Walter: "They (Facebook) doesn’t take a cut when I make a sale."
On September 29, about 200 collectors met at The Toy Addicts Trade Show in La Mesa; many were 1990s era toy collectors.
“I do find it kind of weird that people are calling 1990s vintage,” said Walter, one of 25 or so dealers present. “For my kid, who is helping, he’s only 13 — so that is vintage for him.”
Walter had an E-Z up tent and tables packed with action figures from 1990s TV shows: like Dragon Ball Z, Bob the Builder, and PBS’s The Joy of Painting,
1990s GI Joe vehicles
which starred Bob Ross in the 1980s and 1990s.
“Pokémon had its moment,” he said, “because Pokémon Go, the mobile app brought it back.
“…. and like the Wolverine I have over there; that was from the Fox Kids Network from back in the day (1992-1997) on Saturday Morning Cartoons — the show was called X-Men: The Animated Series.”
The show was held in the parking lot of Toy Addicts store on University Avenue by the 125 Freeway.
Arturo, a dealer from Tijuana brought in a rare 1990s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure.
“That’s $60,” he said, “and the Robocop 2 doll is also $60 and the Chun-Li from Street Fighter II is $25.”
Dragon Ball Z figure
Arturo’s been scouring the Mexico segundas (second hand stores) and swap meets for “plastic-gold” for about seven years now.
“These toys were mostly found in the center (inland) of Mexico,” he said. “I was scared to bring too much of the [knockoff] stuff because of the [customs] officers — but here is what I brought: mostly 1980s-1990s icons.”
Arturo: “I was scared to bring too much of the knockoff stuff."
When Walter isn’t selling at toy shows like this one, he’s auctioning his product on Facebook Live.
“I think it’s the future of online sales,” he said. “I will put a number on the item and I’ll describe what it is and I’ll tell the viewers “If you want to bid on this — tell me via messenger.” I don’t show in on the video, but I track the bids on the side and I’ll give it like 10 minutes and the highest bid takes it.”
Arturo likes the idea of selling on Facebook Live.
“For the people that cannot travel to here in La Mesa, I can tell you the history of how I found the toy, why the price is the price, and explain the quality.”
Walter, like many toy dealers said that he’s “tired of getting screwed by eBay and Amazon” with their fees and their “customer is always right” buyer’s protection. “Amazon will refund the money to the customer without even talking to you as a vendor, then the customers from eBay are ghetto: they open stuff and return it to you. So now, I try to push everybody from my Facebook Live, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to my webstore, so I don’t have to deal with that.”
John Shand, the organizer for the tradeshow, was swamped selling his 1990s Magic the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards to families that attended. The show was held in the parking lot of his brick-and-mortar Toy Addicts store on University Avenue by the 125 Freeway.
“From my understanding selling on Facebook Live was all started by the people who sold LuLaRoe clothing,” he said, “then all of a sudden I see guys [that copied the LuLaRoe method] auctioning toys on Facebook — now, some are even doing raffles.”
Walter live-auctions his product on his Awesome Statues and Collectibles Facebook account. He props up his phone, clicks the “Start Live Video” and then shows off the toys for sale.
“I learned from watching that QVC show back in the 1990s when they use to put the price of the product on the side of the TV,” he said. “I like it because they (Facebook) doesn’t take a cut when I make a sale …. I think it’s the future [for online sales].”