Why, oh why, did I blow my money on that?
Last week, we were obsessed, and this week we have regrets.
Why did I buy that?
Anyone reads this blog with any regularity (thank you to those that do) knows I am a huge, some may say hardcore, Star Wars fan. If I could, I would create my own ranch and call it Rancho Qui-Gon. There isn't anything Star Wars releated that I regret buying. However, there was that one time...
In 1995, Hasbro began releasing new Star Wars action figures. By this time, a Star Wars renaissance was in full swing. I started buying the figures like any Star Wars fan would. I had all the figures in the first release within weeks of release. All, except one.
The elusive gambler, administrator and all around scoundrel, Lando Calrissian. I seached high and low. I would drive around the city and go to every Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, etc. looking for that one figure. After a few months, I kinda gave up. I had heard rumors that the figure was a low production figure. I was told that it was packed only one to a box which made it really rare. Finally, I found one. It was at a comic books store I just happened to drive by. This wasn't one of the regular comic book stores I stop at. In fact, it was the first time I was there. It seemed to be a nice store as I looked around. Then I saw it. Lando! I grabbed it and started towards the register. Then I looked again and saw the price.
I choked. I was shocked. Thirty bucks for a $5 figure? I asked the guy at the counter what the deal was. He started telling me that because of certain legal problems with Billy Dee Williams' contract, Lucas and Hasbro did own any rights to create any figures in Billy Dee's likeness. Because of this, Hasbro had to stop production on the Lando figure and it was unlikely that they would ever do another Lando figure ever again. That means that all the figures that made it out of the factory, numbering less than 1000, would be extremely rare. In fact, the one in my hand was the only one he had seen.
Suddenly, I had thoughts of the rocket-firing Boba Fett rareness going through my head. How this Lando could be the Holy Grail for collectors. I plucked out my debit card and paid for the sucker right away. It wasn't till a couple of months later I realized I was the sucker in that transaction. How was I supposed to know? I didn't have the resources we have now. Most toy collector magazines were focused on very specific toys, and mostly vintage stuff. The internet wasn't as easily accessible as it is now. I didn't have any friends that were collectors like me. I took the store owner at his word. Why shouldn't I have? I've never dealt with and unscrupulous dealer before.
A few months later I'm at Wally World and I see a slew of Lando's and all at $5. I bought one and took it home to compare to the one I already owned. I was hoping that maybe it was a different sculpt, different card back, something, anything to make it different from my $30 Lando. Nope, nothing. I talked to a friend of mine at my regular comic shop about my situation. He introduced me to another patron and I told him my story. Thankfully, he didn't laugh in my face. He did explain that Lucas has ironclad contracts that allows him to make action figures based on the actor's likeness for, pretty much, eternity. I don't know how true this was, but it makes more sense than that other story I was told.
Since then, I've been a lot more careful on what I pay for alleged rare figures. In fact, I'm so hesitant to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a figure that I've been unable to obtain the top figure on my most wanted list. Galen Marek, aka Starkiller, from the Force Unleashed game. I've seen figures of this character go for as much as $80. No way I'm paying that. I just want a loose one that I can display and use in my toy photography. So, anyone reading this, if you happen to come across one, let me know. I'm sure we could work something out. Help me, members of the League. You're my only hope.
What have other members of the League regretted blowing money on?
Over at The Nerd Nook there is regret over buying some figures right up my alley.
The Monster Cafe regrets some DVD purchases. I would've regretted 2 of 3 those. Being from NYC, I thought The Sopranos was pretty cool.
Epilogue - I eventually stopped trying to get EVERY figure that was made. I simply didn't have the space for it. But I still collect figures. Mostly Clone Troopers and Vintage Figures. And that comic book store that scammed me? Went out of business less than a year later.