Collectors Ruined Toys for Everyone!


Active Member
The problem with saying scalpers simply supply a demand in some cases doesn't work when they are in part creating the lack of supply.

If you walk into your local Toys R Us looking for the latest (insert toy line here) you may find the store only recieved a couple of them in the initial delivery, if a scalper has walked in 5 minutes before you they could have cleared out the entire stock.

Here I would drive to the nearest 3 / 4 stores within about an hour and a half and pick up the most desirable toys for putting on ebay at a marked up price before a parent shopping for theit kids birthday can... Not saying its not good business sense, not even saying it wouldn't be within the rights of the scalper but I do agree it does kinda ruin toys.

Wes R

Legendary Member
I agree. Scalpers are the entire problem, they walk out with 5 of the same figure when the company is already intentionally creating a fake shortage by only shipping a few. I used to complain about it with Transformers as Hasbro's great at creating a fake shortage and then the scalpers moved in BUT it's backfiring as now there are 3rd party figures of these same Transformers coming out that are way beyond the cheap crap hasbro makes and is even above the better quality japanese releases. Yes you pay way more for them but in the end you get better quality and characters that people want. Hasbro just reissues the same molds over and over again in all their lines. Makes you wish NECA could get some of the Hasbro properties. You even see scalpers for Hotwheels these days, they're at walmart at 5am as the car boxes are opened and scoop them up if they find what's on the list. YOu know they're scalpers as they have iphones in hand looking at ebay pages and lists.


Master Member
Community Staff
Scalpers are the entire problem
No they aren't. As @DOOM99 pointed out above - consumers are just as much to blame. If people stopped paying the price scalper's are asking and refused to pay a cent above retail, there would no longer be a market for scalpers.


Sr Member
When SW: ROTS came out, I was working for RGIS. I ended up winning two tickets to see the opening from a radio station. My wife sat in line for two and a half hours waiting for me to get off work so we could make the show... I already was a big fan of the Star Wars: Unleashed figures And I had all but the rarest of them. That was my first problem with toy scalpers: If not for them, I would have had them ALL. Then I got to see the madness for myself, having been made aware of a new shipment hitting Wal-Mart. So I showed up at Wal-Mart at midnight, and I was apparently the only collector there. The other FIFTEEN GUYS were scalpers. I was able to get one General Grievous, and one Darth Vader. Every other guy there was buying 3 or more of the same. All that was left when it was over was the crap everyone already had. And I remember feeling angry that these selfish bastards had ripped off the free market consumer just to make a few bucks.
That wasn't my last problem with scalpers, but it was my last midnight run. Just being around them made my heart sick. I don't like the game. And I don't like scalpers. I am 38 and I like to collect cool toys. But I have recently begun to just make my own, so I don't have to fight for them. Sure it's a free market and they aren't breaking the law, but sometimes it just isn't OK to do things because it just isn't morale. These jerks could get what they want by "pre-ordering" and leave the shelf goods to the consumers.


Active Member
The problem is that need to own it first... example being the 20th anniversary Legacy Power Rangers; Dragonzord came our everyone wanted one but boxes on shelves were far and few between... now a couple montha later they are readily available = two pronged problem which will never be solved, as for me I will happiky wait to pick up my collectables.


Sr Member
Sorry, bro, but I have to call you out on this. I have several issues with your story. Let's just chalk it up to the way "you remember it".
You see, I went to train for a managers position for TRU back in the day. I only stayed for a month after I found out any employee could be fired for doing some of the things you described. I LOVE this one, "No figures were found until they saw them behind the counter. Manager said those were on hold for 2 employees ( huge wrestling fans)." I KNOW the other manager at the only other TRU was reprimanded on paper for doing something VERY similar.
You see, TRU coorporate was more than aware of the collector issues at the time and TRU was constantly battling the issue, so much to the point that we were instructed to hole punch each package of every Star Wars figure that came in the door. Needless to say Hasbro quickly put a stop to that! :lol
But to blatantly tell a customer that the emploees come before they do so customer service means absolutely nothing???
Sorry, man, don't buy it.
I managed a TRU Just outside of the Seattle area years ago when the huge boom started up with scalpers going after specific figures.
As I was the one that stocked the Star Wars and Hot Wheels before the store opened, I would hold the ones that they were after by stocking the rest of the cases minus what I knew what they wanted. The reason was for some if the the same reasons.. They would take off running to the aisles, knocking down end caps, knocking others over (even kids), and tearing up the pegs and then leaving a mess.

i tried to be nice at first and ask to please not run, push, wreck the shelves etc.. Just to get a "screw you", or "I am a customer, and you have no right telling me or my kid how to act".

After a week or two, I decided to just withhold the figures they wanted and the hot wheels they fought for until later on in the day. I would put them out randomly throughout my shift.

after a while, a lot of them gave up coming in at the opening.

it had nothing to do with the kids. A kid just wants a hot wheel, most have no clue as to what a "treasure hunt" is unless their parent has informed them.

to be fair, I would not go back to get specific figures or cars out of the back. I would though put them out that day before I left for the day if they had come in and were going to be on the shelf that morning.


