Bad Mommy. Bad, bad Mommy. Why? Because I chunked all my son’s Star Wars toys when he got too big to play with them anymore and now my grandson has just gotten into Star Wars, and is asking for the very same action figures and vehicles I tossed twenty years ago!
This isn’t like me, it really isn’t. Just ask my family – they’ll tell you. I’m notorious for saving anything and everything that had my children’s DNA on it. In fact, I’m such a sentimental mush-brain I not only have my children’s baby teeth; I’ve even got Jason’s retainer! (Admit it, you’re secretly impressed.)
Yet despite my penchant for keepsakes and mementos, R2D2 and Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon were somehow relegated to the nearest dumpster where they were carted off to a landfill far, far away (or maybe they were sold in a garage sale for a nickel apiece – I can’t remember.) Consequently, as a result of that momentary lapse in judgment, here I am two decades later, on a quest for a whole new set of Star Wars characters and their various modes of transportation for Aidan, when I could just as easily have given him the ones I already had, if only I still had them, which I don’t because as I said I’m a bad Mommy. A bad, bad Mommy.
But enough about me. I’m here to talk about shopping for Star Wars stuff. For those of you who don’t keep up with this sort of thing, you might be surprised to learn that most toy stores still sell all the original figures. Or, you can scarf up older renditions from online auctions, which is what I elected to do. My decision was based partly on the fact that I was driving under the influence of nostalgia (unwise at any speed), and partly because I naïvely believed that this would be a cheaper way to go. Silly me.
What I discovered is that auction sites basically divide Star Wars memorabilia into two basic categories. First you have your "vintage collectibles”, a totally subjective, self-appointed term usually accompanied by such descriptions as "rare” and "highly sought after” that apparently empowers the seller to place ridiculous and exorbitant prices on his merchandise. This especially seems to be the case if a particular item happens to still be in its original packaging – which makes me wonder. Just exactly how does one manage that? I mean, do you literally snatch the toy from the hands of your eight-year-old son at his birthday party? ("I’m sorry Benjie, but you can’t play with this X-Wing Starfighter right now. In fact, you can’t even open it. Mommy’s going to preserve it just like it is, and then one day long after you’ve gone off to college – when Mommy is strapped for cash – she’ll list it on EBay for twelve times its original price; and with the dough she rakes in, she’s finally going to buy that nice little Coach handbag she’s had her eye on.”) I could never pull that off, but obviously some people can.
The other category for Star Wars memorabilia is "loose”, and the merchandise for sale is typically accompanied by disclaimers like this: "Missing lightsaber, cloak, blaster pistol, jetpack, and helmet. Also missing head and/or other essential body parts”. But even these items aren’t as cheap as their poor condition would warrant. Add shipping and handling and suddenly that pitiful little C3PO with chipped paint that you thought was such a bargain has ended up costing you an arm and a leg (which coincidentally, he also seems to have lost somewhere along the way.)
In my case, after running the totals on a few "vintage” items and concluding that it would be cheaper to fly Harrison Ford in to entertain Aidan in person, I have finally given up and reluctantly ordered all new merchandise from a certain online shopping site that shares its name with a river in South America.
I can’t wait for that stuff to get here. When it does we’re going to rip open those packages and have us some serious battles between the forces of good and evil. Yeah, you heard me. I said we’re gonna rip open those packages, which means those Star Wars toys won’t be worth a plug nickel when we get through with them, but I don’t care. The important thing is how much fun I’ll be having with Aidan, and you know what that makes me: Good Grammy. Good, good Grammy!