View Full Version : Guide To Buying Figures

Rogue II
06-05-2002, 03:52 PM
I noticed there seem to be a lot of people frustrated trying to find figures. Here is my method of getting figures.

- Be patient on the figures.

- Keep checking the stores. Of course, a
lot of what you find depends on your timing. Go early.

- Watch the release dates on the figures and the
case assortments. If it gets to be 2 months beyond
the release date, and there is not sign of the figure
you're looking for or anything in its case, consider
ordering it from a website (Toyzz.com, Kebco.com, etc)

-Don't spend more that you need to on a new figure!
Personally, I have a $10 rule (after shipping)

-Don't buy from scalpers!

-Check the "Just Found" Forum, see what other people are
finding, especially in your area.

I have tried this in 3 Time Zones and it has worked in all of them.

Right now, I've got up to the Endor Rebel Soldier. To this date, the only wave I've had to buy online so far was the BoShek wave.

Yes, it can be slow, but it beats buying them from scalpers and EBay. I hope this helps some of you out.

Jedi Juice
06-05-2002, 08:01 PM
Hey, thanks for helping those of us who are having much difficulty finding the newer figs. I've been going early to places and finding out new shipment info, but haven't found any new assortments yet.

06-05-2002, 09:18 PM
Yea but what about us who go to school or work when the stores are opening?

06-05-2002, 09:23 PM
thanks i'll keep these in mind while i look for figures.

06-05-2002, 09:31 PM
Rogue II has really good points. Another big help is get to know the local stocker at TRU, WM, or Target. It helps out to have some insider knowledge...

I used to work at TRU in college, and stocking depended on the what time the truck comes in, how many people we had at that time, and what the pegs were looking like. If it was a new wave, it went out right away, and on average the truck was unloaded around 4 or 5 pm when most of the stockroom employees, like myself would be scheduled.

Each store is different, but keep your eyes and ears open, you can hear and see when they are off loading. Ask questions, and have a list or photo, the bulk will go back and look...we had too since we never knew if it was a secret shopper or not.

Exhaust Port
06-05-2002, 09:43 PM
I would also like to add this, don't hesitate to ask the store employees about upcoming releases to get some inside info. If you don't care to drive to each store a phone call also works. I prefer to have the face to face time. It is possible to get a working relationship with particular stores. They'll be more inclinded to put a figure or whatnot aside for you if they know who you are.

Now before I get flamed by people saying that they get the cold shoulder from all the employees and how poorly the are treated please hear me out. This can't be done at every store out there. In fact you might get shot down at 10 stores for everyone that will take the time to help you out. I've had luck several times discovering employees that love the toy line as much as you and take plenty of time helping out as much as they can.

I use to drive to the same stores nearly everyday for weeks looking for a figure. Then one day I finally started asking questions and found out about truck delivery days and scheduled toy supplies. It cut my trips to the store by 5 fold. If there's no truck until next Friday then I'm not going until then. Try it, it can work.

Try to think of it as trying to become friends with a wild bear in the woods. You can't rush in and do what ever you want. Start small and over time work larger.

Rogue II
06-06-2002, 06:44 AM
Originally posted by Brett3xmvpfavre
Yea but what about us who go to school or work when the stores are opening?

I work, to so I usually go only on weekends or weekday evenings. No, you won't be the first kid on your block to get the toy, but you will eventually get it.

Darth Detori
06-06-2002, 08:53 AM
I've come up with something I like to call a "theoretical desperation" rule.
The only time it's come into action was when I bought Djas Purh and Palpatine
for $13 at newbury comics. That was almost two weeks ago, and I haven't seen
either since. I had gone everywhere else and no-one had them, so this was, although
I paid a ludacris price, a good alternative compared to massive driving.

That's a good set of rules, by the way.

the just found forum thing- keep a very close eye and use a 'mental map' to calculate
when stuff will be getting to you. CA, you guys are the only exception since you
always get stuff first. I'm in NH, so I have to wait nearly the longest. I've found new
waves take anywhere from 5 to 7 days to get over here.

