Anyone else tired of the "you have to buy it now" culture that's developed?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by TheBeastman, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. bufferunderrun

    bufferunderrun Well-Known Member

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    the problem is that hasbro hardly restock so once the preorder train pass you are almost 100% sure the only way to get a figure is ebay. With apple that hardly happen you might not find the specific combination immediately but for sure you aren’t restricted only to the preorder windows.
    The difference here is the ability to adjust the quantity produced when hasbro decided to do a rerun on some figures they become available again even here in Europe so what really is the problem? The business model or hasbro predicted quantity being wrong or the choice they did to sell all the production plants and use contractors in asia to produce all the lines?
    Honestly the pulse last resort retailer is a great idea but imho will only work if :
    1 hasbro change the way they do exclusives from a specific mold like today to a specific package model.
    2 hasbro get at last one in house plant where they can produce on the fly the needed quantity of a specific mold without being restricted to a contractor.
     
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  2. StrifeZ

    StrifeZ Well-Known Member

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    I think there is a major misconception here in that its on Hasbro's end. It's not. It's on every retailers, but the big three (Walmart, Target, Amazon... TRU used to be on this list) set the pace for everyone else, who is far smaller.

    This is more or less how the process works:
    (1) Hasbro and its major partners have an understanding that Hasbro will produce toylines that target certain market segments. For one segment it has Transformers Generations. For others, Cyberverse. For others, Power Rangers. For others Marvel and Star Wars. And there are sub components of that, such as Marvel "comics-focused" vs Marvel "MCU-focused" (this will matter later on in this explanation).

    (2) Every year, Hasbro solicits to its major partners the toyline of the year for that Market segment. In 2019, that was Siege for the "11-14 year and diehard fan" crowd. In 2020 it was Earthrise. The partners aren't terribly concerned with what is in it besides its ability to hit certain price targets - hence size classes - and its potential for sales. This is why you see an Optimus Prime, a Wolverine, a Spider-Man and a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger a few times a year, because they "carry" the less known characters in every line.

    (3) Hasbro, in agreement with its retail partners, says "we will release a line in X many waves" (usually 4 per year now days, but sometimes 5-6, depending on the line) and around when the waves will start shipping.

    (4) Retailers then have to place orders for those waves and, if particularly popular, place re-orders. This has to happen months in advance so they can be produced, put on a boat, shipped across the Pacific, and distributed to across America.

    (5) Retailers have to do this every single wave.

    If there is scarcity or a glut of a particular figure or line in inventory, it is because retailers didn't place a big enough initial order, didn't place a re-order, or conversely, placed too much of an order.

    A lot of posts ago I explained this using perhaps the best example we'll ever get: Studio Series in 2020. Unlike Earthrise, Studio Series was far less impacted by the Covid shutdown of factories and international shipping in the Spring of 2020, whose long tail lasted until around August/September 2020. Hasbro alternates Studio Series and Generations releases nearly every other month (give or take) as part of iit and its retail partners strategy to keep people buying. A Studio Series wave arrived in the US in February 2020 (and more importantly, arrived in warehouses for retailers), just before the Covid shutdowns. But the skin of its teeth, it got here without disruption. By contrast, Earthrise wave 1 was scheduled for 6-8 weeks later and was heavily disrupted - some folks got it nearly ontime, but many folks didn't get ER Wave 1 until the summer. Not so with that wave of Studio Series. Which clogged shelves for almost the entire year. That February wave, had significant shelf presence through November.

    What happened?

    Quite simply because of the shutdown to international shipping and the fact that the global economy ground to a halt, demand for non-essential goods (so Toys) flatlined from around March/April 2020 until July/August 2020. Many localities in the US, and some retailers in general, because of concern about Covid being on surfaces (which was the theory at the time) shut down aisles for non-essential goods for months in order to no thave to clean them with a reduced work staff, working at different hours. This left Target, Walmart and Amazon with a huge inventory for early 2020 Siege Toys that would have been off the shelves by the time their replacements, the next wave, rolled around mid-Summer. But that didn't happen, because no production and no shipping.

