As another San Diego Comic Con has concluded I hope you were able to grab all or most of your collectible wish list at an affordable price. What follows is a list of tips and tricks that have been learned after this year and something I plan to share before upcoming conventions. I am not at the event, like many people, but I still try my best to get the things on my list, while juggling work and regular responsbilities. Here are some tips in no particular order of importance.
Set a price limit
- It’s important to know what you are able to spend on items as an overall total and stick to that.
- You also have to give yourself an idea of what you are willing to spend on individual items.
- With that said be prepared to switch plans as the secondary market can change quickly and you might have to prioritize the items.
Do your homework ahead of time
- Some items will be announced days and weeks of the event. Take some time to do some research to find out what you are looking to get and where those will be available.
- Know your local stores and the buying tendencies in your area. Does Star Wars sell very fast in your area? Does Marvel items not sell out very fast? Use that knowledge in your area to figure out which places you need to be at first to get the items you need that sell out fast. Note that some stores might have limited stock on certain items, or only allow you to get a maximum number of exclusives across all platforms. Using this knowledge is also helpful for the next section.
- If you are able to take a day or a morning off on Thursday to get exclusives know for things that are very limited you need to arrive before opening in most cases to get them. Sometimes people arrive a day or more early, I’m not one of those people but not against up to an hour early(mainly because I’m a online shopper mainly).
- Don’t forget anyone that is covering for you on your work shift, offer to pick up something they are after if you can.
Shopping in stores
- As mentioned above, if you are shopping you know that in some places you have to arrive early. If you are on the west coast if you ask around you get the knowledge from the east coasters on how scarce some items are in stores.
- Do not push, shove, curse or cut. It’s simple things you learn in elementary school, but some people forget.
- Being courteous is going to help you in the long run. Be nice and respectful to the employees of a store, for one they are working and trying to make a living. They also are unable to go out and get things they might want at other stores because they are working. They also might not even be able to buy the items the store sells, I went to Barnes & Nobles Thursday morning, the employees were not eligible to buy San Diego Comic Con items until Sunday. Being respectful to employees can help you now and in the future if they remember you being respectful.
- Be nice to other customers. If you are someone that is rude, pushing or cutting people will remember you. With the state of social media, for better or worse you might just find yourself being public shamed, people won’t want to help you.
- Don’t complain if you don’t get what you want or throw out insults towards others. Another piece from my Barnes and Nobles trip. I was third in line, the store had 4 Funko Tick pops. The store said everyone is allowed to get 2 items in each SKU they wanted. I only grabbed one Tick, when me, and the others in front of me could have grabbed more. A guy came to the line upset he didn’t get a Tick and saying rude things towards the people who were first until an employee corrected him on the original available stock. If I did happen to grab two and was going to help someone else worthy in the store it wouldn’t have been that individual.
- Working together will go a long way. You can’t be at every place at work, as the saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work.”
- Find a group, be it on Facebook, locally, on Reddit, or any other social network to look out and help each other. Be that either sharing links as they go up on the websites so everyone can order. Perhaps that can be having someone order a number of an item when available, to save on shipping and to secure items for others while you do the same thing on something else.
- Make sure you don’t always just take without giving or offering, it’s easy to remember and get “skipped” over in these situations.
- If you can, which is something I’m still working on, find a contact in other countries. Some exclusives are exclusive to a store in the United States, but in other parts of the world that item is available to everyone. That also happens with other countries and the United States, some items are only found here in the States and that gives you something to offer in a trade. This can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run compared to having to resort to eBay.
- One of the biggest lessons for me this year, was I needed to either have all passwords and logins saved on my devices, or something that has those written down. Some items will sell out in a matter of minutes and I lost out on things because I didn’t have my passwords and logins handy.
- Have a tracker that will “ping” when a site you are tracking has a change.
- Network, have a page with friends who share links and act fast.
- Have multiple tabs open and keep an eye out, besides sites that items are exclusive to, maybe keep an eye on eBay, Mercari, Offer Up, or Craigslist to see if you can find some steals.
- Have an idea when things might go online, most items don’t start until midnight on Thursday west coast time. I stayed up until 4 am that night trying to knock out as many things as I could. I prepared for that ahead of time.
Convention and Misc.
- Know the value of someone that is at the convention. They might be there already, but they have costs, and time used, and having to carry your items throughout a day. Don’t be the person who asks for cost plus shipping on harder to find expensive items. Nobody likes that guy.
- If someone does offer to help you out, make sure to tip them, it’s leaves a good impression and they will be more likely to remember you and offer in the future.
- Be mindful of the lines, some things only are available for waiting an extremely long time and limited to one item. It’s not unreasonable to ask an amount to factor in the sacrifice time put in to get it.
- Don’t be afraid to have items you would be willing to trade for things you couldn’t get at the event. People are usually looking for older items.
- If you are unable to find an item you want, don’t be afraid to grab an item or two that you know is hard to find that someone else might want instead. Someone out there might have been doing the same thing.
- Don’t get drunk, or get all jacked up on Mountain Dew and Hot Pockets. Being impaired will make you slower on the draw and perhaps get you to not stick to your plan and spend more than you wanted. On the other hand any time not around the computer is time you could be losing out on things.
Above all else, remember it’s just things, have fun, enjoy the rush and remember we do this because we enjoy it. I can be found mainly on Facebook Funko Pop boards, I collect DC, Game of Thrones, and Walking Dead.
Do you have any other tips, tricks or suggestions? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!