Star Wars: A Geek’s Tale: Episode XI


The Darth Vader lava reflecting action figure. The object of my desire on April 2. The reason I gave up three hours of pay. The online images made it look like the coolest thing in the galaxy. In reality, it may well be the ugliest figure I’ve ever seen. This figure is so bad by today’s standards that my theory is they stopped production at 50,000 figures and had to come up with a way to sell all of them. Knowing how freakish Star Wars fans can be about such things, they came up with the exclusive collector’s edition promotion.

In truth, though, it’s not just the geeks who obsess about exclusive items such as this one. There is more than one branch in the Freak family tree and one of them is inhabited by eBay members.

One of the dorks ahead of me in the line at Target mentioned to the Loss Prevention Manager that the exclusive figures were already appearing on eBay. The manager told us that those figures were stolen property, taken by employees at the manufacturer, distribution centers or stores. He went on to say that he did a search on eBay and found some that were going for as high as $80. I cursed that I couldn’t buy more than one so I could get in on the action.

As I recounted last episode, I made my way to a second Target and purchased a second exclusive figure. Dollar signs were floating around my head as I drove to work.

After I told my friends in the break room about my great adventure, I suited up and went to the production floor. The first thing I did was to go straight to eBay on the computer on my production line. Jerry, once again my trusted friend, and Eric, a fellow Star Wars geek, came over to question me about my Target experience. I signaled for them to wait as I ran a search for the exclusive figure. The search returned over 1400 of the figures available for auction. Some of the figures had already sold for over $80.

Jerry and Eric grilled me with a series of questions about the figures. Eric was more interested in what I bought. Jerry wanted to get his hands on an exclusive to put on eBay. I told him that the figures weren’t sold out yet. He told Eric he was going to break and took off like a mynock out of hell.

When Jerry returned he told me where he had gone. He drove to the nearby Target to buy one of the exclusive figures. By the time he got there they were sold out. He called his wife at home and asked her to go to the Target where I bought my first figure.

Jerry’s wife called him back from Target to ask him what she was looking for. He told her the figures were being handed out at the electronics counter. The person working the counter told her that since they still had some figures an hour after the doors opened, they decided to put the remaining figures on the shelf with the regular figures. She found five of the exclusives were still available and took all of them to checkout. The cashier told her that she could only buy one of the figures. Jerry’s wife, the mother of his five sons and one daughter, asked the cashier how she could tell her five boys she only had one figure for all of them to share. The cashier, probably a mother herself, rang up all five figures.

Jerry eventually sold all of the figures on eBay, getting around $35 to $40 for each one. He asked me if I was going to auction off one of mine. I told him that I was going to hold off. With so many figures available online, I wanted to wait to see if the price would come up.

The first weekend that the figures were available there were more than 1400 of them up for auction. The figures were bringing in an average of $40. The number of figures being auctioned began to dwindle after a couple of days to the point that, just two weeks later, there were less than 250 available. The figures were starting to bring in more than $50 but seem to be coming back down to the $40 range.

The more I looked at the exclusive, the less I liked it. I’ve decided to put them both up for auction.

Now I can set my sights on the Celebration III exclusive, the talking Darth Vader figure. That is going to be friggin’ sweet.

Coming up:
More merchandise


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