Fresh Finds of the 80s: G.I. Joe

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Got to get tough, yo Joe!

Every generation had a toy that defined their youth. Mine was undoubtedly dominated by the world of G.I.Joes. In fact, I was the “G.I. Joe kid” on my street, with an obsessive collection that topped 130 or so action figures, including a few dozen vehicles, including some of the larger, more expensive ever to be sold.

Only if I knew how much they would be worth today, I wouldn’t have built dirt trenches in my front yard and used a hose to simulate a cobra trap. I mean, the movie was based on the mythical Cobra-La so how could a kid not totally decimate the value of all their toys?

I recently went on ebay and found out exactly what my toys would have been worth. Some range from a hundred bucks new in the package and peaks around $700 for the more rare figures. Well, I wouldn’t say rare, but the figures that people managed to not open and keep in a climate controlled place out of view of sunlight.

The same phenomenon could be said for the original Star Wars set. For anyone that has ever watched Toy Hunter with Jordan Hembrough, you know just how much those toys have skyrocketed in value.

I guess I would have a hundred grand or so in toys, but I wouldn’t trade the experience of being young with no problems during the dawn of the video game age.

We traded baseball and football cards in the late 80s.

We rode bikes.

We built forts.

Played war.

Lost all our accessories to our action figures.

And didn’t give a shit. Our parents didn’t give a shit.

In essence, we were built to not live in the past in contrast to the kids today. There are a billion special editions on toy shelves each year that the meaning is lost. Funko Pops are meant to be saved in their pristine boxes. Every TV and movie show needs a line of toys, mostly marketed toward adults of the 80s who remember collecting. The value of all the crap today will be very little in 20 to 30 years because Funko Pop armies are not being lined up in trenches in the front yard ready for war. The “pristine” supply will always be high.

The same phenomenon happened in the 1980s boom of baseball cards. All the kids of the 50s grew up and had money 30 years later and started bidding up stuff from their childhood. They wanted to get the cards they never found. They wanted the best condition. Prices shot up and companies over produced baseball cards.

The same shit is happening today. All current toys will crash in value. There is a reason why The Phantom Menace toys sell less today than they did when the movie came out. There is simply too much of it. Add in Disney over producing Star Wars each and every Christmas from her and forever and what you have is basically the end of collecting. G.I. keeps releasing different lines of toys, confusing new collectors and annoying the old faithful.

But hey! People collecting for fun, right?

Bullshit.

People like both. The same goes for car collecting and vintage comic books and fine art. People want their rare stuff to go up in value. People speculate. They commiserate with friends. They take trips to conventions around the world for the thrill of the hunt.

The prices of the original line of Star Wars and G.I. Joes will always go up in value, even as the original kids grow old and die. The franchises will continue.

I just look forward to when trenches are built in yards again.

As for me, this all started because my wife found for me a 1992 G.I. Joe still sealed in the package, purchased for $3 at a thrift shop. I guess it’s worth a couple Subway Sandwiches more, but I don’t care, I’ll keep it. Hopefully someday, I’ll be able to get the toy I never got; An original B.A.T.S sealed in the package.

In the end, I have the memory, and that’s all that counts.

Travel Blog (Traders Village, San Antonio, TX)

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If you have never been to Texas, you have not quite experienced the pride that the people here get by doing everything bigger. This was my first visit to Trader’s Village, and it was one of the largest flea markets I’ve ever been to. The place has so many shops and booths that you might not have the time see everything you wanted. I know I sure didn’t.IMG_1358.jpeg

Almost everything is covered in shed type booths. There are carnivals rides in the “arcade” and food venders, which all seemed to be doing more business than many of the venders. I talked to one owner of a baseball card and action figure themed shop, and he said the rain keeps customers away if the morning looks bad. He pays around $260 a month to keep his shed and seems to be pretty happy with his cash business. His business plan centers of “keeping customers back” by pricing everything for $1, even if he knows he could sell it for $10, so that people check his place first week to week and he can build a customer base weekend after weekend. I nicknamed him the Sam Walton of the Flea Market.

