Nothing exceptionally good happens after midnight except, bad jokes and hanging out with the 501st at a toy store waiting for the big release of Star Wars toys.
Last night was a first for me. I am usually not the kinda girl who lines up for anything related to shopping. But, this is a pretty significant year for Star Wars fans. A new movie… new characters… new stories… new toys! I was not completely sure about standing in line with a bunch of people just to get a chance at a collectible. I am a girl that likes guarantees. I also like sleep. Midnight toy extravaganzas? Eh.. no thanks. Thankfully my mind was changed.
The library where I work has lots of geeky librarians. We love pretty much any fandom out there and talk about our fandoms more than we should while on the clock. We also plan lots of geeky programs for all ages and literally wear our fandoms on our sleeves. One of my friends at work is a huge collector. He loves toys and seriously knows his stuff. For weeks we have been chatting about all the cool new toys and fan theories surrounding the new Star Wars movie. He passed on some pictures of the toys before the big media release and I admit, I was stoked. I even created a tiny list of two things that I wanted. A Rey action figure and the Black Series Ahsoka and Vader combo. The seeds of geeky shopping had been sown.
I wasn’t even alive when the first movies came into theaters in the 70’s. When the prequels came out I was too busy trying to get into college to worry about anything geek. Collecting toys and admitting my hardcore fangirl devotion to Star Wars is relatively new. It’s one of the joys of being an adult and realizing that I seriously don’t care what others think about my mini obsession with an Opera set in space. (The journey to that point is another tale for another time) Back to the original point..
I am working on my membership to the Rebel Legion and 501st costuming groups. I have been helping out with the local group doing pictures, building parts, spotting for the costumers, and bidding my time until my own costumes are finished. The 501st group was invited to the Toys R Us, Force Awakens release last night. They asked us to come and work the crowd to get them excited about the event and to let people take pictures. After lots of convincing from friends I decided that it could be a fun night and well… why not?! Thankfully I didn’t have to work the next day so a 11 pm – 1 am shift would not be too terrible. Plus, I could just turn around and come home if it was crazy.
I arrived around 10:45 to see a small line of people waiting by the doors. My friend from work was 1st in line with his devoted wife who needs a medal for being there since 8pm. The line was made up of mostly adults with a few teens who were there just to grab stuff for dear old Dad to sell later. Our Jawa was in her costume dancing to the music playing from on of the store managers Truck. It was pretty cool.
When all of the costumers arrived we were ushered to the back room to change. I was told that under no circumstances was I allowed to take my camera out and take pictures before midnight. We were not even allowed to see the stuff before they opened the doors. Come in, get changed, and get out were the orders from the Empire! I was not surprised because Disney and Lucas Films keep everything pretty tightly regulated.
When we got back out everyone was excited to see Darth Vader, two Stormtroopers, a Mandalorian, and a Jawa. I had lots of opportunities to take some fun pictures of the guys and gals in their gear and to see the reactions from the crowd. The line remained civil and around 50-60 people were waiting to get in. Here are some shots from the line:
The workers let us in early to pose around the store and check out all the goodies before the crowds came in. I was very surprised that they did this for everyone in the group. It was really cool to get to see everything on the shelves before the grabby excited crowd. However, I was a bit disappointed with the selection. There were no Black Series figures and there were a very very limited supply of the 3 3/4 inch figures. The workers said that half their shipment had not arrived so the shelves were pretty bare compared to what I had pictured in my head.
Then it was time for the mad dash. They let the crowds in and it was a fast walking dash to the stuff. Right after they let the crowd in they made an announcement that there were no Black Series figures which caused a huge groan from the crowd and several people to throw up their hands and walk out. The rest spent their time grabbing what they could and lining up to purchase. Their were no fights and no one freaked out on anyone. People enjoyed having the Costumers wandering around while they shopped and there were lots of photo opportunities.
While the selection was a bit disappointing for some shoppers, I had a blast hanging out with the guys and being a casual observer to the frenzy. We had lots of fun playing with the toys and people watching. It was a fun night and the workers at Toys R Us were very nice and helpful. Kudos to them for coming in late and setting everything up.
I was able to snag a Rey figure for my small collection and a Titanium Slave I for the Mister. Most of the crowd left by 1 am and we were free to go. Several of us decided to hit up Walmart to see what they had and to get some free swag. We ended up going to two stores and staying out until after 2 am. It was a lot of fun!
If you get a chance to go to one of these in the future (I am sure there will be more) I recommend it. Go a bit early and grab a few chairs and some friends. Have a list of items that you want ahead of time and don’t set your expectations too high. Also, to those people who go and grab up everything just to sell on Ebay?? You suck.. I wish you a thousand days of stepping on loose Legos in your bare feet. Don’t ruin the fun for everyone else by being a greedy nerf herder.
My verdict for the night:
A+ on getting to hang out with the troopers and seeing the crowd.
C- for the selection. I don’t blame the workers and it seems like this was an issue across the country.
May the force be with you and I hope you find the actions figures you are looking for!