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View Full Version : An Interesting Question About the WOTC Clearance



JediCole
12-03-2002, 09:45 PM
As many of you know, Wizards of the Coast stores recently had a huge blow-out on Star Wars Saga toys, at least mostly Saga toys. Amoungst the offerings at greeat bargains were a few Fan Club exclusives. Many SSG members reported scoring the 12" Ki Adi Mundi and/or the Stormtrooper Troop Builder Packs. The presence of these items at a closeout price raised an important question on the part of some Fan Club members (like DingoDad who brought this up to me), WHY WERE THESE BARGAINS NOT OFFERED TO FAN CLUB MEMBERS?!

This had not occured to me until he mentioned having written a nasty note to the Fan Club on this subject. This is not the first slight of Fan Club members by the Fan Club. I am not sure if things have improved over the years, but back when I was a member, the magazine was on the newsstand a full week to almost a month before it arrived in the mail to members! And now it appears that another slap in the face has been enacted upon the membership of the Fan Club.

I am not currently a member (due in no small part to the aforementioned disparity regarding the timing of the Insider magazine), but was considering rejoining given the recent spate of exclusives like the 12" Jedi. But DingoDad's concerns raised a very important question. What is the actual benefit of membership if you pay full price for supposed exclusives that are offered at the exact same price to the general public from other online retailers (a different thorn in the side of members regarding the Ki Adi Mundi "exclusive") or to have the same items offered to all comers at retail mall outlets?

If you are a member of the Fan Club, I suggest you follow DingoDad's lead and write to them voicing this concern.

Beast
12-03-2002, 09:53 PM
It's actually not the fan club's fault in this case. They recently switched hands, and are going thru a massive restructuring right now to serve people better. So Hasbro had to shift alot of their planned exclusives to other retailers. That's why your seeing the Sandtrooper army building kit being offered by EE, and Ki-Adi-Mundi showing up online for sale. :)

MTFBWY and HH!!

Jar Jar Binks

Turbowars
12-03-2002, 10:24 PM
Yeah, one of the guys at WOTC told me that the fan club had to clear out some warehouses because they were changing hands. I do think the club should had offered the sale to their members. I really don't feel that there's any benefit to being a member. I was for years, but I never got anything out of it, other than saying I belong to the fan club. I was able to get a ToyFair Vader without a membership, so whats the point, a few bucks off here and there?

Sidiously Darth
12-04-2002, 04:11 PM
I recently let my membership expire. Besides getting an Anniversary Vader, it really hasn't been that great.

Am I wrong or didn't the Fan Club go through this not long ago when WOTC took over the fan club???

sith_killer_99
12-04-2002, 04:47 PM
Not to mention the whole Wuher issue.

I think I bought 6-8 of these at TRU for $1.98 each! I walked in one day and they had dozens of pegs filled with Wuhers!!!

JediCole
12-04-2002, 05:14 PM
Good point on the Wuhur issue! That particular "Fan Club Exclusive" hit the TRU's LONG before the Fan Club restructuring. It was bad enough that they used to have these big warehouse blowout sales that you had to actually show up physically in order to take advantage of the bargains. They never had a preemptive clearence for the fans via mail-order so unless you happened to live in the general area or could afford to travel to get in on those deals you were out of luck. But things like Wuhur and the WOTC clearance are a much bigger slap in the face to members of the Fan Club which has shown very littler regard for their membership over the years as it stands!

Sidiously Darth
12-04-2002, 09:41 PM
Well, I emailed WOTC in regards to the Fan Club. Let it be known that if you do email them, you'll receive an email (probably form) advising you to contact Paizo Publishing, LLC. Here is their reply:


The Official Star Wars Fan Club and Star Wars Insider magazine are now under the
management of Paizo Publishing, LLC. If you are a member of the Fan Club or
subscribe to the Insider, Paizo Publishing will now be serving your membership
and subscription needs.
Should you have questions about your current membership or subscription, wish to
become a member or subscriber, or wish to obtain a refund on your membership or
subscription, please contact Paizo's fulfillment house at 1-800-692-3836 or send
an email to swinsider@pcspublink.com

Darrin
Star Wars Online Store

JediTricks
12-05-2002, 12:00 AM
Funny how Paizo is run by a few top WOTC insiders but the FC is still actually OWNED by Hasbro's subsidiary WOTC. Seems like they're just shifting stuff around some more. I heard someone describe it as "Hasbro wanting to be Enron".

Bib Forlobster
12-05-2002, 12:17 AM
Weren't the Death Star Droid and Hoth Leia figs. also fan club exclusives? I remember seeing them at TRU for $2.00.

Also, the 12" Chancellor Valorum and Senate Gaurd 2 pack was at Kay-Bee for $15.00 about two years ago.

I don't put any faith in the word "Exclusive" when it comes to SW product anymore.

Another exclusive was the J.C. Penney 12" Hoth figure 4-pack which I picked up for $29.99 at Kay-Bee. Don't want to stray too far off the subject, but if you can wait, it seems like all these so-called exclusives end up somewhere else for a drastically reduced price.

Nataku
12-05-2002, 11:49 AM
OK, here is a better interpretation of the Story (and why the Fan Club members didn't get first dibbs).

