I love collecting Transformers. If you read my blog, you probably figured that out. Sure, I spend a lot of time being angry about Transformers. Whether it’s Fun Publications or Hasbro or Machinima, or some other entity involved with Transformers, I’m only angry because of how much I love Transformers.
Collecting Transformers comes with a lot of frustration, even more so in recent years. Toys are often hard, if not impossible to find, and I almost hate going shopping sometimes because of how rare it is that I actually find something. But every once in a while, there is a day where that isn’t the case. In 2007, Hasbro imposed a street date on the first wave of Transformers movie toys. I remember the release day that year. They had a huge feature display of toys and other merchandise in front of the store at my nearest Toys R Us. I filled two carriages. Outside of a being at a Transformers convention, I had never reveled in how much I love this hobby more than I did that day.
Two years later when Revenge of the Fallen toys came out, I was right back at the same Toys R Us and filled two carriages again, this time to over flowing. I actually needed three carriages to get it all to my car once it was in bags.
In 2011 when Dark of the Moon toys were released, things started to change. There was no feature area at the front of the store, but there was a huge display in the isle. It was only one carriage full that day, but my wallet did appreciate the reduction, and it was still an amazing haul. I took a picture of everything when I got home. (I wish I had taken pictures for the first two hauls.)
After waiting another three years, Age of Extinction toys followed the same pattern as Dark of the Moon, no feature area in the front of Toys R Us, but an isle full of stuff. I filled another carriage.
And now, three years later it has come again. Today is the official release date for Transformers: The Last Knight toys. So, as usual, I took a vacation day so I could be at Toys R Us when they opened the doors at ten o’clock. I grabbed a carriage and headed for the isle. I was pretty psyched. This is kind of like Transformers Christmas for me. I’ve been looking forward to it for months. Heck, I’ve been looking forward to it for three years.
I turned down the isle to find…it looked just like it did when I was there three days ago. I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. This was my first inkling that all I was finding under the tree on Christmas morning was clothes.
(Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it sounds all dramatic.)
The only new toys on the shelf were one each of The Last Knight Voyager Optimus Prime and Grimlock. I was perplexed. This was supposed to be Christmas not…not-Christmas. Three years ago, they were actually in process of putting toys out when they opened, so I figured they were just late putting the toys out.
I spoke to one employee, then another, who told me that the release date was the 28th. It was at this point that my blood pressure started to rise. I told him that it had to be a mistake. Hasbro announced that today, April 24th, is the official release date. They announced it months ago.
He went out back and started bring out boxes. I was relieved. Christmas was saved! Then it wasn’t. They had a grand total of nine different toys, the two Voyagers I’d found on the shelves, four deluxes, and three Knight Armor Turbo Changers. That’s it. (They also had that idiotic helmet for $80, which I am waiting to get on clearance, but as I wasn’t getting it, I don’t count it.)
I was still assuming that the 28th was a mistake, and they had figured that out at my Toys R Us. So, after I paid for my pathetic haul I drove 25 minutes to another Toys R Us. I spoke to an employee there and found out two things.
First, they didn’t have anything more than my Toys R Us did. Though they did have Legion, One Step Changers, and Tiny Turbo Changers on a truck on the way to them. They are most likely on the way to my Toys R Us too, so whoopee.
Second, apparently the 24th was not a mistake at my local Toys R Us. Toys R Us took it upon themselves to decide not to release The Last Knight toys until the 28th.
Some fucking asshole at Toys R Us decided to ignore that Hasbro has been announcing for months that today was the release date, that today toys would be on sale, so that today people would be going into stores to look to buy them. They created a meaningless artificial date. Other stores just don’t care about the street date. They either just put it out early, or hold it until whenever they get around to it. I had one Target tell me in 2009 that they hold it back on purpose so they can try to push clearance stuff to everyone looking for the new stuff. I only went to Target and Walmart today for other things. I knew they wouldn’t have anything out (and they didn’t, because of course I checked).
I knew there would be far less product this year (which my wallet greatly appreciates). I was not expecting the windfall of toys from previous years, but I was expecting the other toys that people have been finding in stores, and hoping for some merchandise like they always have. I’m not even sure I can bring myself to take a haul photo because it’s so damn pathetic.
Lets not forget that Toys R Us is not to only party guilty of doing something monumentally stupid. As much as I have loved the previous movie toy release dates, stores routinely ignore it, whether because they sell stuff early, or hold it until later. Hasbro having a release date only matters if stores will actually stock the merchandise for release that day. Otherwise it’s a joke. Toys R Us was the only store that did until now, put toys out on the release date. (Three years ago I had to have an argument with an employee at a Target to get a variant AOE Leader Class Optimus Prime that I knew was in the back room.) As much as I have loved this day in the past, it has never made sense for Hasbro to have a release date, since it is has never been enforced. By enforced I don’t just mean holding the toys for sale until this day, but also making sure to have the toys put out for sale today. I thought they would have realized how moronic it is and ended it by now, but it’s Hasbro. They are not exactly known for making good decisions.
I am tempted to write some angry letters to Toys R Us and Hasbro, but it’s not like they will care. Even worse, I guarantee if I get any response at all, Hasbro will say they can’t control what Toys R Us does, which isn’t true since the release date is by definition controlling what stores do, and Toys R Us will probably blame Hasbro for having not making the release date more clear.
Fuck you Toys R Us. Fuck you Hasbro. You both suck donkey balls.
I am well aware that I will get all the toys. I have every Transformer ever released in the United States. This isn’t going to change that. I’ve already ordered the One Step Changers from Hasbro Toy Shop, and I am sure on Friday I will find the Legion and Tiny Turbo Changers, and probably some merchandise at Toys R Us, but all the fun has been sucked out of it. Today was supposed to be a day I could revel in how much I love these toys and these characters. Instead I’m just angry.
Fuck you Toys R Us. Fuck you Hasbro. You both suck donkey balls.
(Yeah, I know I said that twice, but it needed repeating.)
Thanks for reading!