So you never even saw Titans Return Wave 5 or 6. And you missed out on your $50 Trypticon at Ollie's. And you're fully convinced that Power of the Primes Wave 2 is an urban legend (despite owning 3 of the Deluxes and all the Legends) and that Wave 3 is simply a mass-hallucination. Have you considered... stopping? If not stopping outright, stopping seriously collecting, and being emotionally invested in whether or not you get a given toy. RAC has, and he decided that stressing over his toy collection is a problem he no longer needs. Keep reading to see the factors that led him to this point.
I saw Power of the Primes Grimlock exactly once, and couldn't buy it that day. I wish I had, because I still don't have one. I'm just waiting for my chance to form Volcanicus, here. Leader-class Optimus Prime, also once. Rodimus Prime I have still never seen. From what a lot of owners of that toy have told me I'm better off... and if I ever do get one I'm not looking forward to that sense of letdown that's going to come with a long-awaited toy being a disappointment. I got sick of that too.
On top of which, my time is limited. I can only go to so many stores and travel so far. So even though I'm in a major city and can get to a couple Targets, two or three Walmarts, it's not really feasible to go treasure hunting on the regular.
And again, that was when stores actually sold things. I miss stores with things.
Like most adults, I've got budgetary concerns, things that have to be done and people that need to be taken care of. The costs mount and the responsibilities increase. And it was a lot easier to just pick up a Deluxe with pocket money when they were $10. Or even $12. Sometimes recently they've gone on sale for $15 and it felt special, for crying out loud. $20 Deluxes is not something I can buy whole waves of. Collecting is different for every person and every budget; some people can collect unofficial third-party $100+ figures by the boxload and not blink, and some people look up one day and say "Hey, I've got every single-carded $5 Titan Master and that's the first line/price point I've gone completist on in years. Neat!" I'm towards the bottom end of that scale. I am the bottom end of that scale.
And combiners just make things harder in a variety of ways. The piecemeal nature of Titans Return, where buying one toy does not impel you to buy four or five others, was much easier for me. I wound up wanting to own most of it, but let me tell you: I am so happy right now that ExVee picked me up PotP Moonracer and the Wave 2 Deluxe Dinobots, but not Rippersnapper. That just leaves me needing that Grimlock. If I was stuck with one or two Terrorcons basically forever, waiting for Wave 3 to show up? I would be pulling out my hair.
Take that mindset, mix it with a compulsion to Catch `Em All. From there, finding online sales and deals to offset the mere price of shipping and/or specialty retailer markup makes collecting its own special kind of hell.
But if you're looking for a time to make a break and get out from under that rock, there is literally no time like the present.
As I've said above, it looks very much like Power of the Primes is dead-ending pretty hard. Maybe things will start shipping again soon, and that would be fantastic. But even if they do, we're at a point of transition: the movie series is rebooting and/or taking a break with the advent of Bumblebee. IDW's ending its universe with Unicron. We're rebooting Generations itself with War For Cybertron. And we're starting a new all-ages line in the fall in the form of Cyberverse. I was already priced out of collecting multiple Transformers lines, but if I was already thinking about not obsessively collecting any, this is the perfect moment. And since it will probably not come again for a while, it's time to act.
But what I'm really talking about here is a change of mindset. Of changing a collection or an obsession back into a hobby, because I enjoyed it more as a hobby. Because I write for TFormers and appear on RFC, I've felt an urge to keep up, to stay abreast of things and collect and review as best I can. But that feeling of pressure that my circumstances and I have imposed on myself have to stop now. It's difficult to afford the cost, but what I really can't afford is the feeling of stress from not doing that. It mounts, and combines with other stress, and actively makes my life worse. It outweighs the increasingly rare, increasingly fleeting pleasure of playing with a new toy by a wide margin anymore. Why do that to myself?
So from now on it's just going to be a somewhat more casual hobby that, because of my other activities, I happen to know a fair amount about and keep current with. Will I still buy Transformers? When I see them and can afford them without issue, sure! Cyberverse Megatron looks neat, and I kind of want one. But it's time to do away with the feeling that I need this. That I should get them, should go out of my way for them, do serious financial planning around how to get them, when, and where, and justify the expense to myself. Feeling like I wasted gas and time every failed local search, and like I wasted money whenever I buy them online.
Do whatever you have to do to get the negativity of "serious" collecting out of your life. Because they're just toys.
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