THese droids- the tc14 and r2b1 were easy to find. I saw them once at a KMART grand opening in Texas then again in Idaho at another Kmart. When I discovered them in Idaho( in a town of 14,000 people) the case must have been crushed because the cards were all openers-they were seriously curved and dented in bubbles)
The real trick is....IF you really WANT the figure bad enough-you actually have to have dementia and go to the stores DAILY! when they open or are stocking! If not well, then.....I'm sorry my friend- then your left crying at this website about why you didn't get one.
That's cool you were able to find them easy enough Darth Slothus... But the fact is that they tended to not ship in very high numbers, so for the majority they were indeed tough finds. Some people, regardless of how hard they looked or not, didn't see these items. Myself included and that was when I did hit a variety of stores daily (sometimes twice daily) on my commute.
I got mine from friends instead who did have good luck... These simply weren't easy finds for most though. Not to mention they suffered a lot of regional variety. Like Bobafett14 mentioned, they weren't terribly common in Pittsburgh stores at all, yet once the clearance dumps happened I heard some areas found them a bit more abundantly.
Currently on Ebay I see R2-B1's anywhere from $12 to $18+ carded so I'd say he's at least still something a lot of people are in search of.
"Rare" is an overused term in the modern hobby generally, that is for sure! However it's also a matter of perspective... I'd say R2-B1 and TC-14 come probably as close to the term "rare" as most any modern figure has though... Short of something oddball like the Toy Fair Vader or some such.