As mentioned in the last post, I’ve stopped buying toys…for the most part. I can precisely count how many items I’ve bought over the last 5 years and it aint much. Funny thing is: if I had been able to find a few other items, I might have bought more. And that’s another main reason I stopped buying toys.
I got tired of trying to find things. I got tired of never seeing items at my local store or in the bloody toy aisles. I mean these are toys, right? These are just things for children, right? Yet, things were so difficult to see, let alone, buy them. Just look to the current 6 inch G.I. Joe line. I’ve seen about 7 of them in the last year. I mean: SEVEN! Like, seven figures total. — 2 Cobra Commanders (Target in MN), 1 Gung Ho (Target in CO), 3 Roadblocks (Target in NW CO) and 1 Lady Jay (local Walmart). And don’t get me started on Walmart’s 3.75 line that’s exclusive to them. I’ve seen 5 figures of them– 3 ugly looking Dukes and 2 decent Scarlets. As for the 6 inch line, I was really hoping to find a Snake-Eyes and a Cobra Soldier. I didn’t need to collect the whole line just grab some favorites. Well, Hasbro, you saved my lots of money. So THANK YOU.
So, how does a toy line succeed if it’s absent from store pegs? Thats the big question, I guess. Before anyone says, “well you could just have pre-ordered them online from a store like Big Bad Toy Store.” I will say, “well, that’s not always a locked and done deal either.” It’s true. How many times have I gone to order something and its “sold out”? Second, I don’t want to pay collector prices. It’s hard enough to fork over $20 for an action figure as it is. Even Amazon is always sold out–unless paying double for that figure is right up your alley. And, what the heck HASBRO? Why isn’t these things ALWAYS in stock at your own site? They are your own product! And what about the PULSE where you charge folks just for the opportunity to shop in the store. And guess what? Its always “Sold Out” unless you’ve got the time to watch the site all day hitting the refresh key!
One major issue, I believe, for no toys in the stores, is the second hand collector market. I’ve seen it myself, the weird looking dude literally race-walking to the toy aisle as the store opens to grab as much as he can to sell on Ebay or his Amazon shop. There was a time at a Target that I might have seen my eighth or ninth G.I. Joe figure but as I turned the corner watched a man pull them off the pegs like a looter pulling Nikes out of a store window. I wanted to think they were a Red Ninja and a Storm Shadow but I couldn’t really see. He then raced through the WWE figures, Marvel Legends, and Hot Wheels. Maybe he was just an enthusiastic collector. But I will still believe it was a scalper.
My solution: Hasbro you should flood the market with the items. Stop the scalpers before they can be scalpers. Now, I’m no moron and I know that companies like Hasbro have to do careful with market research and strategize how much the market can handle. Otherwise, Hasbro will be dumping G.I. Joes in a landfill like Atari E.T. cartridges and thats not good for anyone. But one way to do this intelligently is via their own company web store. Second, why isn’t everything crowdfunded to some extent nowadays. If Hasbro wanted to see the demand for a brand new Joe figure, put it on the site for 30 days and let the folks order it. Once that ends you make that many figures plus 20%. AND, you don’t charge folks for it either like PULSE. How is this not a win-win situation for all, Hasbro and collectors and kids. This reminds me of how Amazon fills their new brick and mortar stores. It’s just the most popular items. It constantly rotates. Hasbro could do the same with distribution. Send popular toys to Walmarts and Targets. Then, you don’t get an aisle of Rose TIcos.
Yes, logistics is a big factor in any of these ideas but why aren’t company’s making it easy for buyers to buy their products. Would Coca-Cola limit their product in stores or even survive if distribution was crap. Then, how is Hasbro profiting from these toy lines? Or is it, collector markets are the gravy and Hasbro survives by selling Beyblades and Littlest Pet Shop? One could only wonder….
I may have stopped buying toys, but I’m still a hobbyist and a collector. Want to know what those are? Stay tuned….