Well, here we are. A week and a half away from Force Friday. I can’t wait to see all the new toys on store shelves. I don’t know how much collecting I’ll be doing, due to economic factors that nobody likes to think about, but I’m sure I’ll come home with a few figures, and maybe even a vehicle. It’s going to be a fun weekend sharing stories and pictures with the collecting community online and in my own local circle. The anticipation is always part of the fun, at least for me. Apparently, that’s not the case for EVERYBODY…
I’m writing this a week before it posts, and a few days ago some figures from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens figures went on sale on eBay. I’m not sure how they were leaked to the public, or even if they were SUPPOSED to be available, but there they were. Figures that we can ALL buy in a few DAYS for around 10 bucks were being sold AND bought for 10 times that. Yeah, you read that correctly. A figure sold for 100 freaking dollars. Another sold for 125 freaking dollars. Why would someone pay 125 freaking dollars for something they could buy for a fraction of that in a matter of weeks? Is it REALLY that important to be able to say you had it first? It’s the same figure. Same packaging. There is literally nothing special about this figure, other than the fact that nobody else has one yet. Or at least not many people. In a matter of days (hours, even), the figure will be worth exactly the same as the one you can buy on the peg at your local store for around 10% of what you just paid for it. Someone please explain the rationale here. Please?
Look, I’m not one to tell anyone what to do with their disposable income. If you have an extra Benjamin lying around and you think “hmmm, I can get a look at this before anyone else, and make a few people jealous in the process,” and you decide that you don’t need to use that money on anything else, by all means, spend it how you choose. You earned it (one assumes), so you spend it the way you want. BUT I can’t help but think about the fact that you could buy the entire first wave for only slightly more than you spent on one figure. Wouldn’t it make more sense to support the businesses that are honoring the release dates and helping to create an event for fans like us rather than giving your money to a seller who has broken street dates and ignored the generally accepted rules? Yeah, I know, we Star Wars fans love rebels of all sorts, but I just cannot support this practice, especially when it artificially inflates the asking price for the stuff I want!
It’s possible this is just an area of collecting that I have never understood and will never understand. I get pre-ordering a case, or a wave, or paying a small premium to make sure your order is guaranteed when you’re afraid something is going to sell out. That’s part of the price we pay as collectors, especially if we are completists. But what is the benefit of grossly overpaying for something when simply being patient and enjoying the release with other collectors will not only save you money but allow you to be a part of an experience?
I admit that I have a different mindset on these things than many collectors. As I get older, I value experience over items, but I still love getting my hands on the items themselves. I can wait for the satisfaction of pulling the figures off of a shelf and taking them to the counter, sometimes having to tell the cashier that I am not, in fact, buying them for my kid, but for myself, and getting the “Oh, you’re one of THEM” looks (which I actually love and am not at all insulted by, by the way). I suppose if money was no object, I MIGHT be tempted to say “sure, I’ll shell out some cash to get one early.” Then again, I probably wouldn’t. It’s less about spending the money than where the money is going. I don’t want to reward those who prey on this mindset and who seek to artificially inflate demand for their own selfish ends.
I’m sorry this has been a soapbox month, but I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this, and these are the only conclusions I have been able to draw. I welcome your input. If anyone here has been someone who pays a significant premium to be the first to get something, please share your experience and your mindset about it, I would love to have a dialogue about it. Above all else, I want to understand every collecting philosophy out there.
Also, is there a particular item you’re excited to find on Force Friday? I’m anxious to get a look at all the figures, and I’ll make my initial selections in the moment, so a simple “EVERYTHING!” is my answer, what say you?
Until next time, May The Force Be With Us All!
Jeff can be heard weekly on Assembly of Geeks (www.assemblyofgeeks.com) and on his own podcast network, MarvinDog Media (www.MarvinDogMedia.com) where he hostsThe Pilot Episode, Talking Toys with Taylor and Jeff, and Bantha Banter: A Star Wars Chat Show. He is also co-host of Comics With Kenobi with fellow CWK blogger Matt Moore, and part-time co-host for Coffee With Kenobi, which you have already found if you’re reading this blogPowered by Sidelines