Hey, Poe Ghostal here. Over at Poe Ghostal's Points of Articulation, I've got a feature called "Toy Aisle Trolls" that highlights acts of vandalism on toys (generally action figures) that are nonetheless still found for sale in toy stores. When readers find examples, they email pics to me and I post them on the site.
There are a few ways the trolls may pull this off.
Often, they'll buy an action figure, take it home, carefully open the package, swap in a crappy or cheap figure (usually one that looks somewhat like the one that's supposed to be in the package) and returns it for a full refund. The unknowing and/or uncaring employees then return the item to the shelves.
The more daring thieves will slice open the box and swap the item in the store. And this seemingly petty thievery can add up -- one mother-and-son team recently racked up more than $2 million using this method.
While those two are obviously the worst toy aisle trolls of all time, there's still plenty of trollery to go around in the individual acts. Here are the ten worst examples of toy aisle trolls I've ever come across. (Apologies in advance for the blurriness of some of the photos - these are usually taken with cell phones by readers while in the store.)
10. DC vs. Masters of the Universe - Lex Luthor vs. Skeletor
This set was supposed to feature a DC Super Heroes Lex Luthor (in his Super Powers powered armor) fighting Skeletor.
Instead, what we've got is a Hasbro Green Goblin figure with a Skeletor head and a Marvel Legends scrote-headed Leader.
This troll is evidently some sort of psychotic med. student a la Herbert West (in addition to being a complete douche).
What's more, while obviously rotten to the core, this troll has, to quote Stephen Colbert, muchos juevos grandes. And totally got away with it, obviously, since this thing was found on sale at Toys "R" Us.
Karmic Payback: May the troll's most beloved franchise get a new film trilogy by Michael Bay.
9. DC Universe Classics - El Dorado
El Dorado is fondly (?) remembered as a fictional Hispanic superhero who was added to the Super Friends cartoon, presumably to make it a bit more diverse. He got an action figure from Mattel last year, but apparently at least one person out there wanted it, but didn't want to pay for it.
What do to? Why, swap it out for an old figure of wrestler Buff Bagwell, best known for his tenure in the WCW in the 1990s, and stick some sort of ridiculous crappy harness and cape on it and call it a day.
Karmic Payback: May the troll develop a disease that makes them look like E.T.
8. ThunderCats - Lion-O
Bandai attempted to replicate the success of Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics by releasing collector-oriented figures of the original ThunderCats from the 1980s. Apparently this troll wanted the figure, but not enough to pay for it, leaving behind a cheap, sad-faced Ra's Al Ghul figure from Batman Begins.
Again, this was on the shelf. For sale. At a store.
Karmic Payback: May their nose forever be filled by the scent of the last day of San Diego Comic Con.