Does retail still matter?


J. Bumgardner

“Happy Mego Day” came twice this week but one hit me in the feels a bit more than the other. Now before you tune out thinking this is all about a genre toy line hear me out. There’s a lesson in this that you may find interesting.

Quick recap for the first timers: It was announced earlier this year that the Mego Corporation would be releasing “authentic reproductions” of their original 8 inch action figures, specifically the DC characters they mass produced in the 1970’s that ruled the boys toy aisles. As an uber fan of those original toys, I was certainly stoked to hear this news. However not for he what would appear obvious reasons: nostalgia and obsession. In reality both of those itches have long since been scratched.

Back in 20XX, Figures Toy Company did what was at the time thought to be the impossible in releasing somewhat faithful reproductions of these figures. There were some noticeable differences such as color and material changes but on the whole, they hit the mark. In that moment, the nostalgia and obsession aspects of collecting were very much satisfied. Once that “hit” the feels, nothing could recreate that rush. The effort was dampened a bit for me in that those figures were primarily available online and in a very narrow band of specialty retailers such as independent comic book stores. Nothing wrong with that other than as the obsession with them continued I noticed that the “special-ness” faded fast as there was no hunt in this game. Go to their site. Click “add to cart”. Wait a few days. The post man comes and wah-lah! Wants and desires fulfilled.


In this, please don’t assume that I am taking a swipe at Figures Toy Company or the product they released. Far from it. They did a fantastic job of paying tribute to a thing many loved as well as expanding upon it with a deep and wide range of characters made in the style that captured us all those decades ago. Plus at the time the idea of the actual Mego Corporation coming back into the fold wasn’t a possibility that seemed plausible. And certainly not with those particular toys and license. But then it did and the never ending “Mego Wars” in the fandom erupted to an even more fever pitch.

“What is a ‘Mego War’ and why on Earth would people so emotionally charged about toys to the point of battle lines drawn, friendships lost and pissing contests flooded and floated the cyber waves?” Because humans have an ability to suck, be mean, ungrateful, immature and in some cases, flat out stupid. There’s a lot of stories, examples and reasons that could be shared and pontificated on in that regard (myself having been well defined by those adjectives from time to time, but those can wait for another time), that in the end meant about as much as arguing over the weather.

All that bickering and nonsense aside, the news led me to thoughts where I was far more taken by the idea of the resurrected toy maker to “reclaim” a piece of their legacy all the while allowing for myself to in some ways time travel to a time when these toys were the absolute must have moment in my weekly grocery shopping experience with my mother. In those routine experiences, a sense of anticipation was intertwined with the wait for the Saturday morning cartoon block coming to an end followed by an hour of Mid States wrestling on the TV and then the 20 minute drive to the Kroger store and a stop by either Wal-Mart (when it was still hyphenated) or Woolworth’s. The later was pretty much the go to I recall for the toys back then. Wal-Mart had their selection but I don’t recall for certain these little wonderment’s being on their pegs. 1979 was a long time ago and my 6 year old mind didn’t care about the name on the building so much back then. It was all about what was found inside that mattered. It’s to that is where we get to the main meat of my opening title: Does that experience still matter? I will answer that with a resounding yes and a case study that my psyche conducted on me.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed at one of the three Walmart’s (notice the lack of a hyphen. Oh how times have changed 😉 ) that there were two peg hooks with the bin tags for Mego World’s Greatest Superheroes. “BING!” went the little rush of the adrenaline comes from obsession. With that fuel kicking in, I went to the clerk and asked about the status of the obviously fourth coming products. According to their scanner, the figures should be their the next day. Anticipation returned in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. I checked my schedule and made my plans. No Saturday morning cartoon or wrestling block to wait for this time however, just a day at work that would come to a crescendo to the fantastic treat that would await me at the end of the day. So high was the anticipation that a micro-timeline blog was rolled out for this coming “Happy Mego Day’ celebration. That in itself turned out to be an interesting study of the psyche, but again, that’s for another time.

For those who did read and follow those updates, you’ll note that in the end, the day didn’t go as I was expecting. The exact opposite occurred and a touch of frustration festered. This wasn’t a foot stomping, yelling and screaming fit of any sort but was a let down. Such can life be as an adult. I figured I’d give it another shot in a day or two and get back to normal living in between. Alas, the swelling of anticipation wouldn’t relent so the few days later that would be the return trip had me a bit antsy. That came to a sudden stop as a reality check met me in the parking lot in the form of a car backing into me.

Fear not dear reader, I too was in a vehicle so while I was unscathed the right fender of the car didn’t fare as well. Nothing terrible but enough to file an insurance claim and all the other adult stuff one must do in those instances. It did however shake me and remind me that the hassle may not be worth it this go round and I might as well order them online. Click, click, wait for the postman and then over and done. {Insert wiping hands motion here}.

A couple days following that incident, I got word that one online retail had the little time traveling doppelgangers in stock and ready to ship now. I of course pounced and click. Clicked my way through the process that led to this particular salute to Movie Posters Etc. They did amazing in their customer service and fulfillment. The USPS however wasn’t quite as efficient or truthful in their promises of delivery time. The waiting would be prolonged a bit but I had the satisfaction of knowing that my little prizes were paid for and en route and would be here before I knew it.

The day came and I received the text message that they were siting at my front door. The end of the work day took the visualization of a finish line waiting to be crossed. It did, I ran, got home, kissed my wife and daughter and then gutted the box with a utility knife to free my little plastic hereos from their well packaged prison that had been held up by an uncaring and indifferent middle man known as the postal service.

My wife smiled as she looked at my smile as I brought the trio into the light of day. It was a very nice moment to be sure. After all the ups and downs, years of ridiculous bickering online and a heartless delay from the postal machine, here they were. They were as great as I hoped them to be.


Grateful and thankful for the tip and the service that led to the receiving of my “World’s Finest” representatives from the Mego Corporation, the experience seemed a little flat. Not bad at all, just flat. Then last night happened (Friday November 26) when I decided to go ahead and swing by Walmart.

Just to look.

I did. They were there and far removed from any logical decision, another set of the trio was coming home with me.

While it was very cool to see them on the pegs it was an even more satisfying visual to see them in the shopping cart…

then being recorded for purchase at the self check out scanner… then looking up at me from the bag…

to the car (where they rode in the front seat whereas the other necessities I picked up sat in the back seat… to finally home to be displayed two deep on my desk with their mail in doubles. Exactly the same yet completely different in their final meaning to me. No one but myself (and you too dear reader, of course) would ever know that there is a difference in these figures but there most certainly is. And those differences are far greater than I could have ever imagined.

I get it now and in this sharing of observation and experience, I hope you do too in that weird way that comes from shared perceptions.

Now, Go Play!

Jim 11/27/2022

Author: Jim Bumgardner

Jim's Toy Box features programming that is inspirational, uplifting and motivational all the while offering encouragement to those who wish to make the most of this life in preparation for the next.

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