Sunday, December 4, 2011

Totally over Matty Collector dot con

Yes I meant to type dot con, as in over Matty and their laundry list of underhanded business tactics that only ends with them neglecting their biggest demographic; the adult collector. The demographic with the biggest and deepest wallets, their bread and butter. Some may argue that Fisher Price and girl toys (Barbie sales) outrank the adult collector market, but which demographic is more likely to consecutively spend upwards of $100 a month on themselves without flinching? That and also a good portion of the Barbie and Monster High doll sales come out of adult collector wallets (myself included). But Mattel is the 1200 pound gorilla, right? Their products make up more than half of toy store shelves with DC Universe, Barbie, Monster High, WWE, Toy Story, Hot Wheels and Cars movie branded products to name a few. I mean, who'd be crazy enough to go after the giant of the toy industry? Just call me Don Quiote because I have a dragon to slay.

My gripes with Mattel may not be the same opinions of other toy collectors, there is also a large group of Matty fans that put up with the buffoonery that I have grown to loath over the last 3 years. They cling onto hope like a battered wife does about their partner, hoping they will eventually change and life will be happy again. I admit it, I bought into yearly subscriptions and held tight hoping that slight mistakes would eventually become a thing of the past. I put up with paint apps that look like a mildly retarded 3 year old hit it with a paint roller. I accepted crushed boxes shipped in "padded" envelopes because their warehouse had no more to send as a replacement. "Padded" envelopes is being generous, these things were padded with a mixture similar to compost, asbestos and soggy frosted flakes. I bounced payments for cell phones and water when they overcharged my bank account, but tried to take it in stride because they threw about a dozen $5  off coupons in my box. It's a nice gesture but DC Universe coupons aren't accepted as currency with AT&T, I tried. And finally, I tolerated manufacturer errors like backwards shoulders, two left legs and flocked and unflocked ears. If your company makes 8-15,000 of a figure and no one on the production floor, supervisory staff or management realizes that all the figures have mismatched shoulders until it's in a consumer's hands, that's real frickin' pathetic.

 A monthly treat to myself became an absolute terror, constantly wondering what curve ball Mattel was going to throw next.

When you buy a figure at the store, you get to carefully inspect your purchase before you leave. And, if something is actually wrong you can return it with little to no hassles. When you buy online, what you get is your problem when you open the box. I expect it from eBay, dirty deals are done every minute and sellers disappear and resurface under new names. But when I buy from an alleged reputable company, I expect to be justly compensated for my problems. Calling Mattel with a problem is like trying to get through to God, they hear you but they sure as heck aren't going to do anything about it. And if you mention Matty Collector, they give you another number to call. My Matty Collector calls remind me of the Capital One commercials with the "Peggy" joke, except "Peggy" is "Bob" and he's more than likely from New Delhi. And I'm totally cool with that, everyone has to have a job but "Bob" gives me Mattel's number and at the end of it I'm so ready to throw carded Masters of the Universe Classics and Ghostbusters in Toys For Tots cans and be done with it. Customer service doesn't exist, they won't replace it or refund your money (even partially) but in six months they'll release a "corrected" version of the same figure and you'll have to fight everyone else online to get one.

Even us brave souls cringe at the white screen of death.

That and Mattel blames Digital River, their Matty host, for any and all issues. Sorry, but you are ultimately
responsible for the actions of your employees. Business 101 my friends.

I've even gone so far as to boycott the entire website, refusing to purchase anything from it for now no matter how cheap it is or how bad I want it.

I review every figure fairly, Mattel's had some wins the last year but a ton of losers. I don't get my figures for free or three months early like some other sell-outs, so you get fair and unbiased breakdown of why I don't care for the figure. Some of these reviewers Mattel has in their pocket aren't even really reviewing the figure, it's almost a 5:23 commercial for fanboys. I just can't sacrifice myself and my good name for freebies.

I considered it a win/loss this year when Mattel said Ghostbusters subscriptions were cancelled and MOTUC sales weren't as high as projected. The fans had spoken I thought, they were over Mattel's shenanigans and said it with their wallets. But, then again it's a rough economy and I'm not sure if it's more people over the monthly headaches or if their demographic is feeling the pinch in their wallets. That and also it is basically the end of Ghostbusters figures, they had announced Dana Barrett was on deck for 2012 and the rest of the team was going to be slid in to the other 5 slots for the year. The jury is still out on the subscriptions but it never stops Mattel from threatening the livelihood of the rest of the subscriptions of the table. MOTUC production won't be much more than the amount to cover the subscriptions plus those who want to buy ala cart on sale day will be paying a $2 penance for not openly supporting the line.

Honestly I could care less. I never wanted to be on the hook for 16 figures for this year, of which only about 7 of them I'd end up keeping and be stuck trying to sell the rest. We are into year three of this line and we don't have a Mecha-Neck, Ram Man or even a Two-Bad. That's sad from a production standpoint and fan standpoint if you take a step back. We do have 3 versions of Skeletor already which I think is redundant for a collector's line of figures. How'd we get Leech before Stinkor? How'd we get Adora before, well anyone else? They already have a Snake Man Man-At-Arms ready for 2012 and I still haven't seen plans for a General Rattlor. Character selection has been a little on the disappointing side over 3 years.

In the end, if you continue to spend money on products that aren't what you expected, you will never get what you want. Or you will, but you will have put such a mind boggling amount of time and money into it that by the time you get it the magic will have worn off. I think the collecting world has congratulated Mattel for too long for them doing a mediocre job, at best.

Like I said, my opinion but I'm not alone.

Tom Khayos


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