For those of you who remember me from earlier this year, you’ll remember me talking about the TYPE OF COLLECTOR and what TYPE OF TRADER you can be. In those articles (and others) I have never shied away from encouraging people from being a bit more like Father Christmas whenever you can be. Now, I recognize that not everyone was as obsessed/crafty (/stupid?) as myself and my beautiful bride (she is to who crafty applies) in obtaining traders. Last night we finished inventorying from the last trade event and thought it amazing how small our traders had dwindled to… only 200 or so. This grandeur of traders awards us a lot more flexibility then many. However, you don’t need a lot to give a lot to people. As I’ve said before, there’s really not a better feeling then helping someone getting something they so desperately want. Especially when (at events especially) people can be so stingy, or even mean. I can’t even count on my figures how many parents have said to us: “Wow, you’re actually nice” or “Thanks so much, it meant a lot to our kid.”
After this last trade event, I’m more convinced of advocating this then ever, and not just because of the warm fuzzies.
A year ago, at the Florida Project, a kid came by desperately wanting Doug and Talespin, two items we had. He had Rescue Rangers and Bonkers. All in all, a pretty even trade. That was the start of the day. Fast forward 2 hours. Someone at the end of our table had Magic Stars and Stripes from P1: somewhat a grail of mine, since I love anything dealing with Hollywood Studios (the place my wife and I first spent any time together). She was looking for one of the Cruise Line sets. No Dice. However… the people behind me had the set she was looking to exchange. What did they want? Talespin. Yes, this is where it can seem like it doesn’t pay off. It still has never stopped us, despite this loss, from keeping with the Father Christmas Mentality.
Let’s fast forward again. July 6, 2012. My wife and I have attended every event since we first really started collecting back in December of 2010… including the one 7 days before our wedding. We usually do upwards of 100+ trades every event, but usually return with 5-20 figures we’re looking for, often done before the doors open. Maybe more on a really good night. This night, my wife left me to man the table and Mystery 24 box as she scurried around looking for 25th Light-Ups (a series she really wanted) and other items on our wish list. Often, with our bigger value or older items, she has me cut the final deal since I’m more of the “expert” with this collectable. She sent me to a table of someone I had never met before, but seemed to have a similar philosophy in trading that we possessed. Sadly, by the time I had made it over, the items my wife thought we had were already traded for. I did notice looking through their list that we had several items they needed, some even nicer. I asked where their Chasers were and they pulled out a box: many chasers, including several Pink Hedgehogs and one Ghost Obi. My jaw dropped. Two items I have always wanted since their introduction.
I took a shot. I’ve often tried for Ghost Obi… offering many chasers, Disney Afternoons, and other wish list items for the figure. They had all been declined. Understandably. We continue to make offers because WE will occasionally break up our better items (like a Plane Crazy we once had) to help someone out as long as we’re getting things we need. But not always. I understand and respect people’s desire to hold on to higher end figures. I excepted another “no.” What I got was: “make us an offer! We just want what we’re looking for.” So I made an offer. Including Bonkers (The only DA that I remember them having on their list). Yes. That trade back at the Florida Project got us Ghost Obi. In fact, I don’t believe a single thing we handed over to them we hadn’t gotten from helping out others. Including several that night! We had exchanged moments earlier a Woody (a figure that has crept up in value since it’s disappearance off the shelves) for something we didn’t need, but compared in value. We made someones night. Turns out, it made ours too. Our Ghost providers didn’t need a Woody, but they DID need the figure we had received.
The lessons here are two fold:
1. Be generous. This community can be a blessing if you are kind. From an extremely personal note, I was touched last month when my Grandfather passed just how many people I’ve met in this hobby were kind, loving, and supportive through it. Make a kid’s day. Or another collector. Think how awesome it must have been for Annie to give that Pink Hedgehog away. Don’t take it too seriously. Friendships and people are always greater then 3″ toys.
2. Be patient. I know there can be a tendency to want to see immediate results. Time will be your friend in this hobby. I had given up on Ghost Obi, and here he came a Year and 7 Months after we first heard of him. After I first wanted him. Right now, you may not have the right stuff to get you your high wish list, but that time will come. We entered our first trade event with little more then a box full of Park 3 & Cutesters Too. We left with many items off our wish list (in no small part to the generosity of the Wynns, who, in my mind are the prime example of everything a trader, collector, and friend should be). Don’t give up. If you truly love this hobby, time will provide you with the things you need to pursue your Ghost, Pink Hedgehog, or Magical Stars and Stripes!!
Hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me now that life has calmed down a little.
Until next time… may the bloxing be ever in your favor.