    So what did retailers do? They put in far fewer orders for the next wave because they still had so many of that Early 2020 Wave on shelves and in their warehouses. They got some of it, but they didn't get a lot of it. One figure who notably suffered was Studio Series Overload, which saw barely any US retail distribution, despite being a core part of Devastator and the main new mold Studio Series Leader class for the latter half of 2020. Why did that happen? Because shelves were jammed with Scavenger and Shockwave all year.

    Retailers didn't put in orders, because from their perspective they had sufficient product. It may not have been new to us, but for their needs, which is selling painted plastic at specific price points, they had the inventory they needed. Specifically in terms of Studio Series, it meant that Deluxe Wave 9, Voyager Wave 9 and Leader Wave 5 all were squeezed (to varying degrees) but their predecessors and successors.

    It is not on Hasbro to dump new product onto retailers lap unless they request it. Hasbro had new product and Target and Walmart had no need for it. Maybe the more profound case is how Voyager Wave 3 saw almost no retail distribution for much the same reasons. Wasn't scalpers. It was because Covid badly disrupted the ER line. ER Voyager Wave 1 arrived very late and sat on shelves a while, and then Wave 2 hit (Snapdragon) and lingered. There was no significant need for a big order for Wave 3. Similar deal with the laughable 3 Leaderclass figures we got in ER. Optimus Prime and Astrotrain arrived late and were on shelves for most of the year, and Doubledealer arrived late, with sufficient leader class transformers product on shelves.

    Now the above was caused by an exceptional circumstance, and is likely the worst it'll ever be. But it does illustrate who is in the drivers seat with product orders.

    Conversely we can see Hasbro also doing the things it can when it knows that collectors and fans have had a hard time getting certain products. Here are some examples:

    -In Siege, when retailers placed re-orders for Wave 3 deluxe, Hasbro cannily shipped entire cases of just Refraktor (Reflector), so people could troop build with it and make the Camera with three of him, because he was the scarce one of the three figures on that wave for that reason (despite every case having two).

    - In Marvel Legends, Hasbro became painfully aware of the exceptional demand (even for Marvel legends) of its releases of the 1992 Jim Lee X-Men team over the last five years and the extraordinary prices they demand on the aftermarket, so they've been progressively releasing modified / improved re-issues to try and sate demand. It started with Archangel in flatter "comic" colors rather than metallic colors. It's moved to include several versions of Wolverine in his tiger stripe costume, Cyclops (now with a bomber jacket), Storm in a black costume, Rogue with an improved cartoon-centric head, and Gambit with a much improved cartoon-inspired head and paint job. This year if the rumors are true, we're probably getting a re-release of Psylocke in her cartoon colors, Beast with a cartoon head, and Wolverine in orange-and-brown. If you aren't a marvel legends collector this means nothing, but to a Marvel Legends collector, this is them fulfilling retailer demand for new product (in this case, carded X-Men "classic" figures) by going into their archives and improving their most in demand older figures.

    - In just the past year, Hasbro put ER Scorponok, Siege Omega Supreme, Siege Jetfire, CW Devastator all back into production for second releases, to meet demand. However they were released through Pulse or Hasbro. This is a direct example of them doing the "retailer of last resort" thing, just later.

    So retailers decide to place orders to Hasbro for new product in a fundamentally different, more "consumer friendly" way, I'm not sure what else there is to do in order to create a reactive-purchasing model. And retailers won't do that for excellent business reasons (so don't hold your breath). This leaves us the with alternative of putting our name on a list with a pre-order (or multiple) and deciding thereafter.
     
