GETTING MORE TALE #477: “Holy shit, jackpot, holy shit, jackpot…”
Collectors know the feeling. You walk into a store, and saunter over to a favourite section. Upon spying a gold mine of things you had been looking for, the euphoric feeling hits you just a shot of adrenaline straight in the heart.
“Holy shit! Jackpot…”
Whether you collect music, movies, books, toys, hockey cards or Kiss stuff (they being a whole category of their own), we have all experienced the feelings. Finding a mother lode of treasures can be such a ride of emotions! The excitement when you see it all. The dread when you feel your thin wallet. The pain of picking out the things you can afford. The second-guessing and flip-flopping over what to actually get. The sorrow of having to choose something to leave behind.
This has been happening to me for decades. Having broad tastes and interests plus a healthy case of OCD will do that to you. Over 20 years ago, my love for my childhood favourites the Transformers was re-ignited by such a jackpot. While browsing junk at a church garage sale with my buddy Peter, I ran into a large pile of Marvel Transformers comics. Most of these were from near the end of the series (issues #50-80), and long after I stopped collecting Transformers. I couldn’t just leave them there! Who knows where they would wind up then? I had to rescue them.
At 50 cents each, this hardly broke the bank, but all the same feelings arose: The excitement upon spying these comics, the picking out of the ones I needed, the angst of leaving some behind (even though I didn’t really need them). And it kick-started a stunted adulthood that quickly reverted back to youth, a place I’m still stuck today.
Today, whenever I spot a stack of Japanese imports at a store (as I did last month as Vertigo Records in Ottawa), the adrenaline hits.
If I spy a pile of 90’s Metallica singles, the same thing happens.
A collection of rare 80’s Canadian metal records? Same thing again.
But I still collect toys and comics too, and this same experience just happened to me at a local Walmart store.
The Star Wars Black Series 6” action figures have been hard to find. There are always “shelf warmer” characters that nobody wants, and in 2015 that was poor Finn. Other figures have been impossible to spot at retail. Whenever a shipment arrives, people snap them all up and often end up re-selling them on eBay for more than double what they’re worth. It’s not cool but that’s what happens. I’m sure the store staff know all the eBayers by heart, because they the know when the shipments arrive and are there when the store opens.
Cases are also “short-packed”, meaning a box of eight figures might have three Finns, but only one Kylo Ren.
A couple weeks ago, I was at a small Walmart store at Stanley Park Mall in Kitchener. Interestingly enough, this is the same mall at which the very first Record Store in the chain that I worked opened. My dad worked at that mall (at a bank), and I worked there twice (at a grocery store and finally at the Record Store). It’s a pretty shitty mall and the shittiest Walmart around, but sometimes you can find real treasures at the out-of-the-way ones.
Even though this is a sucky Walmart, I still found a Star Wars 6” New Order Flametrooper there a few weeks earlier, so I knew that figures could be had there. What I did not expect this time were FOUR more figures I needed, and some of the hardest to get: “Old” Han (the most popular), Captain Phasma (very hard to find), Jango Fett with removable helmet and jetpack, and Finn in Stormtrooper gear! Most of these are going for stupid money online, so to find them in store was quite an exciting surprise.
I frantically sifted through the row of figures, animatedly pulling out all the ones I needed, and singing out loud “Holy shit, jackpot, holy shit, jackpot, holy shit, jackpot…”
That’s when I noticed the stock guy staring at me. I spied several boxes of figures that he was unloading and opening. Did he figure me to be one of the eBayers? Maybe, maybe not, but I then saw two more employees stocking the toy shelves, giving me glances. I’m sure they all heard my “Holy shit, jackpot” song and dance. I smiled and ran away.
That haul cost me $100, but it was worth it! And I still love the rush of discovery.