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Do you want to buy some birds? There are plenty to buy for cheap. Cages. Food. Why go to Petsmart when you can go to a flea market? Um …

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I was pretty impressed with some of the booths. This booth specialized in toys and games and most of it was stuff you can’t find in stores anymore. Maybe 60% was still new in the package and the prices varied. I’m not an expert on prices of newer toys, but it seems they were all priced for collectors to buy. I looked for the owner, and he wasn’t even in the shop. He was chilling 50 feet away at a seating area just watching his place from afar.

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And there I was, the reason why I came here. I’ve been searching for an original nintendo, but wanted to find one on the cheap with perhaps a stack of games. I visited one impressive shop and it seemed to specialize in everything electronic. He had gaming systems of all kinds: Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Playstation, Wii, XBOX, and even a few Atari systems. I got straight to the point and asked about the Nintendo in the box, and the owner (who said he’d been doing this since 1990) said he wanted $200 for it. Holy crap. This is beyond even ebay pricing. Okay. He saw the shock on my face, and said he also had two “new in the box’ Nintendos. How much did he want for them? $2000.

I rolled my eyes and now understood why his shed was filled with stuff, all the way to the ceiling as you can see. He had nintendo games, supernintendo games, and Nintendo 64 games in glass cases along with maybe a couple thousand playstation/xbox games for each system. I asked how much the games were, and he told me “depends on the game.” God damn. Where the hell was I? His business model is to actually eye each customer and play the negotiation game with each person?  I had $300 in my pocket ready to outfit my game room, but he lost me with this gimmicks. I didn’t feel like negotiating him down from $60 he probably wanted for the original Super Mario, down to the $5 you can get it for on ebay. He probably feels people will believe it’s a win-win to get it for $30 after he haggles you to death. He did point me to a nintendo (console only) that was slightly cracked, for $80. I walked out around 2 minutes after.

This was my experience with many of the shops: Gem shops, antique shops, comic book shops, book shops … even used baby strollers were priced at $100. This is absolutely ludicrous.

We left after spending a $4 for parking and $2 for a slushie for the kid.

 

 

 

TV Reviews: Lost

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Lost was the greatest TV show in the history, up until the end of season 5 and everything flashed to white. For me, this was the perfect ending to the show. Think about it, after 5 seasons of polar bears, hatches, donkey wheels, a submarine, the tail section crew, the man who didn’t age, the man in black and the man in white, the shipwreck, the smoke monster, diabolical Ben, all the flash back and all the flash forwards and even time travel thrown in, we were all along for the ride.  Watching Jack go from a man of science to a man of faith was good enough for me.

Think about it, since the show runners were never going to coherently explain everything anyway in season 6 (coherent being the key word), having everything flash to white with the logo and us imaging if it worked would have been the ultimate ending. Shit, the end of the Sopranos left us with more intrigue than Lost.

This is why I threw away my season 6 box set of lost. Yep. It went out with the Friday trash. I discussed the show this past week with a coworker and we both agreed with the chorus of fans whose fanboy and fangirl hearts were ripped out with season 6.

You see, I was a grown ass man who even bought the action figures.  lost.jpg

Yep, I know. Huge nerd right here. I mean, who else would shell out $15 for everyone’s famous hero, Shannon. Look at her. Everyone thinks she is relaxing. I think she is figuring out how to get off the island by finding the Donkey Wheel. Too bad she was shot by Walt’s Dad because Walt aged way too damn fast when producers realized this pot of gold was getting renewed by ABC for a few more seasons.

Anyways. Join me. Do the right thing. Burn your season 6 box sets. Spread the rumor that season 6 was only just a dream, then we all can dream together that Juliet saved not only the show, but the memories of the greatest 5 seasons of television ever.