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TNI Guest Editorial: Diary of a Toy Hunter By Paul Schifferli


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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by Chip Carroll in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of TNI.

Diary of a Toy Hunter By Paul Schifferli

Some claimed me positively insane, and perhaps they were indeed correct. For you would have to truly be a man sinking into the depths of madness to attempt to hunt the game that I had set my sights on. Truly, the most dangerous and elusive of game: The NECA Summer Convention Exclusives…

Day 1:

My sojourn began on a day beset by rain. Some might have taken this as an ill-omen, but I refused to let the superstitions of weaker-minded individuals hold me back. I set out early during the day. The first spot where my quarry could potentially be found was a mere five miles from my home base. The locals there appeared unhappy and only begrudgingly welcomed me. Although, that is to be suspected of the people of Wal-Mart. They are not a contented people, and who can blame them? The conditions of their emporium were poor, filthy, understaffed, and as a result, understocked. But this was the only place where the elusive game could be found. In particular, I was seeking out the one that went by the name of “City Demon”.

My first stop proved fruitless. There was nothing there of any interest for me. Well, a skilled hunter is one who maintains his patience and knows that the most highly prized game is usually not so easily won. I travelled to the next hunting ground, which was roughly a twenty-mile excursion from the previous one. My spirits were admittedly slightly lowered at my prospects. I tried to remain positive, but with all the troubles that plague a veteran toy hunter, it was difficult. Even standard game was likely to be poached by scalpers if they felt they could make a decent profit. But the game I had in mind… It was the proverbial Hope Diamond to scalpers, at least the most current one.

My next stop was another failure, but it was not entirely in vain. While visiting my second stop, I did encounter both the Masters of the WWE Universe Undertaker and The Rock.  Smaller game than what I was hunting for, but they were definitely within my purview. I secured them quickly, before any other hunter, or worse, scalper might lay hands on them. My spirits had been somewhat raised by my success, so I elected to visit the Target emporium directly across the street from the Wal-Mart I was currently in. I much preferred hunting within the confines of Target. The locals are far more pleasant, the area is cleaner and far more well-organized, and it makes for a more enjoyable hunt. The only downside is that they are far less numerous than Wal-Marts. And jubilation! My decision to embark into this territory, despite knowing I would not find the game I truly sought, paid off. I was fortunate to come across an Ultimate Flasher Gremlin, a lesser, yet still highly desired game I was seeking. Naturally, I claimed it as my own and decided to call this day a mild success. There were other Wal-Mart emporiums I could visit, but they were even further out of the way, and I was satisfied with the quarry I tracked down on this day.

Day 2:
Damnation! I had decided to wait two days until attempting the hunt again in earnest, and upon visiting my first Wal-Mart emporium, I discovered two of the Glow-in-the-dark Xenomorphs, part of the Summer Convention Exclusives. Naturally, I was furious with myself at my lackadaisical approach to the hunt. Naturally, there were no City Demons in sight.  There wasn’t even a single Summer Games Stripe to ease the sting of my failure. The others were most likely claimed by scalpers, the bane of any toy hunter’s existence. Unlike the rest of us hunters, who have a true passion for our game, they only hunt for monetary gain.  While this development did dishearten me, it also inspired me. If this location had received the Summer Convention Exclusives, then it was altogether possible that the other Wal-Mart locations might have received them as well. There may still yet be a chance!
I decided to forgo checking the other hunting ground toy aisle in this Wal-Mart and hastened to the next nearest emporium. Alas, there was no Summer Convention exclusives there whatsoever. Either they had all been poached, or this location had not yet been stocked.  I decided to question one of the locals, but received an ambivalent response. Not that I was surprised. As I had mentioned before, the Wal-Mart locals were a miserable breed and had no desire to assist travelers of any creed. I ventured out to the next Wal-Mart location, and the next, but always I found that the hunting grounds were barren. Could it be that I was destined to fail?

I say nay! I will not be bested just yet. Today was an unfortunate failure, but tomorrow is another opportunity.

Day 3:
The first two Wal-Mart emporiums were again bereft of any meaningful game. However, upon moving to the third closest hunting ground, I came across a highly coveted specimen, in the wild. That’s right, it was the NECA Casey Jones and Raphael 2-Pack. My readers, let me tell you, it was truly a beautiful sight to behold in the wild. A pristine package, unblemished by any scuffs, tears or wrinkles, lovingly sculpted definition. A prime specimen, if I may say so. However, it was not the game that I sought. And I was no scalper. I would leave this one to its place and the wild. Unfortunately, that could mean that it would fall into the slimy, disgusting hands of a scalper, but that is sadly the nature of the hunt.  I left it, hoping it would be found by a fellow hunter like myself, and continued my search elsewhere. Sadly, dear readers, it was not to be. There were no Summer Convention Exclusives to be found that day. I was beginning to lose morale rapidly. It seemed more and more that this was becoming a veritable Snipe Hunt.

Day 4: Last Day of the Hunt.
Jubilation! My dear readers, it would appear that the Lady of Fortune was with me this day. My first two stops were abject disappointments, as one might expect from this sort of hunt. But, and I know you are waiting with positively bated breath, it was on the visit to the third Wal-Mart emporium that I clapped eyes on them. Yes, my friends…Them… Standing there, majestically, in the open plains of the entertainment section of the Wal-Mart, was not only the City Demon, but also the Summer Games Stripe. There was only one of each specimen, and my friend, I can assure that I made absolutely sure that it was I that claimed them. So, to my fellow hunters out there that dream of great things… To you I say, never give in to the Specter of Defeat. You are only defeated when you say it so. My trophies are proof of what I say. And to all of you out there…except for you poaching scalpers, I say, Good Hunting!

Contact: ppschifferli@gmail.com
Author’s Short Story Blog: https://ramistobin.wordpress.com/



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Very entertaining read, I just love how he presented everything. I don't usually hunt for what I want, I relay primarily ordering stuff online, usually if it's that difficult to get something, ie Target or Walmart exclusives I usually don't bother. 

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That was a fine inspirational and very exuberant read. It even had a happy ending which is nice. I have fond memories of doing toy hunts with my friends for a long time. Not as much anymore with them having families, no time, and less toy stores being around anymore, it makes for a very hard road in obtaining what I'm looking for and having those experiences anymore. Also in more cases than not, my targets and walmarts are almost always empty of anything in the toy aisles. I also live in an area where scalpers seem to run alot of the shows. Ive been collecting for many years and have seen alot of this in action. Ive pretty much gone the way of online shopping for anything I want anymore. Dont have to waste gas or time and i am secured my loot when I want it. I do very much miss going hunting with my buddy as it was one of my favorite times to just hang out and see whats out in the market that i may not be following. We always found a way of finding something amazing that we wouldnt normally see online or anything like that. And sometimes its just easier to actually just grab it from the stores.(when they have anything of merit in stock.)

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