When I was a kid, my dad had his money heavily invested in the family business, so we couldn't afford a whole lot of extras at the time. So even though I couldn't buy them, I enjoyed sifting through them and thus have more nostalgic memories of carded SW figures.
I think he thought they were a ripoff too. "$1.99 for a little piece of plastic?" I remember him saying. I kidded him years later that if he would have bought all those figures that I wanted for $1.99, they would be worth hundreds of dollars apiece today, which was a way better return than the stock market. Course I'd of opened them if he would have gotten em for me.