The Psychology of the Collector

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Brave Convoy, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. Brave Convoy

    Brave Convoy Banned

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    I'd like to discuss what your thoughts are on the psychology of the adult toy collector. Why do you collect, what do you get out of it, and from your own observations, what image comes to mind when you think of a majority of other toy collectors? Are other toy collectors generally pleasant people? Or generally negative? Discuss the psychology of the adult toy collector here.
     
  2. kjyl

    kjyl I'm a shark.

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    There are as many personality profiles as there are collectors. Some are dicks, some are awesome, and most fall in-between the two.

    I collect toys because I think they are neat. If my entire collection was destroyed tomorrow it would annoy me but that would be about the extent of it.

    Then I would file an insurance claim.
     
  3. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    From a psychological standpoint, I think it really does vary from person to person. People are attracted to collecting, and to transformers specifically, for a wide range of reasons, many of which are extremely personal.

    I don't think any of us will be able to paint a picture of a quintessential TF collector. I don't think there is one, frankly. Everyone has their own reasons, their own opinions, and their own ways of doing things. I think it might be better (and somewhat more accurate) for us to limit ourselves to discussing our own motivations and habits, though there's definitely room to discuss conceptions of the collecting fandom as a whole if we can accept the inherent inaccuracies therein.

    What are some of the more common ones? Some people are drawn to collecting transformers through nostalgia, others out of appreciation for the mechanics of the designs and the art and stories of the media. Others have simply collected since they were children and never stopped. Others still do it as a form of artistic expression, using Transformers as a lens for their own paintings, drawings, sculpture and writing. Many remain in the community for the connections they've made with other collectors, even if they no longer actively collect.

    I've met many other collectors over the years, and they've been varied enough that I don't want to make generalizations, but if pressed, I would have said that most collectors are simply representative of the overall population. They're normal people, differentiated only by their hobby. A large segment is in their late 20s to late 30s, predominantly male, since this represents the population that was impacted by the original Transformers craze of the 80s, but there's girls and younger fans (especially since the movies), and even much older fans as well (though these are uncommon in my experience). Generally, yes, I would say they are pleasant people, and many if not most are interested in contributing positively to the collecting community as well as the outside communities they belong to.

    I would also say that, in a very general sense, most collecting communities and fandoms function essentially the same as Transformers, with the same general habits and people. The demographics might be different depending on the property, but much of the behavior remains consistent, from what I've witnessed. This may be due to the fact that many collectors collect, or at least participate in the communities of, more than one property.

    For myself, I guess its a mixture of much of what I've said above. I'm in it because I remember the old shows like G1 and Beast Wars, and they made an impact on me. I don't collect much anymore, but I still appreciate the fiction and the mechanical designs of the toys, and I'm glad to have met many of the people I have through Transformers. I like to think I'm a generally pleasant person, but as to my own psychological motivations for being active in the Transformers community? I would say that it's because it's a hobby, and that I feel everyone needs a hobby I guess.
     
  4. Knightdramon

    Knightdramon Hasbro LIES to the US

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    I collect because I am fascinated by the number of ways a solid, everyday object [car, airplane, truck] can take on a humanoid form with panels resembling armour.

    At times I get a sense of achievement and pleasure from transforming a figure between modes, fitting pegs onto indents and seeing how joints can serve both transformation and articulation.

    Toy collectors can be divided into lots and lots of categories. There's the transforming mecha enthusiasts, like me, there's the obsessive compulsive people who purchase a figure to keep a PERFECT, dust free box that will never be opened, there's casual resellers...everybody collects for a different reason. Can't just pick one and go with it for adult collectors...
     
  5. Brave Convoy

    Brave Convoy Banned

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    What motivates a person to act dickish in regards to something that's supposed to transport them back to their childhood, a time of joy and simplicity? Are some people really that oblivious to miss the point and the fact that the bottom line is that it's about toys, not politics, war, or other "heavy" matters? Are some just collecting out of habit? Obsessive compulsive disorder, something that can never be satisfied, which would explain why they're perpetually unhappy and "dickish?"
     