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  3. bufferunderrun

    bufferunderrun Well-Known Member

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    What hasbro can do without changing much is better information they have all the reports needed to determine ahead what figures in a series where hard to get like you say the did also rerun for those then why not open preorders for them?
    Imho the underlying problem is that hasbro cannot control directly the production line so if they need say 250 runabout they cannot directly make it but had to go and ask the factories if there are free slot and the factories may ask for a minimum order of 1000 pieces with delivery date 6 months from now.
    Imho that is ok when the target is to dump the majority of production on retail because the target is to fill shelves for the Christmas audience but is not working when we are talking about collectors.
    Maybe a solution would be using big asian plants to manufacture the big quantities required for the initial orders and then fill the surplus using smaller production sites in Usa.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  4. KFGatri

    KFGatri Madman with a Blue Box

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    And here is another MAJOR problem with the "just preorder it" idea. It prevents you from waiting for reviews and buyer impressions.
     
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  5. IronPrime2169

    IronPrime2169 Supreme Leader of the Bluepremacy

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    This is actually very insightful. May I ask what caused the shortage in Thrusts and Runabouts then?
     
  6. Foster

    Foster Haslab Victory Saber Backer #3 Veteran

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    If you can't cancel, you're pre-ordering from the wrong places.
     
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  7. KFGatri

    KFGatri Madman with a Blue Box

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    I just don't preorder 9 times out of 10. I don't preorder standard retail items. Period. Only unique stuff like the Selects releases. It shouldn't be necessary to preorder regular retail to stand a chance of getting it. Fortunately, I'm underwhelmed by WFC so interested in less, and I've been able to get everything I've actually wanted in the stores.

    It's not like I genuinely need anything Hasbro produces. Hell, most of the time I've already got a version of the character, and Hasbro doesn't have the greatest track record with producing new versions I like better than the old recently.

    And the option of cancelling does little good if you discover the flaw yourself.
     
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  8. StrifeZ

    StrifeZ Well-Known Member

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    It was probably a confluence of things.

    If you compare Earthrise to Siege and Kingdom (even before the just leaked extension of it), in terms of numbers of waves and figures it's like 2/3rds a line. Part of this is due to Siege getting itself extended (Crosshairs shifted from Selects to main release, Spinster moved forward from Earthrise). But there is a lot of speculation that a healthy chunk of ER was shifted to alternative releases (exclusives namely) in order to keep ER and Kingdom "on schedule".

    A simple comparison I offered in this explanation before is the NBA. They had to interrupt their 2019/2020 season in March because of Covid. They they had to restart it a few months later, and figure out how to wrap it up and get started with the 2020/2021 season, which normally starts in the fall, without the delay shifting everything later permanently. But they figured a scheduling way to wrap up 2019/2020, start 2020/2021 on a different schedule and now the NBA is back on a cadence that will make 2021/2022 start when the season historically started. This is a good example of how many things, from sports leagues, to movies, to TV shows to video games, that release on a certain annual cadence, dealt with the annual shift.

    So what's the hard limit for Transformers Generations? Kingdom, as the 2021 had to land early this year. Hasbro had, with Titans Return->Power of the Primes shifted to a new cadence of releases/waves that fully materialized in Siege, and Covid threatened to completely knock it off pace. Which means that Earthrise had to wrap it up by November as far as new releases go.

    This is why, as the speculation goes, if you look at some of the exclusives like Thrust and Runabout, and the unusually ambitious major new retools in Wave 2 of the Walmart Netflix Line (Soundwave and Bumblebee specifically, but also Elita-1), you can make a virtual "Earthrise extended" that looks exactly like Siege or Kingdom (pre-Wave 5 extension) with minimal fuss. Specifically you virtually fill in Netflix Bumblebee, Elita-1, Runabout, Ratchet (or Ironhide), Thrust and Netflix Soundwave and maybe ER Bluestreak, you 1:1 fill in all the "missing" ER figures.

    The driving motivation behind this line of thinking is that most of the figures I named are lavish retools. Far more lavish than anything Hasbro had done for exclusives or selects up to that point. Not a single one of the Coneheads being a mainline figure is strange. Usually the Hasbro approach for seekers is 1-2 in mainline and 1-2 exclusives (2 in a box set). A major new retool in the Ratchet/Prowl mode being exclusive is just shocking. Bumblebee, who is actually a Volkswagen, as an exclusive is nutty. And Soundwave is largely an all new figure. He barely shares parts with Siege Soundwave.

