It's easy to forget that the presidency of the United States is a government job just like any other–in that it comes with a stipulated salary and benefits.
But regardless of their bombastic rhetoric or self-serious public image, politicians are like all other government employees. The president, vice president, and legislators earn an annual income from the government in exchange for their duties, which include: executing/circumventing the law, upholding/withholding the civil liberties of American citizens, and legislating/sabotaging how societal institutions meet the needs of citizens, from healthcare to education.
If you've ever wondered what American politicians earn for all their hard work arguing across the aisle and starting Twitter feuds, look no further:
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The great state of Oklahoma is known for two things: Truck accidents, and the truck accident lawyers who fight against them.
But if you're in Oklahoma and you get hit by a truck, as Oklahomans tend to do, how do you make sure that you have the best truck accident lawyer in Oklahoma on your side? No need to fear, you're in the right place (unlike the Oklahoma truck driver at the moment they crashed into you). These are some of the hottest Oklahoma truck accident lawyers in the biz, and they're just a phone call away, ready and willing to take your case!
Considered by some to be the bad boy of Oklahoma truck accident lawyers, David Bernstein moderates over 250 focus groups at Focus Group Oklahoma, which is kind of like being in a motorcycle gang except more lawyerly. Feared by reckless Oklahoma truckers for his icy gaze and professorial knowledge of personal injury law, David secretly has a heart of gold, spending his free time feeding the hungry with the nonprofit charity he co-founded, Lawyers Fighting Hunger.
Some call her a "prodigy," others say a "wunderkind." But even after being knighted as a "Top Young Professional Under the Age of 40 in 2019," Jordan Klinger clung to the only title that really mattered: "Professional." With a background as an insurance defense attorney, Klinger possesses the unique ability to read the minds of her insurance company opponents in cases related to Oklahoma truck accidents, calculating and destroying their moves before they can even make them.
There's a saying whispered outside Oklahoma truck stops and courthouse-adjacent bars: "You'll never see the Full Monty coming." Those who tell such tales are, of course, referring to Oklahoma truck accident lawyer Monty L. Cain. As the legends go, Monty was a normal petroleum industry worker until, one day, he fell into a vat of toxic petroleum, giving him the ability to transform into a gaseous state and an undying vengeance against Oklahoma truckers who accidentally hit people. The accounts are entirely unconfirmed, but one look at Monty and you'll know it in your heart to be true.
Always pictured in front of hundreds of books, Gonzalo Fernandez is sometimes said to be the most well-read Oklahoma truck accident lawyer in the world. Fluent in both English and Spanish, and touting an M.B.A. degree alongside his J.D., one could ask Gonzalo any question about law or business administration and expect him to know the answer off the top of his head.
He might be named James F. Self, but with him on your side, your Oklahoma truck accident enemies will be the only ones getting F'd. Sometimes referred to as "The Wizard," F. Self is a man said to have an innocuous presence that masks limitless power. A near-supernatural ability to stay abreast of changes in the law allows F. Self to defend clients against all sorts of personal injury, from medical malpractice to dog bites. Think of F. Self like the Tank Man of Tiananmen Square, one brave man against an army of accidents.
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Despite the fact that late-stage capitalism is an amoral hellhole driven by a borderline religious belief in the sanctity of brands, we would never, ever suggest that anyone should shoplift from big-box stores, or even imply that doing so is a victimless crime and morally fine.
But hypothetically, if we were to give any tidbit of advice to any would-be shoplifters (aside from the Golden Rule that you never, ever steal from mom-and-pop shops or individuals just trying to make a living), it would be this: Avoid shoplifting from Target.
While loss prevention technology has certainly ramped up over the past decade, the truth is that the vast majority of one-off shoplifters don't get caught. The majority of shoplifters who eventually get apprehended are "the clunky ones who get just good enough to evade detection for a while until they get too greedy and too braggy," as Target manager Dan Holliday explains.
