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Old January 8th, 2017, 12:40 PM   #1501
Autobot032
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We lost our last Kmart last month and my grandma legitimately cried about it.
It's understandable. A lot of us were born after our K-Marts had been built. One of my first shopping experiences took place in a K-Mart. Back in the 80's, they were the place to find Transformers, He-Man and Thundercats. It was one of two department stores in Meadville PA and it was the one everyone went to. It was attached to a mall and that mall was always jam packed.

Watching those die out and just sit empty like a hollowed out skeleton hurts. Those memories you had of doing Christmas shopping, looking for toys, getting clothes, going to layaway...all gone now. You look through the doors and remember where everything was, but isn't anymore.

It's a hard pill to swallow. People lost their only source of income that day, it's hard to think those workers who gave years of their lives for the company are now penniless and going through Welfare to make ends meet. (Well, they are in Ashtabula, I should say. It's pretty dang sad.)

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Originally Posted by OmegaRangerRed View Post
For me, I live out in the middle of no-where. The closest department store is 20 miles away, the next closest is 25. The closest TRU is 40. I work 55 miles from where I live, so for me, reasonable is anywhere within 60 miles of my house.
Yikes. Sounds like Meadville. When I lived there, my landlord didn't make enough money off of the rentals to make ends meet, so he drove truck for a company in Cleveland (still does) and he'd have to drive out there (75 miles one way) so he could have enough money to make ends meet for his family. Honestly, the trucking job paid the best. Last I heard was he has an apartment in Cleveland during the week and comes home on the weekends to be with his wife and kids. I'm not sure why they don't just pack up and leave for Ohio. I did and honestly, I'm happier here than I was in PA.

I know people live where they love and that's great, but past a certain point, if you have to drive all over God's green Earth just to make a life, perhaps it's time to relocate. It's just worth the countless hours of life lost driving back and forth to Timbuktu.

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Agreed, but I still enjoy the "hunt" of finding it in the store instead of ordering it.
Oh, I too love the hunt. It's nice to come home with a bag full of goodies you never expected to find, but were hoping for. Problem is, Wal*Mart doesn't stock worth a damn, K-Mart's gone and the Target and TRU I shop at in Mentor are usually picked over by the time I get there. Plus, with the weather, it's literally dangerous to drive there. Pretty much every other week we have an interstate road closure due to a massive pileup in which someone's either severely injured, or even worse...killed. (We just had a deadly one last year and an injury one two weeks ago.)

At that point, I'd just rather sit back and let the stuff come to me.

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Agreed. Walmart has the cheapest prices generally for a lot of stuff, and Target's tagline, humorously, is "Target: where you're willing to pay more to avoid going to Wal-mart". Sadly Kmart had, for many things, the prices of Target but the quality and feel of Walmart.
Hah... That tagline is true. My ex works at a Target in WV and that was the basic mindset among the customers and the employees. My Dad hates Target, he says it reminds him of an antiseptic red and white themed hospital. Which is true, when it's clean it feels very...sterile.

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I'll admit I got a bit sentimental when they closed my local Kmart. No tears, but it was my grandmother's favorite store to shop at and I have many memories of taking her there to shop, be it groceries or christmas. What hit me more was knowing that once it closed the building itself would be demolished to be built on for something else, which has already happened.
A lot of the K-Mart buildings around here are being left intact. They're hoping to repurpose them for other retail establishments.

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Originally Posted by Xenotome View Post
Ours is just going to sit there abandoned with the Kmart sign outline on it because there's literally nothing in the plaza anymore except a pet shop and the best pizza place in town.
Same. It's insane how it all fell apart.

Anyway, to keep this on topic... I rarely ever found anything Dino Charge or Dino Super Charge at my K-Mart. Heck, they closed in August and the last thing I found there was a returned Turbo Falcon Megazord that had it's parts strewn about in the box and they still wanted full price for it.

