I need to get a little something off my chest…
Yesterday, I put a post up on Instagram, mentioning a chat I had with a Walmart Toy Department manager. There was a large response to the post, and I even heard from Mattel, so I thought I would take my thoughts to the blog.
A little background. I visited a local Walmart yesterday, and while I was standing in the toy car aisle, the manager came up to me and asked if I was a collector. I told him I was, and he asked what I was looking for. I told him nothing in particular, just perusing the pegs. I asked why, and he said he was trying to figure out what Hot Wheels had released lately that had turned collectors into frenzied vampires.
We got to chatting, and he told me that just in the last few days, he has been dealing with collectors sneaking into the stockroom, harassing employees for their scanners to see what was in the back, convincing employees from other departments to bring cases out, and completely destroying new bins to the point that they can’t stay on the floor any longer. Some bins were even destroyed before they made it to floor.
He mentioned a particular collector who would harass him by saying that he knows that there are Hot Wheels in the back because he has a tool to check, and said he would wait for someone to bring it out. When the manager said no, the person left, only to be seen returning the minute that employee’s shift ended. The manager returned the next morning to find the dump bin ripped open in the back.
He said most collectors are fine, but that lately he has been seeing more and more of this kind of behavior. That is not good.
I have found myself talking to toy managers and employees at several stores, and these stories seem to be getting more and more common. It is too bad, because these folks are creating a bad name for the common collector who enjoys a good Hot Wheels hunt.
What has happened? Why do folks think it is appropriate to act like that to find a Super?
We have stood on our little soapbox before, preaching the “Leave the Regular TH” word. With that, we have always said that while Regs are kids, Supers are for collectors. We don’t blame anyone for taking all the Supers they find. We do. We also think the word “scalper” is used too much. Many times fellow collectors will call the guy who found the Super before them a scalper, when it was just a lucky guy who found them first. And we can’t blame someone who finds a Super and wants to use it to either trade or sell in order to get a model he or she has been after.
We think the hunt for Supers is great. That is one of the reasons I enjoy documenting my middle-of-the-day Super finds. And if you can get to the pegs first thing in the morning, or overnight, or even right when a bin is being brought to the floor, more power to you. But for those of you harassing employees, we hope you can stop.
One commenter on IG mentioned it is money thing. I don’t necessarily agree with that. No one can survive on hitting stores daily to find a couple of random Supers to sell. I think it is a collector thing. The need to have more of something than another is one of those collector genes. It can get out of hand if you aren’t careful, and can turn a normal person into a Super-obsessed maniac.
Whatever it is, we hope you can rethink how you do things. Is it really that bad if someone got to a dump bin before you? Wouldn’t it be more fun if those Super finds were a bit more random?
And more importantly, can’t we show a little more respect to store employees, especially now? If you have been in a Walmart or Target during the holiday season, isn’t it easy to see how difficult their job is? Crowds everywhere, product being thrown everywhere, questions and demands coming every minute. The last thing they need to deal with is a 50-year-old guy asking them to bring a dump bin out so he can destroy it.
Oh, and those dump bins? Notice the height? The placement in the store? It’s for parents walking by with their kids in the cart. An easy grab for a kid who wants one, and easily justifiable for the parents who don’t mind the $1 price tag. Crazy that a kid-targeted product is usually destroyed by adults.
Super Treasure Hunts are fun. Finding them on the pegs is fun. Let’s keep it that way…