Like on every Aloha Friday, I like to take a look at my family Google Calendar to see what we have planned for the weekend. Upon viewing our Saturday schedule, in pink font (that’s how I know my wife typed it) there was “Shopkins event” at in Toys”R”Us in pink font. Little did I know, The Pacheco family was headed to a nation-wide event that had little girls everywhere wide-eyed… The Ultimate Shopkins Swap-kins Party.
I was well-aware of the Shopkins toys. For the past year and a half, I’ve been paying for these little figurine-type characters inspired by items found in grocery and department stores. They have cute names like Apple Blossom and Kookie Cookie to keep little girls squirming with excitement. If I could name an equivalent from my youth, I’d say it was like the girl version of the M.U.S.C.L.E. toys I used to collect. Just like those hard rubbery little wrestlers, the goal of Shopkins is to collect them all.
They roll out in seasons and so if you’re not making regular visits to the toy store, it’s easy for some characters to pass you by. Hence, the need for a swap. This particular event was approved by Shopkins manufacturer Moose Toys, who urged collectors everywhere to head down to their local Toys”R”Us on August 15th from noon to 2pm. The hope is of course to swap their duplicate Shopkins for that highly coveted character to bring their collection to completion.
We had arrived to our local Toys”R”Us a few minutes early to get a grasp on how the swap was going to organized. Perhaps someone dressed as Geoffrey the Giraffe would be facilitating an auction-style forum? Not even close. When we got there, kids were already elbow deep into a crowded table of plastic figurines. Above the layer of little girls with their tackle boxes and Ziploc bags of Shopkins, was a cloud of moms yelling like a bunch of Arab traders.
On a neighboring table was a Shopkins-themed coloring station for dads and confused siblings to keep busy. Being punctual, we thought we’d get the free posters that were advertised on the flyer. No dice. Perhaps we should’ve camped out the night before.
About 20 minutes had passed before I decided to check on my wife and daughter to see if there were still alive. At this point, the store had done some adjusting to accommodate the growing crowd. Extra tables had been added and everything was repositioned to one side of the aisle. Like some type of crack fiend, my wife asks “do you have some dollar bills?” Apparently there was a fellow collector who had characters by daughter needed but didn’t have good enough “stock” to trade. I didn’t want to get stabbed, so I handed over the money to my wife and backed away.
I’d like to say the dust had settled when we left 45 minutes later but that was hardly the truth. The swap was still in full swing but fortunately my wife and daughter had their fill of trading for the day. At the end of it all, my daughter walked away with 25 new characters she hadn’t previously owned. Of those, 15 were from season one (that’s where you’re supposed to say “wow”).
As for Toys”R”Us and Moose Toys sanctioning another #ShopkinsSwap, it’s more of a matter of when than if. Seriously, they’d be dumb not to. I saw parents heading to the shelf, buying a pack of Shopkins and immediately opening them up just so that their kids could trade.
If only there were M.U.S.C.L.E. trades back in the day. Maybe then I would’ve gotten the uber rare Spinning Head Ashura Man.