Friday, September 28, 2012

Toy Hunting Tips - Part 4 - John's Guide To Collecting

 Tip 1: Always check the price of an item you're interested in.

If you find it in a big store that has a scanner, always scan the items when you visit the store.
You won't believe the amount of items that have been on sale or discounted, that weren't marked as such.

Also If Your store has a clearance aisle, check it out. Or ask an employee where it is. Sometimes the toy you think is sold out has actually been moved some where else.

You can also check the stores online and physical flyers for sales each Sunday!

Tip 2: Befriend Other Collectors

Rob Paulsen always mentions on his podcast how his fellow voice actors are friendly and will refer one another to potential employees.

The same applies with toys. Occasionally you will see another person looking at toys in the toy aisle. After a while if you keep bumping into the same people, you can say "Hi" and then next time ask them what they're into.

Unless you're a jerk, other collectors will talk to you and even give you a heads up at what new stuff they've found and if they've seen anything you might be looking for.

If you ever befriend a bad apple (Like the dude who wanted me to help him return stuff, with his receipts!) they will eventually weed them selves out. I believe that what ever you put out there in life, you get in return.

Tip 3: Know What You're Looking For.

You found your toy line. Now you just need to know what specific toy you are looking for.

I usually come across some news on the Internet, Either in the form of a YouTube Toy Haul, a blog or an Internet forum.

Then I check the stores to see if I find what I'm looking for. Sometimes you will come across something else of interest, like a discounted item or a new toy line.

I recommend making a mental note (or taking a picture) of what and where you saw this item.

If I'm really impressed It stays with me, and I usually end up wanting to buy it. (Like Autobot Guzzle)

Tip 4: Prioritize

When you come across a whole bunch of stuff you want, but it's so much you can't afford it. You have to pick which one's coming with you.

If you have a smart phone, you can check Ebay's completed listings, to see if the item you want sold for a lot.

Even though you're not a jerk, this will let you know if you will be able to find it once you come back.

Also, if you did your research, you can find out if that figure is rare, 1 per case, or a massive peg warmer.

I usually check Entertainment Earth and Big Bad toy Store for case ratios.

If they are all evenly packed go for the one you like the most, the one that makes your heart sing. (I'm not looking at you Sabre Piloto!)

And lastly sometimes I'll walk around the store with the items in my basket and see how I would feel if I left some behind and which.

Tip 5: Plan A Route

Start here on the R Train...

Make a Stop Here...

And end up here!

When you combine what your looking for, and what store you might find it in. You have to plan your route!

You can't visit every location everyday, so use your gut, and go to the most obvious location. For example, the store that gets the newer toys in stock, or a store that receives a lot of visitors.

I visit different parts of NYC every week. It's amazing how much time it takes to go to 3 stores, while waiting for the train, getting something to eat and looking at merchandise.

I also find that podcast, or talk radio is entertaining to me, and makes my journey more pleasant. So much so that certain parts of a podcast when listened to again, evoke images of where I was when I heard a certain phrase.

If you are going into uncharted territory, write up directions on google maps.

The way I do it is:

I write down the train stop and at the exit of the stop, I write the street I should be on, and the next immediate one. To make sure I'm heading in the right direction.

Sometimes I note how many blocks I have to walk and what cross streets the store should be between.

I never want to look lost, and even though strangers can be kind. Sometimes they have no idea which way you're supposed to go.

Tip 6: A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Dollars

I wish I could find more!

If you see something you like, take a picture of it. It lasts longer. And you can easily prove that you saw something cool or rare. Especially if it looks good mint on card.

Tip 7: Think Of The Children

If you know a kid wants something, let it be. Or put it back on the peg while they are looking. I've never seen the horrors of some collector swiping a figure right before their eyes. (I'm not a child but it happened to me. CURSE YOU TRENCH COAT GUY!) But kids don't have the disposable income or the opportunities we  adult collectors have, so let them strike when the iron's hot.

If you buy toys at Time Sq in the morning, you know who this is.
 Keep your eyes peeled. I'm not done yet!

See Ya In The Toy Aisles!
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