By nature, working as a loss prevention officer (LP) is one of the most dangerous retail-related jobs a person can have. Every customer apprehension poses the potential risk of the situation turning violent, which is why the vast majority of stores implement "No Touch" policies for their LPs, whereby LPs are not allowed to get physical with, and sometimes even not allowed to pursue, suspects. Moreover, even if an LP suspects a person of shoplifting, stopping a customer without solid proof can open the store up to a lawsuit (especially if the customer is innocent).
But unlike Walmart and Best Buy, whose loss prevention officers (LPs) barely get paid enough to care––let alone risk their own safety––Target takes loss prevention very seriously. In fact, Target runs one of country's top-rated forensic laboratories, which specializes in solving "organized retail crimes committed at Target stores through video and image analysis, latent fingerprint and computer forensics."
Retail Stores Sales, Newport, USA - 23 Nov 2018 John Minchillo/AP/REX/Shuttersto
Scarier, though, is the methodical way in which Target goes about building cases against repeat shoplifters. In a 2016 Reddit post, a user named StiggyPop recounted his experience of being a drug-addict who made money by stealing and flipping Blu-Rays from Target. After four months, he was apprehended by a team of high-level LPs who knew everything about him, from where his apartment was located to the specific store he used as a fence (a middleman for stolen goods who acts as a "fence" between thieves and unknowing buyers).
Other Reddit users shared similar stories. As it turns out, alongside their forensic team and top-of-the-line, in-store facial recognition technology, Target is known for actually letting shoplifters get away with their bounty...up until they reach the monetary threshold for a felony shoplifting charge. This means that while a Walmart LP will stop a shoplifter regardless of whether they're stealing a $5 DVD or a $500 dollar TV, Target might allow a shoplifter to steal 100 $5 DVDs over time, all while building up a massive, fool-proof felony case against them. And here's the craziest part––they organize these efforts across stores and even state-lines. Essentially, if you steal at any Target, anywhere in the country, they're quite possibly building up a case against you.So if by chance you have the urge to shoplift, keep yourself safe and avoid Target at all costs. There are plenty of other big-box chains out there that don't deserve your business.
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Even if you don't know the first thing about collectables, you know Funko POPs.
Everyone does. They're absolutely everywhere, from comic book shops to big box stores to movie theater concession stands. Many people think Funko POPs are cute, with their big black eyes and uniform features. Others think they're creepy for pretty much the same reasons. But love them or hate them, you'd be surprised to discover that some Funko POPs, which retail for roughly $10, can fetch well over $1000 on the secondary market.
In no uncertain terms, there's money in POPs. So whether you're looking to sell off a few old pieces, a massive collection, or even to start flipping from scratch, this guide to selling Funko POPs will cover all your bases––from valuing your collection to spotting fake POPs.
A Brief Warning on Collectible Markets: Collectible markets are almost always speculative and are incredibly prone to bubbles. Never purchase collectibles as investments, especially long-term ones, if your ultimate goal is monetary profit. With collectibles, the best rule of thumb is to buy what you like and only spend money that you're okay with losing.
Identifying High-Value POPs
POPs are mass-produced collectibles, with most individual figures receiving runs of well over 10,000 units. Considering the market saturation and wide availability of most POPs, the vast majority never accumulate value. So when you're going through your POP collection, how do you spot the money pieces?
The best way to check market value for any individual POP is to check recent Ebay sold listings.
Poppriceguide.com (PPG) provides a great shortcut, aggregating prices from eBay. It's also a great tool for tracking inventory of your collection. That being said, PPG is prone to accidentally factoring in the prices of bootlegs for certain POPs, so to get an accurate idea of a rare POP's price, it's always best to double-check eBay sales directly.
Here are a few types of POPs to look out for:
While most POPs are readily available anywhere, certain POPs are exclusive to a specific store. These will be marked by an Exclusive sticker, although it's important to note that licenses differ by country. Just because something is exclusive in the US does not mean it's exclusive overseas. Sometimes exclusive stickers will warrant extra market value, but only by a small amount.