    The counter argument to this is that we may have just been seeing the first examples of the "new normal" as shared engineering (which all featured) allows Hasbro to be more ambitious with redecos. The key example here is the Kingdom/ Earth Mode Mirage two pack, with Mirage being at least 50% new over his ER mold. If that's the case, that's very exciting for the line! But we also have no other examples of that happening (yet). And the counter argument to this counter argument is, then, what the hell happened with Netflix Wave 3, which is all straight redecos, no retools, and Megatron merely getting a few cheap accessories. Because it is weird for Wave 1 and Wave 2 of Netflix, all redecos, to bookend Wave 2, which has tons of new molds. Was Wave 2 a freebie on the part of Hasbro to get product out the door for people who care, before 2021? That's my thinking.

    So in short, what happened to Thrust and Runabout? The same thing that happened to the Marvel Legends Gambit and Rogue re-releases most likely: even as exclusives Target had considerable warhoused inventory of $20 and $30 Transformers (or $20 retro carded Marvel Legends) from the shifted release schedules because of the Covid shut down, that their order for those new product were far smaller than they otherwise would have been. Because they were exclusives, maybe that order was bigger than a normal wave of a line, but we know from prior experience it is still up to them to decide the size of the order placed. They probably just looked at their warehouses, saw they still had a lot of early/mid 2020 Transformers product, and ordered near the minimum that their exclusive deal with Hasbro allowed.

    Having researched this a bit, as far as Transformers releases go, 2020 is just really interesting. There's so much going on there. First we had Siege getting extended and pulling from ER. Then we the cadence making Studio Series landing JUST before Covid shutdowns hit, but ER Wave 1 getting absolutely nailed by it, which then offers a really interesting comparative difference on wave ordering / shelf presence / distribution. And then you got the other "yard stick" of Marvel Legends, which releases at an even more regular cadence than Transformers *and* had an MCU movie release (Black Widow) scheduled. It's really an exceptional year for learning about how this stuff works. But the big question still is, exactly what in ER was moved to exclusives, and exactly what was delayed. Because the theory I laid out about has the "missing figures" fit near perfectly, but the evidence is entirely circumstantial.
     
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  9. StrifeZ

    StrifeZ Well-Known Member

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    The big issue here I think is conflicting priorities.

    Any retailer is interested in selling us painted plastic at one of several price points, at semi-regular intervals. They don't care what character or engineering that figure has, so long as it sells. If it was a line entirely composed of Optimus Primes or Bumblebees (which is actually a thing, go figure) its painted plastic turned into revenue.

    Hasbro corporate doesn't want shelf warmers because that can call into question the overall viability of the line (and force a deal change with retailers), so thinks about line diversity from the angle of keeping people buying. This is why the crappiest Marvel Legends figure or the worst character (for example) is often paired with the most essential BAF piece. In some lines "strong characters" carry what they presume are "weak characters", and where that isn't the case, Build a figure does that. *that*is them trying to get ahead of it.

    I did this up thread but I'll repeat myself here. I will offer two examples.

    First, Transformers. Kingdom is ostensible Beast Wars reborn. Factually, it's over half G1, and the only figure above $30 (so the riskiest business wise) that is Beast Wars, is BW Megatron. The other leaders are ER Optimus Prime repack, Ultra Magnus and Galvatron. The Commander class is Rodimus Prime. The titan class is the Ark. As far as Voyagers go, the recent addition of Blaster means half the Voyagers are G1. This is not surprising. While Kingdom apparently is tracking VERY well for Hasbro, they've been institutionally suspect about the viability of beast characters as Transformers for 20 years, which is why whenever they do it, always the "franchise core concept" of vehicle Transformers "carry" them. And sometimes that fails (Beast Hunters). But its evidently worked great for Kingdom. The point of this is to cover their bases, by puttin on shelves something they *know* will sell (vehicle Transformers) and pairing them with something they *think may sell*, like Optimus Primal, a robot that turns into a Gorilla. Part II of this, as you may have guessed, is why they've long since generally stopped selling Transformers in their box / card in alt mode. A cool looking robot is an easier sell than a dorky looking Cheetah or Monkey or shitty car mold.

