I agree Darth. I used to love going to stores to "hunt" but with "free shipping" like you get with Amazon Prime it's just too convenient to shop online.
My time is precious to me and I don't want to waste it going to multiple WalMarts only to find the local scalpers/collectors have already cleaned them out. Some have posted that they have had bad experiences shopping online, but; for the most part, I have had very good experiences shopping from Amazon and even Ebay.
Also I have found that if I'm a little patient, Amazon discounts figures pretty quickly. So add it all up; convenience, saving time and money and it makes for an unbeatable combination.
The best option I have found outside of stores that are consistent in fulfilling preorders is Facebook. Joined a couple collecting groups where the people have been pretty good about helping each other out without looking for mark ups. Someone hits a store, takes a pic, and picks up anything people need and ships it out. People buy extra of a fig to offer it up to members at cost. People helping people without trying to screw them over purely out of love and respect to fellow collectors. It doesn't happen as often as it should but it makes a difference. Changing people's mindsets from everyone for themselves to helping each other out isn't exactly something I see happening on the regular anytime soon though.
I have to ask, is going to brick and mortar store the only (or best)option for many collectors? For me, it's like the last resort. Actually, brick and mortar storesis not really much an option for me for reasons posted above. Walgreens is the only store I toy hunt because of their exclusives. Online shopping is the way to go for me.
I would prefer Walgreens or any of the big box retailers not get exclusives that collectors would want to buy three of the same figures, like Danni Moonstar and Stepford Cuckoos. I would prefer these figures be fan channel exclusives because those retailers that carry these figures better understand the collectors and what would sale and therefore keep the right amount of stock.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I agree with just about everything posted here.
@JayC I live in South Florida and we never seem to get product on time. As a matter of fact we usually get stuff after everybody else already has it. Our local WalMarts and Targets are very poorly stocked. They carry the products but they are often 3 or even 4 waves behind, particularly when it comes to Marvel Legends. They tend to be somewhat more up to date when it comes to Star Wars, but the abundance of scalpers and collectors clean out the pegs quickly.
I've been collecting toys since the early 1970s. Yes, I'm that old. I remember walking into Toys R Us with my parents and finding a very large section of Star Wars toys and what not. It was like Christmas morning.
However, my joy of collecting definitely soured when Todd Toys hit the market in the 90s because of scalpers and other toy collectors. I remember lining up at a Toys R Us store on Saturday morning to get the latest line. Sometimes, waiting outside a Target or Walmart with the other collectors and scalpers for the doors to open. And once they did, the was a rush to the toy department. I didn't find these experiences at all joyful. I quit toy collecting for about 15 years and sold off about 60% of my collection.
However, I got back into Toy Collecting because I could find Marvel Select and DC Direct figures quite easy at my local comic book shop. There was never any fuss.
Online shopping really got me back into Marvel Legends and other toy lines.
But, I understand the frustration for finding and acquiring figures nowadays. Especially in light of social media and message boards like this one. I mean, you'll see people online with the latest and greatest figures. And some of the stores they visit has tons of inventory, so much so, the figures are discounted so the stores could just them off their shelves. On top of that, some of the figures end up at discount store like Ross, Marshalls or local discount stores like Five Below. That's the most frustrating part for me. Seeing online that some of these figure end up at a discount store when they were never seen on the shelf of a Target or Walmart.
The Walgreens Marvel Legends exclusives have been the most challenging for me.
8 hours ago, DylanRaven055 said:
There's only one company, DAM, that brings some of the Tamashii Nations products, but they do not really sell them, they send them to a few distributors, which again, are some small collector oriented stores, which most of the time, manage a lot of sales through Facebook, so in the end we have to turn to online shopping.
And DAM is totally arbitrary as a distributor, it gives preference to stores that are its "select ones", it sells them a greater number of figures than to other stores and even allows them to sell the figures at a higher price than the starting price with the excuse that the figure is already scarce.
