Amazon.com is awesome. I think pretty much anybody who’s not trying to compete with them wouldn’t argue that point. But it’s usually not ideal for geek stuff, toys especially.
My toy habit of choice, for the longest time, was Transformers. Back when I lived in Chicago, my other TF-collecting buddies and I would gripe about hunting for the latest figures, wasting precious time (and gas) in the attempt to find the latest releases. What other choices did we have? Order online? Where everything was priced either at (or above) the already higher than average MSRP? AND have to pay the shipping fees?
And that was a DECADE ago, back when there wasn’t much of a chance of not being able to *eventually* find what we wanted. RiD Scourge, Armada Unicron, etc? It was just a matter of when they’d arrive in stores. Now, there are the Masterpiece figures that sell out (largely to scalpers) as soon as (or, let’s face it, BEFORE) they hit shelves. Meaning your choices are limited to getting REALLY lucky, paying the mark-up, or (gasp) doing without.
Now, let me introduce you to Amazon Japan.
Everything Transformers related is available direct from Amazon. Pre-orders go up almost immediately after new figures are announced, which means you’ve usually got at LEAST three months to get those pre-orders in. And there’s no reason NOT to do that, as those pre-order prices are lower than you’d find ANYWHERE else. Toys R Us, Yodbashi, BIC, Yamada, etc? All of them charge much more than Amazon.
MP Star Saber’s pre-order has been up for like 9 months. The price is currently hovering at around 140 USD. That Generations Superion boxed set is up now for about 100 USD. Yeah, this stuff tends to sell out a month or so before the release, but it’s not as if most fans just decide on *impulse* that they want this stuff.
That means no hunting from store to store. No worries about scalpers, resellers, hoarders, or just other fans beating you to the punch. New figure is announced, you go to Amazon and pre-order it. If the price fluctuates in the interum, you get it for the lowest price during that time. Fort Max dropped by more than $100 in the time that I had it pre-ordered. And it (along with everything else) shows up, at my door, either the morning of release…or the night before! How’s that for convenience. Often, I’ll have the item on MY shelf before retailers have it on THEIRS.
Does that take all of the *fun* out of hunting for new toys? Yes. Was that *fun* just something I made up to justify hours wasted in persuit of literal hobby drifting? Oh, yes. You can keep the thrill of the hunt. I’ll stick with Amazon.jp. Happy Hobbying.