While Obi-Wan Kenobi might have famously described the Mos Eisley spaceport as a “wretched hive of scum and villainy,” it may interest you to know that the toy aisles of your local retail stores have also been known to hide a horrendous haven of sneaky scalawags; you just need to know where to look.
In the circles of action figure collectors, there lies an unscrupulously terrible taxonomy known as “repackers” or “swappers.” Essentially, they are action figure collectors (presumably adults) who buy figures from retail stores, take them home, meticulously open the package, replace it with an older unwanted figure and carefully reseal the package. The purpose? Return the repacked item to the store, pulling the wool over the eyes of a customer service employee to receive a full refund, leaving the larcenous louse with a free action figure upgrade. Essentially, it’s legal theft.
The repacked figures get put back on display like any other returned item, where they sit in shame until well-intentioned parents get bamboozled into buying it, oblivious to the fact that they’ve become the victim of a scurrilous Shanghai surprise. By contrast, discerning, honest collectors will pass by a repacked item and immediately realize that an unnatural, unsustainable force has been insidiously introduced into their precious ecosystem of local retail stores.
This practice isn’t going away anytime soon. Thus, in accordance with Collectibles Month, I was inspired to put together some bizarre and/or hilarious examples of repacks documented for posterity by collectors across the Internet. Assuredly, you won’t need to be an action figure expert to understand the pure temerity that's on display.