Okay, I know that's a little harsh. Kay Bee was lots of fun when we were kids, and it was the site of the awesome Black Friday Star Wars Toy Grab that I chronicled below. When they got out the red ink, you could find some pretty good deals. I can recall a decent Bionicle purchase I made there as recently as 2006 (just looked the sets up on Bricklink to make sure of that date).
But depressing and lame were the sights that greeted me when I popped into the KB Toy Works store in Sherman Oaks tonight. It's a store I almost never check even though it's closer to my house than the nearest TRU, and a store in which I have never purchased a single thing (and, it looks like, never will).
And here's the problem right here. The SW figs were 30% off... but they're priced at 9.99. The huge discount, the "we're selling off everything because our company is DEAD discount," it still only nudging the price down to 7 bucks. That's pretty much the highest price most toy stores will charge for a SW fig, and in many places it's even cheaper.
This is, of course, no surprise; their prices on new, premium toys have always sucked. But what about the odd blast from the past, or finds from strange, unexpected toy categories? Some of the best toy collecting moments can happen then...
Well, not here. It's been a long time since Dr. Fate was news, and "Super Value" my big, black ass. It's been like that for a while; I can't remember the last time the archive racks at a KB served up anything I was even remotely interested in buying. Maybe back when the long-gone Swansea's KB had their Toybiz figs on the left side of that big center aisle, but that was ten years ago.
And as a final "Up Yours, Consumer" there was this. Signs for buying gift cards for a store that won't exist inside of a month or so. What the hell? I even heard an ad for these in between the piped-in songs, a cheerful woman pointing out that the gift cards had no extra fees and -- get this -- never expired. "Oh, but we didn't say the store wouldn't expire, sorry!"
I will miss KB, but mostly because I will miss any toy store that once existed and now doesn't anymore. TRU, Wal-mart and Target seem to be gobbling up everything, and I suppose there are ways that's a sad thing.
But really, for the last several years KB has rarely managed to be anything other than a waste of time for JPX and me (because we're too fanatical not to check), and as far back as I can remember it's been the store with the worst music ever.
Adios, KB Toys. May you return as something better.