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Just saw the BoardGameNews tweet (http://twitter.com/BoardgameNews/statuses/1639765903) on this... see also WSJ article (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124087840110661643.html)

As Eric points out, this refers to "minimum price agreements" (also known as VERTICAL market price fixing) that some manufacturers like Mayfair Games and FRED (funagain spinoff) practice since the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that no longer makes such agreements "automatically" illegal under federal antitrust law.

Don't know if this really affects anything other than brick and morter retailers (and any online stores that I don't know about) in Maryland. And wouldn't be surprised if the new Maryland State Law faces legal challenges.
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Wonder how this'll impact Games Workshop's willingness to operate within Maryland given their highly restrictive policies.
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Interesting...

I know this has been discussed frequently here, but I'll trudge ahead anyway.

Can someone explain to me why a manufacturer would do this? I'm fairly ignorant of many economic principals and would love to have it explained.

If they're basically selling it to a retailer (online or brick), don't they already have all the money they're going to get for it? If a retailer doesn't want to make 50% profit on a sale, isn't that up to them?

I can only think of two possible reasons:
1. They don't want boardgames (or other products) to slip to an expected low price that they can't keep up with.
2. It keeps people from buying directly from them.

I have two counter points:
1. Don't wholesale it lower than you want to sell it.
2. Settler's may be a good game, but it's ridiculously overpriced. (I don't have a good cross reference for this, so it may be opinion)

 
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kdiddy13 wrote:

I know this has been discussed frequently here, but I'll trudge ahead anyway.

Can someone explain to me why a manufacturer would do this? I'm fairly ignorant of many economic principals and would love to have it explained.



In short, because the retail end is not a level playing field. Larger volume sellers can afford deeper discounts, which inevitably draw business away from smaller retailers who are unable to match the same discount levels due to their lower sales volumes vs. their overhead.

For a retailer, each percentage point of discount to a customer is a loss of at least twice as much of their profit. Considering that many retailers are forced to purchase their product at higher than 50% retail (it's closer to 55-60%), the cut into profit margins becomes major with 15%, 20% or even 30% discounts.

Manufacturers install price minimums in an attempt to protect the small, brick & mortar retailers who otherwise cannot compete with the broader market exposure and higher volume sales of chain and online retailers (who can undersell small retailers, generating their profit by quantity).
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kdiddy13 wrote:
Can someone explain to me why a manufacturer would do this?

Well as far as FRED goes it's definitely no surprise and I can't blame them. FRED used to be part of Funagain (the retailer) until it was "spun off"... they are technically for business/tax purposes two companies but they are likely still very tied to each other (ownership/financially/etc) but both are private companies so it can be confirmed/denied.

Funagain isn't known for "deep" discounting so it makes no sense for FRED to allow competitors to sell for less than Funagain does.

As for Mayfair... long discussed but never really clear (to me at least)... I think Mayfair's original annoucement that they were going to impose a MRP policy I think it may have said something about trying to help brick/mortor stores to evangalize their games. There was also a rumor that Barnes & Noble forced them into it as the rumor was that B&N was going to retail/push more of Mayfair's games and B&N didn't want the competition. Personally I always found it to be quite the coincidence that Mayfair's min. retail price agreements w/retailers was 20%... exactly the standard discount that Funagain has... and that Funagain not surprisingly (not because of low prices but because of their referer program and that they are the oldest online boardgame retailer) is the largest online retailer in North America they have lots of (maybe too much) power.

I have to read the rest of the WSJ article but I wonder if it will only affect retailers within Maryland or if retailers selling/shipping to Maryland addresses....
 
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J.L.Robert wrote:
Manufacturers install price minimums in an attempt to protect the small, brick & mortar retailers who otherwise cannot compete with the broader market exposure and higher volume sales of chain and online retailers (who can undersell small retailers, generating their profit by quantity).

But the debate is why do board game manufacturers (publishers) want to engage in welfare for out molded business models at their own (and the game designer's) financial cost... as kdiddy13 correctly points out the publisher is selling to the wholesalers at the same price, the MRP agreements only affects the wholesalers and retailers. Higher prices clearly affect volume, less volume is less profit for the publisher (and in turn the game designer).

In any case, back to OP topic, as the original 2007 court ruling, the ruling did *not* make the practice "legal"... it only made it *not* automatically "illegal"... which means any challenge to such agreements is likely to only make the lawyers rich (most discount retailers who this most affects can't afford to)
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kdiddy13 wrote:
I know this has been discussed frequently here, but I'll trudge ahead anyway.


