Originally posted on January 18th, 2017.
Here where I live, in the WF, there isn’t all that much east or north of town, so I make my rounds to what is there less frequently. To the south we’ve got Raleigh and all its hugeness; to the west is Durham which definitely has a few spots worth checking out once or twice a month; southwest is Cary, and Cary can be a great place for finding new stuff…sometimes anyway. If you go east far enough you’ll hit Selma, which I went to by accident after turning the wrong way out of a parking lot, and they had an amazing Walmart. Further east is Smithfield, of some renown for its outlet mall, and it features a Toys R Us Express, which is like a crappy strip mall version of TRU. We went there once…for some reason it was blazing hot in there and the trip was a 100% bust. If you just barely go east you’ll end up in Knightdale. There’s nothing much to write home about, but there is a Walmart and Target worth checking and it’s not that far. Southeast is Zebulon, and I don’t really know of anything down there except for one of the last remaining Roses, but my son did find some pretty neat stuff he’d been looking for for a long time. I’d tell you what he found but it’s a lot to explain. Now north…well…there really isn’t anything north. Maybe Oxford, but that’s quite a drive. The one glimmer of hope is a Walmart in Louisburg. And that’s where I went this morning.
I had to meet the ex at a Post Office in Louisburg so that she could get passports made for the kids for a cruise she’s planning for summer, or maybe Spring Break. So we meet up and she’s got the full brood in tow: all 4 of her kids (hey now, only ONE of them is mine!) and 2 smaller children she was babysitting. So the ex did all the important stuff, all I had to do was flash my license around and sign some shit. My son and I played with one of the babies, while the oldest kid took care of the second youngest who was pushing the youngest around in a stroller. The ex had the final baby strapped to her back.
Somehow or another we got through our hour-long visit to that cramped little post office without much screaming or crying and absolutely no dirty diapers. I’ll admit I had a little bit of fun playing with the teeny tiny babies, and I think I actually impressed my son a little at my ability to handle them.
Now the Louisburg Walmart is “technically” on my radar, but it hasn’t yet yielded anything amazing. I went in today with zero expectations and walked out 20 minutes later, $70 lighter.
Can you see what I found? For the record, I snagged 2 of the 2017 Hot Wheels Retro Entertainment pieces, the Batmobile and the Back to the Future DeLorean in Hover Mode. Cool huh? Just the tip of the iceberg. As I started looking at displays on the ends of aisles, I saw just how many Hot Wheels Star Wars Starships they had. Sure, it was the usual mix of Imperial Shuttles and Rey’s Speeder that tend to clutter the shelves of some Walmarts, but wait a minute – Mandalorian Talon Fighters! I already have one of these, but back when they came out, they were scarce and people were desperate to buy them off of eBay. Back then I was able to scoop up 7 or 8 extras for $5 each and I offloaded them in a matter of days for $10 a pop. In and of itself that’s not a bad idea, however, these things have managed to stay rare, and people are asking anywhere from $15 to $64 (not kidding) for a single ship.
Of course we gotta be smart and look at one they’re actually selling for. Most are falling in the $10 to $20 range with a few $25′s and damn, one poor bastard who dropped $50 on one. Right now the lowest priced one for sale is $16.49 plus free shipping. Honestly I would be more than happy to catch $15 a piece for these guys as long as I can move ‘em relatively quickly. That covers the whole cost of my purchases and puts me up $5! I guess I failed to mention it, but in case you didn’t do the math, that’s 5 Mandalorian Talons I’ve got under my belt!
The rest of what I found I have never seen for sale in a store, anywhere. I bought 2 TIE Strikers (I have one from Hasbro’s Titanium Series and I have a battle-damaged one that came in a 2-pack), 2 AT-STs (are these official “Chicken Walkers”?), and 2 AT-ACTs (AT-ATs with a brick of orange cargo in the middle). That’s a damn decent haul if I say so myself.
I still haven’t had any luck with the 2-pack contain the Millennium Falcon and TIE Interceptor, and from the back of the AT-ST I just found out about another 2-pack featuring the AT-ST and that Imperial Hovertank thingy from Rogue One. Friday my kid has early release, so I plan on resting up good and doing some serious searching with our afternoon. I definitely want to do my Cary rounds (TRU, a very worth Target, and the B&N where I found that freakin’ ARC Fighter), plus there’s allegedly a Roses nearby (can be really great for rare stuff that no one ever grabbed and/or shit that’s been outta production for a while) and there’s that weird old K-mart right there on the edge of Cary and Raleigh which totally has some weird and unexpected shit every few visits.
I’d really like to squeeze in Durham as well, but that whole circuit can be grueling. We’ve got a TRU, an eclectic Target, and a sometimes-awesome Walmart in the area. If we pack on a few more miles, we can get over to Southpointe, which has a decent B&N (first place I saw a Jyn Erso car in the wild!) and then a toy store in the mall that I think has some potential if we can hit it at the right time. There’s also a Target nearby that has consistently had some of the newest toys to be found anywhere, often times weeks before I see the stuff anywhere else. Rancor 2-pack? Carbonite Han? Imperial Freaking Guard!? I gotta know. The hunt is on. Good news is that we can go hunting Saturday and/or Sunday too (more like or, 3 days in a row is a bit much even for me, of course it all depends on how successful you are…massive success can bring about satiation, though it can also be inspiring and energizing…failure can leave you dejected and doubtful about continued searching, then again it can also be inspiring and energizing).
Ideally I’d like to do my hunting during the week if possible, when way less people are combing through toy sections ready to buy anything their kids point at. Fridays are generally alright, but it seems like lots of families or parents willing to grab a toy for their kids start pouring in late Saturday morning, and from there it’s all downhill. Of course there are other collectors out there too, and I’m sure we’re snatching shit out from under each other’s noses all the time without even knowing it.
What’s been eating me up lately though is that Luke / Rancor discovery. Had I seen it pop up on eBay a week later or even 2 I could write it off as good luck. But with no other sellers and the bidding getting so high, my mind is constantly doing flips just thinking about what the hell might be sitting on a shelf, right now, and how close someone who wants it might just be. That Boba / Bossk pack is just as weird; ultimately I’m grateful (I think) that I was able to snag it for only $30, but I wonder how high it would’ve risen to? And what about Carbonite Han / Jabba? Are there a couple of these 2-packs just floating around out there too? Maybe whoever got ‘em doesn’t have a thing to do with eBay, which is 100% plausible. IT HURTS ME BRAIN.
Oh well, I really should be thankful. Hell I might be the only person outside of any Hot Wheels insiders that has both the Rancor and Bossk 2-packs…wouldn’t that be cool…?
Stay tuned ladies and gents. I’m ‘bout to do some serious bitching regarding these goddamn “Japan-only” amiibos…
Update: As I took the time to put the finishing touches on this post, i.e. straightening out the HTML, adding the pic, etc., I’ve already sold 2 of the Talons!