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Funko Rant:  The Myth of Mystery Boxes (Sub-Boxes, Too)

I am not a sub-box kind of guy.

And not for lack of effort.  I tried Loot Crate for a couple months.  I gave each of the three Funko boxes a full year.  I’ve flirted with others.

But in the end, I just can’t do it.  They are not for me.  I see people asking if they should sign up and I’ve come to realize that I’m not the guy to ask.

I’ve had this rant partially written for the last four months.  It started out as a criticism of the ‘Mystery Boxes’ that GameStop and Hot Topic have released.  GameStop’s were the worst of the two.  For 20 bucks you had a one in 8 chance of getting a chase pop, one in 40 chance of getting the one you actually wanted.  Then we found that GameStop employees (and other buyers) could peek inside without opening the box and the odds dropped dramatically.  Didn’t stop people from buying 10 at a time.  And thanks to those people, Toys 4 Tots had a whole lot of Breaking Bad ReAction figures to give to the kids.

That was something of a fail.

This year’s boxes were sealed shut, however many bulk purchasers found out that they weren’t mixed up very well and ended up with multiple-multiples of the same figure.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

Hot Topic did a little better.  Their first box had a good mix ratio and I think most folks went away satisfied, but not happy.  Funko collectors are seldom, 100% happy.  Future mystery releases spawned new rules, like no bringing scales into the stores (to determine the weight of the chase pieces) and a very Charmin-esque ‘No Squeezing’ policy because Clockwork Orange Alex’s Rape Face Penis Mask could be felt through the box.  Their last mystery figure release featured variations on Fallout Boy. Employees opened them up so people could buy the ones they wanted without hassle. 

WalMart’s Mystery Boxes were all the same, as was HT’s Halloween Box and GS’s ‘Powered by Funko’ box.  I know people who bought multiples hoping to cash in on rare chases.  That went well.

Like I said, Funko Collectors are rarely 100% happy.

(Aside: Despite my misgivings towards Mystery Boxes, I do like Mystery Minis.  They’re cheap enough that you’re not going to regret buying a bunch and getting all the same thing or a character you hate.  Easy to trade, too.)

Back to Subscription Boxes.

Here are my issues.  Your typical sub-box cost around 20 -25 dollars shipped to your door.  They promise exclusive content, that if bought at retail, would price out around 50 bucks.  On that, every box I’ve bought has delivered.  The problem is, most of the crap in the box I wouldn’t buy at retail, or at half retail, or even accept if given to me for free.  Loot Crate padded their value with pens and pencils, buttons and stickers.  Utter garbage.  Funko does much better, but I still end up trying to trade, sell or donate most of the items in the box for way less than retail.  It’s not that it’s crap, it’s that it doesn’t appeal to me.  Or anyone else, oftentimes. 

Typically, I really like one, maybe two items in a box.  Right now I’m wearing the ‘Xaviers School’ T-Shirt from the X-Men box.  Love that shirt.  Usually, I don’t.  Pop tees are cute, but I’m too old for cute.  I’m also not much of a patch guy.  Friends know this and hit me up as soon as the box hits my door.  I like the pins, but not equally and the same goes for the Pop and the other ‘collectible’ item.  If it’s Pop Home (mugs, salt & pepper shakers) they’re gone.  I know some people love them but not enough to buy them all from the people trying to get rid of them (me).  I have never liked Pop Home.  I once sold figural kitchen collectibles and always thought the people who decorated with them would stay single forever.  I still feel that way but had been much better about keeping that to myself until right now.  If you like them, great, buy them and enjoy.  But keep that collection down to one or two accent pieces.  You won’t be taken seriously by the opposite sex if you do the whole kitchen.  Just saying.

Hmm…same could probably be said about the ‘Wall of Pop’ collections.

Not to be judgey, but I have never embraced that style of collecting.  I don’t have the space, nor the inclination.   I’ve described my collecting habits as ‘catch and release’.  Everything I get, I’m 99% sure that I’m going to get rid of later.  Not like within days or when the item is hot, but down the road a few years, when I’ve fallen out of love with it.  I’d like to keep everything, but I can’t.  Once I realized that I ‘Liked’ Star Wars not ‘Loved’ Star Wars, it was very easy for me to break with Smuggler’s Bounty.  Same goes for Legion of Collectors (which has had the best Pop figures by far) and finally MCC. 

Also, I like to collect ‘The Best of’ items.  I don’t need 100 Spider-Man figures, just the two or three that are better than the others.  Once I get the best, the rest are gone.  I know that I still buy the subs thinking I’m going to get something better than I’ll find at retail, but my last six ‘awesome’ pops are all commons that I got from GameStop and Target and another local retailer.  By comparison, I’ve pretty much sold everything from the last six boxes that I received (except for Mini Hikari Vader, I love that little guy).  ‘Exclusive’ doesn’t always equate to ‘Best’ (or ‘Rare’ or ‘Hard to Find’).  I don’t need Snaggletooth or IG-88, but the Boba Fett was beyond cool.  Morbius, the Living Vampire, means nothing to me, but the jumping Spider-man and Hulkbuster put an end to buying Spidey and Shellhead Pops.  Heck, I even gave up on IM Dorbz because Hulkbuster. 

Wow.  I’m like the worst company shill ever at this moment.

If you’re on the fence about signing up for one, Funko or otherwise, my advice is to look up the last couple of months of unboxings (they’re all over YouTube), see what you get, and decide if it’s for you.  And, thanks to Ebay, Facebook, Instagram and Reddit, should something awesome come out of a future box that you don’t sign up for, you can just buy it second-hand and still come out ahead.  That’s what I plan on doing moving forward

(Still shillin’ like a villain.) 

Of course, I say all this knowing that I just signed up for a year of Funko’s new Disney sub-box. 

I’m such a schmuck.

Hit me up for the patches.

Posted in: Lifestyle
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