Monday, November 26, 2012

Koo Koo Kachoo Mrs. Robinson

Ok time for something a little different. One afternoon, my girlfriend Caren & I were at one of our local Toys R’Us to kill some time (ok, ok I dragged her in with me cuz I wanted to see if I would luck out and actually find the ever elusive Toys R’Us exclusive Masterpiece Optimus Prime available on the shelves). Anyway, no luck on the Prime, but something else caught Caren’s eye….

Blind Bagged toys have been around for as long as I can remember. For those who don’t exactly know what a blind bag is, well simply put it is a toy that is sealed in a bag that hides what the actual toy is from the buyer, so basically you’re buying something “blindly”. So what kind of person would buy something that they cannot exactly see? Well it’s actually a brilliant sales startegy for toy companies. The toys (or whatever objects they place in the blind bags) are almost always small, simple and quite inexpensive to produce, usually something we wouldn’t really think of getting if we saw on a shelf. Anyway, these toys are produced in great quantities with numerous variations ranging from unique sculpts to simple repaints and are placed in groups called series or waves. Within a single series they usually choose one or two items (the best looking or most popular characters more often than not) that they produce in limited quantites and produce everything else in higher quantites, making the limited ones rare.

Take your pick...
Anyway so these blind bags appeal to different kinds of toy collector. First there is the completist, who is never satisfied with just one and HAS to get the entire series. Then we have the hunter, who HAS to get all the rare ones. And of course, there is the gambler…who likes to take a chance with his purchases and tries to luck out in finding the one he wants. And because these toys are relatively cheap, people don’t mind getting them in great quantities or continue buying them until they get what they want. Of course because of the numerous variations people end up getting, you attract the traders as well who exchange doubles and ones they don’t want with their friends. One person’s trash is another one’s treasure and all that.

If you make something small, with many unique designs, someone WILL collect it.
Like I said, this blind bag method of selling toys has been around for ages, and its not just toys. Those old Fleer sports player cards, Figurine Panini stickers, Magic the Gathering cards are all bought the same way.....blindly. But lately, it seems that blind bagged toys have somehow gotten extremely popular these past few years…Lego struck gold with their minifigures line, and since then it seems like every other toy company has tried to replicate their success. Go down any toy isle and you’ll find popular characters like Hello Kitty, Marvel Superheroes & Star Wars blindbags along lesser known or even generic monsters, trash can trashies, and cutesy animals. It doesn't matter what’s inside, everyone loves the challenge of completing a set, the suspense of wondering whats inside and the ultimate surprise of opening the pack and hopeful delight in getting what they want!

They've been around for some time in different forms....
Meet Fergus, the first.....
Wow, now that was a long introduction. Anyway, a few months ago, after writing about them, I decided to surprise Caren by buying her a random Lego minifigure. It was an innocent gesture, meant to celebrate our monthsary. Little did I know that she was a closet collector herself, and the minifigure sparked in her a desire to get more. She was apparently also ultra competitive so when she saw her friend’s minifigure collection of Facebook, she knew she had to beat it. Fast forward to today and she has completed her Lego minifigure collection, all 8 series…about 100++ unique figures. Of course, being the good boyfriend that I was, I supported, encouraged and helped her every step of the way ☺

Of many!!!
Since completing her minifigure collection (til the next series comes out...), she had successfully fought off any temptations to start collecting any other blind bag series….until she saw these guys.

Just TRY and resist us :P
Caren LOVES dogs. She also loves cute little animals (except mice). So a cute little dog inside a blind bag was just TOO much for her to resist. Neither of us had ever heard of this KooKoo Kennel series. It was the first time for both of us to see them on the toy isle. Anyway after inspecting the blindbag, we learned that it was a modest series, only 12 unique puppies, not so bad and admittedly, they DID look pretty cute. But the ultimate kicker was that they were on SALE!!! Each blind bag was P30 (the 2 pack was P70), to put things in perspective, ONE Lego minifigure costs about P150-200!!!! So technically, if you were lucky you could actually get the entire KooKoo Kennel series (12 doggies) for less that TWO Lego minifigures. This was too much of a good thing and Caren bought her first 3 doggies. A few days later, she bought 6 more…and as I am writing this, she has bought 3 more! So far of the first 9 purchases, she has only gotten one double…so 8 unique sculpts off that bat….that’s already 2/3 of the series at P180!!!! CRAZY!

All of these for less than ONE minifigure!
A search online surprisingly didn't yield so many results for this particular blind bag series, so I don't know if this is a special Asian exclusive, but whatever, it's a pretty good deal!  So there you go, she has officially gone KooKoo over these doggies…and I have to say, to a lesser extent, so have I. I’m pretty sure somewhere down the road another type of blind bag will attract either Caren or myself. But in the meantime, I believe these doggies have got her satisfied…until series 2 comes out!!!!

The next series better have a  cocker spaniel & corgi!