Anything new I was looking for I'd either find at TRU or Target. Those were the two stores to find anything DC/DSC in my area. Forget Wal*Mart, they barely stocked the figures, let alone Megazords.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 03:39 PM   #1502
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Kmart was nothing compared to Hills. That place had the most spectacular toy displays, and not just at Christmas. Their He-Man displays looked like something you'd see in a commercial
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Old January 9th, 2017, 12:10 AM   #1503
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Kmart was nothing compared to Hills. That place had the most spectacular toy displays, and not just at Christmas. Their He-Man displays looked like something you'd see in a commercial
Hills was my goto when MMPR was in it's heyday. Got Thunder everything there. Including Sega Genesis games. And then they all became Ames and died out. =\

The internet has singlehandedly destroyed physical retail. I miss the days when I could walk into a store, such as Jamesway and pick up the Dino Megazord from '93. Just sitting there right on the shelf.

We had GOOD stores back then. I don't know what the hell we've got going on now.

Want to see some dead malls? (It's actually quite fascinating...) check out "This Is Dan Bell" on YouTube. It's haunting how they're frozen in time and you can see what once was.

https://www.youtube.com/user/moviedan
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Old January 9th, 2017, 09:16 PM   #1504
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Rolling Acres is/was the mall that was used in "The Last of Us." Sadly, it's been demolished, but it was long overdue, since it sat vacant and vandalized for I-don't-know-how-long. Some of Dan's videos - there's one mall in Cincinnati (I believe that's the one) that's 100% intact and 99% vacant. THAT fascinates me.

The thing about retail now is this: Without any real competition (Walmart and Target both go after different crowds, IMO, and Kmart was that middle-of-the-road one that everyone went to) between the two, Walmart and Target are free to do whatever they want.

Take toys, for instance. Back in the day, we had a TON of places to hit up for new things:
- Hills / Ames
- Kmart
- Walmart
- Target
- Toys "R" Us
- K-B Toys, in your local malls
- Family Toy Warehouse
- the catalog stores (Service Merchandise, US Merchandise)

That ten store list is now down to THREE (and a half, if you still want to count Kmart). We've been hunting down figures at drug stores because there just aren't enough companies to go around anymore.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 11:55 PM   #1505
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Rolling Acres is/was the mall that was used in "The Last of Us." Sadly, it's been demolished, but it was long overdue, since it sat vacant and vandalized for I-don't-know-how-long. Some of Dan's videos - there's one mall in Cincinnati (I believe that's the one) that's 100% intact and 99% vacant. THAT fascinates me.

The thing about retail now is this: Without any real competition (Walmart and Target both go after different crowds, IMO, and Kmart was that middle-of-the-road one that everyone went to) between the two, Walmart and Target are free to do whatever they want.

Take toys, for instance. Back in the day, we had a TON of places to hit up for new things:
- Hills / Ames
- Kmart
- Walmart
- Target
- Toys "R" Us
- K-B Toys, in your local malls
- Family Toy Warehouse
- the catalog stores (Service Merchandise, US Merchandise)

That ten store list is now down to THREE (and a half, if you still want to count Kmart). We've been hunting down figures at drug stores because there just aren't enough companies to go around anymore.
Oh man, Family Toy Warehouse. That was the shiznit. Around here, we had also had Mac's Toy World. A very small chain that ran from western PA up through western NY (around the Buffalo area).

I miss K-B. Got some killer deals for both PR and TF there. They'd cut prices on figures after Christmas like you and I breathe air. It was just guaranteed and you could set your watch to it.

And yes, it's very odd to go shopping in drug stores for figures now, but it's becoming the norm. I've found more PR figures (rare ones) at Walgreens before I find them anywhere else...if I find them anywhere else. (HINT: I don't.) Heck, Walgreens even have their first TF exclusive right now.

It's crazy how even just 10 years ago you'd find trinkets and gumball machine type junk toys in a drug store with a couple of good finds here and there and now they're the goto place to find some of the newest and rarest stuff.

How insane is that?

When I see these dead stores and dead malls, it makes me think back to years when I was a child and malls couldn't keep their doors closed because they were overflowing with customers and teenagers trying to have a good time. That magic's gone.

All thanks to the internet, in the end. It brought the world closer together, but killed off a great many things good and bad. This topic reminds me of Charlie Chaplin's speech from The Great Dictator...

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Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....
All the Bezos and Waltons of the world have basically used money, power and the internet to put everyone else into a chokehold. I have a love/hate relationship with malls, but I want them to succeed and I want to see the people running the stores to be able to make a living for themselves and their employees.