    The same process is going on in Marvel Legends for years. The recent "Dawn of X" X-Men subline is the best example. The line is anchored by the following figures:
    -Wolverine in a great looking orange and brown costume.
    -Marvel Girl / Jean Grey in her DoX costume, that doubles as a retro costume.
    -Magneto in stunning white costume.
    -Moria McTaggert's first release ever... a super high demand figure. Her alternative pieces are her House of X look, while her default pieces are her classic look.

    they anchor the line for a boring Cyclops figure, a boring Professor X figure, and a villian, "Sentinel" that nobody cares about.

    Guess who comes with the essential BAF parts? Yup. Sentinel has the torso. If you want the cool "Tri-Sentinel" BAF, you have to get this obscure character. Cyclops has an arm. Wolverine comes with no BAF part, because Hasbro knows he'll ALWAYS sell. Hilariously his 2018 release for the Apocalypse BAD came with just Apocalypse's cables, the least essential piece of any BAF.


    Hasbro tries to get obscure characters in collectors hands via this method. There is no business case to release a "Sentinel" character as a toy. She's super obscure. The way they do it is they team her with characters that are easy sells. Same thing with Transformers. What's the business case for selling Voyager class ER Snapdragon? There isn't one, other than the need for a $30 piece of plastic on the shelves in that wave, that fits in with the larger assortment.


    So for a collector, since we can't reliably rely on the the open market of what retailers have stocked to build our detailed collections out, it is essential that we utilize means that general consumers wouldn't use to do that. Which would mean blanket pre-ordering and things of that nature. And again, Pulse as a retailer of last resort would fix that. But even then, if the entrance fee to that club was $70 a year, that too would cause people to throw a fit of "why do I have to pay $70 to get the figure I should be able to get at Walmart". There is no surefire solution that makes everyone happy. The best thing to do is be educated, about how you and I, as collectors, are different than little Timmy in terms of our purchasing and interest habits, and how we're mostly irrelevant to big retailers but also "targets of opportunity" for Hasbro business. And from that, we build our purchasing strategy.

    But regardless, it will always be on retailers to place the order. Hasbro can't force it. No manufacturer can.
     
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  10. RamenJunkie

    RamenJunkie Well-Known Member

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    I would be more happier with this, if companies would say, "Here is a pre order window, order within the next week if you want," then you were basically guaranteed at that point, at regular retail. Maybe they also release a regular release, but there should be a mechanism to buy a pre order and they just keep making them until it's fulfilled. This whole "Pre orders are open, and then sold out in 30 minutes" is kind of bull shit. Clearly the demand is there for more, so take orders, and make what's ordered. Maybe they need to pus the release dates out to make this model work, personally, i am fine with that, I've pre ordered import figures a year out before. Knowing it's coming is the point.
     
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  11. theestampede

    theestampede Wandering Artist

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    I guess it’s just an evolution of what everyone was worried about when big supermarkets took over. The destruction of small businesses and the ability of these big supermarkets to control what is produced since they’re the only places manufacturers can sell products. COVID just sped up the process a bit.

    There’s less variety in every type of product these days and weird limits on production numbers. It’s not just transformers.

    Not a lot of room for market growth when Walmart won’t take a risk on a new product line and continually shrinks the toy section.
     
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  12. KFGatri

    KFGatri Madman with a Blue Box

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    100% this.

    Let the number of preorders define the product run (plus whatever they estimate for retail), rather than letting preorders run out. If preordering actually worked reliably, even I might be inclined to use it more frequently. But there is literally no excuse for Hasbro Pulse of all places "running out" of any preorder item. It should be as if you were ordering direct from the factory, not just another retail venue that happens to be run by/affiliated with the manufacturer.
     
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  13. Thundercracker Blue

    Thundercracker Blue Well-Known Member

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    “Shouldn’t”

    Not singling you out, my friend, because this thread is packed with the idea of ‘shouldn’t’. But ‘shouldn’t’ has little to nothing to do with what actually ‘is’. And far too often, ‘shouldn’t’ is an expression of resignation, helplessness, or refusal to come to acceptance.

