It’s Force Friday again – bringing happy Star Wars fans and hollow wallets

By ·September 1, 2017 9:30 am

I love Force Friday. Yes, I know it’s nothing more than a self serving marketing frezy for Disney. But knowing that doesn’t make any difference. For that one day, I get to be a little boy again. Even moreso than I am every other day, I mean. On Force Fridays, my inner child is six years old again – or seven, or eight. He gets to relive the thrill of walking into my neighbourhood T, G, & Y store, rushing straight to the toy department, and finding new Star Wars figures out on the shelves.

Anybody remember T, G, & Y – the precursor to today’s Walmart? In the small town in which I grew up, the T, G, & Y comprised the only source from which I could hope to procure, or, in other words, beg my parents to buy me cool toys. In later years, we did get a K-Mart, and eventually a Walmart. But all my Star Wars toys – and I’m talking about the originals, here; the figures released by the now defunct but forever fondly remembered Kenner, which was swallowed up by Hasbro in the year 2000 – came from T, G, & Y.

Today, thanks to the Internet, we know at least some of the toys that will be coming out on Force Friday. I try to avoid the images, though. I like to be surprised. I want to walk into Toys R Us or Target – these two have, for the past couple of years, been my go-to places for action figures and vehicles.

A behind-the-scenes Porg from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Although I did buy a complete collector’s set of static Rogue One action figures from the Disney Store last fall, not knowing what I might find, just like when I was that little kid running into the candy store. For me, the proverbial candy store was in actuality the toy aisles at the nearest department store. I mean, I liked candy and all, but toys were what it was all about!

I’ll be hitting the stores tomorrow, not knowing what cool figures or vehicles or whatever else I may find there – succulent swag from the upcoming Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. I did hear a rumor that Kylo Ren will be getting some swanky new armor. And I have seen those adorable little puffin-looking alien creatures called “porgs.” I’m sure these will be well represented. And Rey has long hair now, so we can expect some longer-haired Rey figures. What else will I find there? I don’t know – and that’s half the fun of it!

The past couple of years, I’ve laid down some of my hard-earned cash to take home Star Wars ephemera, only to, weeks or months later, see those same products on the shelves at Walmart marked down with considerable discounts.

It made me snarl, but even knowing that this will probably happen again this, year, knowing that if I waited I’d probably be able to get the same toys at a much lower price later on, I’ll still be shopping on Force Friday. There’s always that chance, however slight, that if I don’t grab up whatever toy has managed to catch my eye when it’s right there in front of me, I might never be able to acquire it again.

A fan browsing an aisle of Force Friday collectibles.

Besides, I wouldn’t want to miss out on the fun, the excitement, of Force Friday, or of the social aspect, either. It is a day when we Star Wars fans all come together. I like walking the aisles, seeing other like-minded fanboys and fangirls, offering a slight smile as I catch their eye or they catch mine, a friendly nod of the head. We know we’re there for the same reason. Even the moms and grandmothers who have no interest in anything Star Wars, who are there trying to get some early Christmas shopping done, belong to that same fellowship.

Will I spend too much tomorrow? Undoubtedly. Will I buy stuff that’s just going to sit on a bookshelf in my home audience, providing nothing of any practical value? You bet. But practicality ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. There’s something to be said for frivolous value, too. Insubstantial enrichment, I like to call it. Looking at those toys on that shelf will make me smile, every time. That’s worth something, isn’t it?

And since such little bursts of happiness affect overall mental health, and since a positive outlook and good mental health are necessary to be productive at anything, you could even argue that buying Star Wars stuff on Force Friday is practical, after all. I’ll see you all in the toy department!

Image credits: Disney

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