I'd much rather go and buy from them for a slightly higher price than get them through the mail over the internet. I'd rather get them in a store akin to a mall kiosk than to run to my local Walgreens, which is located one of the diviest parts of my town. (Like, I've had people come up to my window asking for a ride around the block looking all strung out kinda divey.)

I'm beginning to hate what everything's become. I miss the malls, I miss the old days. I know that sounds old and grouchy, but really it's just honest and old fashioned. Remnants of a better time.

Better toys, too. Everything's hollowed out, missing gimmicks, paint, etc. Missing the quality.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 12:20 AM   #1506
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Dan Bell is fucking awesome.

That is all.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 06:40 AM   #1507
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The "hunt" is overrated. I've got a job, a kid, a house, a dog, I don't have time to bike everywhere to look for that one figure like when I was a kid.

I get the nostalgia, but it's a model that doesn't work well with adults. And as lines like PR age, the fan base grows and there are more of *us* hunting and competing with kids who want it too.

So the upside of me ordering everything is it leaves a few extra products on shelves for NEW fans to discover and buy. Rather than all of it being bought up by a combination of collectors and scalpers.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 07:46 AM   #1508
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I can agree with that. But in my instance I can hit all my stores on my lunch hour. I'm lucky enough to live where all the main stores are located in basically one area with a couple or three outside the ease of hitting... but can still be done. So when I tell people that it's "really not a problem" to go look for things... it really isn't. And most of the time I'm on that side of town getting lunch. Basically I'm at 44th Street... and the stores are between 4th and 7th. So the hunt for me is still a big thing.

But I can see where things are difficult to get to, or you have to plan to go that way, or other things are just take more importance.

I'm married, have a house and 2 cars... but because I work in Joplin and spend basically 90% of my time there than at home, it a lot easier for me to just run around and do searching... and it's fun. Especially when you know how the numbers and systems work, and you make friends at the store. So they help me out on searching and finding things... and tend to tell me more than they would the average person. I can't tell you how much I've learned and now I can apply to not only here, but also in my search patterns.

It's not for everyone... but I still find the hunt fun.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 11:02 AM   #1509
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Oh man, Family Toy Warehouse. That was the shiznit. Around here, we had also had Mac's Toy World. A very small chain that ran from western PA up through western NY (around the Buffalo area).
The two that I remember frequenting were at Southland in Middleburg Heights and - I think - Westwood Towne Center over in... Somewhere. The Westwood one had huge cutout illustrations of toys in their front windows, and one was a White Ranger with Green Ranger's gauntlets and boots. (See, Boom? Family Toy Warehouse predated your Green/White hybrid by 20-something years!) Sure, those two were a bit of a drive from where I am, but I'd hit a number of stores on the way back, and it was worth the drive, because I'd usually find SOMETHING.

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I miss K-B. Got some killer deals for both PR and TF there. They'd cut prices on figures after Christmas like you and I breathe air. It was just guaranteed and you could set your watch to it.
The best K-B find that I remember is back in 1999, when they were giving away the "Morphin Series" VHS tapes when you spent $10 on Lost Galaxy merchandise. That's how I wound up with all 3.

Also, I remember finding the entire Space Ranger line at Toys "R" Us after Lost Galaxy started, and stumbling across Ecliptor at Kmart shortly thereafter. Good times!

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It's crazy how even just 10 years ago you'd find trinkets and gumball machine type junk toys in a drug store with a couple of good finds here and there and now they're the goto place to find some of the newest and rarest stuff.

How insane is that?
That's what happens when the pool of available outlets shrinks down. It's kind of ironic, in a way: The number of stores has shrunk down at the same time that the number of things in the PR lines has skyrocketed. I almost miss Disney owning the franchise, because I'd usually find something good at the Disney Store.

