Hello, readers! We have a challenge for you today.
You know how the final wave of figures in any given series never seems to show up at retail? They're solicited and you wait for them to come out, checking the shelves every time you do a toy run, but they don't come and they don't come and they don't come, and then whatever the replacement toyline is hits shelves and you just have to give up? It happens a lot with Hasbro products: think about how the last Reveal the Shield Transformers never seemed to make it to stores, but all of a sudden Dark of the Moon toys were all over the place.
It happens because stores don't want to order more "old" product (ie, a pre-existing SKU [the codes by which stores track their inventory]) when a new product is on the way. As collectors, we see each wave of toys as a separate entity: Series 1 has figures ABCD, Series 2 has figures EFGH, etc; but to your local retailer, those figures all fall under the SKU of 1234. They don't want to order figures IJKL when they know that the company is ending SKU 1234 and starting SKU 5678 in its place. They'd rather have figures ZYXW from 5678, because it's "newer."
This becomes particularly frustrating when there are figures in those final waves you're really been looking forward to. You might see the figures at online retailers, or through the company's own site (or heck, even at discount closeout shops, like Ross or TJ Maxx), but you won't see them in real stores. If they were ordered at all, it was in very low numbers. These figures thus tend to develop a real mystique about them, and the prices for what few samples are available skyrocket, and remain high even as time passes.
Anyway, you're familiar with the phenomenon. You've probably been bitten by it before. But what we want from you today is your help in finding a new, better way of describing it. We can't very well put all that text in a review every time we want to talk about it, can we? So get creative. Come up with something short and pithy. How about "The Series of Shame," maybe? I don't know, come up with something better. Share your ideas in the comments. Whichever term is best, we'll add it to our Toy Glossary and start using it in reviews. So get posting!