Catching a Scam: Knowing What to Look for When Purchasing Collectibles Online

       

As the old addage says “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. This is something you will always want to keep in mind when shopping online. While some reputable online sellers will run regular promotions, most people online are just trying to get top dollar for their merchandise. 

The first thing you must always consider when shopping online is who is the retailer. You’re typically safer buying things online from major brick and mortar retailers as they will run different sales online and usually provide more products online as well. If needed you can also return most online purchases to the retailers in store. 

When buying any sort of collectible online you want to be extra careful about your purchase as in demand items are frequently faked. If you see an item you’re looking for on the website for Wal-Mart, you’re most likely in the clear, but if you are looking at a listing on eBay, with generic pictures, and only a Buy It Now price, take a minute and look at what you’re doing. Typically eBay is good on returns and filing claims if items show up not as described in the ads but it’s still best to not deal with that ordeal. 

One type of item I see faked very often are figures of any kind, especially anime themed figures or anything coming originally from Japan. So if you’re looking at Figma figures for example, make sure you get pictures of the actual item when shopping online. Red flags to look for include terms like new out of box, or any excuses for why the item might not be or not include it’s original packaging. Every retailer selling figures as new will always sell them new in box, and nearly every collector will keep their figures in the box as most collectors do. 

Always make sure to read descriptions as some sellers online will use language to their advantage. Some will rely on poor translations to to trick some buyers and other sellers might try using small fine print at the bottom of long descriptions. For this the only thing you can really do is take the time to look at all associated text and try to discern what the sellers intent might be. 

Sometimes though you’ll find incredibly well priced items that are clearly knock-offs. In this case unless you absolutely want the genuine article, these fakes can be a viable option. I recently purchased a few Figma and Nenderoid figures that are almost definitely fakes, but they look like the real thing and include all the correct accessories. Quality though is a factor as they are typically of a lesser quality but with something like a figure it is usually acceptable. 

I’ll say that typically the more involved an item is, like an iPod or smartphone, don’t ever substitute it for a fake. If it is something like a figure, toy, poster or anything else like that, fakes can be nearly indistinguishable from the genuine item. 

If you have the means to spend as much as you like on an item then you should always make sure to buy from reputible sellers online or in store, but if you are a collector on a budget, then knock-off figures and such can be a great alternative for display pieces, and you won’t have to worry about possibly damaging the typically expensive original figures. 

So in review always be mindful of how online sellers display and present their products and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

The Fate of Ala Mhigo: Anticipation for Stormblood

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As a long time Final Fantasy XIV playerI’ve had a lot of love and hate for the game over the years. It has been very enjoyable and aggravating but still I come back to it like a person in an abusive relationship. That doesn’t make the game sound enticing but for many it doesn’t matter at all. I have been playing since the launch of A Realm Reborn back in the summer of 2013. The story for me has never been the strongest as I am personally not a fan of the MMORPG genre and see the story as only existing to add on newer content as time goes by. The story becomes an ever-changing living thing in the world of the game and it becomes hard to follow, like a person starting The Walking Dead with season 3. Therefor the story in Final Fantasy XIV has never really been the reason why I play the game. The real reason why I play this game is because it’s one of the few games that I play with my friends, and partially because I like looking at all the amazing and detailed gear sets, adorable minions and epic mounts! I typically don’t like cooperating and working with others in video games and prefer rather to play puzzle games, fighters or just single player RPGs. Well, with this background into my experience with and reason for playing Final Fantasy XIV I suppose it’s about time I get to talking about my feelings in the last week prior to the early access launch of Stormblood.

I decided that I would subscribe again a few weeks prior to the launch to prepare myself and my character for the expansion ahead of us. Turns out I got really rusty after months of levelling random classes and then being unsubscribed. Back when Heavensward launched I still had not reached max level and completed all the story quests so I was stuck doing a mad dash to the Holy See of Ishgard. Before the last expansion I just playing catchup to all my friends but this time around I am prepared. I might not have the best gear but I am still set for what is to come. I wasn’t able to enjoy any story elements in the past because I had to just rush through it all to get caught up, but now I am ready for this and hope to actually pay attention to the goings on in this virtual world. Now I’ve been trying to play catchup with the story in the lead up to Stormblood and it has somewhat piqued my interest. My knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of Eorzea is pretty weak but I’ve been trying to understand the history behind the conflict in Ala Mhigo and the reason behind the inclusion of all these new areas to the game. Hopefully the interaction with the Garleans will bring on some interesting new dungeons and bosses and primals.

Unlike many that are bursting at the seems with excitement for the new expansion, I am sitting here in quiet anticipation hoping that for once in the 4 years that I have been playing Final Fantasy XIV that I will be able to fully experience and enjoy both the gameplay and the story of Stormblood. I might not have all the information or the best knowledge of the story but now I truly want to see and understand what happened all those years ago in the Sixth Astral Age that lead to so many leaving Ala Mhigo for the lands of the original game. But of course, SAMURAI AND RED MAGE! 

At the start of Heavensward I was still playing catchup and couldn’t really experience the new jobs that were introduced with the expansion. This time around I am ready and I plan to play both as soon as possible. I still though will be focusing on getting my main two classes up to max level before I fully commit to either Samurai or Red Mage. I won’t really know how it’ll all work out though until launch. At this time I am still planning out a course of action but nothing is set in stone quite yet.

If you play Final Fantasy XIV and are excited for the arrival of Stormblood please comment below with your thoughts. What are you looking forward to the most?