Re: Malls - I can understand why they're all dying off. The "lifestyle centers" are where it's at now, and a majority of the old 'mall stores' have all gone out of business. Gone are the days of Record Town, Abbott's Cards & Gifts, Suncoast, and the other specialty mall stores. Even Claire's is barely holding on, and all of the teen clothing places are struggling to survive. Most companies are getting out of malls - rent factors? - and either going to self-contained buildings or strip centers. Now, there are a lot of malls that are thriving, and they're the ones that are being cared for and are in decent markets. With the shift in locations away from the old mall areas to different parts of town, there are a LOT of empty husks of retail lying around. Look at the Midway Mall area: The mall itself lost Dillard's about a decade ago and hasn't filled the space since, Macy's just went out last year, the food court is down to three locally-owned restaurants (even Taco Bell has moved out), and both nearby strip centers are mostly vacant. Where have all of the stores gone? Crocker Park in Westlake and Avon Commons in Avon. Maybe it will get redeveloped someday, but we need more businesses around in order for that to happen.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 02:11 PM   #1510
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The two that I remember frequenting were at Southland in Middleburg Heights and - I think - Westwood Towne Center over in... Somewhere. The Westwood one had huge cutout illustrations of toys in their front windows, and one was a White Ranger with Green Ranger's gauntlets and boots. (See, Boom? Family Toy Warehouse predated your Green/White hybrid by 20-something years!) Sure, those two were a bit of a drive from where I am, but I'd hit a number of stores on the way back, and it was worth the drive, because I'd usually find SOMETHING.



The best K-B find that I remember is back in 1999, when they were giving away the "Morphin Series" VHS tapes when you spent $10 on Lost Galaxy merchandise. That's how I wound up with all 3.

Also, I remember finding the entire Space Ranger line at Toys "R" Us after Lost Galaxy started, and stumbling across Ecliptor at Kmart shortly thereafter. Good times!



That's what happens when the pool of available outlets shrinks down. It's kind of ironic, in a way: The number of stores has shrunk down at the same time that the number of things in the PR lines has skyrocketed. I almost miss Disney owning the franchise, because I'd usually find something good at the Disney Store.

Re: Malls - I can understand why they're all dying off. The "lifestyle centers" are where it's at now, and a majority of the old 'mall stores' have all gone out of business. Gone are the days of Record Town, Abbott's Cards & Gifts, Suncoast, and the other specialty mall stores. Even Claire's is barely holding on, and all of the teen clothing places are struggling to survive. Most companies are getting out of malls - rent factors? - and either going to self-contained buildings or strip centers. Now, there are a lot of malls that are thriving, and they're the ones that are being cared for and are in decent markets. With the shift in locations away from the old mall areas to different parts of town, there are a LOT of empty husks of retail lying around. Look at the Midway Mall area: The mall itself lost Dillard's about a decade ago and hasn't filled the space since, Macy's just went out last year, the food court is down to three locally-owned restaurants (even Taco Bell has moved out), and both nearby strip centers are mostly vacant. Where have all of the stores gone? Crocker Park in Westlake and Avon Commons in Avon. Maybe it will get redeveloped someday, but we need more businesses around in order for that to happen.
Midway mall toys r us is such a great go to now though. The one in north olmstead is always picked over. I live just slightly closer to Midway mall then Sandusky mall, maybe 15 to midway, 25-30 to Sandusky. I only bother hitting north olmstead if im at work in Westlake.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 04:45 PM   #1511
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I think Midway is where I found the DC-packed Gray Pachy and Teal Ammonite immediately on clearance, but I could be wrong. It's definitely more convenient to get to than North Olmsted but, yeah, Midway's usually better-stocked.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 08:46 AM   #1512
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I can agree with that. But in my instance I can hit all my stores on my lunch hour. I'm lucky enough to live where all the main stores are located in basically one area with a couple or three outside the ease of hitting... but can still be done. So when I tell people that it's "really not a problem" to go look for things... it really isn't. And most of the time I'm on that side of town getting lunch. Basically I'm at 44th Street... and the stores are between 4th and 7th. So the hunt for me is still a big thing.

But I can see where things are difficult to get to, or you have to plan to go that way, or other things are just take more importance.

I'm married, have a house and 2 cars... but because I work in Joplin and spend basically 90% of my time there than at home, it a lot easier for me to just run around and do searching... and it's fun. Especially when you know how the numbers and systems work, and you make friends at the store. So they help me out on searching and finding things... and tend to tell me more than they would the average person. I can't tell you how much I've learned and now I can apply to not only here, but also in my search patterns.

