"Are you a 'collector'?"

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Superquad7, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    I'm often times asked this question, and I have to admit that I really don't know how to respond accurately. Why? I'm glad you asked!

    It seems that as an adult who is "into" a toy line such as "Transformers", the term "collector" can mean a lot of different things, each of those with different connotations and even stereotypes (mostly negative, as you can probably guess).

    Personally, I've always preferred to see myself as an "enthusiast", as I am very much "into" Transformers, but every purchase I make doesn't end up unopened and I'm not trying to make an "investment" with each new purchase.

    With that being said, I do value my TFs, and I can also refute some of what I just said previously with some instances (some of my collection is sealed and there is a $value to my things, even as an investment to an extent) Do I "collect" TFs? Yes. Do I want certain things "complete", unbroken, and in nice shape, etc.? Sure. Do most of my toys sit on a shelf as a "collection"? Yah.

    Honestly, this sort of thing has gotten a whole lot better with the recent increase of popularity of Transformers. That being said, I started back into TFs in 2000. I've had my fair share of things to deal with from others, sure.

    Also, don't misread me here. This isn't a thread of me having an identity crisis of sorts. This thread actually stems from a recent outing with a friend of mine from here. I asked an associate of a retail store about the new deluxe figures Brawn and Lockdown, as we were out looking for them among other new releases. The barcode scanner alerted us that there was at least another case in the stockroom that potentially could have had them. When the associate was checking, another associate told him they "weren't allowed to look for a certain item for anyone". This associate stepped in to add a comparison of myself and my friend to "Hot Wheels collectors", of which I derived a negative connotation from. I didn't press anything, as I asked for some help and simply saw it wasn't happening. Honestly, that's the first real negative experience I've had with that sort of thing from that retail chain (guess which one :lol ).

    I already described another experience on here where an associate was ready to fight me and used quite a bit of vulgarities expressing his thoughts. I simply reported him to management, especially since I had just got off of work and started the weekend. I was blindsided anyways, particularly because I was tired and groggy.

    I was asked the question that titles this thread a couple of days ago by an employee in a retail store, to which I responded "Yes" and elaborated just a bit. I did feel as if I was put off a bit after giving this response. Kinda like, "oh no, he's one of those guys."

    Anyways, I thought I'd generate a response from you guys and gauge your thoughts on this sort of thing. I preface it by saying that this isn't a 'rant on the retail outlets" kinda thread or anything like that. Essentially, I'd simply like to have this topic addressed and have a discussion :) 
     
  2. Auto Morph

    Auto Morph Gimmick Bot

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    Damn Hot Wheels collectors!!!

    But seriously, I'm not really sure what 'official' term I would apply to myself. Probably 'collector' but whatever.

    I buy as many TFs as I can afford to, across about 4 or 5 specific lines/continuities. When I take them out of the packaging (and I do) I make sure that the packaging is kept as mint and clean as possible so that when I'm done playing with them and displaying them, they can go back on the shelf in my TF room in their box in as close to the same condition as they day I got them, ready for further display.

    I LOVE having the aesthetic of figures displayed in their boxes. Kinda like a toy shop all of my own but one where I know I won't have to sort through to the back because of all the duplicates!

    Now if all that sounds like someone who would fit under the class of a 'collector', then go ahead and call me that if you like. I'm happy with whatever. I collect, but I am also a 'player' and a 'displayer' (both only in the action figure sense of the word - man now they sound really dodgy!).

    To summarise, do we need to be defined?
     
  3. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    For the purpose of this discussion, I'm not really trying to define myself or the lot of us. I'm essentially discussing (and wanting to discuss) how we are defined by others, the negative connotations often associated with that, the presumptions others make based on that, and how to best answer and interact with those who do so :) 

    (I did enjoy your description of how you enjoy the hobby though :) )
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
  4. wolfe

    wolfe Well-Known Member

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    I view myself as a collector/enthusiast. I will pick up toys i like for myself to fiddle around with, but i will also pick up ones for an investment or to resell. Lots of different reasons to pick up some of the things i do.

    I worked in retail for a bit. Never worked in the toy section, but i heard a few things about "collectors". It kinda comes down to one or two bad apples leaving bad impressions on the store and associates and it ends up having every "collector" customer grouped. Its not fair, but i can see why it happens. Associates dread having to deal with rude customers and when they hear "collector" it tends to bring back negative memories.

