Crappy Returns At Target
February 5, 2012

I’ve known for a while that there is a shady “collector” that has been buying stuff at my local Target, opening it and returning it with different figures. They have been laying low for awhile. I hadn’t seen their handy work for about a month when he had returned a ‘Real Steel’ figure in a movie ‘Thor‘ Destroyer package.

Today I walked in to my local Target and found these 2 treasures …



Poorly taped shut and clearly missing their heads. And yet, someone in customer service took them back.

Who knows what crappy thing the cheapskate will return next? Stay tuned!

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.





  • Van Statten says:

    This is terrible! I have been guilty of a package slip once or twice in my life. I bought Mercury, slipped out the Bane piece and returned it as a damaged item. I even took it back without a receipt on a sale week so I would only get the sale price credited and I would loose money. This was how my twisted mind justified taking the C-n-C piece. I stressed that it was missing something and should be sent to the store’s equivalent of 605. Not the honest thing but I tried to make it as forgiving as I could.

    All retail has a department where damaged merchandise is charged off and sent back to places like Genco for credit. Which in most cases the damaged or missing parts item is returned to a company and repackaged.

    I may be guilty of a dishonest retail act but nothing I could have done was anything like this! This is beyond words and downright criminal.

    BUT these… these things shouldn’t even be accepted in the first place. It’s one thing to claim a package may be missing an item that cannot be seen at first like a C-n-C piece or an accessory but these figures are missing heads!??? If they were accepted returns then they should be returned as charge offs and not placed on the shelves.

    I can’t imagine what disgusts me more?

    In my opinion as someone who has worked retail for a long, long time I think this could be an inside job. Meaning that whoever is bringing these back knows someone at the Service Desk.

    My suggestion is to complain to Target’s costumer service hotline. Call them, write e-mails and bring this to the company’s attention. You even have photographs. Believe me, these complaints do not go unwarranted and are investigated.

  • Jason Geyer says:

    That reminds me of this gem I saw a few months back; odd that someone took the trouble to repaint it to try and avoid suspicion over a $6 toy.

  • TRDouble says:

    And not only do they take them back… they put them back on the shelf/pegs!!!

  • Troy says:

    Last year when the DCUC GL five-pack was out, I found one at a Wal-Mart with two Spider-Man villains swapped in for Tomar-Re and Guy Gardner. I took it to an employee and told them they’d been defrauded. A couple of days later, the boys and I stopped for milk or something, and found the same one still there. That time, I took it to the counter, and the person working was instantly pissed; she recognized the switch right away, and was furious that a) the first employeed hadn’t taken it off rotation, and b) that someone had taken it in the first place. I think it all goes back to whomever is working at the moment, but headless figures are beyond egregious. That’s just scumbag behavior.

  • Matty says:

    I’m in the Phoenix, AZ area, and this is practically a daily occurence. And forget telling someone who works for the store… I don’t believe I’ve seen less concern, ever.

  • Shawn says:

    I see stuff like this all the time. They will also cut out the DCUC C@C of parts and return the figures or simply just steal those parts at the store. I buy all of my stuff online to avoid this problem. The problems besides your typical scalpers are the so-called “collector friendly trading pages” on facebook that will buy up everything and try to trade those figures or sell them for a higher price. If they don’t sell, they return some of the figures with crap they find at bargain toy bin at Good Will. There is a noted crappy moderator a facebook trading group that happens to do this weekly in my neck of the woods and is always acting like his helping collectors on the con artist trading pages on facebook.

  • Shellhead says:


    I’ve seen A LOT of switched figures. But never switched figures without heads. Much less, THREE of them. Your Target’s idiot quotient must be off the charts not to notice that.

  • Gary says:

    Man, who are these guys that do this. The most common thing I find is people returning DCUC with missing CNC parts. Though I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff as well, but no heads takes the cake for sure. The worst one I saw was when DCUC had the GL pack at Walmart and I was so excited to see it. As I walked up to buy it I noticed Guy Gardner was just an old Hal with a goatie vie sharpie marker.

  • demoncat says:

    proably next some dc classics beheaded or maybe jar jar binks and worse maybe some original triology figures like boba fett hate to think what the person is doing with the heads.

  • Acer says:

    Unbelievable. I’ve seen similar problems like that at the Target near me. One example that comes to mind–a Transformers Reveal the Shield Battle in Space 2-pack, sans Nightstick and the Matrix.

  • dang says:

    Van Statten… you are a thief, no matter how you want to color it. You are 100% Scumbag, no better than the lying jerk(s) who did the above. I will make sure to call you out on this on some other boards.

    Anyone who plays the buy/ebay/return/price adjust game is a scumbag and hurting our hobby. No defenses or excuses… you just suck. Be an adult and pay retail for your toys.

  • GeorgeG says:

    Really crummy thing to do, both just taking a CNC piece or putting a new figure in all together, which is its own level of depravity. Both are stealing.

  • Andrew says:

    This happens regularly at my local Wally Worlds and at least one Target in the Danvers, MA and Peabody area. They did this with the Tauntaun pack and single carded figures. Someone also tore off the Proof of Purchase’s when the rocket firing Boba Fett was all the rage. Just a sad deal all around that people actually do this stuff and that people at the Service Area aren’t trained or don’t care enough to be more perceptive of this.

  • Hellpop says:

    The worst thing I ever did happened with one of the DCUC Orion/Lightray packs; I’d bought it for Lightray, but Orion’s leg immediately snapped off. I wanted to return it, but I knew that my TRU didn’t have another set, and I didn’t want to take a chance at not finding another Lightray. So I put in an electric blue Superman in his place. I justified this with the knowledge that it was damaged, so it wouldn’t be going back on the shelf, and that Mattel had swindled me out of $30 for one new figure. In retrospect, I should have switched Orion’s head with the Wave 1 one. Oh well….

  • Joe says:

    The guy who accepted these is either an Idiot or just doesn’t give a hoot.
    Meanwhile, hundreds of people who would be more grateful to even HAVE jobs remain jobless.

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