Great Finds in Strange Places: Hunting for Collectables in Peculiar Spaces

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For those of us that have been long time collectors, finding new places to hunt for the stuff we collect becomes fairly easy. We learn to look for signs all over the place that might lead to more and more stuff. You have to keep your eyes and ears open when it comes to collecting older, retro/vintage stuff, because it’s not like you can just go down to a shopping centre or big box store to do your shopping. Instead you have to rely on thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales to do your shopping. Depending on your location, success at these places will vary, and for some people most of these will not be viable options. Hopefully this may help some of you find that special item you’re looking for in some strange and unusual places.

From experience I have found a lot of amazing finds in some really unexpected places. Sharing my stories might be helpful to you in finding new places to track down whatever it might be you’re looking for. I personally focus on video games and action figures, but I do collect other things such as comics, movies, and vinyl.

First unusual location for a video game find was at a music/movie store the day they opened. They had assumed the stock of an older store and just had boxes and boxes of stuff. The owner also had boxes of random DVDs, Records and random crap. Whenever I see boxes of stuff like that I always ask if I can take a look and I’m so happy that I asked to take a look because I happened to find a bunch of GameCube games and a few other games as well. Since they only really sold music and movies at this store the owner did not care for that stuff at all and gave them to me for free since I technically helped him organize and “throw out” unwanted stuff.

Another Time I was walking down the street, deciding on what I wanted to eat when I came along an old book store. I went in to take a look only to realize that it was much more than just old books. This store had shelf after shelf of books, movies, and even video games all mixed together. So after forgetting about even getting anything to eat I proceeded to spend the next 2 hours combing through every single item in the store to make sure I didn’t leave anything that I really wanted behind.

I really wish I could suggest pawn shops as well but they are not always a great option. They tend to have items in really poor condition and expect way too much money in return for what they have. But every once in a while you never know what might come in, like a rare NES game, or some interesting older electronics. Keep in mind that pawn shops should always be considered when hunting for all sorts of items, but you stand to be disappointed by mediocrity and nothingness most of the time.

If you collect DVDs I highly recommend that you look into old stock at rental stores, if they still exist in your area. I’ve been able to find some great deals at some local stores for next to nothing, just a few bucks for something that would have otherwise cost me well over 30-50$.

I also want to mention the random everything stores that exist all across major cities in typically hipster neighbourhoods. I would classify these types of store separately from thrift stores or antique stores as an antique store will usually focus on a theme or just furniture, and a thrift store typically sells used items at a large discount. These everything stores will contain just about everything, including even a kitchen sink! I have seen some very unusual stores, packed so full you can barely maneuver around the store, but I’ve been able to find all sorts of interesting items for fairly cheap at stores like this. It’s hard to classify these stores as what they are and rather it is easier to classify them as what they are not.

The point that I’m trying to get at is that you never know where the newest item in your collection might come from. Make sure to look out for stores with no discernible signage, packed full of stuff, stores that are new and just opening up, or even stores that seem to have been forgotten by most and just linger like a random half-forgotten memory. Continue looking for stuff in conventional places but when the going gets tough, spread out and start thinking outside the box and maybe you’ll come by exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Too Much of a Good Thing: When Collecting Becomes an Addiction

 

 

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I can admit it, I am addicted. But unlike the typical addict, my drug of choice is video games. I have become addicted to finding great games, amazing deals, and crazy stories to go along with the buzz of an amazing score. You might ask why video games, but you will then come to see that it is so much more than video games. I derive great joy from finding and consuming countless different things from video games, to comics, to action figures and more and all of this has spawned from my addiction to shopping. Stepping back and viewing my actions from a distance I can see that it was always a matter of shopping and spending more than anything else, and I suppose this might have begun long ago when i was very young and every weekend my mother would “drag” my sister and I along with her to the mall. Since those frequent mall trips when I was very young exposed me to so many things I wanted, and my mother never bought me all the things i longed for, save for special occasions, I have now become this person that wishes to do what they could not do as a child. What I have been doing for quite some time now is spend and buy all the things i could never have as a kid. I’ve been reconnecting with things first rather than memories and that has put me into this cycle of buying more and more and not truly enjoying and putting to use the items that I get. I suppose there are many factors as to why I have become this type of “have it all” collector, but what needs to be done now is to form a plan of action to counteract my current mindset. I don’t need all of something, I don’t need a complete set, I WANT these things and I need to stop allowing my wanting to supersede my logic. Am I ever going to completely stop shopping or collecting? Probably not. Should I try to be more responsible in my decision making when it comes to shopping? 100% YES! It’s not a bad thing to shop or collect something, but it gets to be bad when you let it overload you, take over and consume your being. Maybe I should take some queues from my friends and begin to look objectively at what I have, what I truly enjoy, and take steps towards downsizing and focusing the scope of my collecting habits. No more buying something just because I don’t have it. No more trying to spend every single dollar I have to feed my habits (well I’ll have to work on that in time). I need to take some time, reflect on how I’ve been acting and look at what I have really amassed, and seriously consider reducing and sell off parts of my collection.

Let me know if any of this resonates with you and your experience, no matter what your addiction is. Of course I can’t talk for anything serious, but to me this is absolutely serious and requires some acknowledgement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sad about this situation and I definitely am not hating on collecting, but instead I’m trying to point out that the reason one collects can lose all meaning and sometimes you just have to step back and look at how you’ve been acting and how you’ve been spending.

 

Picture above originally from: geeksout.org