Queen of the Banned
When trying to think of a topic on which to spew my alleged stores of Neoknowledge, my very-bestest-Neo-buddy-forever advised me to write of what I know. I have some information to share about sniping and being wiz-banned, but I would like to focus on the sad phenomenon of being shop-banned. And holy Kau do I know about being shop-banned.
For those of you lucky enough to be in the dark about what the term “shop-banned” means, please let me explain. It was not that long ago that I decided to try to become a more serious Restocker- one who patrols a set of the Neopian Shops, looking for items which can be resold at a profit. As there are many articles in the Neopian Times Archives dealing with the fine art of Restocking, I will not deal with that here. If anyone does choose to go comb through the Archives, be sure to tell Finneus that I sent you- he may be the Keeper of the Altadorian Archives, but he is also a student of all Neopian knowledge and can often be found amongst the NT stacks. (It could be a crush on a certain Weewoo, but I don’t like to start rumours). Now, what these guides may not tell you is just how addictive the act of Restocking can be. For every item you buy in a shop which can make you a tidy profit, there are many more you miss out on. For me, this leads to a bit of an obsession- I refuse to stop trawling the shops until I get at least one unbuyable, or at least nearly unbuyable, item per day. And sometimes this leads to many hundreds of page refreshes, and this can lead to being shop-banned. And here we come to the meat of the issue.
Let’s say your favourite shops are the Chocolate Factory, the Book Shop, and Fine Furniture. These are a few shops which can make you nice profits, and so you go from one to the next to the next and back again, waiting for them to restock, trying to be the first to click on the most profitable item when it does. As these are shops which sell out and are empty between restocks, it is normal to be clicking between empty shops for a few minutes, waiting for these restocks to occur. But then, horribly, you notice that the shops seem to be taking quite a while to restock. You get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You begin to wonder, “Have I been shop-banned?” Because, you see, when you are shop-banned, ALL of the shops in Neopia will appear empty to you. The often banned know to head over to the Tiki Tack shop on Mystery Island to confirm the banned status. As the Tiki Tack shop has many items which are not profitable, it never empties out. And so, if it appears empty to you, you are, indeed, shop-banned. When you do pop in on the Tombola guy who mans this souvenir hut, please say hello for me- I am a frequent, though reluctant, visitor to his shop.
And so, what to do now? Shop-bans can last from minutes (as I have been told but cannot confirm) to hours, to up to a day. When I am banned, it tends to last nearly, but not quite, a full 24 hours. And, as I have stated, I can become obsessed with the idea of making a minimum amount of profit per day. So here is a list of ways to make profit while shop-banned:
*You can head to the Games Room and play your favourites, making sure to check out the Featured Game for extra NP.
*There are those Neopians, called “Snipers”, who make most of their profit by using the Shop Wiz to find under priced items in private shops. These items are often map pieces, job coupons, battledome weapons, codestones and dubloons, etc. I find that these items are snapped up pretty quickly, so it is a bit of a waste of my time to try and get them for my own profit. Rather, I like to find a few of the highest priced items in my own shop to search for. If someone has drastically undercut my price on an item, I scoop it up to resell at my higher (yet still fair) price. The key is to not end there. I then search through this person’s shop to see if perhaps everything is well below average. I then use my trusty Super Shop Wiz to price every likely looking item in their shop, and grab and resell the items which are worth it to me. Searching an item in one shop often leads to another shop which has it priced even lower, and then I search through all of the items in that shop as well. I have bought Paint Brushes and even more profitable items from the shops I have found in this manner. Now, I would ask you to send my regards to the Super Shop Wizard the next time you require his services, but I am afraid he is tired of me asking him for favours. As happens several times every day, the Wiz will ban me from making searches if I ask too many times. And I always ask too many times.
*When Wiz-banned, you can then move onto other areas of profit. I try the Neopian Auction House sometimes, though not often. There are many Auction Snipers who are experts at seeing the items which are profitable and bidding at the last possible moment. This is not my area of expertise, but I do look through a few pages of auctions to see if I can see any items that I do know the value of or items with no bids.
*You can also try the Igloo Garage Sale. Like the regular shops, though, you can eventually get banned from here as well.
*You can try to find great items which other Neopians decided to discard or donate at the Money Tree, Rubbish Dump, or the Second Hand Clothing Shop.
*You can head to the Faerieland Employment Agency and do up to five jobs per day. Some of these can be quite profitable.
But, in the end this can all seem like counting small potatoes compared to Restocking, which has made me the majority of my profits. I will tell you that one thing I never do is to go through the Trading Post listings and offer junk on lots, or try to take advantage of users’ inexperience. I don’t appreciate it when people do this to me and I won’t do it to others. When all avenues of profit-making become fruitless or tedious, an avatar-hunting Neopian like myself can always try to improve my skills at avatar awarding games, or even attempt (once again) to make it into the illustrious pages of the most awesome Neopian Times. Happily, the Wiz is compassionate and will lift his ban at the beginning of the next hour.
And so I log off at the end of the day with my shop as full as possible and hope for sales while I sleep. It is with happy anticipation that I log on the next day, check my sales, empty my till, and pay a visit to my friend in the Tiki Tack shop. Usually I am still shop-banned at this point and continue with my Dailies. Until, oh happy shining point of every day, I click on shop #21 and see the Tombola guy showing off his Coconut God Souvenirs, Hularoos, and Cherry Wish Sticks and the cycle begins again.
Like wiz-bans, shop-bans are random and can happen after a few hours, and sometimes, after just a few minutes. Those are the days which seriously dent my profit-making goals. As a parting piece of advice, if you don’t think you can control yourself and keep from being shop-banned, do NOT restock on the second of the month. I have kicked myself every time I have been banned for most or all of Half-Price Day on the third of every month. Good luck, may your bans be seldom and short, and may you reach all of your NeoGoals!
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"Let me get this straight. You came all the way to the employment agency today, waited in line for at least half an hour, actually came up to see me at this desk, and you didn't once consider what type of job you were actually interested in?"