It's primarily an attempt to keep their brand and all their distribution channels as healthy as possible which in turn helps keep the industry healthy.

If brick & mortar retail stores won't stock your product because it can be found cheaper elsewhere, it'll reduce the overall shelf presence of your product until it's only available through select channels (online) and that in turn will hurt sales and erode exposure of the brand itself, making it more obscure.

Rather than getting people impulse buying the product on the shelf, or even seeing it there, they'll now be catering to people seeking out the brand and the only way to create that desire is through expensive marketing.

The reason for such markups in the first place is due to many factors such as anticipated shelf-life and the costs of selling the product in a retail environment and giving incentive to the shops to do their own advertising, etc.

I could write you pages, but in short its good business to have a stable brand with a stable price across all channels. It keeps all your retailers happy, creates less confusion for a customer when shopping around, etc.

The down side is that as consumers we don't get the rock bottom online pricing we've come to expect.
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J.L.Robert wrote:


In short, because the retail end is not a level playing field. Larger volume sellers can afford deeper discounts, which inevitably draw business away from smaller retailers who are unable to match the same discount levels due to their lower sales volumes vs. their overhead.

For a retailer, each percentage point of discount to a customer is a loss of at least twice as much of their profit. Considering that many retailers are forced to purchase their product at higher than 50% retail (it's closer to 55-60%), the cut into profit margins becomes major with 15%, 20% or even 30% discounts.

Manufacturers install price minimums in an attempt to protect the small, brick & mortar retailers who otherwise cannot compete with the broader market exposure and higher volume sales of chain and online retailers (who can undersell small retailers, generating their profit by quantity).


while I agree there is some nostalgia in having small brick & mortar stores I have to say that it makes very little sense from an economic perspective. In reality small gaming brick and mortar stores will ALWAYS exist until Toys R Us, Walmart, B&N, Target and every other major retailer will start carrying a full line of gaming products (everything from Agricola, Dominion to the EVEN MORE obscure games)

Simply said that in my opinion would be a dream come true. Full availability, locally, with good prices (since they can buy and sell for cheaper than small stores) hasn't this always been the gamers dream? Also this would imply that the hobby had gone mainstream because if the stores are stocking them they must be moving and creating them profit, otherwise they wouldn't stock those games anymore. Isn't this the two things that us geeks ask for the most? Our hobby going mainstream and local, good prices?

I don't want to go too far into it (and ramble) but I rarely believe that there is ever a reason to set prices to "protect the little guys." outside of promoting competition. But then again even economics teaches us that sometimes things are actually quite cheaper and more accessible when a product is provided by a monopoly company....

Ok that's enough rambling for me.
 
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Hear, hear, Jeff.

You've got to remember too that most large game companies (Mayfair certainly being one, at least relative to the industry) are *not* like a side of ASL infantry...in other words, they don't fight on until the last counter before losing. Just as in real warfare, sometimes losses of 25% or 30% will cause the front to collapse.

If you are a certain size, you have certain manufacturing and logistics requirements that come with being that size, including a lot of horrendously complicated stuff to do with keeping factories running and people employed. (You want them employed, since if you fire them you will almost certainly have to hire them back at some point, and that is a major hassle and expense.) So if your presence starts to shrink as Jeff mentions, you may hit a "tipping point", or collapsing point, at which the whole shebang suddenly becomes impossible. In very broad terms, this is what happened to the original Avalon Hill/Monarch Publishing.

Of course, among geeks the trend is toward indie games produced in lots of 1000 by a soup-to-nuts outsourcer. Places like BGG ensure ample advance notice of these games, much as Pitchfork does for indie music, and if you've got a decent product you will probably make some money if all goes well. For such games, especially those produced on demand (the trend of the future), there's little if any reason to put up with manufacturer-determined pricing. Look at Reiver Games for a good case study (and more power to you, Reiver!).

I might also add for you youngins out there that Mayfair did at one point attempt to copyright the word "dice." So they tend to be, um, more aggressive in some of their dealings.
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Thank you all for the input on this. It's been enlightening.

While I doubt that Mayfair is really worried at all about "the little guy", having a 'real world' presence is definitely advantageous. I also agree that a healthy industry is good for everyone.