It's not for everyone... but I still find the hunt fun.
I'm very conflicted on the hunt. I imagine it's a large portion of why I collect toys at all, but man, no matter what I collect there seems to be massive distribution issues with major retailers. It makes the high of snagging an entire wave at once that much stronger, but by the third time I've visited a store and the empty or half-empty pegs haven't changed since I started looking the frustration is that much higher.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 08:55 AM   #1513
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Same situation in Latin America as in Australia. Almost no stock for DC, only 12" figures, bikes, the zord armors and that lame 12" excuse for a Megazord. I am literally importing everything now. Sucks.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 09:00 AM   #1514
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I'm very conflicted on the hunt. I imagine it's a large portion of why I collect toys at all, but man, no matter what I collect there seems to be massive distribution issues with major retailers. It makes the high of snagging an entire wave at once that much stronger, but by the third time I've visited a store and the empty or half-empty pegs haven't changed since I started looking the frustration is that much higher.
I really think I'd be that way too... aside from the fact that I'm actually over that direction a ton with the stores. I mean, you've been to Joplin... it's not too difficult to get from one place to another. And working here, I'm already over here... so a lunch hour run where I can visit places AND still eat... it hasn't gotten that stressful... YET.

I get the frustrations. And I'm sure living in a bigger city, things are that much harder to find... but around here, the hunt is still pretty strong.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 11:32 AM   #1515
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I'm not going to lie, I like to go on the hunt. Particularly due to the fact that I live in a big city and I don't use my car too often except for running errands outside of work. I enjoy driving too. There's also satisfaction to finding something at retail rather than ordering it online. I do get fed up with making multiple trips though.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 12:03 PM   #1516
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I love driving. Especially when you can just drive with the windows down and music.

The other thing than satisfaction... is I can actually inspect for defects. There's been too many times going into the store and finding 5 of the same character and only one has good paint apps, or the eyes are dead centered and not one trailing off somewhere. So I can physically look for the best ones. I've actually had a time or two where things weren't painted just right, or I've gotten the wrong joint on the figure, or two left hands... yeah.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 12:10 PM   #1517
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I love driving. Especially when you can just drive with the windows down and music.

The other thing than satisfaction... is I can actually inspect for defects. There's been too many times going into the store and finding 5 of the same character and only one has good paint apps, or the eyes are dead centered and not one trailing off somewhere. So I can physically look for the best ones. I've actually had a time or two where things weren't painted just right, or I've gotten the wrong joint on the figure, or two left hands... yeah.
Yes, driving with music and the windows down is sublime. That's also a great point about inspecting for defects. The eyes on some Marvel Legends....yikes.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 12:26 PM   #1518
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Or Classics DERPatello... errr... Donatello... my god NONE of them were right.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 12:42 PM   #1519
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I really think I'd be that way too... aside from the fact that I'm actually over that direction a ton with the stores. I mean, you've been to Joplin... it's not too difficult to get from one place to another. And working here, I'm already over here... so a lunch hour run where I can visit places AND still eat... it hasn't gotten that stressful... YET.

I get the frustrations. And I'm sure living in a bigger city, things are that much harder to find... but around here, the hunt is still pretty strong.
One of my better hauls last year was actually from one of my trips to Joplin. That city is roughly a third the population of Springfield, and if you don't count the Walmart's that don't carry PR, has the same number of worthwhile toy stores.
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Old January 13th, 2017, 01:32 AM   #1520
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Dan Bell is fucking awesome.

That is all.
Indeed. I can't stop watching his channel. It's amazing how retail has changed, what ideas they came up with and ultimately failed with.

It's incredibly sad, though. A generation's worth of memories either gone and demolished, or dying and on their way out.

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The "hunt" is overrated. I've got a job, a kid, a house, a dog, I don't have time to bike everywhere to look for that one figure like when I was a kid.

I get the nostalgia, but it's a model that doesn't work well with adults. And as lines like PR age, the fan base grows and there are more of *us* hunting and competing with kids who want it too.

So the upside of me ordering everything is it leaves a few extra products on shelves for NEW fans to discover and buy. Rather than all of it being bought up by a combination of collectors and scalpers.
I have a 4 month old that takes up a good portion of my time, I can't just suit him up and throw a blanket on his car seat every time I get the itch to go hunting, and believe me, I still get the itch. It's hard on him, it's hard on me and by the time I get him in the car, we're both exhausted.

