Comic Con Theft- An Epidemic
Comic Con theft is an issue we all sort of ignore. I am here to tell you no more. It’s time for this garbage to stop. Dealers of all types and even fans are affected by this issue. Some fans have seen hard earned money ripped from their hands and dealers can be robbed blind.
First of all, dealers can be the lifeblood of the convention. Sure, you have the autograph lines, panel and so forth but if you want to buy something you go to the dealer room. While some dealers look the part of a used car salesman, there are plenty there that relies on sales to make a living. The dealers do not set up to give stuff away but to pay bills and keep the business flowing. It is hard work and very frustrating at times but rewarding comes days end. Some dealers, such as myself like to meet new people who enjoy this genre. If I can give a deal I will. The same can be said for the other dealers who congregate on the hall floor.
Why should people care? Let me share some personal examples of why. To begin, Needless Toys and Collectibles is very young. In fact, we have been up and running for roughly a year. While we have only “headlined” a few shows (AKA setting up on one’s own with no support), I have worked booths for other dealers for years. One prime example of theft transpired at NYCC 2012. The booth owner lost several Play Arts figures and this guy lost an MP Transformer. What the thief wanted was a deal. One that he thought was more than fair. In fact, the thief wanted the MP at cost as he thought he deserved that toy.
The theme you guys will see is entitlement. The Transformer cost $69.99 and it was being sold for $90. Yes that is $20 more than cost but add in cost of gas and time and you are looking at an $80 dollar toy. Also don’t forget to add tax. The only reason I was selling was to help pay for the trip. Time off comes with a price, folks and taking a week off of a day job that pays double is tough. While we love what we do on the site, covering news events such as NYCC is not cheap. The thief thought he was entitled to something he did not own and he just took it when the coast was clear. The item was even offered to him for $75. While I took a loss, the dealer I was working for took a much higher loss. People think they deserve things for nothing and it’s rampant at Comic Cons.
Another prime example can be traced to Tampa Bay Comic Con. While we had our own booth, we did share that booth with a friend. He had a nice selection of vintage Star Wars on display. There was one guy who constantly argued over prices on the vintage pieces. When it comes to new toys, deals can be made but vintage is another story. He had his items priced at market value. While he paid good money for the items, he purchased the items specifically to take to conventions. How often do you see vintage toys at Comic Cons? Not very often and when you do, it’s exciting. The scumbag though he deserved a piece at no cost and he took it. The kicker is this same piece of worthless trash came back. While my friend had no proof that this was the person who committed the theft, he had his suspicions. He finally realized it was the same guy when he argued over a price of a vintage Taun Taun. That same toy later went missing as well.
The last story of comic con theft I will share, just to illustrate this issue, happened at South Carolina Comic Con. I had an excellent vintage selection of GI Joe’s on hand and one piece stood out. On display was a nice, mint, complete Hard Top. He was tied to the grid and located near the front with the other Joes. Of course he was placed in a bubble pack for protection. The price was well below the market price and he was a steal to be had. Some low life chud decided to liberate the microphone from the actual figure. Yep, some asshole stole the Mic. Some collectors feel a certain level of entitlement and I am the first to say you are owed nothing. If you cannot buy something then you have no right to take it. We also lost a Deadpool comic pack but that did not hurt as much as losing a vintage Mic.
The point to all of this is theft hurts us all. How did I recover from losing such hard to find pieces? I raised my price on other goods to take the brunt of the loss. The same can be said for the other dealers affected from theft. Prices are increased to cover the losses and that sucks. Things are not free folks and if you all like lower prices on nerdy things then step and say enough is enough! If you see someone snag something and walk away, call them out. Let the dealer know so he can get his goods back. If you see a theft and say nothing then that’s just as bad!
Just like the cosplayer incidents, it’s up to us as a fandom to stop comic con theft. I see more people standing up for cosplayers more than ever. The senseless bullying is coming under fire and the touching is being dealt with. Help save the Comic Con experience by saying no to theft as well. Oh and about that collector who got jacked at SDCC? Yeah someone took his money right out of his hand as he went to pay for some goods. The perp ran into the crowd and was gone in seconds. It’s bad, folks and this is just one of many example of douchebaggery at Comic Cons.
I enjoy this hobby to no end and I want to make this a career; selling toys and reporting the news. What else could someone ask for? If you see theft, report it. Let’s take back our hobby and be happy. See you all on the convention circuit!