The Mystery of the Schleich Shropshire Sheep

Posted by trig on July 22, 2014

We all have different ways of relaxing. Some of us listen to music. Some play chess, or even Shogi, which is a Japanese chess-like game, which enthusiasts claim is more challenging than Western chess. Don't confuse Shogi with Shōchū which is yet another splendid way of forgetting the troubles of the world.

While searching for an inexpensive set of Shogi pieces so I could action a thirty-year old item on my to-do list, I happened across a Japanese company selling genuine Schleich characters ... you know, farmyard animals, wild animals, knights, smurfs and so on. Made in Germany, painted in Portugal, Tunisia, China, according to the Schleich Toy Store. (Isn't it great the way the inconsistencies of Internet search introduce us to new learning experiences every day?) I assume these intricate little models are collected enthusiastically by infants and obsessives. 

Anyway what attracted my attention was that the price listed by a Japanese seller for one little Schleich sheep was around $120 US - plus postage from Japan. That, I thought, was a bit steep for a bit of injection-moulded PVC. So I searched Amazon and the Schleich Toy Store and found what appears to be the exact same piece of plastic for less than $6, with free postage if you have Amazon Prime. It turns out that Amazon lists lots of vendors selling these things with prices right across the spectrum.

So the mystery of the Schleich Shropshire Sheep (and a host of other Schleich creatures) is: what do the Japanese do to these things after they leave Germany to raise the price people are prepared to pay by a factor of 20? (That's a 1900% increase in tabloid headline terms.)

I'd love to know because I need to earn some money, and if I can just understand the process i can maybe pay off my mortgage. I need to find a good but inexpensive product that can be multiplied in perceived value many times, by some arcane process. I'm starting to think the Raspberry Pi squeeze player using PiCorePlayer is rather undervalued, so that could be my answer. So if you want to buy a Pi with PiCoreplayer for just $2400, please let me know, but I might have to send it to you via Japan. 

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