    I agree with my dude @StrifeZ. This thread isn’t really about ‘buy it now’ culture in Transformers. It’s not really about ‘buy it now’ culture in collectibles, and it’s not even about ‘buy it now’ culture in general. It’s about reckoning with the state of business in 2021. It’s about efficiencies, supply chains, and consumer behavior in an internet-driven, global economy. And within this new paradigm, manufacturers and retailers want to run super lean. A peg-warmer, an item on clearance, or a fat stack of Trypticons at Ollie’s all represent failure to these companies. Sure, Hasbro has made their money once Walmart gets a shipment. But if product lingers, they’re less likely to re-order. The (unattainable) goal of making and distributing exactly enough goods for the exact amount of buyers is pulling us unrelentingly toward preorders, Internet sales, and what we as collectors feel is a pressure to ‘buy it now’.

    And this doesn’t even take into account the diminished prestige of toys in an age of hyper-advanced video games. Suffering inefficiency in the sale of action figures is unacceptable to the Hasbros of the world.

    And before anyone accuses me of being a proponent of this new direction, let me be clear that I am in fact an avid brick n’ mortar Toy Hunter. I love finding figures at stores and walking out with them in hand. It’s actually part of what I enjoy the most about this hobby. And I enjoy it all the more, because I know its simply not going to last much longer.

    ‘Shouldn’t’ is a meaningless term in this new world.
     
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  14. KFGatri

    KFGatri Madman with a Blue Box

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    Maybe you feel that pressure. All I feel is annoyance, and an increasing appreciation of the figures I already own. Hasbro needs to sell toys to continue to exist. Letting it remain difficult to obtain said toys is not a sound business strategy. I'm at a point in my collecting where most of Hasbro's product at the moment is "been there done that". Being expected to adjust my schedule around their insanely tiny preorder window does not entice me to buy.

    The big issue is that Hasbro ISN'T making exactly enough goods for the buyers. And that shortage will ultimately cost them more than the occasional shelfwarmer when collectors start to give up. About the only reason I haven't given up is I'm not particularly invested in WFC, so I haven't gotten all that frustrated. And the faint, probably vain hope that Hasbro will recognise and FIX the problem before their product recaptures my full interest. But if they don't ... I got 37 years worth of toys to play already. I can survive just fine if I don't buy/can't find the new ones.

    Hasbro needs us to keep buying, but whether we need to buy is a case-by-case basis, and difficulty getting these things doesn't help the case to continue. Cutting the margins too thin like they're doing right now is a death sentence.

    Precisely. I couldn't tell you how many toys I had little interest in from the pictures I ended up buying when I saw them in person. And occasionally I was in love with the figure in pictures but hated it in person - CHUG Armada Megatron being the biggest example of that.

    Oh, you couldn't be more wrong there. That "shouldn't" may well end up killing collecting. How many people are deciding it isn't worth the hassle? How many new fans is Hasbro losing out on by not having enough shelf presence? Regardless of whether its their fault or the retailers', kids/potential new collectors can't be won over by awesome looking toys on the shelf if they're not on the shelf.

    Ultimately, Hasbro isn't meeting the demand of their customers, but apparently, we "shouldn't" complain about it and they "shouldn't" be held responsible for working to better meet said demand.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  15. volatus

    volatus .

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    Target employees at the RDCs are allowed to purchase products before they're distributed. Are they doing so? I don't know. But if I worked at a Target RDC, I sure would.

    True, but Hasbro isn't the only important actor here. Ultimately, they deal with middle men like Walmart and the rest because it gets them exposure to consumers. We "advanced" (relatively) collectors who shop around online and know which figures are upcoming and what 3P and KO options there are as alternatives, we aren't typical. Without Walmart, Hasbro doesn't sell a damn thing to 85+% of their market, which are mostly parents walking in with a kid and the kid saying "I want that one". The shelf space that gets them to say "I want that one" is at a huge premium and unfortunately jammed with stupid crap, but it's there because it sells.