    This doesnt apply to all associates of course. I remember when rotf was relased at walmart the lady wasnt even ready to start putting them out. But when i asked her she brought out quite a few carts full of unpacked merchandise so i could look thru them. I was quite thankful and expressed this to her. Some service people are very pleasant.

    Customers in general should treat workers with respect just like they expect from the workers. Unfortunately there will always be bad apples among customers and among workers. Sometimes we just have to shrug it off and move on.
     
  5. Auto Morph

    Auto Morph Gimmick Bot

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    I see where you're coming from - there ARE negative connotations. I get it nearly every time I bring up my hobby with someone who is not on this board and not my girlfriend (she collects a bit herself).

    If I show people a photo on my phone of my collection room, for example, the primary response of people is not "oh wow that's so cool", it's usually just "man are you crazy? What a waste of your life" etc. Or they just smirk and cast a derogatory glance around the room, as if to pity me.

    But then I don't care. In. The. Slightest. Never cared what anyone else thought of me or my collection, and not just in the spirit of defiance or confrontation, just that they are different people to me and they don't understand. Well, I mean they don't understand my interest, not that they're stupid. Some people collect insects or leaves or stamps and I may have the same reaction to seeing what they do, but that's because I don't understand it because I don't have an interest in it.

    The whole thing is relative.

    However, I think to the world at large, we (TF fans) will always be considered a bit of an anomaly. But so what. We'll carry on and so will they with whatever they choose to fill their lives with. As long as we're happy, they can say and think whatever they like.
     
  6. CZ Hazard

    CZ Hazard Sons of Unicron PTT

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    I was in a shop the other day and the dude working clocked by girlfriends Autobot belt buckle, so he got real exited and started saying how cool the TF's are, so I showed him my TF tattoos on my leg and we ended up waxing on about Transformers and comic book movies and how geek was accepted now way more than 10 years ago.
    And this wasn't a toy shop, or a comic shop or a gaming shop. This was a sports shop!
    These days it seems even the jocks have a little nerd in them.

    Most people I know realise I collect TF's, most of them don't know to what extent but I've never, ever had any shit about it. The very odd, jokey derisive comment but you only really get offended by them if you're mega insecure.
     
  7. WhiteMocha

    WhiteMocha TFW2005 Supporter

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    I think it's pertinent to this argument to make the distinction between being just any old collector and being a TOY collector. I'd say that by and large, the act of collecting isn't judged too harshly by society as a whole, but there is definitely an extra level of scorn leveled upon adults who collect toys. Maybe not scorn.... maybe puzzlement. I would imagine that for most people, they simply don't "get" why adults would want to collect something that is expressly intended for children. And I admit, there is something vaguely off-putting about seeing a dozen 30+ year-old guys hanging around waiting for a Target to open so they can go rifle through the toy shelves (of course, I'm in no position to judge, as I am one of those guys).

    Looking at it from the perspective of a non-toy-collector, I'm sure they wonder what's wrong with us. Are we fundamentally immature, in a state of arrested development? Are we lonely losers, filling the void inside with frivolous junk? Are we greedy scalpers, buying a bunch of toys to re-sell at inflated rates?

    Of course we all know better, and we all have our legitimate reasons to pursue this hobby. And if pressed into an actual conversation about it by a contemptuous salesperson or acquaintance, I'm sure most of us could actually make a pretty decent argument to which even they could relate (if nothing else, the old "hey, it keeps me young at heart" defense is palatable to most potential critics).

    On the other hand (as Sidbeckett mentioned), our society is so geek-centric these days that I think toy collecting has started to scratch at the edge of the mainstream. And I would say that 80% of people I tell about my hobby are perfectly accepting of it.... they might think it's a little strange, but most think it's harmless (which just goes to show they don't realize how much I actually spend on these things..... harmless? I think not!).
     
  8. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    I collect vinyls. Mostly Techno, Hardcore, Early Rave, Industrial, Rhythm Noise, etc.
     
  9. Magnus' Mate

    Magnus' Mate Well-Known Member

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    I likes what I like. I'll leave others to decide what that makes me.

    But most of my family & friends see me as a collector (not just TFs but other things) but there aren't any negative connotations with that.

    Question - can you be a "graphic novel" or even "book/magazine" collector? Because I like my books and TPBs almost as much as my toys...

    at what point does one stop simply being a "buyer/consumer" (even a high volume one) and become a 'collector'?

    Are my wife and her sister (and most of the female population) - who have ludicrous amounts of shoes and handbags - "collectors" or just big spenders?
     
  10. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    ah yeah, I collect comics as well :D 
     
  11. The_Black_Sheep

    The_Black_Sheep Willyna...