It does seem that going mainstream would help alleviate many of the industry's problems, and Mayfair, specifically Settlers, is helping that happen. I'm not sure I completely agree with their aggressiveness, or inability to bring their star game down to what I'd consider an "impulse" level purchase (surely something they should have been able to accomplish by now, given the success and numbers produced), but it's their party, we don't have to attend if we don't like the house rules.

It's not like they're price fixing food or gas. Whether it opens the gates for price fixing of those staples is a legal argument I'm not knowledgeable enough to discuss but it sends a chill down my spine.

Most of the arguments put forward here sum up fairly nicely one of the main reasons why I won't shop at Walmart (amongst other reasons, best saved for the RSP forum). On the other side, I don't have the same compulsion to avoid online shopping for the good deals. Hypocrisy and I are good friends it seems.
 
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jyeackle wrote:
It's primarily an attempt to keep their brand and all their distribution channels as healthy as possible which in turn helps keep the industry healthy.

If brick & mortar retail stores won't stock your product because it can be found cheaper elsewhere, it'll reduce the overall shelf presence of your product until it's only available through select channels (online) and that in turn will hurt sales and erode exposure of the brand itself, making it more obscure.

.....

The down side is that as consumers we don't get the rock bottom online pricing we've come to expect.

Well you have lots of conjecture in there (like the rest of us since we can't read those publisher's minds )... also you have some assumptions I and I contend most don't agree with such that the industry is not healthy or the implication that "discounters" actually hurt the board game industry while I'll contend it's just the opposite... the industry has grown by leaps and bounds along side the growth of the Internet and online retailing. The existence of sites like this one is also far superior than the one opinion of a sales clerk in a local game store who may know a lot less about a given game than you do. How many folks really just gamble on dropping $70 for a game like Chinatown w/out knowing any more than what's written on the back of the box while also knowing that I doubt many local game stores will let you return an opened/punched/played copy because it wasn't the game for you?

I also assert that you are incorrect that the down side is for consumers... in my humble opinion (imho) it's not the consumer who is hurt in the least... not in an industry where there are plenty of choices. imho the down side is for the designers as their royalties are often based on unit volume...

... and while it may seem like on the surface an up side for online retailers as they only have to sell 1/2 as many copies of a min. retail price title at 20% off MSRP as they do at 35% off, if all publishers went the min. retail pricing agreements route then the big winner would be funagain and lots of your favorite online retailers would likely go out of business because they would no longer be competing on price but would be competing on service but mainly on who has the inventory and only the big players can maintain the breadth of inventory like funagain does.

And speaking of inventory... they just simply can't have such a diverse inventory that an online store can even if they weren't competing on price.

In any case, most of us know local game stores even before the Internet never made money on board games... not anything that could pay the bills... the bread and butter of most local game stores are CCG's, RPG's, Miniatures, etc... not board games (and yes, I'm sure there are *exceptions* to the rule but they are just that, exceptions not the norm)
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kdiddy13 wrote:
It does seem that going mainstream would help alleviate many of the industry's problems, and Mayfair, specifically Settlers, is helping that happen

Settler's of Catan is considered to be the 1st to "cross the pond" and bring "Euro" style games to the USA and for years considered to be the "gateway" game. However both Settler's and Mayfair have lost their relevance. Mayfair almost seems like a one trick pony these days... they have stagnated and are having trouble reinventing themselves.

Days of Wonder has done a much more to bring euro style board gaming mainstream than any other publisher right now with Ticket to Ride and other titles. Fantasy Flight Games as well I've seen their titles in plenty of stores and have family members who know some of those games but never heard of Catan.

To me it still seems more likely Mayfair had pressure from a major retailer than to be philanthropic at their own expense.

In any case, at least Mayfair is finally getting a couple of titles, thanks for Martin Wallace, that folks can actually get excited about (not something that's happened in a long time for a Mayfair title)... Steam (newest version of Age of Steam) and the one I'm really excited about "Automobile".
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Here's what it boils down to for me:

Let's say that you make 10 copies of a game that you designed. Now, for some reason that is unknown to anyone, you offer to sell any number of those 10 copies to anyone for $25 as long as they will agree to resell them for $50.

Do you have the right to do this, or not?

Now let's say that 2 people agree to your terms and they buy 5 copies each. They both put the games up for sale on boardgamegeek, one selling their copies for $50, the other selling his copies for $40.

Chances are that everyone will buy the copies for $40 first, and many will decide not to pay the $50 because they don't feel the game is worth $50, since someone was selling it for $40.

Now the person selling their copies for $40 wants to buy more. Do you have the right to *not* sell to them?