Rogue II
06-06-2002, 04:08 PM
For me, $13 is too much for a figure that just came out. I've noticed the past week or 2 the figures that initally were hard to get(Taun We, Dooku, etc) are starting to be more avaiable. I'm willing to wait for Djas Puhr (he's next on my list).

06-06-2002, 05:16 PM
in late may i bought dooku for $20

Darth Detori
06-06-2002, 05:51 PM
yeah, now I keep running into them everywhere! Oh well though, if I hadn't gotten one on 4/23 I definantly would have paid a lot more for one just to NOT have to wait over a month

01-02-2003, 10:40 PM
very good ideas, i will have to keep that in mind

01-02-2003, 11:03 PM
Since I once owned a store called Scene 70 that sold star wars stuff, and have been a manager in retail for over six years I would like to offer some viewpoints to hunting that i utilize. This will take two sections to get right so here goes. First is be careful about looking for a stockboy buddy to get stash from the back. A professional manager will sometimes fire people for doing that. A manager needs to control his inventory a stockperson doesnt. The manager also wants to market anything in their store, while a stockboy doesn't care. Take the Swimming Jar Jar case from 2000 as an example. If a collector goes to a stockboy and gets that Jar Jar case up front pegs may be overflown with product that wasn't supposed to be stocked. Crisp shelves are the key. I like most consumers love to make a mess searching through neat shelves. If I'm a good manager I will know there is only one Jar Jar swimming in a case of overstocked rehashed figures. If my stockboy gives it away then I might loose a victory sale. What's that? A victory sale is when someone finds that great piece and feels so good they will buy another fig just for the hell of it. It's a fact that when a collector usually gets it out of the case that's all they want. If someone including a collector finds a fig on the shelf they will dig for something else in hopes. While they dig theres a good chance they might grab another fig. If they get it from the box they run for a door. So ignore the stockboy, in my next reply will be to get every piece by knowing the store.

01-02-2003, 11:14 PM
Okay. Pick a few stores in your area, and case them twice a week for three weeks. The store with overflown shelves after two weeks with little stock movement ignore. A sloppy store with overflown shelves will be less shopped than a store that is organized. You may find a few finds but with luck only. While casing the stores see if their shelves change much. Are figures constantly being moved around. If thats the case collectors are usually digging through each peg. That is a good sign. After two weeks you can tell which stores are being stocked. Empty shelves are always exciting. Because in the next few weeks they must be filled. These shelves are usually filled with the newest assortment, or the most current assortment left in the warehouse they recieve product from. Product will be shipped always between monday and Friday. Shelves will be stocked with oldest assortments first. Unless one case is put out with one old case. This way kids and collectors are satiated, but you need to know that not everything is always put out at once. So if you go in and see the new Saga Amidalla, but no library droids, then chances are in the next 48 hours the shelves will be replenished with the same cases. This way old stuff moves with the new stuff. Any trained retailer will not put every hot item on the shelf, he or she will mix it with older cases or items to entice multiple impulse buys. So you have to know your cases and case the shelves more than anything. Going from store to store across a state will insure collecting success but will drain your gastank. One store in your area hopefully will be buisness orientated. If it is you can find everything with ease. Just know your cases, and listen to sirsteve's when stuff surfaces.

Dar' Argol
01-02-2003, 11:34 PM
Here's another bit of info I have been spewing around here since I can't remember when. USE THE LAYAWAY DEPT!!! If your store is a 24 hour store LAYAWAY IS STILL OPEN AT 3AM!. All you have to do is tell a manager that there are a few things you'd like to put on. And yes, I've heard the horror stories of, "My stuff got crushed on layaway." In the 7 years I have been using this method, I have never had anything get crushed. If you are worried, you can ask them to mark it "Fragile". That way if it is crushed you can hold them liable for damaged goods. Also most plases only ask for 10% down for a 90 day hold. And most places do not require you to make a weekly or monthly payment. So say your holding $70 worth of stuff, and all you got is a $20 and your buddies want to hit Taco Bell cause you got the muchies for a burrito at 3 in the morning. Well, all you have to do is put that stuff on layaway, plop down about $7 + your state tax, and you've gat approx $12 or so for all the burritos that can buy. Plus, you don't have to worry about cutting into a paycheck with a hugh spend on your hobby. Pay off a few buck here and there over the next 90 days, and when you pick it up, it will seem like it didn't cost that much.