Convention exclusives and limited number pieces also fall under this category, with a lot of pre-2015 convention exclusives counted amongst the highest value POPs in existence.
When a POP has a "CHASE" sticker, that means it's a rarer variant of a different POP. Chases are generally inserted at a 1:6 ratio, meaning that for POPs with a Chase, there are five times as many common variants.
Older Chases were produced at a 1:36 ratio, though, so if you happen to own any Chases that were made pre-2015, you might be sitting on something very rare.
When a POP gets "vaulted," that means it's been officially retired by Funko. Vaulted POPs won't ever be made again, and it's not uncommon for a recently vaulted POP to shoot up in value. "Vault" status can be tricky to find, but the Funko app is a good place to start. The app can be finicky though, so sometimes the best way to figure out if a specific POP is vaulted is simply to ask around.
Proto POPs are typically unfinished versions used during the production process. Funko gives these away at official events, and there are entire sub-markets dedicated to collecting them. The majority of proto POPs on eBay are scrapped copies from Funko's factory in China, so most proto POP sales are made through private communities like the Funko Funatic forum.
Valuable POPs, especially anime ones, tend to get targeted by Chinese bootleggers who flood the market with fakes. As a result, always make sure that the POPs you plan to buy or sell are the real deal.
While different POPs have different tells, there are a few general guidelines you can use to distinguish authentic POPs from fakes.
For a case study, we'll look at one of the most valuable and commonly faked POPs around: Planet Arlia Vegeta.
My real PA Vegeta compared to a bootlegDan Kahan
1. Box Printing Placement: Fake POPs usually have some sort of box printing issue that distinguishes it from the real ones. Bootleg PA Vegetas have two: the placement of the "10" and the tip of the outline around Vegeta's hair. On real ones (left), the "10" is center-right, and the hair is fully outlined. Fakes (right) tend to have a lower, off-center "10" and a gap in the hair outline.
2. Coloring on the POP: While POPs are definitely not the most high-end collectibles on the market, fake POPs look especially cheap when compared to their licensed counterparts. On a real PA Vegeta (left), the skin is a light tan and the hair is a distinct reddish brown. Fakes (right) tend to have pinkish skin and brighter hair that skews more red. Some fakes also feature incorrect eyebrow placement.
My Planet Arlia Vegeta's Foot StampDan Kahan
3. Foot stamp: Real PA Vegetas will always have "L140921" stamped on their foot. Some of the more convincing fakes try to replicate this though, so a stamp alone is not enough to distinguish a real one.
4. Some notes: There's a common misconception that every real POP has a stamp on the bottom of the box that matches the one on their foot. While that's usually the case, it's not always true. In special circumstances wherein POP boxes got damaged during shipment, Funko has been known to send out official, unstamped replacement boxes.
PA Vegeta is a great example. While many PA Vegetas do have an "L140921" stamped on the bottom of the box, a number of PA Vegeta boxes got damaged in transit before they were sold at New York Comic Con in 2014. Funko rush-shipped mint, stampless replacement boxes for the retailer to swap out with the damaged ones before the con. It's unknown exactly how many genuine stampless PA Vegeta boxes exist, but they've been officially recognized by the Action Figure Authority (AFA) and are significantly rarer than their stamped counterparts.
Some fakes are a lot better than others. The most convincing fakes (usually customs) sometimes even replicate the proper hair and skin color. When in doubt, always seek advice from people who own the real one and preferably possess insider knowledge about Funko's business practices. There's a lot of misinformation floating around the Funko community!
Timing Your Sales
The POP market is almost entirely hype-based. which means that for most POPs, value hinges on fan excitement, be it for a new release or a particular character.