Fantastic article. The two major problems for me are definitely scalpers and distribution. Living on the East coastwe definitely get shipments in last and I feel like sometimes not at all. I love going toyhunting but its almost to the point at certain stores its just all old peg warmers which means new stock isnt getting ordered. I hate buying figures online because Im very picky with paint and more often thannot I end up with a figure with the worst paint job. I really did miss Toysrus and when the new one opened up I was very hopeful to easily find marvel legends again but I guess theirnew business model is carry less inventory and make it more of an interactive place for kids to play so I cant count on finding figures there.And with any hobby there are always gonna be peoplethat ruin it for everyone that, being the scalpers and baf swappers. Dont really see a way to stop scalpers but hasbro really does need to lock up theirfigures bypackaging them a littler better. That being said happy hunting everyone!
On 1/11/2020 at 11:26 AM, Stricklandpi said:
I was in Target one morning and saw a guy with 3 different Alfreds from the Killer Kroc wave. I asked if he was getting one to use for each head and he didnt know what I was talking about. He said that he owns a shop and sells them I asked him what if they dont sell and he said that the store has a 90-day return policy so if nobody buys them for the mark-up pricetheyre guaranteed their money back no matter what! its a scam and they are the ones who take the fun*out of collecting.
There's a guy in my town that owns a sports items store and buys the WWE Elite figures, if he can't sell them in his store he brings them back right before the return time expires, from what I have heard some employees aren't happy about it but they don't deal with returns so there's really nothing they can do about it.
Good article, you bring some very good points. As much as I enjoy this hobby, it's getting harder and harder as time passes. I face or have faced a lot of difficulties that others have mentioned above. Living in a small town in Central PA is not easy for collecting, we end up getting stuff later, but for some reason Gamestop gets them first. There's only 1 Target and 1 Walmart and no Walgreens for 2 to 3 hours in any direction so I rely on their website for their exclusives and sometimes I miss out which was the case for their exclusive Thing figure(Thank God for rereleases). Stores exclusives are a double edge sword, while I understand that retailers ask for them and it can be another way for a company to release a figure they probably couldn't fit somewhere else, the very nature of them being exclusive brings difficulty; especially with scalpers that hear exclusive and immediately think profit, and buy them all. I never saw a Worthy Cap on the shelves, saw the 80th anniversary Cap once, thankfully I was able to find the recent ROTJ Luke on the first try but for the most part Walmart exclusives are the worst. I seem to have a better luck with Target exclusives but depending on the item, sometimes if I don't get them when they first put them on the shelves they don't stock them again and I miss out. As much as I love hunting the figures I find myself relying on online retailers more and more, shipping cost can sometimes be less than what I pay for gas driving around looking for figures. Also I find online retailers discounting old product more often than physical stores, which means I'm more likely to get a good deal on purchases. The downside to that is that I can't inspect the figure before I purchase so I run the risk of sloppy painting but that's the way it is I guess. It's weird how things have changed, growing up I would see toy commercials and get excited about toys and I would go to Kay Bee Toys and I would see shelves with product, sometimes I would be surprised by product that I didn't know got made but it was there in the store, nowadays I can go online and see news regarding my favorite lines and with technology the way it is, I'm well aware of what's coming and when, adding excitement and anticipation only to go Walmart or Target and see empty shelves or old product that didn't move. I guess that's the way it is now, sad really, I don't want to solely rely on online shopping but at the same time brick and mortar stores are not making it easy for me to support them.
A very interesting topic. Definitely curious to see how companies go about making toys in the future. Things are changing rather quickly, and some stores are just refusing to change.
In Mexico we only get collectibles like Marvel Legends or DC multiverse, at a decent variety of stores. We do struggle getting some store exclusives, since such stores do not exist here, but on that front we're not that bad. It's with companies like Neca, DST, and basically any Asian toymaker where we struggle, because there's no one, other than small collector stores, that brings those products here. There's only one company, DAM, that brings some of the Tamashii Nations products, but they do not really sell them, they send them to a few distributors, which again, are some small collector oriented stores, which most of the time, manage a lot of sales through Facebook, so in the end we have to turn to online shopping.
Really, a nice topic to discuss.
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