There are a lot of shopping options for modern day action figure collectors. There are online shops, there are comic and toy conventions, and there are auction sites, all of which are great places to find action figures. Despite those great alternatives, there is one shopping option that's been around since the beginning and is still one of the best ways to buy your action figures. It's the retail store.
It may seem simple enough to walk in, find the figure you want, and take it to the cash register, but there are a number of tips and tricks that can make your retail shopping experience go more smoothly. Take a look at this list of seven tips for retail action figure purchases made easy and correctly.
Before You Go
Shop around. The first step to a successful retail shopping trip is to shop around for the best price. You may not be in an area with multiple retail options, but if you are, make sure to find the retailer with the cheapest regularly priced figures. After a while you'll notice some retailers are significantly cheaper than others on average. You can focus your action figure hunting trips on those stores.
Wait for sales. It's surprisingly common for stores to place action figures on sale. If you're willing to wait a while to obtain the latest figures, you can usually find them at huge discounts. Keep an eye out for "buy one get one half-off" or similar deals. Then buy a lot of figures at once and maximize your savings. Be careful waiting for sales on popular lines and figures, as they may sell out before they have time to go on sale.
Around the Store
Check the clearance aisle. A lot of big box retail stores will have an aisle dedicated to clearance items. Some will have an entire aisle dedicated to discounted toys and action figures. It's rare to find good figures at great prices in these aisles, but there is the occasional treasure. That rare treasure is enough to make it worth checking the clearance aisle every time.
Have an employee check the back. No matter what they tell you, they can check the back for more of a specific figure or line of figures. Most employees won't want to, but it's always possible. Don't push the issue if they ensure you that there are no more figures in the back. Just keep in mind that it's worth asking if you're trying to track down a hard-to-find figure.
Search thoroughly. I can't tell you how many times I've almost missed a figure I wanted because of a disorganized toy aisle. Sometimes it requires persistence to dig through a messy pile of figures. Some collectors try to hide specific figures for later, and a lot kids leave them in random spots. Search high and low and you might find a nice surprise.
Figure in Hand
Look at the figure's paint. One of the worst things to notice once you get a figure open and on your shelf is that it's missing a logo or its face looks like it was painted by Pablo Picasso. Take a few seconds to look over a figure in the store before you buy it. Compare its paint applications to the other packages nearby and buy the one that looks the most appealing to you.
Check the packaging for mistakes. Take a look at every figure before you buy it to make sure that it's the right figure and no pieces are clearly missing. It's a common practice among a number of deviant collectors to switch prized new action figures out with old worthless ones, then return them to the store. If you're not careful and observant, you may end up with a repackaged figure that doesn't belong.
Take these tips into the toy aisle with you, and you'll be sure to come home with the correct, most attractive, and cheapest action figure in the store.