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True to life
Yes, I've seen this exact thing happen in real life. Usually it's sort of an unspoken thing. When two collectors arrive at the shelves simultaneously, they cordon off their territory and work on their own pegs without any overt hostility. Hot Wheels collectors usually just punch each other in the faces until one falls unconscious, and to the victor goes the spoils. But complex negotiations are also a tool in the arsenal.
What's really rare, though, are the instances where one collector actually helps out another. I've participated in those. I remember quite a few occasions where I pointed out new figures to other people looking on the wrong pegs... even once or twice when I gave up a figure I wanted to make some kid happy. That was pretty great. Not the sort of thing you'd see from Hot Wheels collectors, though...