Why are MotU Classics showing up at Walmart?

This image was posted yesterday on Mattel's message board:

The poster had this to say:

The Wal Mart price is cheaper than [day of sale] customers and Subscribers pay direct from Matty Collector with no "middle man". What gives?

I am also wondering why the Robotos are all first issue (no original burst) but my 3 first release subscription Robotos all came with the damn original burst?

Now, the poster is from Australia, but the image was originally shared on Facebook and said to be the store in Moreno Valley (presumably California). Either way, he still raises good questions. How can Mattel sell to retailers at a price low enough that those stores can then undercut Mattel's own price, when every time fans complain about being overcharged Mattel's official line is that they're barely making any money? And why are these all first-run figures, if those always sell out on the first day they're available?

Now, the lack of sticker could be explained easily enough: it's possible that these really are second-run figures, but just didn't have the sticker applied at the factory. (Re-releases are given a starburst sticker on the packaging that exclaims "The Original" so that they can be told apart from the originals. Yes, it's confusing, but that's Mattel for you.) Maybe they were even held back as "defective" because that step was missed, we don't know. But that still doesn't explain how Walmart can afford to sell them for less than Matty does, unless Mattel has been lying to us about the cost for years.

But hey, it can't hurt to check out Walmart and see what you find.

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20 Responses to Why are MotU Classics showing up at Walmart?

  1. yo go re says:

    Nothing like a nice dose of screw-up to start off the new year. Stay classy, Mattel...

  2. Shocka says:

    unless Mattel has been lying to us about the cost for years

    NEVER!!!

  3. Jay says:

    Hmm...Moreno Valley's right next door to me; might have to take a look.

  4. PrfktTear says:

    So some action figures show up at Wal-Mart and Mattel is to blame?

    • OAFE says:

      Are you sincerely unclear on what's wrong with this situation, or are you just trying to be clever?

      • yo go re says:

        Let's put it in the context of a better company.

        So Hasbro, in conjunction with FunPub, is selling GI Joe figures, yeah? It's 12 figures (plus a "freebie") for $367.50 - that's $30 a figure, roundabout. That's expensive as all hell, no question. But we're told they that expensive because they're small runs and that's what the company HAS to charge in order to barely break even. We're told that they're sold out, and no more are available for sale.

        Then, imagine that these Joes, which "need" to be sold for $30 (or else the company will go bankrupt or something) and are "sold out" (so no more fans can buy them) show up at your local Walmart. And not only do they show up at WM, they show up for $16.

        So first of all, the company's claim that these were sold out is obviously a lie, suggesting that they've been creating artificial scarcity. And if something is on the shelf for $16 at Walmart, that means the company probably bought it for about $8 from the manufacturer, which means that the fans who had to pay $30 were overcharged by $22 for every figure. If that happened, you'd think FunPub were real scumbags, yeah?

        • OAFE says:

          There are other options besides just "teh company is lying!!1!" But the important factor is if Walmart can sell these profitably at $16.97 after buying them from Mattel, why can't Mattel sell them profitably at $16.97 themselves?

      • PrfktTear says:

        I'm fairly clear.

        I understand the implications, but there just isn't enough information and I'm not going to jump to conclusions. Plus, I'm going to believe some anonymous poster from Australia who is reposting a pic someone posted on Facebook.

        Also, why do you post as OAFE and then post as Yo?

  5. Well, if these are being carried by Walmarts all across the country, or maybe the world (and I don't know that they are, just speculating), then Mattel would be selling them tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of toys, which would mean a huge increase in the number of these toys being produced, which would mean a decrease in the price-per-unit to manufacture them.

    • yo go re says:

      Yeah, but they're not making new things - this is old stock. Ancient stock. Walmart buys cheap overstock just like Ross and Marshall's do...

  6. Mark says:

    Well then if the stock at Wal-Mart is overstock then isn't this situation basically the same as if you've found something at a discount store? Mattel's just getting rid of old stock which they gave to Wal-Mart. I mean, if Ram Man was spotted at Wal-Mart for $16-17, then your "Why can't Mattel sell MOTUC for $17" argument would be valid, but as is it's just Mattel giving figures they couldn't sell for $30 to Wal-Mart.

    • Pink Parademon says:

      Butthe only reason Mattel couldn't sell them because they were sold out. Or "sold out", quote-unquote. That's the difference. If this is stock that they couldn't unload, why did MattyCollector.com have them not available for so many months and months after they came out?

      • Mark says:

        Maybe it's...customer service stock? (Because Mattel never used any of it :P). Honestly then I have no idea what is going on now so I would just wait for an answer from Mattel.

  7. yo go re says:

    I checked my Walmart(s) today: nothin'! Roboto I don't care about, but if I saw it in person, I sure wouldn't mind a big yellow monkey...

  8. Jay says:

    I just returned from the Moreno Valley (actually, Riverside, if anyone's thinking of going hunting) Wal-Mart; all that's left are about twenty or so Gygors, which, contrary to the rumors on the 'net, are going for $25, not $15-16.

    Not being a MOTU collector, I really don't know if that's much of a deal or not.

    • OAFE says:

      $16 was the price for Roboto. Gygor's shelf tag wasn't in the photo. $25 is a nice price for a toy that big, and thanks for looking into it.

      • Jay says:

        No problem - although, that was one of the scariest, most ghetto Wal-Marts I've been in in a long time; the things I do for this hobby...

        Until last night, I hadn't seen any of the new MOTU figures; I've only had a few from the 80s that I got back then & was surprised at how big this new one is.

  9. monkey boy says:

    what's weird to me is that this stock shouldn't exist. i know it's just one wal-mart, but mattel has been stressing that the cost is so high because the number produced is so small. yet you have enough to dump on wal-mart? i mean i'm not surprised in the least that mattel fudges numbers, i mean the fact that anyone can defend a $9 shipping charge that makes 5 stops and takes two weeks to get to you means they're beyond reproach at this point. but when they stress low numbers and a need to sell out, dumping overstock at wal-mart is, at the very least, bad PR.

  10. Brian says:

    Perhaps this is a tester Walmart store. Walmart will on occasion "test the waters," per-say, by offering a product at a location to see how well that item will sell. If the item is a success, then Walmart will purchase more items from a company, then begin to sell in other stores. Lets hope this is the case, I would loooove to see the classics on shelves at my local Walmart! I know that the line would sell out here.

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