Sr Member
If you buy something because you like it and keep it, you are a "Collector". If you buy it because of it's potential value, you are a "Speculator". If you buy it to turn a fast buck, you are a "Scalper". The thing is that many Speculators think of themselves as Collectors, but they are closer on the scale to the Scalper, and help feed them as well. The same thing happens with the stock market and the housing market. The thing is that what makes any of those toys truly valuable is that they were once played with by kids, and later most of them thrown away. The increased demand of the toys coming from the speculators and scalpers lets the company produce many more than would have sold otherwise. Ironically devaluing the toys in the long run because it is flooded with unopened toys, and very few opened and played with ones, and the good memories to go along with it. If you only buy what you truly like and don't worry about what it's potential value would be down the road you can never really lose. Also, if you never pay the initial high price and just wait till they come back down in price, you likely would keep a scalper from making money, and maybe a speculator from getting into a bad investment. A "real collector" plays with their toys. ;) Still if it wasn't for the increased demand from the Speculators, and Scalpers the toys probably would not get made in the first place. The toy business is no longer just profit based anymore, like everything else it has to be super-profitable to please the stock holders, so if the market is just a few kids, it isn't worth making at all to them anymore.



Master Member
My Father has collected thin soldiers since the age of 12 (he's 81 today), mostly military group from Europe mainly (1860-1900 and 2nd Empire, Napoleon III).
According to him and because of the Internet, it's difficult to see or buy in the stores/antique dealers, etc anymore. Everything is on line and everybody is familiar with the "Mint in Box" stuff and how rare one piece is over another (same with comics and everything else nowadays:angry)...the collector, or the behaviour, has remained the same over the century; now it seems that with the advent of Ebay and others, instead of buying 2 boxes of soldiers, people will buy 10 and make a mint at the end of the day. It's getting hard to find the grail anymore, or people completely obvious of their possession.


Master Member
Gone but not forgotten.
And it's not just toys either. Look what happened to the Graflex. We are the ones who drove the price up. Then, once the camera collectors found out what we wanted it for the prices went up even higher.


Master Member
My Father has collected thin soldiers since the age of 12 (he's 81 today), ...
According to him and because of the Internet, it's difficult to see or buy in the stores/antique dealers, etc anymore. Everything is on line and everybody is familiar with the "Mint in Box" stuff and how rare one piece is over another (same with comics and everything else nowadays:angry)...the collector, or the behaviour, has remained the same over the century; ... It's getting hard to find the grail anymore, or people completely obvious of their possession.
Collecting essentially stayed the same, true. But it´s with all "holy grails", those who put a lot of effort and energy, i.e. time and money, into their search or hunt will still find their holy grails. I know of one particular guy who collects rare Star Wars items. The kicker is, he DOESN`T LIKE THE MOVIES! He´s a real attention %/&$§ and roams in a circle of collectors who are also dealers. It makes me wanna puke that some of those guys buy up high end items just to try and switch them at even higher prices. I have no idea where this could end?
I don´t expect to see a crash of the SW market soon, but an over saturation. But I guess in the vintage toy market this won´t happen, but rather drive more people into that field since it´s a complex but manageable goal to have a complete Star Wars collection of the regular production made stuff.

Oh, and I know of a case where someone found several (!) holy grails of Star Wars movie history not too long ago. At an effing unbelievable price, and the seller did sell his items online and could have acquired the knowledge about what he had. Luck, I guess.


Master Member
Late 90s/early 2000's, local SW collectors had an email list and we'd alert each other when we heard about or saw coveted stuff hit the shelves. We'd hide shortpacked stuff for each other. Get into the habit of feeling around in the uppermost shelf, or lifting up the bottom might find rare figs there, and they might have been there for years.

- - - Updated - - -

There was a local scalper family who would deface what they didn't buy by bending the corners of the cards. While that didn't deprive kids of them (unless they wanted the shortpack, of course), their idea was that it would force collectors to come to them for mint items.

I've been admiring the black series, but I all but gave up figure collecting years ago. Nowhere to put 'em all, and if they're packed away in the attic, what enjoyment am I getting out of them? I did buy the black Artoo, but it was on clearance. They're cool, but they're not $20 cool.

YenChih Lin

Sr Member
Wow! I had a good read of this thread. Interesting and shocking insights, I'd never expected. I heard from scalpers on the Transformers Forum, but never heard from 1st hand experience of you guys. Pretty appalling. Fortunately, my interest in action figures are very low. Sure, as a kid I had original Kenner SW figures like Vader, some Troopers, R2 and C3PO as well as ships like Vader's TIE for christmas (honestly: probably the best x-mas gift ever next to my Lego Space cruiser I got when I was 4! Dad snapped a pic with me playing it :lol) which would be today worth bucks, but I played with them. I also had tons of Hot Wheels cars, I played with them - they had dings and cracked paints, I didn't care (just let my fantasy run wild). I had TNMT figs and an original japanese Optimus Prime with Diaclones, all played with. But at the end I gave them up (or better mom made me gave them up - you know "you're too old to play with them")

Now as an mid-30 adult, I only possess the MP-10 Optimus Prime with upgraded smokestacks (got them for the retail price of 80 $ IIRC) and payed for the Hot Toys Superman a bit more than retail, but that's all. I don't have the space for more figs. I think I got lucky, that I just paid what they asked. Oh, and I still "play" with them, means I pose them.