Thursday, October 08, 2009


Okay honestly I ripped this box myself in 1985

It's been four months since the movers packed up my robots in South Dakota and now as I unpack everything in Florida I'm finding out if all that worrying I did about them mutilating, breaking, stealing and raping my toy robot Volkswagens and their associated transforming dinosaur cohorts was justified. Over the last 14 years I've moved to a new place every 36 months and you'd think I'd figure out by now that rolling this massive Katamari ball of roboplasticos around the world and expecting them to survive unscathed is unrealistic, but General Grievous had a mean lightsaber collection and he went everywhere with it so why can't I. Grievous is my patron saint of traveling gypsy toy robots collecting because that guy really knew how to transport his acquisitions as he wandered the galaxy looking for more lightsabers to add to his collection. That whole "killing the previous owner" bit is a little over the top for me, though. If I was selling lightsabers a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away on the Star Wars eBay I'd be very suspicious of a bidder with lots of lightsaber transactions but zero feedbacks. If General Grievous won one of my lightsaber auctions I'd send him an email saying dude, what's up with the killing? If you're not happy with the condition of the item or my shipping charges just leave me a negative.


Grevious' organization and showmanship I admired-he'd bust out his buttloads of lightsabers collection for anyone to see. The problem was Grievous showed it to the wrong guy and in a fit of jealousy Ben Kenobi broke a lot of Grievous' light saber collection and probably stole some of it, too. Such was the wrath of Ben Kenobi-a man who hated big robots, bigger lightsaber collections than his and most of all, big robots with bigger lightsaber collections than his. There was so much collateral property damage from their fight I'm sure that if the Jedi gig didn't work out Kenobi could have been a furniture mover. I had to hope my movers were less like destructive rampaging Ben Kenobis and more like Jawas, the little brown people who talked funny but were good at transporting robots.


Ultimately any damage to my robots collection is my fault because there are things I could have done to make sure the packing went well, like monitoring the guy doing the packing and letting him know not to bend the flaps on the old Transformer boxes. But when the guy was packing up my robots I was busy in other parts of the house and also in a little bit of denial so I never straightened that out with him. Getting bent flaps was my biggest concern because I had a couple of 20 year old Transformers with boxes in pretty decent shape. The average neurotypical furniture mover without roboplasti-bergers isn't going to understand the beauty of an unbent box flap. When you're packing old Transformers it may seem like the easiest thing to do would be to bend those flaps down to make them all the fit in the shipping box. Just like how the easiest way to fit more cats in a box is with a meat grinder and getting more exotic cars in my garage would be easier if I had a car crusher. Furniture movers probably get hard-ons from contemplating how the entire galaxy will eventually collapse in upon itself so they'll be able to fit all of existence into a little cardboard moving box, which I admit is convenient and does save a lot of space but my only problem is that side effect where everybody is dead.


I kept imagining all the different scenarios that mover guy could have gone through as he molested my Transformer boxes. Did he bend the flaps or treat them caringly? Why would he bend my flaps in the first place? Didn't I give him Kool-Aid when he was thirsty? How could he do that to me! What I really wanted to know was how did my hobby turn from having a great time breaking my own robots when I was 10 to having a terrible time worrying about someone else breaking my robots now that I'm 35. What's worse is the movers are essentially getting paid to destroy my stuff. How retarded is it that after 25 years my robots are still getting broken except as an adult I pay other people to break them for me. I can't wait for my son to get a little older because the advantage of having kids is they break your stuff for free.


I accepted a long time ago that my toy robots packaging would not survive multiple moves. Hell it's pretty pointless to get upset over damage to these boxes that are already 25 years of faded with discolored styrofoams and in some cases have the robot points cut out. But there was some stuff that got scuffed, scratched, creased and thrashed during this move that made my heart sink a little. Like the original art to my favorite Shortpacked comic or the now partially shredded up cover of my Macross Perfect Memory book or the now badly warped old issues of Japanese toy robots magazines I loved so much. Seeing how that stuff got scrunched up hurts a lot and reminds me why it is probably not a good idea that I buy nice things while I'm going through this galactic gypsy wandering Jedi phase of my life that won't be stopping anytime soon. As I open each moving box up to reveal more mutilated belongings I feel like Ben Kenobi is shooting me through the heart with my own laser beams and making my internal organs explode. I thought I could get through this unpacking mess with my sanity intact as long as I took a lot of breaks to play Turbografx-16, except right now I haven't found the box with the Turbografx-16's power cord yet. WHEN ARE THEY RELEASING STAR WARS ON TURBOGRAFX-16 SO I CAN BEAT BEN KENOBI'S ASS?


Sean said...

Okay, you probably won't like much of what I have to say as it's stuff that probably falls into the "Tough Love" domain (Or "Tough Appreciation" in my case):

Were boxes outright destroyed or scuffed up? If boxes were scuffed up I have to ask (and I apologize in advance for how harsh this sounds) who cares? My Trypticon box could be scratched or scuffed or dented or generally just beaten beyond repair but I don't think I really would or could give two shits as long as nothing happened to the toy itself. While it is nice to try to keep the packaging in good shape, the shape of the figure should always take precedence IMO. And that's what you're dealing with, right? The toys are still okay but the packaging is damaged, right? I mean, if your toys are damaged you SHOULD be pissed but if it's just the least the toy is okay. That's the way I'd look at that.
Also, if the toys are that important to you why didn't you get a big u-haul and drive them over to your new residence yourself? Sure it would be expensive as hell and maybe seen as "extreme" to the neurotypical people out there but at least you would know that you packed the boxes, you loaded them into the truck the way you wanted to load them and you stayed with the truck and made sure no one broke into it or anything like that. If I ever moved out of state that's exactly what I'd do because I've put thousands of dollars into my stuff over the years and couldn't trust anyone else to package or handle it.
I mean, don't get me wrong, as a fellow collector I really feel your pain but wouldn't really worry if the figures themselves are okay.

Colin said...

There is nothing worse than finding out our toys are not immortal, that damage can befall these artifacts of your that were never intended to spend their lives in rapidly fading, discoloured boxes.

The worst experience for me was the Mecha One black knockoff of Omega Supreme. Carefully kept mint in box, it survived the last move with a large plus sign tear in the center of its thin cardboard cover.

But I gotta say every Botcon, something inevitably comes home from the plane trip damaged, even with the existence of bubble wrap in my suitcase. This year fortunately it was only the 30th anniversary Robotman box, whose passanger was going to be freed to join his Micronaut brethren. But one year it was the corner of a Botcon exclusive Windrazor. And there have been others besides.

Makes one long for the days when the packaging didn't matter.

Evil King Macrocranios said...

To me the packages have always been a significant extension of the toy experience, a wonderful celebration of the robot within. Even when I was throwing most of them away I was still cutting out Tech Specs and keeping other scraps. It never totally didn't matter to me. Hell, after '86 the boxes were more interesting to look at than a lot of the toys. Maybe that's why I started keeping the boxes intact during that time instead of viewing them as obstructions keeping me from the robots. Ever since I unearthed my collection of cut out boxarts I've been trying to figure out where the packaging ended and my childhood began.


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