My wife and other two kids have a love/hate relationship with going shopping with me. They know I'm down to going shopping with them at Barnes & Noble (not entirely my scene, but cool stuff) or even Wal*Mart to do grocery shopping.

Heck, I've even gone clothes shopping with them at JC Penney a time or two, but I know they get worn out with me stopping at every Target, TRU and better stocked Wal*Marts within driving distance.

Not to mention all of the oddity stores such as Ross, Marshall's/TJ Maxx and Ollie's Bargain Outlet. With traffic, 2-3 different cities within a 20 mile driving range of each other (although that metro is 35 miles away from our house, so it's even more traveling) it makes for a long day and a whole bunch of coming home empty handed.

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I can agree with that. But in my instance I can hit all my stores on my lunch hour. I'm lucky enough to live where all the main stores are located in basically one area with a couple or three outside the ease of hitting... but can still be done. So when I tell people that it's "really not a problem" to go look for things... it really isn't. And most of the time I'm on that side of town getting lunch. Basically I'm at 44th Street... and the stores are between 4th and 7th. So the hunt for me is still a big thing.

But I can see where things are difficult to get to, or you have to plan to go that way, or other things are just take more importance.

I'm married, have a house and 2 cars... but because I work in Joplin and spend basically 90% of my time there than at home, it a lot easier for me to just run around and do searching... and it's fun. Especially when you know how the numbers and systems work, and you make friends at the store. So they help me out on searching and finding things... and tend to tell me more than they would the average person. I can't tell you how much I've learned and now I can apply to not only here, but also in my search patterns.

It's not for everyone... but I still find the hunt fun.
Oh, I do too. I found Legendary Defender Voltron (the combining one) by chance encounter because we stopped at TRU the week before Christmas for gits and shiggles. RID Stormshot and the PR movie Zords are another good example of hunt and find.

But, because it's the season and it's reset time, of course I'll stumble into some or all of these items, but give it a week or two and nothing. Nada. Zip. Might as well just order online and be done with it. If I lived in a metro area, that would help a great deal. Problem is that comes with a price tag.

Want to live in a city? You have to deal with riffraff and a bunch of crime if you want to do it affordably. If you want to live comfortably and in the style you're accustomed to, you have to pay through the nose, so you're back to "I ain't got no spendin' money, y'all!" so it's a no win situation for now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaBlue View Post
The two that I remember frequenting were at Southland in Middleburg Heights and - I think - Westwood Towne Center over in... Somewhere. The Westwood one had huge cutout illustrations of toys in their front windows, and one was a White Ranger with Green Ranger's gauntlets and boots. (See, Boom? Family Toy Warehouse predated your Green/White hybrid by 20-something years!) Sure, those two were a bit of a drive from where I am, but I'd hit a number of stores on the way back, and it was worth the drive, because I'd usually find SOMETHING.



The best K-B find that I remember is back in 1999, when they were giving away the "Morphin Series" VHS tapes when you spent $10 on Lost Galaxy merchandise. That's how I wound up with all 3.

Also, I remember finding the entire Space Ranger line at Toys "R" Us after Lost Galaxy started, and stumbling across Ecliptor at Kmart shortly thereafter. Good times!



That's what happens when the pool of available outlets shrinks down. It's kind of ironic, in a way: The number of stores has shrunk down at the same time that the number of things in the PR lines has skyrocketed. I almost miss Disney owning the franchise, because I'd usually find something good at the Disney Store.

Re: Malls - I can understand why they're all dying off. The "lifestyle centers" are where it's at now, and a majority of the old 'mall stores' have all gone out of business. Gone are the days of Record Town, Abbott's Cards & Gifts, Suncoast, and the other specialty mall stores. Even Claire's is barely holding on, and all of the teen clothing places are struggling to survive. Most companies are getting out of malls - rent factors? - and either going to self-contained buildings or strip centers. Now, there are a lot of malls that are thriving, and they're the ones that are being cared for and are in decent markets. With the shift in locations away from the old mall areas to different parts of town, there are a LOT of empty husks of retail lying around. Look at the Midway Mall area: The mall itself lost Dillard's about a decade ago and hasn't filled the space since, Macy's just went out last year, the food court is down to three locally-owned restaurants (even Taco Bell has moved out), and both nearby strip centers are mostly vacant. Where have all of the stores gone? Crocker Park in Westlake and Avon Commons in Avon. Maybe it will get redeveloped someday, but we need more businesses around in order for that to happen.
Oooh. Avon Commons. It's so pretty. It does seem like open air malls/plazas are becoming the thing again. That's how most malls started out, open air malls and plazas. They got the bright idea (and it is a bright idea) to throw a roof over it and make it one giant enclosed shopping center and it worked. Now, everyone's back to wanting to walk through rain and snow to get a good deal when they could be in a climate controlled facility...

