It wasn't something I really used to consider, but nowadays, it's becoming more of a thought in my mind. Why should I bother wasting gas/time to find figures for $6.50 (with tax) at Target, when I can order a case of 12 for $7.50 each (with shipping) from EE.
Sure, it's $12 over retail, but that's only like 4-5 gallons of gas or about 80-100 miles of toy shopping (which is probably about my average in a week).
The only wrinkle to on-line ordering though is you still have to go to the stores to hunt the damn exclusives (exclusives = the bitching target of the day I guess ).
You know - for a majority of the Saga line, I got my stuff directly from EE. It worked out well enough, especially in non-movie years when the stuff wasn't hitting the pegs as much as it should.
I will probably be going back to EE for my figures when the Saga 2 line comes out.
The one thing that stopped me from buying from EE was the fact that I knew in a movie year (and with the OTC) that the product would be readily available PLUS I would be regularly hitting stores looking for the vehicles and exclusives. (I never buy the vehicles from EE, the mark-up on those is just too much)
With the high number of exclusives in the last five months, I'm mostly hitting stores with the goal of finding exclusives and picking up the mass-market/open-stock items along the way.
Like right now the only open-stock item I need is the Jedi vs. Separatists Battle Pack - everything else I need is an exclusive - Wave 3 Target Cups, Target TIE Fighter, Hoth Assault Battle Pack, and TRU Millenium Falcon.
And again, even in the fall, the number of exclusives will greatly out-weigh the open-stock items:
Rebels vs. Empire Battle Pack
Gray Repaint of Clones Evo set
Target Night-ops Clone
Target Lava Reflection Anakin & Obi-Wan
Target Plo Koon Jedi Starfighter
Target Clones on Coruscant Battle Pack
SWS Remote Control R2-D2
SWS Wedge Antilles
SWS Stealth Ops Clonetrooper
TRU Holo Emperor
EE Astromech pack 1 & 2
Diamond Bounty Hunter 7 pack
KB-Toys Silver Vader 9 pack
(I've already ordered the online shope stuff, but it will actually ship in the months of September - December)
So my point is that in the end, when all is send and done, between now and Saga 2, most of my SW money will be spent on exclusives which is just insane. Eventually I will reach a breaking point and at that point, I don't know what I will do cause for me collecting SW goes hand-in-hand with having a complete 3.75" collection. In my f**ked up mind, you can' t have one w/o the other.