Tom
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Quote:
It's primarily an attempt to keep their brand and all their distribution channels as healthy as possible which in turn helps keep the industry healthy.

If brick & mortar retail stores won't stock your product because it can be found cheaper elsewhere, it'll reduce the overall shelf presence of your product until it's only available through select channels (online) and that in turn will hurt sales and erode exposure of the brand itself, making it more obscure.

This is right on, IMO, but let's clarify: it's not altruism that drives decisions like this; it's economics, or at least their economic analysis. Their intent is not so much to "protect the little guy" (as someone else mentioned) as it is keep up sales of their products. Smaller retailers won't stock the product if they cannot make money selling it. And if they don't stock the product, the MANUFACTURER makes fewer sales.
 
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BoardsAndBits wrote:
Now the person selling their copies for $40 wants to buy more. Do you have the right to *not* sell to them?

Not in Maryland.
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out4blood wrote:
BoardsAndBits wrote:
Now the person selling their copies for $40 wants to buy more. Do you have the right to *not* sell to them?

Not in Maryland.

Time will tell. Personally I don't see it holding up.

Tom

Edit:
To be clear, Mayfair does *not* tell retailers what they can charge for their products. What Mayfair does is tell retailers that if they sell for a price that Mayfair does not like, Mayfair will not sell them any more product. This may not be covered by the new law anyway.

 
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Honestly Tom I don't see any problem with that you are saying....

are you saying the store that sells it for $50 won't be able to stay afloat? Then making the reference that this is the small game store that will have to close? Yet again I point to the fact that so what? As previously stated board games are rarely the defining points of small stores and also this still achieves the major purpose of getting boardgames out to the public for the right price. I see no issues with this.

What you are saying is we should control the curb of demand for the product using its pricing. I disagree with that, mainly because pricing is one of the big barriers of entries into this (and many other) hobby.
I see no issues with the price dropping. If this is our fear of small gaming stores closing down, then I would say not to worry too much. If everyone is playing in their house there will be a need to expand out of that (and accomodate more people) we will be seeing large board game nights spring up in community centers, more (or bigger) conventions, perhaps even "game cafe" which would be coffee shops with gaming sized tables for people. I honestly don't see a particular problem with that as it appears to expand the hobby not hinders it.

Or the tldr: While it may seem that there are adverse effects to removing price setting on games at first it actually creates a load of opportunities for the gaming hobby as a whole.
 
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DaFink wrote:
Honestly Tom I don't see any problem with that you are saying....

are you saying the store that sells it for $50 won't be able to stay afloat? Then making the reference that this is the small game store that will have to close? Yet again I point to the fact that so what? As previously stated board games are rarely the defining points of small stores and also this still achieves the major purpose of getting boardgames out to the public for the right price. I see no issues with this.

What you are saying is we should control the curb of demand for the product using its pricing. I disagree with that, mainly because pricing is one of the big barriers of entries into this (and many other) hobby.
I see no issues with the price dropping. If this is our fear of small gaming stores closing down, then I would say not to worry too much. If everyone is playing in their house there will be a need to expand out of that (and accomodate more people) we will be seeing large board game nights spring up in community centers, more (or bigger) conventions, perhaps even "game cafe" which would be coffee shops with gaming sized tables for people. I honestly don't see a particular problem with that as it appears to expand the hobby not hinders it.

Or the tldr: While it may seem that there are adverse effects to removing price setting on games at first it actually creates a load of opportunities for the gaming hobby as a whole.

What you are saying makes sense to most of us, except for one thing. If a manufacturer disagrees and feels it's in their best interest to set a minimum price, what right do we have to tell them not to?

It's their business that will succeed or fail, not ours. And no one has proved that their business will not succeed if they try to set minimum prices for their products.

Tom
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This digresses a bit but is still relevant....

Jay Tummelson has said before that only 10% of his games are sold via the internet / mail order (something that I still find hard to believe). In light of this, B&M stores are still very relevant. (This was a couple of years ago, so the figures may have changed but they are probably still close to this.)

It is also interesting that despite this, Jay does NOT believe he should set minimum pricing on his games.

Michael Green
 
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BoardsAndBits wrote:
DaFink wrote:
Honestly Tom I don't see any problem with that you are saying....

are you saying the store that sells it for $50 won't be able to stay afloat? Then making the reference that this is the small game store that will have to close? Yet again I point to the fact that so what? As previously stated board games are rarely the defining points of small stores and also this still achieves the major purpose of getting boardgames out to the public for the right price. I see no issues with this.

