You’ve probably heard it before from me when it comes to Malaysian collecting: The cars are overpriced, the desirable models from any line rarely make it onto the pegs, and then there’s what’s in the pictures above - outright theft from retailers.

Truth be told, seeing a card with no car and the blister ripped off isn’t that unfamiliar to me - kids do this pretty often. What stood out to me in this case was that it appeared to have been done professionally - the blister was torn open just enough to extract the car.

A Batmobile suffered the same fate.

The next week, I visited the same place, and right at eye-level was...

Yeah.

This 3-pack didn’t fare much better.

I’m used to the pegs showing signs of being systematically swept clean of every car of a particular model, but this is a new low for those who bother peg hunting instead of paying off an employee at the store or factory (those Lamley posts are true).

So, if I can’t find anything on the pegs, what about online?

Uh. Mainlines sell for RM 7.90 at worst.

*gulps*

Yeah, screw these people, their homes, their families, and their extended families.

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I could go on and on about this, so what about the secondary market? Well, they aren’t much better. The markups are slightly less offensive, but the fact remains that you can’t get anything nice without being really lucky or possesed of a lot of disposable income. Unless you’re on really good terms with certain members of certain forums, but that has its own risks.

The really insulting part is, most retailers have not purchased any stock from later than December 2014 due to projections of decreasing customer demand courtesy of the Goods & Services Tax, meaning that if you want anything from this year, you will have to buy them online or from the secondary market.

The truth is, the entire Malaysian supply chain for Hot Wheels is corrupt. Massive markup asides, everyone in the supply chain has a part of the scalping action. How do you think that case full of Super Treasure Hunts wound up in the US? Why do you think I keep telling tales of pegs devoid of anything but old American muscle cars or unlicensed cars? I’d say that I hope the dearth of new stock this year can cause the entire business to implode, but what will actually happen is that anyone wanting new stock will be driven into the ready hands of the scalpers.

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I don’t really care if I wind up burning my bridges with the rest of the Malaysian collecting scene over this. If your idea of collecting is swiping the pegs clean of every last example of what you were looking for or bribing someone to do so for you, this isn’t collecting at all, this is running an old boys’ network of scalpers.