Fantastic Media sold the Official Star Wars Fan Club to Wizards of the Coast (who was later purchased by Hasbro). This purchase included the Fan Club and ALL of it's holdings, the on-line store, the merchandise, everything.

Oh, the SW fans rejoiced! Think of the possibilities, a Fan Club owned by the maker of the toys? We'd be rich with exclusives.

Well, that didn't happen. In fact in cost-cutting mode, Hasbro SOLD the Fan Club to cut costs for the year.

Of course, they sold the Fan Club to Paizo Publishing.

BUT, what most people do not realize is that Hasbro ONLY sold the Fan Club and it's Magazine, the SW Insider, and it's on-line store.

They did NOT sell Paizo the merchandise in the store.

It is kind of like when a retailer goes out of business, they try to clear out all the merchandise before the sale (like the original FC did with it's Warehouse sale in Denver).

Hasbro decided NOT to clear out the merchandise prior to the FC sale because it would have weaked their bargaining position, everyone would know they were looking to sell the FC.

Once the sale was completed and tehy were unable to sell the merchandise to Paizo, Hasbro "sold" it to their only viable retail outlet (WotC retail store) to sell the items at or near cost (this was necessary for accounting reasons to they DON'T become the next Enron).

They were not interested in paying an on-line staff to sell the merchandise to Fan Club members after the sale. They moved it to the place where they had available retail staff. (WotC).

So, if Hasbro had been nicer, they could have decided to clear out the merchandise to FC members PRIOR to the sale, but they chose not to sell, simply to hold a better bargaining position for the FC's eventual sale. After all, it was a better possibility in thier eyes to try to sell the stock to Paizo first before choosing the eventualy clearance.

Once Paizo declined a bunch of old merchandise at full price (old merchandise, no room for Paizo to keep it, etc), Hasbro sold it the only way that made financial sense.

So, it sucks that Fan Club members weren't rewarded with first dibbs, but when was the last time a giant company did anything because it was the nice thing to do?

I hope that makes sense and doen't come off as rambling...

Jeff

JediCole
12-06-2002, 06:05 PM
Jeff,
Some very valid points.

However, since you have revealed that Hasbro still owns the online store it only serves to beg the question, why were Fan Club members not given first dibs. And despite your very concise exploration of the whole Fan Club/Hasbro/WOTC/Paizo situation there is an element that is a sticking point.

You see, if Hasbro still owned/owns the store portion of the Fan Club, which is still active, then there is no reason not to have offered bargains to the members FIRST. Anyone can visit the store website online. A little known fact is that there is a "Members Only" section of the store which can only be accessed by Fan Club Members. Many reduced price exclusives have been offered via this means in the past (such as the Carbon Freeze Chamber Playset). And since they had to know a long time in advance that they were planning the WOTC sale, they could have started off with offering the bargains to members then sent the balance of the stock to the stores!

Nataku
12-06-2002, 08:50 PM
Originally posted by JediCole
You see, if Hasbro still owned/owns the store portion of the Fan Club, which is still active, then there is no reason not to have offered bargains to the members FIRST.

Sure there is a reason... greed.

Hasbro was willing to hold the merchandise in the hopes that who ever bought the Fan Club might want to buy the full stock of the store.

Why start to sell things ahead of time to your loyal Members if you can make one giant sale of merchandise at once? :(

Hasbro is a corporation out to make money.

When it became apparent that Paizo did not want the merchandise, Hasbro could have started selling the merchandise to the loyal members of the Fan Club, BUT instead, they decided to cut their losses and lower the cost of on-line operation by sending the merchandise to "real" stores where they could sell the stuff.

The end result is Hasbro still sells the merchandise, but makes a better revenue by selling at the low prices in the stores. This way, they don't have to pay to pack/ship all those on-line orders.

When they had clearance specials in the past (like the Freeze Chamber) to get rid of the overstock, it wasn't a problem because the on-line store was to keep functioning. This was not an option this time, because it isn't going to be around much longer.

I am not saying what they did is right, just simply explaining why they did NOT let Fan Club members get the goods. It would have been nice for Fan Club to get the goods, but financially speaking, it just doesn't make any sense.

Just trying to answer the original post on why Hasbro did it, not trying to condone this course of action...

Jeff

Beast
12-06-2002, 09:04 PM
Hasbro's not allowed, by the contract with Lucasfilm, to sell direct to the public. Yes, the fan club gets around that lil agreement because Lucasfilm allowed the fan club to sell merchandise. But once the Fan Club was sold off, then Hasbro could once again not sell merchandise to the public. :)

Hasbro would have made alot more money, had they been able to sell at full price to their customers. But, thanks to that little agreement with Lucasfilm, they couldn't. So they sent what they could to the WOTC stores, who sold it at or near wholesale costs.

I'm sure Hasbro would rather have sold those Ki-Adi-Mundi's for $24.99 and those Stormie building kits for just under $20.00. As for the packing and shipping comment, you pay that when you order thru the Fan Club, so Hasbro would have just charged you S&H like the Fan Club used to. Had they been able to sell the stuff.

So it's not a case of greed. If it was greed, Hasbro would have actually shifted it to a actual retailer that wanted the stuff. Like they did with the Sandtrooper Army Building set. In this case, they just wanted to get rid of the stuff and not worry about it. :)

MTFBWY and HH!!

Jar Jar Binks