Member the person was attempting to purchase more than the number of pins allowed and therefore allow the CM to uphold the policy.

Another way to stop the profiteering is to use the system they had at the Cars Land opening. If you wanted Limited Edition items you had to go to one location. You were only allowed to go in once. It was a very controlled situation. Once everybody that wanted had purchased the items the left overs were dispersed to other locations throughout the park. Limits were strictly adhered too. It was easy to make sure no one person got more than the limit.

I hope Disney will get a handle on this so the fun can return to pin trading and frustration be limited.

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