Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Scalper's Tale: Big Arms Joe

My area if stuffed with people who, instead of working for a living, have chosen to spend every morning hopping from store to store buying up all the action figures and hot wheels cars collectors want for themselves. Why they would do all that work for the meager chump change they make on the markup, minus all the gas they burn is beyond me, but there they are every morning. Since I am made to wait patiently until these ass hats get their fill of the toys I'm after (sometimes not getting them at all when they stop shipping), I've decided I'm going to collect scalpers and I encourage all of you reading to join in my new hobby.

Today, we take a look at a man who is rumored to be the biggest scalper in central NJ, going by his self imposed moniker Big Arms Joe.

The Man: This piece of work was spotted waiting for Toys R Us Woodbridge to open while his partner waited for him in their green public works vehicle. You read that correctly. We are paying for this guy to store hop and supply all the comic shops with marked up action figures, not to mention line his own pockets with whatever he is ebaying (probably also on our dime.) After the store opened, I spotted him with an arm full of Hot Wheels cars. He made his way into the action figure isle where I was looking over the DC Universe Classics figures, taunting him by holding the only Parademon figure hanging there. I was sort of hoping he'd attempt to rip it from my hands, but I'm not a small guy, so he phones up someone and asks if the person on the other end needs anything that's hanging there. This is all I witnessed him doing personally, but it's far from the whole story.

The Myth: Store employees are well aware of this guy. A TRU employee who chose to go anonymous for obvious reasons says Joe is in the store all the time, right when they open. Another employee at the East Brunswick location says he seems very friendly with a manager at that store and even got a private tour of the new location before it opened. Joe doesn't need to get to that location right when they open, as the choice pickings are usually already set aside for him.

The Legend: Joe once attempted to pull a figure from the hands of a man shopping in the action figure isle of a TRU location one day. The man held on tight, turned around and punched Joe in the face. When store security came on the scene with local police, the man told them Joe forcibly attempted to grab his toy out of his hands and run down the isle. All eyes turned toward Joe who sheepishly proclaimed "When I retire I'm opening a collectibles store and I need this for the store." With question marks above all their heads, they let the man go and inexplicably, let Joe off with a warning. I guess bum rushing customers just gets you a slap on the wrist if you know the store managers and probably local police, being a public servant as well.

Provided are pictures of Joe and his public works vehicle on that day, parked outside of Toys R Us at 10am or so. If you see him, be sure to say hi and tell him how much you enjoy coming home empty handed when out looking for the newest action figures you would have liked to add to your collection. With more information by those reading this, I bet we can even find out which division of public works Joe works for and let his superiors know we'd no longer like to fund his expeditions.

*Note the license plate digits and tell NJ public works you aren't paying people to scalp toys.

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