Though, to be fair, walking through a mall SUCKS. You need to get to 3-4 stores...are they in the same location? Nope, all four corners of the mall. That's a lot of crowds, a lot of walking. Or...you could just hop in your car, drive down the strip, find a good parking spot and get in and out in minutes.

So, I see the allure to both types of shopping, I do, but it's still sad to see malls die out, there's so much history in them. It's even worse when you see these strip malls/open air malls/plazas and some of their stores have emptied out, too.

Part of the problem is mall rent. I know what the malls are thinking, "If you build it, they will come" and it was true, it's not any more. Getting people to pay you rent when they don't have customers to make it possible is just...impossible. It also doesn't help that malls charge premium rent rates because they think they know it all when they don't.

Our mall, for instance... 10 years ago, the Ashtabula Towne Square Mall had vendors lining up for space in the facility. (There was a waiting list!) Sears at one end, Super K-Mart at the other, a GREAT food court including Ruby Tuesdays, a killer arcade named "Aladdin's Cave", a kitchen ware/As Seen On TV store, a bunch of shoes and clothes, GameStop, Kings Jewelers and Kay Jewelers. Problem was, the mall owner was a jackass. Wal*Mart was on the other side of a small creek, separating both facilities, a small bridge would've fixed this and Wal*Mart would've become a part of the mall. They had no problem with that...until the mall owner wanted Wal*Mart to pay for it all, the construction, upkeep and everything. Wal*Mart never pays for anything, anywhere. That was the beginning of the downfall. They'd undercut the mall and all of it's stores on purpose. It worked.

Before you knew it, one after another, the bays in the mall emptied out. Kiosks have completely disappeared and there were nearly 100 stores when it opened, now down to 11. It's anchors? The movie theater and Bath & Body Works. The rest of the shops are empty and have a handful of customers per day. The only thing left in the food court is a subpar arcade (with games that were cool about 20 years ago...) and one of those overpriced cookie shops that sells pretzels. (It's not even a brand name, I don't think.)

The owner sold it for pennies on the dollar when he was done destroying what goodwill he had left with the tenants and the community and saddled all of it's problems on the new owner who tries, but he's in over his head.

Finally got the bridge between the mall and Wal*Mart. The mall paid for it (as they should) and it's too little, too late because it leads to a dead mall with nothing really in it. Even it's spirit of fun is dead and gone, it's just a sense of sadness and dread.

10 years. A decade and DOA. Insane.

Because of the original owner and his ridiculous prices on rent, it was actually cheaper for Aspen Dental, GameStop, Kay and Mattress Firm to buy their own stores in a little plaza they formed under a partnership. It was actually cheaper to build and open their own stores than it was to rent from this doofus. No one knows where he is, they just know he moved onto another mall in PA somewhere. (Probably destroying it as we speak.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sbdolan View Post
Midway mall toys r us is such a great go to now though. The one in north olmstead is always picked over. I live just slightly closer to Midway mall then Sandusky mall, maybe 15 to midway, 25-30 to Sandusky. I only bother hitting north olmstead if im at work in Westlake.
The TRU and Wal*Mart in Sandusky are really quite nice. They had stuff no one else had when I was looking for it. Meijer, my first and only experience...not so much. Sad store. Never did get to see the Target there...Probably won't get to, either. Doubt I'll be back in that neck of the woods for some time, if at all. Now that we have the 4 month old, I can't imagine pushing him around all day in a stroller in that ridiculous heat in the middle of summer at Cedar Point. (The main reason we went.)