  6. Brave Convoy

    Brave Convoy Banned

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    This particularly resonates with me. Some kids played with Rubik's Cubes, I loved figuring out how to Transform Autobots and Decepticons without the instructions. Puzzle toys! They required more intellectual thought than a regular action figure that could hold a gun. A challenge instead of just a play-thing.
     
  7. ABH1979

    ABH1979 Scary Melting Stripe Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    As someone who literally just came back to collecting Transformers, after having stopped for about 10 years, I'm trying to figure out how this is happening again.

    Even though I stopped with the TFs, I had moved on to another major fandom of mine, Batman (and by association, the greater DCU).

    For me, I think it's part of owning a bit of the (fictional) world that I'm obsessed with, if that makes any sense.
     
  8. Smashs

    Smashs Internet: Pure Truth Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    I collect for a couple reasons.

    First, nostalgia. I grew up watching and playing with these guys. It brings me back every time I get a new figure. Even movieverse figures.

    Second, I love the concept/engineering of them. As terrible as we say some of the figures are, they are all great in their own way. You look at a figure like Leader Prime, and the detail he has in bot mode, then think about tucking that all away in a nice little package that is a great representation of a truck. To anyone who didn't know it was a transformer, I'm sure they would think it was just a model at first glance. That's awesome to me.

    Also, I thoroughly enjoy hitting multiple stores for new lines, flea markets, yard sales, the thrill of finally finding the one I'm currently looking for(FU Vehicon!). And it's a fairly (for lack of a better word) unique hobby. I love when someone who hasn't been over for a while walks in to my office at home and sees the collection.

    Far as other collectors, I imagine them being normal, every day people like myself. I hold a long term job working in IT at an Automotive Tech school, have a wife and two dogs, own my home, etc. Essentially: nerdy in the extreme, whiter than sour cream. For their personalities, I really can't say. I don't know of another collector anywhere close to me, or even in the state. The few I watch on youtube seem cool. A few here seem kind of dickish, and a few seem alright. Just a toss up, really, and I don't think it has anything to do with being a collector.
     
  9. Brave Convoy

    Brave Convoy Banned

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    Welcome back! :)  But I must warn you too. It's natural to want to share your enjoyment of the hobby with others and feel a part of the community, but in my experience, Transformers fans seem to be a little harder to get along with than other fandoms. A lot of attitudes and easily offended egos. The lack of affinity for fellow collectors led to some cooling-off periods for me in the past. Some fans literally made me not want to have anything to do with the brand, spoiling it for me because I was so disappointed in how they were behaving, and didn't want to be associated with it. In time, I've learned that people can only offend, disappoint or frustrate you if you let them. Everyone has potential, and it's not up to us to make them fulfill it. If someone's a jerk about it, all you can do is let it go.

    I too enjoy being able to "own a bit of it." I've always been that way. I love being able to hold it in my hand and get a closer look at it, being able to appreciate the detail more than is possible from the view you get on a TV show, in a movie or in a video game.
     
  10. rxlthunder

    rxlthunder Banned

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    Pro-tip, use multi-quote.
     
  11. Brave Convoy

    Brave Convoy Banned

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    Are most collectors...well, I'll just come right and say it...cowards?

    I've tried to organize numerous get-togethers with fellow collectors in my area, and get the distinct impression they don't like to socialize with others. Many also don't seem to be very proud of their hobby. They'd rather keep it to themselves than announce it publicly for fear of embarrassment. How many collectors are shy about their hobby? Be honest! Do you care what others think if they have a negative opinion of your toy collecting ways? Do you care if they don't understand it?
     
  12. Brave Convoy

    Brave Convoy Banned

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    And if I don't?
     
  13. Smashs

    Smashs Internet: Pure Truth Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    I'm not. I would gladly go to a meet and greet, or lunch, coffee, whatever...with a fellow collector, and I generally don't like meeting new people IRL. I'm not shy about it at all. All my family and friends know, and a few even buy figures I have on my wish list. I'll even get the occasional text from friends saying they spotted new stock in local stores.

