On the subject of the GI Joe Club and its subscriptions

The GI Joe Club just sent out this email:

Hello all you G.I. Joe Fans!

We are excited to announce that the G.I. Joe Collectors'’ Club Figure Subscription Service (FSS) is now ACTIVE. To subscribe to the FSS... Click Here!

  1. You must be a member of the G.I. Joe Collectors' Club to take advantage of the Figure Subscription Service.
  2. There is NO reason to rush the site or be in a hurry as this is a build to order system. We will build as many as you order, so we cannot run out. YOU CAN ORDER AS MANY AS YOU WANT, there is no limit.
  3. What you do need to be concerned about is the closing date of the subscription service, which ENDS on September 4th at midnight.
  4. You can either pay In Full or by Installment. There will be 3 installments. When you subscribe and choose pay by Installment, you will be billed for the first two months' shipments. Then sometime during the second month, you will be billed for the 3rd and 4th months' shipments and sometime during the 4th month you will be billed for the final 2 months' shipments.
  5. Your free surprise 13th figure will come with your final shipment during the 6th month.
  6. The figures will be shipped in random order. All members receive the same figures each month. The figure pairings will not be preannounced. So if you don’t mind, when you get your shipment each month, PLEASE do not go online and tell what you received. We want each shipment to be a surprise for as many members as possible.
  7. The cost is $294 if Paid In Full (plus shipping) or three Installments of $98 (plus shipping). Please note that there is a $3 online processing fee for each billing. We take Visa, Discover or MasterCard. Unfortunately we cannot accept Money Orders or Checks for this offer.
  8. If you pick a shipping service that does not include insurance or if you don't pick the insurance, we do not have any responsibility for replacement of lost or damaged or misdirected orders.
  9. If you move or need to change your credit card during the program, you can log into your account and change it there. This will change all of your future FSS billings and shipments. We will also be sending you reminders to check your address and cc before each billing/shipment goes out. We are not responsible for shipments that are lost due to incorrect shipping information on file.
  10. We are waiting on the final schedule from China so we don’t know exactly when the first figures will ship. We hope it will be by Christmas. We will announce this as soon as we get the final schedule.
  11. Some of the figures (single figures) MAY be available in the Club Store after the subscriber’s figures ship. These will be at a price of $32 per figure. There is no guarantee of availability of any of the figures in the club store. If you want to ensure getting these limited edition figures, you need to subscribe to the service.

So, what do we notice right away? Well, to begin with, the price. $294 for 12 figures BEFORE SHIPPING. That's crazy. It works out to be $24.50 apiece. Are you willing to pay $25 (plus s+h) for a GI Joe figure? A GI Joe figure using all the same tooling as previously released toys, with maybe a new piece if you're lucky? Fans are already complaining that GI Joe figures cost $10 at retail, and now these cost 150% more? Hell, fans were up in arms that Mattel was raising the price of its MOTU sub from $20 to $25 (at least until they began crying about how it needed to be saved), and those figures are twice the size of these.

It's even worse if you're not an existing member of the club ($28.16) or if you want to gamble and try to buy a la carte day-of ($32.00). Yes, while the sub is being made to order, the Club is also saying there's a chance that figures will be available on their site. How's that possible? Well, let's look as some (intentionally low-ball) numbers. Pretend they get 32 subcribers. But the factory can only run batches in multiples of 5, so every month they have to produce 35 figures, meaning there are three left over for the site. If they got 35 subscribers exactly, there would be none left over; if they got 36, there would be 4 left over. So it makes sense that there MAY be some available to non-subscribers, but the Club would have no way of guaranteeing it.

Also, where's the sense in not revealing the shipping order? For $300, you don't even know what you're getting ahead of time? $300 is a lot of ask of fans, even if it's spread to multiple installments. The Joe Club has been accused of being more about the money than the fans, and catering to those who are able to over-spend at the expense of those who can't, and this seems to fit that narrative. As mentioned in the link above, the handling of this year's Joe Con exclusive set was very bad, turning the toys into scalper-bait, and it seems the FSS is going the same way.

You can order as many subs as you want! Why? Who is that helping, other than resellers? Sure there will be some examples of people who live near each other and double up to save on shipping, but those are clearly the exceptions, not the rule. Online stores are already putting up "preorders" for these figures - at $40 - $55 apiece. The FSS details were literally released an hour ago, and there are already sites taking advantage of the system. Do you really think that's going to get better or worse as time goes by? And with scalpers free to flood the market, good luck trying to unload any of the figures you don't happen to want.

You're not going to see anyone crying about how the GI Joe Club Figure Subscription Service is in danger, or that it needs to be saved - this is a done deal, and the company isn't holding it over our heads to make us do their advertising for them. And we can't tell you that it's not worth your money to subscribe, but ask yourself this: will it be cheaper to pay a scalper for the figures you DO want, or to just pay the Club and accept the figures in the sub you DON'T want?

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4 Responses to On the subject of the GI Joe Club and its subscriptions

  1. yo go re says:

    For $300, you don't even know what you're getting ahead of time?

    You do know what you're getting - they announced them all months ago. So what if we don't know what's coming when? We know what all the figures are, which is more than you can say about subscribing to anything from Matty.

    And yeah, the Joes cost the same as a MOTUC, but they have more parts, more complex sculpts, and licensing fees have to be paid to Hasbro. These aren't in-house products, after all...

  2. AmericanHyena says:

    Also (not that I'm subscribing-- I only want one, maybe two of the characters in this year) but quite a few of the figures have a shocking amount of new tooling. New heads, new web gear, new accessories. Quite a bit actually.

    And if it means getting Big Boa, I'll totally drop $33 day of.

  3. monkey boy says:

    iowno man, i'm not a huge fan of a lot of the selection, big boa notwithstanding, and i am not touching that at $25 a figure.

  4. Peter says:

    Is Hasbro licking their chops? They see Mattel getting away with murder charging $22-$25 for figures and fans doing so with a smile --- I'm just glad I'm not that die-hard of a Joe fan. I got my fill with the TFAC and other random GeeThree'rs.

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