I often wonder how toy collectors went about their hobby during the days before the Internet. How did they keep themselves updated on the latest news? I can only think of postal updates and magazines.
However now that we have the Internet, we find ourselves in a completely different situation. In the past, we suffered from information scarcity. Now, we have to deal with information overload.
The Internet has not only made it easy to get information on the latest toys, it has also made it easier to buy them. Sideshow Toy, Hobby Link Japan and the Big Bad Toy Store are only a few examples of online toy shops.
Although Singapore does not have an online toy store per se, but this does not mean they are not online. On the contrary, toy stores here are making use of the Internet in their own ways. For them, the mailing list is their preferred medium of communication. Sign up for their mailing list and you'll receive e-mail updates about the latest arrivals and pre-orders. The idea of a mailing list is ingenious. It is simple, non-intrusive and it works.
However, its effectiveness and efficiency causes a problem, because unlike news which you read and dispose of, news about an upcoming toy, especially pre-orders, requires careful consideration.
The situation where you find yourself pondering over a pre-order is one that I'm sure most toy collectors are familiar with. Should I get that Cannibal Jack? Will I exceed my budget? What else is coming out in January? These are some questions that fill a toy collector's mind when faced with a pre-order.
There are a myriad of issues to deliberate on before coming to a final decision. Sometimes it's an easy decision to make, sometimes it's not.
You see, the decision to pre-order a toy is more complicated than the decision to actually buy one. They are not the same thing. Confused? Allow me to explain. The decision to actually buy a toy is more like visiting an open house and then deciding whether or not to buy it. On the other hand, pre-ordering a toy is more like putting down a deposit for a new condominium. You look at prototypes photos just as you would a showroom and then make a decision.
The problem with that is that the final product may or may not look like the prototype. Therefore, pre-ordering is always a bit of a gamble. How many production cars actually look like their prototypes? Car makers have this nasty habit of removing the funky bits.
Now because of this, you may decide not to risk it and therefore decide to wait it out. Wait till the final product photos are released, you say. But therein comes the problem of scarcity. You see, like condominium units, most toys have limited production numbers and because of this, missing out on a pre-order could very well have drastic consequences later on.
Clearly, there's a lot of things that require our attention and consideration. Make the wrong decision and you might very well find yourself spending extra time and probably even extra money trying to acquire something which you could have really well pre-ordered. And when you finally do get that toy, you will almost always want to kick yourself for missing it out in the first place.
Just as the sun is constant in its journey through the heavens, the dilemma of a pre-order is one that consistently torments toy collectors. But let's be honest, being preoccupied by a pre-order is a good thing, because it means toy companies are actually coming up with products that we like or are at least interested in. And frankly, I rather have it this way.
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