Supply and Demand…Barbie Economics 101
I worked in the stock market for many years before I left the private sector. I enjoyed many a frenetic day watching stocks take off during various IPO’s ( Initial public offerings ). It was always thrilling to gage the “when to buy” and “when to sell” in those exciting times. Some times you gambled and won…sometimes you didn’t ( those days were usually followed by a half a bottle of wine and a “better luck next time” pep talk to myself LOL!). Even though I have been “out of the business” for many years, I still like to watch the markets and enjoy seeing the rules of economics play out. We are seeing a prime example of the laws of economics playing out in the Collector Barbie world as we speak and there has been a lot of angst displayed on various doll boards. If you have not be following, here is a bit of background.
The TokiDoki Barbie was introduced in late September and many adult collectors were excited to see this product.
** Photo property of Mattel, Inc. **
She is cute with her leopard leggings, pink pageboy, silver glitter stilettos and…well…is that a dog? Anywhoo..she is cute. I was aware of the tattoos on this lovely lady and I thought they made her look hip and edgy certainly not trashy. Well apparently there are those who would disagree and feel that the tattoos degrade the wholesome value of Barbie. Some have enlisted the help of the press and gone on to imply that this pink haired tattooed Barbie could be a negative influence on their dear and impressionable children. Really??!! Maybe… if she was smoking a cigarette and downing a six-pack…but I fail to believe leopard leggings and tattoos on a Barbie could do more damage than the average night of American reality TV. Just my opinion but I digress.
Now here is where it gets interesting and those rules of economics come into play. We have a limited supply of these lovely tattooed ladies. Visibility, increases the demand for said product. Even though the press, so to speak, is negative it is still press and additional demand is realized. As the negative comments get bigger press coverage ( this story was carried on NBC and CBS)demand continues to increase until demand exceeds supply so that a shortage is established and price of product increases. We now have a sellers market and this Barbie that sold for $50.00 two days ago is currently selling on ebay for an average of $250.00…. A Barbie commodity.
So I guess my question is this. How did we get here? Did it really only take a few negative comments by a couple of puritan parents to set off a series of events that created a Barbie commodity? I realize you needed a slow news day and some very thirsty for content editors out there but still. Is it really that easy to create a “run on the bank” with collectibles these days? I know many collectors are very upset that these dolls are going for such an extreme price on ebay and some are blaming the sellers. I hate to point it out but there wouldn’t be inflated prices unless there were buyers out there paying those inflated prices. It all comes back to supply and demand and …. I guess… a few parents who simply draw the line at tattoos and leopard leggings.