Barbie for big girls.

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.


10 responses

  1. So true Rebecca. The upswing bugs me because it’s all so reactionary, like panic-buying I suppose. I get that that’s part of the native economics of any system, but it’s too much of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Although I suppose this is a little more natural for lack of a better term as opposed to a Platinum Label which shows up the same day for five times the retail price. I guess I like it to be a bit more “organic” in it’s growth. All that being said, I’m not stupid and I’m taking advantage of the market. If they’re willing to buy, I’m willing to sell! lol

    October 22, 2011 at 8:56 am

    • As with any stock or commodity, you never know when “lightning will strike”. I’m just amazed that this situation comes up from time to time and as I wrote, I marvel at the process. Believe me, the former stock broker in me is eyeing my NRFB TokiDoli and thinking the same thing as you LOL! Hope you are able to make what the market will bear. 😉

      October 22, 2011 at 9:03 am

  2. Diane Wagner

    I remember years ago a controversy with the pregnant Midge. Parents were concerned that it sent the wrong message, what wrong message? She had a wedding band painted on her left hand! My mom bought a bunch to sell on eBay before Walmart pulled them from the shelf. The tattooed barbie sounds like she was marketed for adult collectors anyways.

    October 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

    • Priced at $50.00 this doll was definitely targeted for the adult collector…and yet…the parents of little ones still got their undies in a bunch. Like you said, same thing with pregnant Midge. Apparently these ladies, to some, are in permenant limbo never allowed to evolve, grow up or have tattoos.

      October 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm

  3. I will hate that Meridith Viera until i die for causing all that hoopla about the Silkstone Barbie years ago…don’t people have anything BETTER to worry about. When I heard this story on the radio in my car…I went on a ten minute rant about fascist puritanical good-for-nothing haters that left my husband speechless. But he agreed…so i will keep him…and my trashy dolls.

    October 24, 2011 at 8:48 am

    • LOL! Sing it Sistah! Don’t mess with our tatoo loving pink hair epitomizing Barbie collecting selves.

      November 5, 2011 at 9:35 pm

  4. I have to wonder…even if Mattel doesn’t stir up this controversy deliberately, there’s people doing the happy dance behind closed doors, I’m sure. This seems so orchestrated to me–if you check out the online news sources on this story, the comments by the public are pretty mild, and even a bit disbelieving themselves of all the negativity directed at this doll. So who did she REALLY upset? Anybody, outside of a tiny handful of people, seized on by some journalists? I’m cynical, I know…..

    October 25, 2011 at 6:01 am

    • Yes, the same thing ran through my mind…way to corner a market with bad press. Who knows…the people who were actually able to get this doll are laughing….all the way to the bank. 😉

      November 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm

  5. DiAnn

    I have a friend that sold her doll for $500.00 on EBAY, I told her she was evil (I was kidding of course) and we both laughed it just goes to show you that some people have more money than sence. I did buy 3 Platinum Pop Life Ken’s when they came out but I gave 2 away for free to friends that were bummed they didn’t get him. I don’t regret it. I guess I am funny that way. Friendship means more than money and it last longer.

    November 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    • That’s the rules of economics LOL! What the market will bear.

      November 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

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