    I would prefer a paradigm where Hasbro cuts out their middle men, at least to a degree, and lets collectors like us have standing to purchase directly. But that's a logistic nightmare for them, so instead we got Pulse as an option, which is slightly better than buying from a retailer...mostly...sometimes... but we're still paying MSRP, while big box retailers get the same figures for much, much, cheaper (without this discount, their overhead costs--while very efficient compared to anyone else's--would be prohibitive, and they would sell Deluxes for $30 and up like some toy sites)

    As retailers go, I like BBTS, I do much of my business with them. But honestly, they aren't providing me any essential service. It's just that they have a purchaser relationship with Hasbro which enables them to buy product at a lower price than I can. Would I rather pay $22.99 for a $19.99 deluxe, or be completely unable to obtain it because I am just a consumer? Well, the answer is obvious, but I do feel abused in the process. Luckily BBTS doesn't go nuts with markups. Have any of you ever shopped actively and continually at TFSource or TheChosenPrime? Like, kept track of their prices and gone through their entire catalog daily? I do. And I continually see abusive shit taking place. "Oh, neat, we're the only retailer that has this in stock. LET'S RAISE THE PRICE TO 220%".

    It seems TCP has a good reputation around here, because the site owner schmoozes effectively. Never let that guy tell you he does this for the fans. He may show up at events and speak platitudes, but the prices on his website are the real expression of how he feels toward Transformers fans. He's in it for the money, and if he has a chance to squeeze you, he will squeeze you. Didn't someone post a quote from him saying his goal is to put everyone else out of business so Transformers fans always have to come to him? Why would he want to do that? Well, the website says "to ensure good customer service in this hobby" or something like that, but no, it's because the fewer options we have the more money he can charge when he stands between us and our hobby.

    Middle men are the worst, we don't need them. Not even the "good" ones. Change my mind!
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  16. Thundercracker Blue

    Thundercracker Blue Well-Known Member

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    I think you’re right on about the risk of turning off fans. Just as a shelf-warming line makes Walmart less likely to re-order from Hasbro in the future, figures that sell so fast as to be nonexistent make fans give up. The perfect example is the new GI Joe line. It’s a total mess.

    I think the issue is that the majority of us TF fans can get what we want in the current distribution model. The total number of us fans who miss out/get cancelled may be too small for Hasbro to care about. So while it hurts those screwed-over, once-devoted fans, it’s essentially petty cash to Hasbro, and possibly not worth it to them to try to make it right. Who knows. . .

    I do think the death of TRU made this all much worse. At least TRU ostensibly gave a damn about selling toys and offering a dedicated toy-buying experience. Walmart? Pfft. Walmart doesn’t give a goddamn.

    Fuck Walmart.

    But that’s what happens when we reward the retailer with the WORST customer service and WORST shopping experience. We wanted to save $0.40 on a can of corn, or $3 on a Deluxe. And here we are now, dealing with a retailer who’s racing to ever lower depths of service. Again, fuck Walmart.
     
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  17. volatus

    volatus .

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    Well said and good example. I've heard a few items in MOTU are causing similar headaches. A few Siege gift sets are so expensive that I don't even think I'd enjoy it if I obtained them--it pushes me toward that precipice of "Well fuck, if this situation is what's awaiting me, I won't collect these toys". As it happens, I've been able to get MOST items from War for Cybertron that I missed (I only began last Nov), so it doesn't feel too horrible missing both Ratchets, Siege Skywarp, Greenlight, Seeker Elite, Spy Patrol #2, etc.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wish the Waltons would move to Mars with Elon.
     
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  18. mx-01 archon

    mx-01 archon Well-Known Member

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    I think the "problem" here isn't that Hasbro's intentionally making these toys harder to obtain or whatever. The problem is that as the industry gets more insular and competitive and collector-focused, there's less surplus product to go around. 10-15 years ago, the toy industry was still strong and resources were cheap, so they pumped out these toys by the truckload in order to utterly saturate the market and flaunt success. This also lead to a glut of product that would be readily available, and regularly go on sale.

