I was a ‘Funko-Mule’: NYComic-Con 2018 – Fan Perspective Friday Edition
Friday is usually the second busiest day of the con as more and more people decide to take a day off from work and relive their pop culture dreams. As for me, Friday was an even more meaningful occasion as I was selected by Funko to participate in the ‘NYCC Funko Exclusives’ lottery. It was here, around 11 AM that my Comic-Con journey began… for I was a ‘Funko-Mule’
It started with a Funko-Lottery
At NYComic-Con (and maybe many others), one of the best things about the event is when you are chosen for the Funko lottery. It usually takes place prior to the con and winners are selected at random. This year, yours truly was selected and as I was in line I can see why the company provides extra tight security…everybody wants those exclusives and when I mean everybody, I mean everybody.
The Approach: It Starts with a Conversation
There I am, standing on the line and I’m approached by two different young men named ‘E’ and another named ‘S’ (they asked to be anonymous). Very personable and reserved, they each spark up a conversation respectively about the Funko exclusives and mention which ones they’re interested in getting. I respond back to the ones I’m getting, the Vegeta’s (Blue Chrome and Great Ape) and the Black Panthers. Within minutes of each conversation, their asking me to do them a favor and get particular Pops. Their prime target Pops are the #26 Hanna-Barbera 1000LE piece – Funky Phantom, #54 Notorious BIG, and the #29 Blue Chrome Vegeta. Scared and nervous, I look at this and start thinking I could get in trouble, and then I realize that these are toys and not ‘drugs’ so without hesitation I accept the assignment. What seemed like hours of negotiation, saying codes and throwing numbers to each other across the Funko line, I start to see what I’ve just become in a matter of minutes… I became a ‘Funko-Mule’.
I’m now a ‘Funko Mule’ trafficking NYCC Funko Exclusives across state lines (or in this case from the booth to the flippers). It was pretty awesome because when I was in the line, I overheard conversations about how other lottery winners were transporting Funkos as well. For every 100 people on the line I would say about 80% of the line were actual ‘Funko-Mules’.
Now at first some would say that trafficking Funkos is pretty easy to do, but it is very complex operation, especially if you’re chosen from the lottery on a budget. For some, the mules that save up for their own Funko lottery experience are in a better position for those who are budget conscience. Let me elaborate.
The Saver Mules are in a better position because they are using their own currency to purchase additional Funkos. They usually come with about $300-$1000 dollars to spend on themselves. So when flippers approach them, they are able to successfully negotiate a nice price point for themselves as they get these exclusives for them. For example, I was able to negotiate a Notorious Big Funko Exclusive that I bought for $15 to $120 dollars. It was an adrenaline rush.
The Budget mules are the ones who are in the negative position. Those are the ones who didn’t save when they were chosen for the lottery, so when the flippers approach them, they [flippers] control the flow of the overhead pricing and they are the ones who actually win.
How they win is amazing. For example, one mule named ‘D’ didn’t have enough to purchase on their own, so one of the flippers game them the money, $20 to be exact. How did the flipper win, the mule couldn’t charge anything higher because the flipper came out of their own pocket to cover the expense. In this case the flipper controled the flow of the pricing.
This is BS?!
Now as I write this, some of you won’t believe me, but it’s the truth, Funko-trafficking at cons is really good side hustle and for some it is quite the money-maker; great for the saver mules, not so much for the budget ones.
As for me, even though I was somewhat on a budget, I still had enough to purchase the Pops that I wanted and the flippers so after my flips, I not only made my money back I also scored some of the Vegetas on their dime. I wasn’t able to get the Blue Chrome Vegeta though; one of the ‘non-mules’, who was ahead of me took the last one. In all the excitement I actually forgot about the 20% who are the true hard-core collectors!!!