Mattel has done it again Ė they managed to send the entire collecting community into a fiery outrage, and sometimes you canít help but wonder if they donít have some perverse reason do this stuff deliberately.
So what did they do this time? It all started a few months ago when they initially announced their exclusive offerings for this yearís San Diego Comic Con. One of those exclusives was to be a very nice-looking 6Ē DC Universe Classics Wonder Twins box set
featuring the characters of Zan
from the 80ís DC Super Powers animated series. Now anyone familiar with the Wonder Twins knows that their pet monkey Gleek
was an integral part of the group. In Mattelís infinite wisdom, they decided to offer a Gleek figure only to those who actually attended the convention (opposed to those visiting the Mattel website to buy the figures online after the show).
The initial announcement generated a frenzied rage in many collectors, claiming they would not buy this set without the Monkey. Petitions were sent out, anti-Mattel Facebook pages were created, and many arguments on the DC action figure message boards all across the Internet were started about how Mattel was screwing over the fans. Still, none of this caused Mattel to waver in their decision and Comic Con began. Only those who attended the show and were willing to stand in the long lines at the Mattel booth would be able to get their hands on the little Monkey, at least at non-eBay prices.
Now we fast-forward to the present Ė approximately one week after the convention has ended Ė to find that Mattel once again is capable to sending collectors into new fits of rage over these Gleek figures. What have they done now? Upon arriving home from the convention and opening their figures, many collectors who braved the long lines to purchase their Wonder Twins box sets discovered that they didnít actually get their Gleek figures. (The figures come in a white slipcase type packaging so that you canít actually see the figures or what is in the box till you remove that outer box.) Apparently Mattel didnít bring enough Gleeks to match the number of Wonder Twin sets they brought to sell and forgot to mention this to the collectors onsite.
Now the Gleeks were packaged separately from the Wonder Twin figures because they were an add-on, which Mattel did announce before the show started. However, Mattel never indicated that collectors purchasing the Wonders Twin set at Comic Con ARENíT guaranteed a Gleek (as far as I know), so you can see how someone might not think to remove that outer white case right there on the convention hall floor to check and see if they got their Gleek. And from what I have been told by the people who bought these, the people selling the figures at the Mattel booth did not bother to inform them that they had no more Gleeks and that they would not be getting the Monkey despite the previous announcement from Mattel.
Now if that wasnít bad enough Ė it gets better. According to Mattelís Facebook page
, a lost box of Gleek figures was found in the Mattel booth storage room on the last day of the convention. If you have ever been to a convention the size of Comic Con and seen how hectic things can be, this might not be so hard to believe. So itís not really where these new-found Gleeks came from that is the issue, itís what Mattel decided to do with them that has once again outraged many collectors. You see in their explanation on their Facebook page they state the following,
"We knew from day one that we would have more Wonder Twins than Gleeks at the show and would sell out of Gleeks before the Wonder Twins sold out. And we did advertise this multiple times online and on message boards."
Now whether Mattel went on to some obscure message board and said something, I cannot say. However this is the ANNOUNCEMENT
that most of us had been aware of from Mattel's initial information to the media and their own Facebook page and website.
So instead of trying to get these lost Gleeks into the hands of those who came to the Con and bought the Wonder Twins figures thinking they were also getting a Gleek figure or even taking the figures back with them to sell on Mattycollector.com
at a later time, they decided to give the figures to a small fansite called Fwoosh
to give away to their registered members. Now I will be the first one to tell you that I do not cast any aspersions on Fwoosh for taking Mattel up on this offer (though if they did it in exchange for running free ads on their site for Mattel then I think Fwoosh is the one getting ripped off, but thatís a story for a different time) because they are looking out for their readers which is what any good website is going to do. This is not like when Mattel sent another fansite a very limited edition JLU Hal Jordan figure as a Christmas present a few years ago, and the webmaster of that site took lots of pretty pictures of it to show off to their readers but then kept the figure for himself. I mean Fwoosh did give these away to the collectors, but the rub here in many peopleís eyes is that Mattel had an obligation to get these Gleeks into the hands of those who traveled to Comic Con under the impression that if they stood in those long lines and paid their hard-earned money for these sets, that they would get the Monkey they were promised. Even if this lost box of Gleeks had not been found, I think Mattel should have informed anyone buying the Wonder Twins sets at the convention that the sets did not contain the Gleeks and a.) offered some type of discount or b.) gathered the purchaserís information and then made more Gleeks to be sent to those people at a later date.
Of course, maybe Iím expecting too much from the largest toy company in the world. After all, this is the same company that after months of being online still seems unable or unwilling to spend the money to allocate enough bandwidth to their website Mattycollector.com so that people visiting the website on days something goes on sale arenít constantly getting timed-out messages on their browsers.
I wanted to add this update in an effort to be completely fair and report both sides of the issue. Thanks to TNI reader GRIMACE404 we have an image
from the Mattel booth at last weeks comic-con convention showing a small sign Mattel put up stating that the Gleeks had in fact sold out.
Besides the fact that we don't know exactly when this small sign went up, you can imagine in a convention that is so hectic that Mattel can misplace a whole box of Gleeks, that many people would not have and did not see this sign. Now you be the judge, but in my view this does not really excuse Mattel in how this whole situation was handled. I have to ask why didn't Mattel representatives at the Mattel booth verbally inform many people at the time of purchase that the Gleeks had sold out, or why didn't they bring enough Gleeks to match the Twins to begin with? After all this was supposed to be peoples reward for coming to the con and buying the sets there as opposed to buying them online later on.