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    I've heard that question quite a few times now & I just tell them "Well, Yeah, Of course I am :) . But I'm not a "hardcore collector". I've only got about 490-something. I can show you some people's collections on the net who have 1000's of TFs. Now that's what I call being a "hardcore collector". :lol 
     
  12. Human Beastbox

    Human Beastbox The Murdinator

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    I'm more of a hoarder/waster of toy robots. :D 
     
  13. Renidragon

    Renidragon Toys on my table!

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    I'm as much a collector of Transformers as I am of video games, or as I used to be of music CDs. I buy them with the intent of opening them up and enjoying them as they were intended to be enjoyed - I play the video games, I listened to the music, and I transform my transformers.

    Though after reading SQ7's story, if I run into a retail associate who asks (and isn't in the same boat as me), I'll just say I'm a fan... then lie and tell em I'm buying for a kid or something who wanted whatever item after I showed it to them on the internet or something. :lol 
     
  14. thenatureboywoo

    thenatureboywoo Veteran

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    I'm a collector I guess, if I had to put it into words. I don't do it for the money, I do it for the enjoyment. I've had people at Walmart ask me about it, and I am never shy to talk about it. If I am with my son, I never whisper to him about what I am looking for, In fact I usually say it a little louder that I usually would than if I was looking for something that everyone looks for. I'm the type a guy that starts shit with a person that gets shitty with me. I'm not a tough guy per say, but I don't back down. So I wait for moments like SQ7 is talking about with the stockboy and the Hot Wheels Collector.
     
  15. Sage o' G-fruit

    Sage o' G-fruit Critics gonna critique

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    I guess I can be called a collector, as I keep my toys on shelves, and all of them are opened, but I can still pick them up and fiddle with them. Whenever I tell people I collect them though, they immediately assume that I keep them all MISB, and when I tell them I don't, then they tell me I'm not a collector. So maybe there's another definition I'm not getting?

    This as well.
     
  16. Autobus Prime

    Autobus Prime Transit Former

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    Sure, I'm a collector. When I'm at the store, I can usually spot my fellow collectors, too, which occasionally weirds them out, but usually leads to interesting conversations. :D 

    Collector isn't a bad word! Be proud of your hobby. I've run into more adults that look at a TF purchase, and start randomly talking about how the Decepticons are the best, or how cool the movies were, than any other unexpected reaction. If somebody says "Are you one of those collectors", then say, "Yes I am." :D 

    I'm also a model railroader. A lot of MRR'ers have an odd need to self-justify. They've got to call themselves serious prototype modelers or something. They don't realize that this kind of thing makes one even more ridiculous. Me? I play with little toy trains. Why? Because it's damned fun! :D  :D  :D 

    Disapproval just fizzles if you don't provide a target.
     
  17. Renidragon

    Renidragon Toys on my table!

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    I've got a friend who refuses to refer to his Transformers as anything less than "action figures"... even I give him a hard time about that... they're freakin' TOYS. :) 
     
  18. Autobus Prime

    Autobus Prime Transit Former

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    Yes they are. :D  I think it's great that Transformer fans are willing to say the T word. That's a major difference between Transformer and model-railroad fandom. Just try and get your average model railroader to admit that his >$100 model locomotive is a toy. :) 

    (I still don't know how people can afford that stuff. Hooray for swap meets. :D  )

    I think it's some left-over angst from the 1930s, when the MRR hobby was just about where we are right now! Lionel was selling about 10-20 percent of their trains to adults, for their own use. Sound familiar? :D 
     
  19. 03Mach1

    03Mach1 Reason Has No Voice

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    I am a collector in every sense of the word. Transformers, Star Wars, GI Joe...pretty much any 80's toy I can get my hands on. And diecast/models of Mustangs and other various muscle cars. And I have no problem telling the nice ladies and gentlemen I see at Walmart, Target and TRU multiple times a week. I'm nice to them and they're nice back. They sometimes even open boxes or bring out items they wouldn't normally have room for when they see me. I've never had one issue with my local retailers or collectors.
     
  20. Shockscream

    Shockscream Chairman of Nerd Day

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    I am a collector. Terms like "hobbyist" and "enthusiast" don't sit well with me. I buy these toys and they become part of my collection, therefore I am a collector. I have never had a problem with store assistants; be nice to them and they'll be nice to you.

    I think that the people in the stores that I frequent understand that they sell about as many Transformers to collectors as they do to parents and their children.

    All that said, most of my buying is done online now.
     

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