Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Consumers Distributing Memory

So it's 1:34am and I'm here at work thinking about how I need to get another post up.  As cool as it might be to pull out a figure right now for a shoot, I'm not always in reach of me Transformers toys; though I have had my HeeroToys KO Bape Optimus in the back of my car for a few weeks now.

Consumers Distributing G1 Megatron
This is when I remembered my conversation with my friend "M" earlier today regarding him
asking me some questions about my G1 Optimus Prime since he had recently bought one from eBay and while the box is legit, he wanted to make sure that the figure was as well.

He also sent me some pics of what he is currently displaying on his shelves, which also happened to consist of these two figures; the Megatron shown above and this guy.

G1 Optimus Prime
One of his other questions that concerns these two figures was the sticker on side...."remove or keep on?"  My response was to keep on of course.  In my opinion, the only real need to remove a sticker is if it covers an important part of the box artwork.

I've always found it fascinating in seeing these old stickers with their company names and prices, though sadly these two no longer have the price, but they do have something that I found more interesting and that also brought  back some warm memories.

If you look closer, you'll see the name "Consumers" and "Toronto, ON"

I have not seen a Consumers Distributing sticker, or hear someone say that name in a long, long, LONG time.

It brings a huge smile to my face as I can recount hours upon hours of time spent lying on the family room floor staring into that catalog and making up lists and lists of toys that I wanted.  At that time to my little kid mind, they by far had the best catalogue of coolest toys than any other store.


Consumers Distributing  was a catalogue store in Canada and the United States that operated from 1957 to 1996. At its peak it operated 243 outlets in Canada and 217 in the United States. 

Consumers Distributing aimed to reduce costs for customers by stocking merchandise in a warehouse type stocking system instead of displaying them in a costly showroom.

The main focus of the retailer was jewellery, appliances, kitchenware, toys, personal care, discount furniture, electronics and seasonal goods. The retail store layout consisted of a series of glass cabinets that displayed merchandise. Customers were for the most part required to select their products from catalogues that were located throughout the store, filling out a request form for the item they desired. This form was given to the store clerk and processed for fulfillment, with the goods stored in non-public space in a warehouse system stock area, behind the counters.
There were two main catalogue launches per year, with seasonal mini-catalogues issued throughout the year to highlight certain items. The entire line changed twice a year with few exceptions. New items were introduced only with a new catalogue.

Page out of a Consumers catalogue
To quote Robbie Robertson from 'Somewhere Down the Crazy River', "Oh, this is sure stirring up some ghosts for me."

Megatron for $18.86 !  Soundwave for $13.72...Bliztwing $8.72.....I have to stop because these prices are killing me. Ah, if I could only go back in time and tell the "kid me" to stock up on a few of these things.

Another Consumers Distributing page

I rememeber that I purchased my Soundswave and Optimus from Toys R Us, but I'm fairly certain that my Sunstreaker and a few other figures were from Consumers.  I did purchase a Starscream from Consumers but even back then I was so picky about my toys that I remember disticntly bringing him home and his heads and arms were too loose for me so I had one of my parents drive me back the next day and return it for another one but unfortunately it had the same may have just been me being too picky, but that was the last time I owned a G1 Starscream.  I believe I just kept my money for another figure to be purchased at another time.......oh, what did I do to myself?

Sears page
As a comparison, here is a page out of a Sears book.  My friend "M" said he purchased a few of his toys from there.

So....other than making me feel old reminiscing about the days of skimming through catalogues, what else can be taken away from this post?  Well, we may no longer do our searching like that, other than to reminisce, but rather our "Consumers  browsing" nowadays has taken on the visgae of eBay and online stores like TF Source and the such.

The sad part is, we no longer have these paper memories to create, and so the newer fans, whether they know it or not, are missing out on some great toy collecting memories of their own.

Speaking for myself, at least I can fondly remember my childhood days of "surfing" my own online store by means of countless pages and bookmarking the ones that showed Transformers.


  1. Great post. I love seeing the old price stickers on the boxes. It's always fascinating to see what retail store they came from. It also eases my KO alarm...

    1. Thanks Optimal ! I really am a big fan of the prices on the boxes as well. Ah, if only I knew how much these things would be worth 20+ years down the road. I've been dying to find an old Consumers catalogue from 84-85 but no luck so far. I'm a fan of your site as well.

    2. Thanks! Yeah, I remember looking at an old Sears catalog and getting mad that Dinobots used to be like $10.