Crack is Cheaper
Stop spending all our cash
—Ookla The Mok, "Stop Talking About Comic Books or I'll Kill You"
Being a geek is tough. But never mind any social stigma, or trying to explain your hobbies to other people. Oh no. The hardest hits in Geekdom go straight to your bank account.
Perhaps because they feel that they don't reach a wide audience, makers of so-called "geek" paraphernalia charge a pretty penny for their wares. It doesn't help that geeks are as into their interests as any Sports fan is into his favorite team, which is to say a lot. Just because their bobbleheads are more likely to be Mobile Suits than football players, doesn't mean they're not like the rest of mankind. Just in different ways.
Can be made worse by the hardcore Fan Boy's preference for overpriced merchandise. This guy wants geek paraphernalia to be overpriced because he wants to be the only one on the block who can afford to own it. If an item costs $8.99, then any old fan, even one who has a mortgage and bills to pay, can afford it; but if it costs $129.99 and comes with the
fake totally legitimate signature of the fandom's creator, then only a true fan would spend so much of his mother's money to purchase it. This is a dream come true for the manufacturer, who would much rather sell 10,000 items at a $128 profit margin than 50,000 items at a $7 profit margin.
Additionally, because the in-roads and availability of material related to the hobby seems so tenuous, the Fan Boy will be willing to pay inflated prices to ensure that material keeps being produced. Of course, the rise of the internet has proven there to a breaking point, as many anime licensees have found out: expecting people to pay $40 for a good seventy-five minutes of entertainment that can easily be distributed online may soon put you out of business.
As these hobbies become more mainstream, the prices will often fall. Many fans then find that the situation doesn't get all that much better, as the lowered prices simply encourage them to get more.
Since these hobbies are so expensive, ads for them count as Up Marketing, just at fans of these instead of the upper class.
No real life examples, please; we'd be here all day.
Anime and Manga
- Air Gear has the Air Treks that are expensive, comparable to what you'd expect from rollerblades with motors, necessitating the teens to work part-time. Unless it's provided for them.
- Possibly justified by the fact that wearing them apparently allows the user to violate physics.
- Definatly justified by the fact that wearing them lets you jump several stories and move close to 100 MPH. from shoes. If anything, the fact students on a part time job can afford them makes them cheap for what you get
- Yoshii of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu spends all his food allowance on anime and manga. He gets around this by eating ridiculously small meals, including sugar water.
- In Lucky Star, the girls discuss this trope when they talk about how Japanese people seem to love limited edition items. Konata herself does this a lot, often buying limited edition items that are hard to get.
- It might be related to the aesthetic ideal of wabi-zabi, and to the Zen idea of the impermanence of all things—that wouldn't be the oddest place in Japanese culture that wabi-zabi has turned up.
- Medabots has a main set of characters, the Medabots themselves, as expensive to buy and maintain. (Justified, in the fact that they are built to shoot missiles, lasers and other things.)
- In the Read or Die series, the main protagonists often spend so much money on books that they have no money for food.
- In Welcome to The NHK, Yamazaki, who is already a massive otaku with shelves packed full of manga, DVDs, and figurines, gets Satou into the hobby and trains him to buy things on impulse. But Satou doesn't have much money to spare, so this just accelerates him towards bankruptcy.
- In Yureka the characters have all the money hangups of online gamers, but the technology is much better (read: More expensive). Add to that the price of Netrooms when a home computer isn't available, it's no wonder most of them can barely afford it.
- Part of the reason BA and Bob are perpetually broke in Knights of the Dinner Table is that they use what little money they earn from their minimum-wage jobs to support their role-playing hobby.
- Don Quixote: This attitude is showed In-Universe (and deconstructed) by Alonso Quijano. At chapter I Part I we learn that he has acquired a lot of chivalry books (almost three hundred), and if you remember that the printing-press had been invented in Europe only some years ago, it's a considerable feat. Later, Alonso Quijano will decide that it would be a great idea to become Don Quixote:
"and to such a pitch did his eagerness and infatuation go that he sold many an acre of tillage land to buy books of chivalry to read"
- This is a borderline Meta example since it's based on Real Life, but Pawn Stars shows the opposite side of this trope with some people who make a living off it. The Harrisons frequently buy things because they know they'll be able to resell them to collectors who are willing to pay huge sums of money for antique guns, classic cars, historic documents, pop culture memorabilia, etc.
- Cyrano De Bergerac: This attitude is showed In-Universe (and deconstructed) by the baker Ragueneau in this play. His wife Lise remembers a time when he was a normal person, a Supreme Chef with a successful bakery. But then he get infatuated with the poets and his lifestyle. At the first Act, he pays theater’s tickets with pies. At the second Act, he accepts poems in return from his food, he pays to much money to an assistant for baking a pie with the form of a lyre and cannot renounce to even one of his precious poems. He will be completely ruined in the beginning of the third Act, abandoned by his neglected wife Lisa and he will attempt an Interrupted Suicide.
- Megatokyo: The plot is kicked off by Piro and Largo blowing all of their cash on video games (and the Cool Thing) and thus stranding themselves in Japan. Later, Dom and Ed send them money to get home...It doesn't last long.
- The Batman: The Animated Series episode "Beware the Grey Ghost", The villain is a toy collector who turned his toys into bombs to get the money to buy more toys