Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
July 23, 2013
I think I hate toy collectors.
Category: Toys

Yep. I think I hate toy collectors.

I don't hate all toy collectors, obviously. Some -- many -- most -- of my favorite people collect toys. I collect toys. But I never set out to collect toys, and I don't much enjoy the activity of collecting, per se. I don't pride myself on the size or value of my collection or the rarity of items in it, and I don't compare it to the collections of others as if it makes me more or less worthy -- I hate the "he who dies with the most toys wins" mentality. I just really love toys, so I buy a lot of toys, and I've amassed a collection because of that.

So it's the collectors who treat collecting itself like it's a sport -- like it's golf, even, 'cause that's the expensive one -- whom I really despise. I want toys, so I guess I "hunt" for them -- but not only do I not enjoy the hunt, I don't think it should be necessary. (My favorite lines right now are TMNT and My Little Pony, because they don't require hunting. I don't have to buy a figure on sight, afraid I might never see it again -- it's all but guaranteed that I'll see it again, multiple times, over the course of many, many months.) I hate the hoops companies like Mattel make us jump through to collect certain lines, and I hate how difficult it is to get most convention exclusives. (I found NECA's process to be really easy this year, but I even have problems with that. It just so happened that I was sitting at the computer when the figures were made available the second time, and folks who were elsewhere should be able to get them too. I preferred it when NECA sold the exclusives via their Amazon store.)

And while I don't begrudge the people who play along with these shenanigans -- after all, it's the only way to get many of these cool toys -- I *hate* the people who revel in it. The ones who act like this is the way it should be; the ones who take pride in owning figures that others weren't lucky enough to get; the ones who manipulate the system in order to get multiples and then sell those figures for profit on eBay and gloat about their prowess in "playing the game." (I don't necessarily begrudge the folks who buy the figures on eBay -- they might simply love toys as much as I do and lack my extreme cheapness -- but I do dislike the ones who have no qualms with that "system" and who defend the people who do it because CAPITALISM.)

In the thread that kinda set me off last night -- and really, it was a stupid thread and I shouldn't have gotten involved and the mods were right to delete it (I think they deleted it) -- a woman posted a picture of what she called her "SDCC 2013 haul" which was basically a cargo truck's worth of exclusive figures. Now, apparently she was posting this for the benefit of certain people following the group, since I gather that she runs some kind of online store and ran preorders for the figures and wanted to let folks know she had their stuff. (I dislike this too, by the way. Unless Hasbro is offering exclusive figures in cases sold directly to retailers, a business representative who shows up at the con to buy figures to sell in his/her own store is scalping -- plain and simple. Also, as I've said before, I was at SDCC last year and wasn't able to get a single exclusive -- and not for lack of trying -- so I'm convinced that any single person who is able to get that many figures is doing some unethical shit.) But it looked like a scalper bragging, and some people said as much, and I agreed (though I was less blatantly hostile towards the poster; I just kind of said that I thought it wasn't cool). Instead of clarifying the sitch -- a veteran of the group did that WAY later in the thread -- the poster responded with comments like "lol umad" and "y u jelly" and such, which just pissed people off and made her look like a scalper (which I maintain that she is, albeit one who apparently has a good reputation in a community that supports the practice when the scalpers have working relationships with members) even more. And at one point, someone chimed in in defense of the poster. He wrote, "Don't hate the playa; hate the game."

But I do hate the "game" -- and I hate the "playa" for keeping it alive and being proud of playing it. This shouldn't be a game: I maintain that we should be here because we love toys. I understand (some of) the difficulties of distribution and releasing limited exclusives and dealing with retailers, but I wish companies would make greater efforts to get toys into the hands of those who love them and to keep them out of the hands of scalpers. And I wish that some companies (Mattel) didn't actively encourage this collector mentality that prioritizes the acquisition and ownership of toys over the toys themselves.

-posted by Wes | 2:09 pm | Comments (3)
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