Today I reviewed the Movie Maniacs 5 Sarah Connor, a figure I only have thanks to what I call the "geek layaway."
Let's say you're out shopping, and you come across some rare figure you may not see again (in this case, the good variant of Sarah Connor, but this could also apply to one that just has better paint than the rest). Maybe you're not sure you want it, or you don't have the cash on you to cover it, but for some perfectly valid reason, you can't buy it that very second. You need to leave the store and come back later. But the toy might be gone by then! What to do, what to do?
Well, why not put it on geek layaway?
No, I'm not talking about hiding it somewhere else in the store. Yes, that's a thing you can do, but it only works in a sufficiently large store. I found Sarah at GameStop on my lunch break, but wanted to ask Mrs. yo if she preferred one variation over the others (naturally, like all right-thinking people, she wanted the same one I did). You've been in a GameStop store before - if I'd tried to "hide" Sarah somewhere, it couldn't have been more than 10 feet from where she'd started, and that's not much of a hiding spot, is it? No, you need something better.
Well, the great thing about geeks is that we're predictable. Give us a choice of items, and we'll go for the best, most pristine one. So if you want to "save" a toy for later purchase, just ding up the packaging slightly. If it's on a blister card, fold a corner over, or straight-up tear it off; if it's in a clamshell, crush a corner in. Your goal isn't to harm the figure, or render it unsellable for the store, you're just making it so an eBay seller could never pass it off as MOC. Presented with two of the same figure, most people will go for the one in the perfect packaging, leaving the one you put on geek layway there for you.
And thanks to the bum packaging, if someone does buy it before you get back, you can at least take comfort in the knowledge that it went to a fellow collector, not a scalper. That's why sometimes I'll even do it to figures I don't want, but I know are prime scalper bait - I'm putting them on layaway not for myself, but for the next guy. Pay it forward!
First up I love your website and hit it up everyday , hands down the best reviews on the web. Ok .... Nerd Layaway ?!? I don't fall into one camp or the other .. I keep a lot of my toys in the package and I open many more. Whenever I am on the hunt for something and finally come across it without having to resort to buying off the internet it's really a great feeling , until I pull it from the peg and someone has folded the card in half and sat on the bubble -which usually don't deter me from buying it but does suck some of the wind from my sails. I have always assumed that the scalpers were the ones doing this ... I figure they would buy up what they could and destroy what they couldn't . I've seen people doing this - they had a handful of figures and they were systematically destroying the rest -we had a somewhat ugly confrontation . I've come to think of these people as " benders" and don't think they had any intention of coming back to purchase the figures. They purchased what they could and destroyed but they couldn't.
They might be, who knows? I've never actually run into a scalper in person before, but I've also never known one to leave behind something that might be valuable - usually the only evidence of their passing is an empty peg.
But the figure doesn't have to look like it was run over by a truck when you're done - pretty much any flaw is enough to dissuade a scalper, who's always desperate for 100% pristine product. After all, someone might laugh at him if he tries to get $50 for a Hot Wheels car with a slight bend in the corner!
I don't remove myself from the "we want perfect things" mindset, but if the choice is "get it in bruised packaging" or "don't get it at all," I'm just glad to have the things I want...
(and honestly, I don't judge MOCers as harshly now as I did 13 years ago when this was written - I still think they're super weird and making incredibly poor life choices, but hey, more power to 'em. As long as they're not keeping me from finding things)