Trust me, it does work and you get the stuff you wanted:D

kool-aid killer
01-03-2003, 10:26 AM
It seemed like Omaha missed out on most of the potj line that i wanted due to the massive overstock of episode 1 toys so i went to ebay to fill that hole. Now i know most of you people seem to despise it but ive come up with some tips that help me get the figures i want and at a decent price.

1. buy in lots. I got Boshek, Teebo, Eeth Koth, the black dressed amidala figure, Rebel Fleet Trooper, Imperial Officer, FX-7, and one other one that escapes my mind right now for $44 and that included the shipping.
2.Check the sellers feedback to see if he has had any bad transactions in the past.
3.Read how they describe the product.
4.Dont buy new figures from ebay because with a little searching and most importantly patience you can probably find it in your area. I havent bought any of the saga figures online since they came out.

I dont promise that this will keep you from being robbed but it has helped me. Ive used ebay for a year and havent been ripped off.

Rogue II
01-03-2003, 10:39 AM
I haven't used e-bay for new figures yet. Although, this summer, I bought a bunch of POTF2 figures to fill holes in my collection and for customs and army builders. POTF2 figures are pretty cheap now.

Here is a thread about some good online retailers: http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16808

01-04-2003, 12:37 AM
ebay is an assult on the collecting mentality. The hunt is a great part of collecting. Although I have used ebay to sell sw stuff when I owned my store I never bought from it. I tend to instinctively believe that scalpers tend to make full use of ebay. Besides someone out there is buying cases of figures at a store, then going home and putting it on ebay. The guy who goes to the same store after mr ebay came ends up not finding his new figs and will buy from mr ebay. Sounds iffy to me, but to each his own.

01-04-2003, 02:25 AM
There are a lot of great ideas here. I'd say to talk to people. If you're at a store and there's someone else digging through a toy line, who you think might be a collector talk to em, they may have found something you're looking for at another store close by. One thing I've just thought of and haven't used it yet is to check stores Go-backs; you know when you pick up something and walk through the store with it and then decide you don't want it, you just put it down someplace, those are go-backs. Maybe some kid was walking through the store with that new figure and his parents said he couldn't have it and he put it down in stationary, they might have the figure you're looking for in a bin up front. I'm lucky, cause of my job I might have to travel like 25-30 miles from my house, so I get to look at a lot of stores I wouldn't normally visit. Also, cause of my job, there's days when I get off work at like 2 or 3, so I find most everything between like 1 & 4. I have never found anything at a store when they first open, but that's just my experience.

Rogue II
01-13-2003, 06:43 AM
Tycho posted something interesting in another thread:

Bottom line is: Be patient.

Originally posted by Tycho
Yeah, figures are going to stagnate a bit in some stores.

Many Wal*Marts, Targets, TRUs and KBs are receiving the Mace Arena Wave (Vader, Luke, Chewie, Han, OB-pilot) or the Teemto wave without Ephont (or the Ephonts are getting picked up by employees etc.)

Here's the deal: I would not count on finding Ephont Mon in some areas right now, and he does not ship in the next several C2 assortments. As production catches up on Ephont Mon, I'm sure he'll be put in a later case with at least 2 of him per box again. You DO NOT need to resort to e-Bay or marked-up comic book shops. He will be pegwarming in June or July and you'll have him for 5 bucks if you wait until then, or find him now before Padme's case starts shipping.

01-13-2003, 08:55 AM
there are alot of good tips here. Being patient is the key to getting all that you need. Ebay is good if you can find a lot for figures. I myself have bought figures there. I recently bought a Teemto and Ki-Adi-Mundi for 10.00 plus shipping. My wife is always saying that I spend too much time in the toy dept. at stores looking for htis stuff. I still have yet to pick up some that came out in April because of their abundance on shelves and pegs. I refuse to pay over 10 dollars a figure from anywhere. If I find a good deal on a lot I will buy it but usually look for three or more figs. in each lot.

D'ar...thanks for the advice on the Lay-a-way. I had no idea that they would do that. It helps to definitley get there at 2am when you can look through each case before anyone else.