Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Buying Habits: The Hunger

So I took last week off.  The week of Thanksgiving is always rough for me as I don't get a lot of free time.  As I've mentioned before, I work for a very large retail company and this is one of the busiest weeks of the year, if not the busiest.  Still, toiling away all those long hours ensuring that I'd maximize my sales and profits allowed me to spitball some article ideas in my head and I think I've found a few winners.  I'd like to spend some time discussing my buying habits in an open-ended series of articles.  For this first one, I'm going to discuss The Hunger.

Let me start things off with an admission: I have an addictive personality.  I believe I've touched upon this before, but it's worth repeating.  It's the reason why I have always had trouble when I quit smoking, why I don't go out drinking, why I've never done any kind of illegal substance (besides the fact that, you know, I'm not an idiot) and why I don't gamble.  Stalking on various Transformers message boards, and groups on Facebook, I don't think I'm the only one.  It's a curse, but I'm fairly certain that I have it under control.  You'll never see me on a street corner trying to sell a DVD player for five bucks so I can get my Transformers fix.

You sure?
Anyway, The Hunger is always there.  I may sate it for a time, but it invariably comes back to rear it's ugly head.  The pang in my gut, the butterflies in the stomach; they're omnipresent, especially if a new figure has been released at retail.  There's a new wave of Generations figures out there, somewhere, consisting of Skids and other guys I don't want.  Maybe Waspinator.  I haven't decided on him yet.  I'll tell you the depths of my drive to get him.
I could easily just order Skids from BigBadToyStore, but even though I have the hunger, I can't bring myself to pay 2.5 times the retail price for a new, on the shelf figure.  Know what I can do?  I can make sure that the store that I run gets him.  I've done this quite a few times.  I'll order a few cases of Deluxes, get them on the shelf and buy the figure or figures that I want when I'm on lunch or going home.  I always make sure others have first crack at them, but luckily the store I run isn't exactly a hotbed of collecting activity.

Within the past week, I noticed that one of the two cases of Deluxes that I ordered were on the truck for my store that was being delivered tonight.  Bonus.  I don't know if any of you have worked a retail job, but when a truck is delivered, it's horrendous.  Think about 2000 boxes thrown into a 53' trailer.  There really isn't a rhyme or reason, they're just thrown on a truck.  Just throw open the door, pull a conveyor belt in front of you, and unload.  Piece by piece.  One guy will unload onto the conveyor while another 4 or 5 people will take the items off the belt and place it on pallets by department.  It's tedious and back breaking.

Once I realized that somewhere in that mass of boxes on that trailer was my case of Deluxes with Skids (and possibly Waspinator), I knew what I had to do.  I literally jumped inside the truck and started throwing boxes onto the conveyor.  Finally, towards the middle of the truck, I located my quarry.  I finished helping the guys, because that's what I do, and then I grabbed the Deluxes and took them to the toy department.  Once there, I opened the case to find Hoist.  Then Trailbreaker, then Orion Pax.  Then Megatron.  In other words, the wrong wave!  My clothes were sullied, and I was sweaty.  For nothing.  So I ordered three more cases.  Which should be in my store in about a week.  Then we'll see.

I'm sick of seeing him on the pegs
The Hunger isn't just about new figures, either.  I can't count the sleepless nights thinking about a figure.  As I lay down for sleep, waiting for the sweet release that is sleep, a thought will enter my head: "Wonder what it would be like to own Apeface?"  That's all it takes to set it off.  I'll toss and turn while visions of Apeface float through my mind.  I'll wake up, go to work, and still think about Apeface.  Every waking moment.  Free time will be spent searching eBay, collating all available for sale until I'm driven to act.

Luckily, I'm in a place in my life where The Hunger doesn't affect me too much.  Financially at least.  If I had really gotten back into collecting TFs 10 years ago at the rate that I collect now, who knows?  Maybe I really would be on the street selling DVD players for toys.  Am I the only person who's afflicted like this?


  1. You're definitely not the only one. Like you, I have refrained from drugs (and smoking) because I know once I tried them I would be hooked. But I never really realized that applied to Transformers as well, but I suppose it does. I've often thought about what would happen if I just got rid of them all, but you may be right in saying that the hunger would just appear again. Sometimes it is an insatiable beast, and feeding it only makes it worse. I find that sometimes I need to put the collecting on hold for a while to try and calm it down otherwise I will continue to just buy and buy.

    I'm curious: what happens to you once you own a particular figure you've been wanting a while. Does it satisfy you? I've found myself receiving a figure I've been wanting a very long time in the mail and then later that same day looking on eBay for my next purchase. It is like it is impossible to find satisfaction.

    Also, I imagine the store you run is probably never low on transformer figures :)

    1. Man, once I get the figure that's been haunting my dreams, the hunger disappears. For awhile. With the way I've been buying lately, the hunger seems to be coming back after shorter intervals. But I think with all of the figures I have coming in the next few days, coupled with everything that's preordered for the first part of the year, I should be able to handle it. I hope.

  2. I'm just getting back into collecting Transformers properly after dabbling for a few years, but I had been collecting Star Wars figures fairly heavily over that time. It's a little bit of an obsession; certainly as a hobby it's consuming. I'll spend hours sitting in bed on my tablet late at night reading blogs and forums, looking at photos and soaking it all in, and I love that aspect of it. I don't even consider these blogs or the community in general as enabling, as much as just a good means of finding out what's out there. I'm pretty reconciled as to whether I want to buy something or not.

    In terms of purchases though I'm definitely being more selective this time round, trying to identify a focus and go from there. I found with Star Wars I bought anything and everything reasonably cheaply, feeding the hunger, and I ended up with half a decent collection and then a lot of tat, that's what I want to avoid with TFs. Finance is a big part of that as well, but increasingly as I've gotten into 'plastic crack', I've found toys are the first thing my disposable income goes on. Always bills first though; that's the line that I think is the most important.

    For me blogging really helps me to enjoy my collection, because I buy something and then examine it, evaluate it and by taking pictures, really feel like I'm getting its worth out of owning it. This approach definitely staves off the hoarding mentality of it all... At least so far!

    1. Oh yeah, blogging definitely helps me to enjoy my collection more. If nothing else, I gain more knowledge about the figure that I'm blogging about.

      I too used to collect Star Wars figures, a very long time ago. While the figures and such are fairly inexpensive, the troop building was killing me. I had some grand plan of getting 100 of each Imperial trooper that was released. I got frustrated and realized the kind of hole I was digging for myself after about 40 or so Storm Troopers. I still can't believe I did that.

  3. I can really relate to this topic as well. As for unloading the truck...been there done that. I used to run the receiving department for a home improvement store. Oh the horror stories I could share!

    I've found I have to stay off the computer or my smart phone before going to bed, otherwise I too will be "dreaming" of what I was last looking at.

    Like Arkvander previously brought up, I always seem to be looking at what is on the horizon...despite what my last purchase was. I prefer to call my hobby a hunger like you...that has a better spin than the word addiction does!

    1. I definitely don't want to call myself an addict. That's just a bad scene.

      After a lot of activity, I generally delete the eBay app off my phone so I'm not tempted. With my job, I have lulls where I can just pop open the app and feed the beast, so to speak. That's just one of the downsides of modern tech, I guess.

      I'd love to hear some of those receiving stories!