We Need To Talk About the Scarcity Mindset

Every so often I receive an email that goes something like this:

“I wish you wouldn’t have posted that via-venue address for <insert name here>. I haven’t gotten mine back yet and I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t post VV addresses because the more mail they get, the less chance I am going to get mine back.”

This is probably the poster-case for talking about the scarcity mindset. 

This type of mindset occurs in different fields every day and is easy to spot. It can be boiled down to a simple statement.

The more others have, the less I can have

And, in the TTM autograph collecting world – it is running rampant.

Almost weekly I see successes posted from Via-Venue (VV) addresses where the recipient intentionally waits until after the play or filming is complete before posting their success. The reasons for this varies but a couple of examples are:

  • I traded the address over the past X months for other addresses so I didn’t want to tell people publicly
  • I sent off another 3 packages to them so I didn’t want them to get overloaded and stop
  • I didn’t want anybody else to get a success because I researched really hard to find the address
  • and others

The issue I wanted to address today is a specific one: not posting a success – at all – until after a Broadway or other show closes. Something that looks like:

“TTM Success from XXX. I got this back 3 weeks ago but waited to post until the show closed.”

This is the epitome of a scarcity mindset.

Throughout my time collecting, I have been the opposite, which is the abundance mindset. If I find an address that works (sometimes even if I haven’t tried it) I tend to share it. I don’t trade for it, I don’t wait for the show to close, I don’t charge people for it – I want others to get successes too. To me, the more people who get a success – even if it isn’t me – the better. We are all hobbyists, and I take joy in the entire community’s successes, not just my own.

Whenever I see someone wait until after a show closes to post a success, it disappoints me on many levels. One, because maybe I could have received a success from that address two, but also because – in my opinion – this type of holding back hurts the community and builds distrust. 

There is another similar type of “hoarding” that goes on, but I respect their reasons – and that is the people who pay for TV and film breakdowns. If you are paying the big prices for the services, I understand why you want to keep them a secret. But if it is something publicly available – why not share?

What are your thoughts? Have you ever withheld an address from the community until after a show closes? What were your reasons?  If you have been on the other end – are you finding this more and more prevalent in today’s collecting world?  I am interested to hear your thoughts.