What you are saying is we should control the curb of demand for the product using its pricing. I disagree with that, mainly because pricing is one of the big barriers of entries into this (and many other) hobby.
I see no issues with the price dropping. If this is our fear of small gaming stores closing down, then I would say not to worry too much. If everyone is playing in their house there will be a need to expand out of that (and accomodate more people) we will be seeing large board game nights spring up in community centers, more (or bigger) conventions, perhaps even "game cafe" which would be coffee shops with gaming sized tables for people. I honestly don't see a particular problem with that as it appears to expand the hobby not hinders it.

Or the tldr: While it may seem that there are adverse effects to removing price setting on games at first it actually creates a load of opportunities for the gaming hobby as a whole.

What you are saying makes sense to most of us, except for one thing. If a manufacturer disagrees and feels it's in their best interest to set a minimum price, what right do we have to tell them not to?

It's their business that will succeed or fail, not ours. And no one has proved that their business will not succeed if they try to set minimum prices for their products.

Tom

The "right" to tell them not to rests with the government as derived from the constitution of Maryland. The Senate passed a bill which makes it illegal to engage in certain activities. This is within their purview and they have the "right" to do so.

Quote:
(a) A person may not:
(1) By contract, combination, or conspiracy with one or more other
persons, unreasonably restrain trade or commerce;
(2) Monopolize, attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with
one or more other persons to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce within the State, for the purpose of excluding competition or of controlling, fixing, or maintaining prices in trade or commerce;
... snip ...
FOR PURPOSES OF SUBSECTION (A)(1) OF THIS SECTION, A
CONTRACT, COMBINATION, OR CONSPIRACY THAT ESTABLISHES A MINIMUM
PRICE BELOW WHICH A RETAILER, WHOLESALER, OR DISTRIBUTOR MAY NOT
SELL A COMMODITY OR SERVICE IS AN UNREASONABLE RESTRAINT OF TRADE
OR COMMERCE.

Setting and enforcing minimum-pricing appears to fall under this provision.
 
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BoardsAndBits wrote:
If a manufacturer disagrees and feels it's in their best interest to set a minimum price, what right do we have to tell them not to?

There's no shortage of government regulations against businesses doing what they feel is in their "best interest," often with considerable justification (see Enron, AIG, etc.) In the US, the government has a mandate to continually balance corporate rights against consumer protection.

The Maryland law (as well as S 2261, which is making its way through the Senate) asserts that consumers suffer when market interference keeps prices high, and there's good evidence that this is true.
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out4blood wrote:
BoardsAndBits wrote:
DaFink wrote:
Honestly Tom I don't see any problem with that you are saying....

are you saying the store that sells it for $50 won't be able to stay afloat? Then making the reference that this is the small game store that will have to close? Yet again I point to the fact that so what? As previously stated board games are rarely the defining points of small stores and also this still achieves the major purpose of getting boardgames out to the public for the right price. I see no issues with this.

What you are saying is we should control the curb of demand for the product using its pricing. I disagree with that, mainly because pricing is one of the big barriers of entries into this (and many other) hobby.
I see no issues with the price dropping. If this is our fear of small gaming stores closing down, then I would say not to worry too much. If everyone is playing in their house there will be a need to expand out of that (and accomodate more people) we will be seeing large board game nights spring up in community centers, more (or bigger) conventions, perhaps even "game cafe" which would be coffee shops with gaming sized tables for people. I honestly don't see a particular problem with that as it appears to expand the hobby not hinders it.

Or the tldr: While it may seem that there are adverse effects to removing price setting on games at first it actually creates a load of opportunities for the gaming hobby as a whole.

What you are saying makes sense to most of us, except for one thing. If a manufacturer disagrees and feels it's in their best interest to set a minimum price, what right do we have to tell them not to?

It's their business that will succeed or fail, not ours. And no one has proved that their business will not succeed if they try to set minimum prices for their products.

Tom

The "right" to tell them not to rests with the government as derived from the constitution of Maryland. The Senate passed a bill which makes it illegal to engage in certain activities. This is within their purview and they have the "right" to do so.