I wouldn't mind checking out this Midway Mall you speak of. Hmm. Roadtrip fodder, perhaps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diecast View Post
I'm very conflicted on the hunt. I imagine it's a large portion of why I collect toys at all, but man, no matter what I collect there seems to be massive distribution issues with major retailers. It makes the high of snagging an entire wave at once that much stronger, but by the third time I've visited a store and the empty or half-empty pegs haven't changed since I started looking the frustration is that much higher.
Well, 2016 was kinda messed up in the distribution department and most of it through no fault of the manufacturers. There was a massive dock strike in LA and container ships were forced to sit out at sea while the crews were fighting with the docks and the union to get better everything. Even with the agreement finally going through, it was going to take months for things to return to normal and it's true.

East coast and Gulf coast ports opened and took some of the shipments to keep things moving, plus there were air drops of shipments as well, but it took months to finally clear up.

That's why we found some PR and TF items closer to Christmas than late summer/early fall like we were supposed to. On top of that was Chinese New Year, in which all factories and business shut down for roughly two weeks, plus storms that put certain parts of the country in a standstill, all of it just turned into a clusterf*ck.

Everything's moving as it should, now. Things should return to normal circa 2014/2015 in terms of distribution and getting items sooner. Heck, even online retailers such as BBTS and Amazon were having trouble obtaining stock for a while there.

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Originally Posted by PanamaRanger View Post
Same situation in Latin America as in Australia. Almost no stock for DC, only 12" figures, bikes, the zord armors and that lame 12" excuse for a Megazord. I am literally importing everything now. Sucks.
I'm sorry. There are so many restrictive countries out there and I'm not sure why they allow certain things into the country, but more or less block others. I just don't get it. I hope things get better for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taichi View Post
I get the frustrations. And I'm sure living in a bigger city, things are that much harder to find... but around here, the hunt is still pretty strong.
Honestly, I've been luckier with bigger cities than I have been in podunks like the one I live in. On occasion, I'll find a rare gem here and there at my local store, such as ONE Titano Charge Megazord (second one just this past week, it went FAST) but for the most part, if I need something, I have to drive to a bigger city to find it. Q-Rex Megazord springs to mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRanger87 View Post
I'm not going to lie, I like to go on the hunt. Particularly due to the fact that I live in a big city and I don't use my car too often except for running errands outside of work. I enjoy driving too. There's also satisfaction to finding something at retail rather than ordering it online. I do get fed up with making multiple trips though.
I love to drive, sometimes hunt driving is a vacation in and of itself. Gets you out of the house, gets you some fresh air, you might even try a new locale you hadn't been to before. There are good things that come with the hunt, no doubt.

It just sucks so bad when it's a fruitless search and you've driven all over God's green Earth because someone said they found that one thing in California, so it's technically out, but you're in Ohio and it'll be another 2-3 weeks, but you're stupidly optimistic and go for a run anyway, only to be letdown and then find out like 5 days later they finally got stocked and the one dude who shares his sighting with everyone bought up all the stock so he can have doubles or sell them on his eBay store.

Do I sound bitter? I sound bitter. Am I bitter? Yeah, I'm bitter. lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taichi View Post
I love driving. Especially when you can just drive with the windows down and music.

The other thing than satisfaction... is I can actually inspect for defects. There's been too many times going into the store and finding 5 of the same character and only one has good paint apps, or the eyes are dead centered and not one trailing off somewhere. So I can physically look for the best ones. I've actually had a time or two where things weren't painted just right, or I've gotten the wrong joint on the figure, or two left hands... yeah.
That's true, I do like eyeing up the items I buy before I buy them. It started with Transformers Energon back in 2004. There were several reports of Rodimus coming without paint on his face and since the figures were packaged in vehicle mode, it was kind of a luck of the draw type of deal and if you did get a lemon, you wanted to be able to exchange it right away. Now, it's the cost of return shipping, waiting for them to RMA you, etc. And heck, some retailers are even putting up "We'll take returns for factory defects, but paint applications can no longer be considered a fixable issue. The entire run of this product has paint problems and no refunds or exchanges will be given." and that really sucks. That's where the hunt helps immensely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRanger87 View Post
Yes, driving with music and the windows down is sublime. That's also a great point about inspecting for defects. The eyes on some Marvel Legends....yikes.
Driving with music blaring and no one to help you pick out the playlist. All on a nice summer day when everything is awesome. *sighs* I might just start collecting other crap just to justify hunt drives this summer. lol
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