As a result, POPs tend to be most valuable immediately after they hit the market. This is the space where flippers thrive, buying brand new, exclusive POPs and selling them quickly while hype levels are high. Typically, flippers don't want to hold onto stock because, while prices are inflated upon release, most POPs settle down to a much lower market value after a month or two.
But even if you're just looking to sell off a few pieces from your personal collection, timing is everything.
For POPs related to major ongoing franchises, values can often fluctuate alongside the series. Game of Thrones POPs peaked in value just before Season 8 began, with values dropping as the final season went downhill. Certain Tony Stark POPs shot up after Avengers: Endgame. And as morbid as it sounds, whenever a celebrity dies, POPs of the characters they played tend to rise in value.
Another important note: The POP market tends to dip around July and October every year, coinciding with San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con. This is when people tend to sell off old POPs en masse to make space for the new convention exclusives they want, so if you can help it, pick a different month to get rid of your unwanted pieces.
Ebay is the easiest place to sell your POPs. To maximize profits, sellers generally list their POPs individually or in small lots curated by franchise.
When selling POPs on eBay, especially valuable ones, make sure to take extensive pictures. Ideally, you want one from every side of the box, alongside separate pictures of any major box flaws. Make sure to list any flaws in the text portion of the listing as well, and mark the POP as "Used" if the damage is extensive. POP collectors are notoriously picky about box condition, so providing the most accurate presentation of the pieces you want to sell will help protect you if any disputes arise.
The best part about selling on eBay is that after you make your listings, there's no need to consistently monitor them. As long as you answer any questions buyers send your way, you can usually just leave them up until someone either purchases or sends an offer.
Remember to price accordingly though, as eBay takes a 10% cut from the final value you receive from your buyer, and Paypal takes a little under 3%.
Alternatives to eBay include Mercari and OfferUp, but neither get anywhere near the amount of traffic that eBay does.
If you want to avoid the 10% eBay fee, community sales are another viable route. Dedicated Facebook groups like "Funko Trading" and the Funkoswap subreddit provide open markets for buyers, sellers, and traders to coordinate POP transactions.
On top of avoiding eBay fees, the biggest upside to community sales is the added level of transparency. Both buyers and sellers are accountable to the larger community, so you know you're dealing with other real collectors and not scammers.
Assuming you have any truly valuable pieces, community groups are usually the best way to find interested buyers. There are also plenty of smaller community groups on Facebook catering to collectors of specific POP franchises like Dragon Ball and local groups for in-person meets.
The main downside to community sales is the effort required. Most groups are relatively active, meaning that if you want people to buy your stuff, you have a lot of competition. Group posts require constant monitoring, messaging interested buyers, and accommodating requests for specific pictures. People in groups also tend to be looking for deals, so expect to sell below PPG prices if you want to move stock in a timely fashion.
While not recommended for small collections or POPs in the $500+ range, sometimes lot sales are the best way to sell a massive POP collection, especially if you value your time and energy.
The general idea behind lots is that you sell a large number of POPs for a discount in order to get rid of common pieces quickly. To incentivize, you typically include some higher value POPs in the mix, too.
While smaller lots separated by franchise can be sold on eBay, your best bet for lot sales is usually established stores like 7BucksAPop, who buy collections to resell. Other lot buyers who own stores can be found in the POP groups, and they'll usually be willing to help with shipping and transportation (which adds up when selling through massive lots).
Typically, lot buyers will be looking to spend around 50-55% PPG value for a collection, which sounds very low but can actually work out well if that collection includes a ton of commons that likely wouldn't sell quickly. In fact, when you factor in fees and shipping costs, sometimes lot sales can work out to a pretty similar profit (give or take a few $100) for a whole lot less effort. Moreover, you get all that profit in one lump sum instead of spread out over an indefinite period of time.
Hopefully this guide provides you with a solid groundwork to collect and sell POPs. If you still have questions though, there are always people in the larger community willing to provide assistance. Most importantly, remember that collectibles are supposed to be fun. Be careful of bootlegs and have a great time!
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