The Nintendo Switch is in short supply all over the world right now, but in Nintendo’s homeland, the stock situation is especially dire, with stores regularly holding lottery-style systems in order to fairly distribute the tiny number of consoles they have.
As a result, we’ve seen scalpers step in, buying up stock at the retail price only to sell it for a much higher fee to someone else. Things have gotten so bad in Japan that one store decided that it would take action by buying stock and selling it at a loss to deliver a blow to those looking to profit out of the situation.
A salesperson representing the store appeared in Tokyo’s famous Akihabara district with a cart loaded up with new Switch systems. The price? 45,000 yen each, which the store claimed was «loss», based on what had been paid to buy the consoles in the first place. The plan was apparently to «smash expensive resellers», according to another tweet by the store which has since been deleted. It’s worth noting that the retail price is 29,980 yen plus 10% consumption tax.
20 units were apparently sold from the cart, but the police soon took notice of the seller’s activities and images appeared online of her cart being surrounded; the store later claimed on its social media that the salesperson was left in tears. It’s not clear if she was forced to stop selling, or if any action was taken at all, but the reaction on Japanese social media has been pretty negative.
Some have questioned how buying from scalpers thereby destroys them, as they’re still ultimately profiting. Others have also stated that the seller should have sold the systems at the normal retail price if she wanted to restore some balance to the market. Others have speculated that the store in question might actually have purchased the Switches for 24,000 yen, and is therefore just as bad as the scalpers.
It’s a pretty strange series of events, but not entirely unusual when you’re dealing with an item that’s in high demand and the supply chain is under pressure.