We all know how exciting it is when figures you thought were cancelled or sold out show up at closeout retailers, right? Whether it's Ollie's, Big Lots, Five Below, Ross, Marshall's or TJ Maxx, that feeling of getting a great deal is elating: not only did you not have to pay an eBay scalper for the toy you wanted, you often didn't even have to pay full retail price. It's great, which is why that kind of store has been an increasing part of my yearly "What I Bought" lists.
But this year things seem different.
I don't know about you, but to me it seems like the selection hasn't been as good this year. Yes, I found the final Hammer Drone, but that's really about it. I can't remember anything else off the top of my head that I found there. Last year there were 6" Iron Man figures, GI Joe vehicles, Transformers... lots of things that had been absent at retail, but this year the pickings feel much more slim.
Maybe it's a result of the economy: if "first tier" stores aren't ordering as heavily, then there isn't as much overstock that needs to be sold off later. And if stores aren't ordering as heavily, companies don't produce as much, nor do they try to force out that last phantom series before the line ends. Everybody is being conservative, and so it's the frugal shopper who gets hurt.
How about you? Have you had a good year at closeout stores, or have you been as disappointed as me?