When it comes to buying action figures these days, there are more options than there have ever been before. Not only are there more lines and figures than ever, but there are a number of ways and places in which to purchase them. Collectors can shop in retail stores, buy their figures online, or even head to comic and toy conventions to find their prized piece.
Each method has its advantages, but buying toys and action figures from collections may be the best method of all. Unlike retail stores and risky online shops, conventions feature an enormous variety of figures all within an arm's reach. Potential buyers can see exactly what they're gettingand find almost anything. That doesn't mean buying figures in conventions is worry-free, so take a look at the following list of five tips for buying figures at conventions the proper way.
Before You Arrive
Have the right type of currency. Given the often temporary and hastily-assembled nature of vendors at conventions, not all forms of payment are accepted. Many vendors will accept credit cards, but some will turn them away, and most will deny collectors wishing to use checks. Cash is always the preferred method of payment, and may even result in discounts or freebies. Be sure to carry as much cash as needed to buy your treasured figure, but also use the opportunity to limit yourself to control spending.
Research the venue and the vendors. Most major conventions will have a list of vendors attending posted online before the convention starts. Savvy collectors can take advantage of this and research each vendor online, or even call ahead of time, to get an idea of their inventory, prices, and staff. Using this knowledge may help you get a rare figure before the next attendee, strike a deal, or just strike up a friendly conversation on collecting.
At the convention
Compare prices. Given the enormous number of vendors at most conventions, you're bound to find duplicate figures in different stores. Instead of instinctual buying the one you want the first time you see it, move around the convention and compare prices from different shops. You might be able to talk one vendor down to another's price or even find an incredible deal and save yourself some significant money.
Don't be afraid to haggle. Many shy action figure collectors are afraid to haggle with vendors at conventions. Don't be. They have inventory they need to sell to cover the costs of the convention booth, and they might be willing to come down as much as 25% to keep their sales flowing. Tell them you only have so much money to spend, and can't make a purchase if it's over the limit. Try to work out deals for buying multiple figures at once. Promise to buy more from them in the future for a good deal. There are ways to bring prices down, and most vendors are expecting you to haggle a little, so don't be shy.
Wait until the last day. Vendors at conventions typically follow a rule. They mark prices down with each successive day of the convention. Patient buyers who are at conventions for multiple days can save a lot of money by waiting out price drops. If there's an ultra rare vintage figure for a reasonable price, it might be ill-advised to let it sit for three days while someone else grabs it. For standard newer figures, there's usually no problem waiting until the final day and haggling for a great deal before the vendor heads home.Much like purchasing action figures in stores, buying figures at conventions gives people the ability to see what they're getting, but also offers collectors a much greater variety from which to buy. Hopefully these tips help you save money and find the perfect rare toy.