    I couldn't care less what people think of my hobby, or if they don't understand it.

    It just keeps the thread cleaner. And I think there may be a rule about multiposting. Not sure though.
     
  14. rxlthunder

    rxlthunder Banned

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    You'll have dozens of posts on top of each other.
     
  15. Goaliebot

    Goaliebot All Makes and Models

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    33% are good people and well-rounded individuals.
    33% are good people, but socially awkward and somewhat odd.
    33% are pretty much outright jerks.
    1% are f#^ing loons.
     
  16. kjyl

    kjyl I'm a shark.

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    It is just polite.

    Back to the topic, I really do not know why they act dickish I would imagine it is an expression of their personality that would be expressed in some way regardless of their status as a collector.

    Where are you located? Maybe there is a meet up or something. I know I certianly would not mind the chance to grab a beer and talk to fellow collectors.
     
  17. ABH1979

    ABH1979 Scary Melting Stripe Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    Thank you, but though I'm a little rusty, I'm not new to this dog and pony show. Check my join date, I'm practically the Kup of this website. :wink: 

    I've also spent a lot of time on comic websites (Newsarama, when they still had a forum, and now CBR) and that group can be just as fickle.

    Yeah, there is also the possibility of a bit of an awkward god-complex in there too. The TV Shows/Movies and Video Games are always presented in a narrative of the creator'(s) choosing. But your figures/collectables, while being completely inanimate are yours to display however you wish.
     
  18. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    Brave, you've been using some pretty harsh terms in relation to a generalization of collectors, terms I don't really feel are warranted in my experience. For example, I don't feel that the collectors who keep collecting after the enjoyment has died out are suffering from OCD, though I think you hit the nail on the head with saying its out of habit. They continue to collect figures in the same way a person does anything out of habit or routine, rather than mindfulness, be it the media they consume, the route they take to work, etc. I also am surprised that you would use the term "cowards" to describe fans in your area, simply because you couldn't organize a meetup. I would think that cowardice would have nothing to do with not wanting to attend such a meetup, and I think even describing them as anti-social is a stretch. I would think it would be more related to an inability to fit it into already busy schedules (many collectors have young families these days), or a simple insufficient personal connection to their fellow collectors to want to hang out with them. That's been the experience in my case, I attended a meetup of collectors only a month or two ago, and organizing them is very difficult.

    I think some people might not be completely open about their hobby to everyone they meet, especially given some have negative attitudes towards adults collecting figures, but I don't think it any more indicative of cowardice than a man who doesn't interject that he enjoys cycling into every conversation he has.

    Do you truly feel that terms like "OCD" and "coward" accurately describe the transformers collecting body as a whole, or are you being deliberately hyperbolic for the purposes of discussion? You mentioned that you have trouble (or at least more trouble, compared to other fandoms) with the transformers community, but at the same time, your posts today have come off as... well, more than a little abrasive. Can you describe your experiences with other fandoms?
     
  19. ErbFan28

    ErbFan28 Well-Known Member

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    I feel I collect items (Chicago Bears, Transformers, Dirt track racing) to show to others that I am a serious fan rather than a casual one. Instead of telling others what I enjoy, I can show them. Most of the Transformers figures I have are for display only. I don't really have the desire to "play" with them. I have numerous die-cast late model race cars that are still in their original boxes. My wall and shelves are full of Chicago Bears memorabilia. Everything is there for others to see. To show what my interests are and how big of a fan I am.
     
  20. Brave Convoy

    Brave Convoy Banned

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    You're exaggerating.

    Interesting that you edited your original message from "you have" to "you'll have." Seeing as how we're in the "psychology of the collector" thread, have you noticed that exaggerating is a trait of many members of the fandom? Exaggeration of their collection, of what they went through to acquire it, of supposed wrongs and offenses perpetrated to them?

    In my experience, I've found more TF fans to be overly sensitive and exaggerate situations than take an honest and realistic look at what's actually happening. It is nice that you went back and corrected yourself. Now just keep in mind what motivated the initial exaggeration, and how to guard against letting it happen again.
     

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