Quote:
(a) A person may not:
(1) By contract, combination, or conspiracy with one or more other
persons, unreasonably restrain trade or commerce;
(2) Monopolize, attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with
one or more other persons to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce within the State, for the purpose of excluding competition or of controlling, fixing, or maintaining prices in trade or commerce;
... snip ...
FOR PURPOSES OF SUBSECTION (A)(1) OF THIS SECTION, A
CONTRACT, COMBINATION, OR CONSPIRACY THAT ESTABLISHES A MINIMUM
PRICE BELOW WHICH A RETAILER, WHOLESALER, OR DISTRIBUTOR MAY NOT
SELL A COMMODITY OR SERVICE IS AN UNREASONABLE RESTRAINT OF TRADE
OR COMMERCE.

Setting and enforcing minimum-pricing appears to fall under this provision.

It will be interesting to see if this holds up, especially wrt Mayfair or Fred.

I still have a hard time figuring out what problem they are trying to solve, and who they are "helping". Games are a luxury item and by no means a staple in everyday life, so why do game retailers need protection from minimum prices?

I would be interested to know why this bill was introduced, and at whom it was directed. I don't think it was game manufacturers.

In the end it really makes little difference to me. I would make less money per sale of Mayfair and/or Fred games, but I would definitely sell a lot more of them. It almost ends up being a wash.

Tom
 
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BoardsAndBits wrote:
I still have a hard time figuring out what problem they are trying to solve, and who they are "helping". Games are a luxury item and by no means a staple in everyday life, so why do game retailers need protection from minimum prices?


Boardgames are a peripheral concern, at best, of the legislature. But the WSJ provides a few indications of what might be on their minds:

Quote:
One company with a minimum-pricing policy is Kolcraft Enterprises Inc., a Chicago-based supplier of bassinets and strollers sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. According to a copy of a pricing agreement obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Kolcraft requires retailers to charge a minimum price of $159.99 for its Contours Classique 3-in-1 Bassinet.


Most people probably don't consider strollers and bassinets to be luxury items, although in the end I don't see why that distinction matters.

Incidentally, I don't think Mayfair will get any mileage out of the argument that refusing to restock noncompliant retailers falls outside the scope of vertical price fixing. In fact, I think most minimum price agreements use similar threats - what other recourse do manufacturers have, after all? The WSJ article specifically mentions a manufacturer using tactics reminiscent of Mayfair:

Quote:
Earlier this month, a federal judge in Marshall, Texas, citing the Supreme Court decision, dismissed the case of a leather-handbag retailer, Kay's Kloset, that sued a manufacturer, Leegin Creative Leather Products Inc., over its enforcement of a minimum-pricing agreement.

The retailer alleged that Leegin cut off its supplies of handbags after Kay's Kloset discounted them.


It's pretty clear to me that the recent MD law is an attempt to stop this sort of behavior.
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fastspinecho wrote:
BoardsAndBits wrote:
I still have a hard time figuring out what problem they are trying to solve, and who they are "helping". Games are a luxury item and by no means a staple in everyday life, so why do game retailers need protection from minimum prices?


Boardgames are a peripheral concern, at best, of the legislature. But the WSJ provides a few indications of what might be on their minds:

Quote:
One company with a minimum-pricing policy is Kolcraft Enterprises Inc., a Chicago-based supplier of bassinets and strollers sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. According to a copy of a pricing agreement obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Kolcraft requires retailers to charge a minimum price of $159.99 for its Contours Classique 3-in-1 Bassinet.


Most people probably don't consider strollers and bassinets to be luxury items, although in the end I don't see why that distinction matters.

Incidentally, I don't think Mayfair will get any mileage out of the argument that refusing to restock noncompliant retailers falls outside the scope of vertical price fixing. In fact, I think most minimum price agreements use similar threats - what other recourse do manufacturers have, after all? The WSJ article specifically mentions a manufacturer using tactics reminiscent of Mayfair:

Quote:
Earlier this month, a federal judge in Marshall, Texas, citing the Supreme Court decision, dismissed the case of a leather-handbag retailer, Kay's Kloset, that sued a manufacturer, Leegin Creative Leather Products Inc., over its enforcement of a minimum-pricing agreement.

The retailer alleged that Leegin cut off its supplies of handbags after Kay's Kloset discounted them.


It's pretty clear to me that the recent MD law is an attempt to stop this sort of behavior.

Good points, but I still don't understand who gets hurt by minimum pricing on board games, strollers and hand bags.

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BoardsAndBits wrote:
Good points, but I still don't understand who gets hurt by minimum pricing on board games, strollers and hand bags.


1) Consumers that can no longer afford those goods.
2) Discount retail stores that are not in a financially ambivalent position.
 
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