...you pay $7.99 in a supermarket for Star Wars figures, but that is what I just did.
I had to stop by the local Stop 'N' Shop to get some more paper for my printer (as all the other stores are closed on Easter), and the toys are in the same aisle as the paper.
And what do I see on a peg? A Dutch Vander! Now, I had seen one in a Kay-Bee for $6.99 earlier in the week and had passed on him, picking up a General Dodonna and Captain Antilles figure instead, but then I noticed how much more realistically-sized their pistols were compared to the Tantive IV defender pistols and regretted not getting Dutch. I wanted the extra pistol, plus I have yet to own a Y-Wing, and who knows whether the OTC re-release is going to come with a pilot (although with my luck it will come with Dutch Vander).
Anyway, so I grabbed him off the peg, and then I noticed a Skiff Guard Lando lying on its back on the shelf below the pegs. I decided to take a look around to see what else they might have had, and I found - ta-daa - a Rappertunnie and Tanus Spijek!
I had never seen these figures before in the flesh, so while it disgusted me a little to pay $8 for a figure at a store, I figured that once you factored in shipping from an online store, I might be even money just getting them there, so I did.
So, lesson reinforced, first of all - when you see a figure you might want, just buy the damn thing (i.e. I should have picked up Dutch at the Kay-Bee).
But, more importantly, how ridiculous has the state of collecting become when you actually not only consider buying a figure for $8 but actually do it three times???
You know, a lot of us complain about this being Hasbro's fault, with thier terrible distribution, but I have said it before and I will say it again - I don't think it is. I think this is the fault of the scalpers and the online sellers. They show up at the toy stores on truck days, have established relationships with the workers, and raid the cases of all the short-packed figures before regular customers ever get a chance to see them on the pegs.
Just go onto eBay and look for sellers in your area with the rare figures up for auction. Wouldn't that prove that Hasbro IS distributing these figures to ALL of our neighborhoods?
My wife and I have talked about this a lot, and I think I am just going to move all my collecting onto the internet. It sucks to have to pay higher-than-store prices, and then to have to worry about shipping, but honestly, I am just sick and tired of looking around for figures and hardly finding anything anymore. I have yet to see a single Star Destroyer wave figure ANYWHERE in the greater Boston area, not to mention the Red ARC Trooper, which I am going to have to resort to eBay for like I had to for Ephant Mon about two weeks ago.