    Now, though, the toy industry is in steep decline and resources are getting pinched, so they're only producing the bare minimum to meet perceived demand. If you were one to wait for clearance outlets before, well, they're simply not making the product anymore for the toys to reach that state.
     
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  19. PlanckEpoch

    PlanckEpoch Red and black red and black

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    I'm going to be on your side and the side of StrifeZ. I mean I have it pretty bad too. I work on a physical production job, which is package handling in a shipping facility. Yet even I find times to be able to check every now and then for pre-orders. Hell, a supervisor wasn't watching and I stopped my work for a minute to crack out my phone, get on my Amazon app, and order the Mirage/Dinobot two pack.

    What StrifeZ and TB Blue speaks about is the REALITY that the times have changed and I think many collectors haven't really come to grasps with this. Whether we want to or not we're staring a new normal in the face. I mean, I already accepted this. If there's something I want and it comes up, I pre-order immediately. If I don't want it anymore, then I cancel the pre-order before it hits. I've been doing this for YEARS after I didn't end up getting TR Fortress Max because I was waiting for a Ross deal that never materialized in my area. Fortress Max taught me that if I want something...I put down a fucking pre-order no questions asked. If it comes to a point where for whatever reason I don't want it anymore? I just cancel it. I can't keep count on how many times this has happened. This is what new normal should be. It has nothing to do with ego, with emotions, the thrill of hunting or whatever. It's literally just being pragmatic.

    I too am a toy hunter. Fuck, I've spent 15 days, over 30 Target trips before I finally found a Cobra Island Major Bludd on Monday. Was it worth it to finally get it in the end? Damn well bet it was. But if I can skip out the pain and suffering and tangoing with sweaty collectors ready for a bloodbath, I'll take it.

    This too. I know this doesn't apply to anyone but I've been saying this for a long time. If you're waiting to get something on a sale or discount you're going to be left out. Suck it up, "buy once cry once." Toys are purely a luxury good for us adults. I can't keep count how many things I skipped because my budget couldn't afford it.

    But I do feel, regarding both Archon and TB Blue that sites like MattyCollector and Pulse SHOULD be changing the game. Like for GI Joe it shouldn't be conceptually so hard to find. If Target's contract for CI is up it needs to be offered up
     
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  20. KFGatri

    KFGatri Madman with a Blue Box

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    And what would have happened had you been caught?

    A lot of collectors won't "accept" it, which will mean even fewer sales for Hasbro, and therefore less stock made, making the collecting even harder for those who remain. Toys are a luxury item, and we don't have to "accept" anything when it comes to them. That's the REALITY that Hasbro needs to contend with. They need us to keep buying. We don't really need to continue buying. And as I keep stating, having trouble getting the figures they want will not encourage collectors to return to the preorder sites. Whether it's a lifelong collector who decides "I've already got 3 versions of these characters, I can let this line pass" or a new one who watches the presentation, goes on the website and sees what he wants already sold out and decides collecting just isn't worth the trouble, its ultimately HASBRO that's hurt by the shortages, not the consumer. For me, fewer Transformers bought just means more money for video games, or enhancements for my existing collection, or more funds to put toward the new couch I'm shopping for.

    The people defending the "new normal" keep pointing out how "easy" it is for them to get their preorders in. This ignores two things: One: not everyone can take a break or hide as readily when the preorders drop. Two: if more people adopt StrifeZ's suggestion, that will only make the preorder window even smaller. It won't enable more people to get what they want, because the same insufficient number is being produced. All that will happen is there will be a greater chance StrifeZ will end up on the "missed the preorder" side of the line.

    Obviously, Hasbro can't force Walmart or Target to accept more product to meet demand, but on Hasbro Pulse there should be no such problem. Nobody going to Hasbro Pulse to do a preorder within a reasonable timeframe - at least a day or three - should leave dissatisfied.

    You're arguing that more people should try to make the the preorder method work for them. I say Hasbro needs to do more to make those efforts worthwhile.
     
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