Kaitlyn Booth

Funko FunDay Showcases The Worst Side Of Collector Culture

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bert

This is a prototype Funko Pop of Bert from Sesame Street. It isn’t much and you wouldn’t think it was worth much. It isn’t even something that is cool looking like some of the other Funko Pop’s out there. It’s also something that I managed to get during Funko FunDay 2015. And it is also the reason a friend of mine almost punched a grown man.

Funko FunDay is a $100 ticketed event that Funko hosts at San Diego Comic Con as a sort of party for its brand. It has become known for its giveaways and for the things that people walk away with that end up being worth a lot of money. I’m a fan of Funko and was looking forward to the event. My enthusiasm was slightly diminished due to the absolute disaster that the Funko booth ended up being at San Diego Comic Con. Out of the eight people that were at my table only person had managed to get into the booth during the first three days of Comic Con. This already annoyed me since Funko tends to have very high re-sell rates and I knew that there were people in line to buy the toys just to re-sell them on eBay. Funko had proclaimed that their booth, which was impossible to get into last year as well, was going to be better this year. It wasn’t until I saw the way that Funko FunDay was handled that I became completely convinced that no one in this company has any idea what they are doing.

Said prototypes are thrown into the crowd of people as prizes. Whenever you throw free things that could potentially be worth a lot of money into crowds of people it does not go well, and to say that this portion of Funko FunDays didn’t go well would be an understatement.

“At FunDays I saw a grown man tackling another dude for a Freddy thing,’ Holden Lee told me in a message after the event. The “Freddy thing” he is talking about is a toy that they threw from the crowd later on in the event. Whenever the “prize patrol” would come out to throw more things at the crowd, people just got more and more out of hand.

“I wasn’t at FunDays this year but one of my friends, John, was,”Tristan Pecnik told me in a message. “He suffered a broken rib when he was elbowed at the show the evening when they were tossing Pops in the crowd. This kind of violence and behavior is enough to actually make me consider just giving up collecting at this point.”

The people at the show were doing their best to try and get people hyped up, but instead they seemed to illicit some sort of feeding frenzy, so much so that by the end of the event people were just out of control. The Pop I managed to get fell on the table and my friend, who is a bigger fan and collector than me, reached out to put his hand on it since it was right in front of him. A grown man dove across the table and tried to wrestle it out of his hand, and my friend had to yell at him to get him to calm down and go away. Over a piece of plastic. Over a toy. This sort of behavior isn’t acceptable for children and these were grown adults.

“Well, I know there was a lot of tackling. We had spilt drinks from people crashing into our table. There were a number of people standing on chairs that fell from people diving into them. There was one individual who got cut trying to open a can of corn,” said an anonymous source. The corn is a reference to the people hosting the event having contestants chug corn for some reason to win Pops. I couldn’t really see over the masses of people. Since they were throwing things into a crowd, people were standing on chairs to try and get more items. I was standing on a chair at one point and someone nearly knocked me off because they were in a hurry to get to the stage to get a prize they had already won.

“To the guy at FunDays who pushed my brother off of a chair,” a thread on FunkoFanatic.com says started by user CP3x. “We appreciate it, he is now going to the emergency room and has a broken ankle. Thank you for pushing him out of the chair while he was standing on it. I really hope you make a lot of money on that Freddy…. Wow.”

It was not until I left the event a few minutes early that I truly saw the thing that compelled me to write this article. It was a family with a little girl. She was hurt and they were calling an ambulance.

“My niece got trampled by some guys. A Pop got thrown near her and a few guys just went and ran over her like football players. She wasn’t in the mix. She was dragged in because something flew by her. She had to go to the hospital to make sure her hand wasn’t broken,” an anonymous source said to me in a message. When children are being carried out of an event dedicated to toys because they have to be taken to the hospital because an adult hurt them, we have a serious problem. On Facebook someone mentioned that “We were advised ahead of time that kids should not attend for these specific reasons you are mentioning.” Those reasons are shoving, pushing and all around vile behavior that is truly the worst of the collectors market. My reply to that is “if you are being advised to not bring children to an event about toys, then we have a serious problem.”

By the end of San Diego Comic Con I was still unable to get into the Funko booth. Said friend of mine was able to get in by sheer luck and we are likely going to do some trading to get the items that we weren’t able to get, but after Funko FunDay and the disaster that was the booth I find myself wondering why I’m collecting these little figures. I could walk ten feet from the Funko booth and find people selling $15 pops for $60 yet I, a fan who collects these for fun and never to upsell, couldn’t get anywhere near it.

Funko kept talking about how much they love their fans at FunDay, but it seems like all they love are the flippers on eBay looking to make a quick buck. At the moment Funko is doing well, but they are a bubble and like all bubbles it will pop. The bottom of the market will fall out as people realize these little plastic toys aren’t worth $100 and Funko’s will end up in storage lockers next to trading cards and Beanie Babies.

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