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It's Like the Pallets Came Alive

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It's Like the Pallets Came Alive

June 22nd, 2012

Yes, a certain someone online suggested late night Walmart runs so you can open the cases (or get fresh stock). He also suggested wearing "retail camouflage". And not making yourself look suspicious. Then this comic happened. I'm behind, I note while typing this news post the day before it'll go up. It's not often I scrap a comic but this week I did. After penciling, and repenciling this strip it just wasn't working for me. So I scrapped all but Elliott's reaction in the bottom half and started over.

Sometimes you're better off knowing when you should cut your losses and start over than to keep trying to make a bad comic work.

I'm not a hardcore toy collector, but I do buy figures here and there. It's tough to collect right now. Desirable figures from The Avengers are shortpacked, retailers stock up on the first wave of movie lines then never buy the second (or third) because they can't sell the six variants of Tony Stark they already have. GI Joe was pushed back, so once this first wave of merchandise is gone, have fun waiting until 2013 (and this was after a 6+ month drought of product.) Scalping is an issue, I suppose, although some people overplay it and my area seems to be mostly clean of scalpers.

Prices are a lot higher than they used to be, due to the rising price of oil. Accessory count has been reduced and even articulation is being cut back from recent years (That's right -- cut joints, and missing ankles/wrists -- Hasbro's passing the savings on to everyone but you!) A figure that would have cost $5 years ago will run $10 now. They're not quite the impulse-buy a nagging child can eke out of mom or dad that action figures used to be.

Now let's take a moment to talk about how Walmart makes this hard. What figures are in stock at my store?

Vintage Collection stock is depleted and only reserved to a few pegs. Next to it are overflowing Walmart Exclusive Episode 1 figures. Because Episode 1 figures sold so fantastic the first time around.

Previously empty pegs, now it's stragglers from the aborted first wave of movie toys, now pushed back to 2013.

I'm not even joking, the time before last all they had were Thor toys hanging on Avengers pegs. And they were all full price, non-clearance.

I can't remember the last time they got new Marvel Universe figures. Neither can the Doc Samsons cluttering the pegs since 2010.

If you stroll down the clearance aisle you can also find some clearance Iron Man 2 figures for something like $6. So a couple dollars off for toys that are a couple years old. There are no Captain America figures, despite it being newer than both Thor and Iron Man 2, and I don't know why that is. Maybe they were clearanced first? Maybe they never came in at all.

This doesn't really impact me; I don't buy enough action figures, I'm not 10, and I don't run a Walmart. But it seems to me it says a lot about your business if you carry two-year-old product, it still hasn't sold, and you won't mark it down. And it not selling is the excuse for not getting newer product that might actually sell.

Other news:

Japan fires off their equivalent of SOPA that could make Youtube illegal.

That possibly-fake "leaked" 56-page document about a next-gen Xbox? Apparently Microsoft is sending out take down notices. Oops.

Okami HD!

A Chinese news team mistakes a sex toy for a rare type of mushroom.

Valve is brewing some sort of mini-ARG with TF2 updates.




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