Well, this is just an overall "Stock Update' for everyone...as well as me venting some frustration on behalf of myself and others regarding some questionable business practices.
As of right now, GameStop, Walmart, and Target have all received new shipments containing Wave 3 (Double Trouble, Cynder, Empire of Ice).
GameStop seems to stock the most often with Walmart coming in just behind them. Both have had Empire of Ice and Double Trouble...I have heard from an employee at GameStop he has seen 1 Cynder (he was a manager btw).
Toys'R'Us has yet to have anything from Wave 3 here locally...I've checked with several employees and a manager and found that none have seen Empire of Ice or the new characters.
As I mentioned several times, we seem to be 7-10 days behind where I am at...While folks on the east coast landed Empire of Ice as early as January 12th, it took a bit longer to get here.
Target and Walmart have both restocked on Prism Break, Flameslinger, and Drobot. I suspect GameStop does too, but sells out. I have seen a few Sonic Booms someone didn't snatch up. Toys'R'Us is basically down to Bash single packs, and triple packs of Hex, Dino-Rang, and Zap...which I'm shocked are still there...
I noted that someone from the town I purchase Skylanders in has an e-bay account...and usually has several Empire of Ice sets. Last night when I was talking to the manager at a GameStop he told me about this person. A lady and a few friends basically wait until the stores open and then go buy everything...they will even occasionally rotate the stores they buy from...The manager told me he wanted to put a limit of 2 per customer to help alleviate this. I'm going to check back next week and see if that managed to happen.
What this basically means for kids and those of us with jobs is unless you are an employee at a mentioned store or don't have an AM job is you are screwed. There is really no better way to put it. Where a mother might pick her kids up from school and run to a store to land Empire of Ice, she instead heads to a store that was ransacked by a group of flippers.
I, like most of you, refuse to pay more than msrp for the characters.
Earlier this week I suggested to @SkylandersGame on Twitter that they consider selling them direct through Activision...Naturally I got NO RESPONSE. I suppose they are too busy posting questions about "Grudge Matches" that no one can answer since they seem to be unaware that so many of their pairings contain Skylanders that are not released yet (I'd say something here, but after dealing with Activision Customer Support I will never be surprised again).
Now to their credit, I'm sure had they have decided to respond to someone who enjoys the game, has introduced a lot of others to the game, and helps folks out with glitches and other flaws in their game I would have just heard, "Skylanders is very popular, we are shipping toys out as fast as we can" since they occasionally tweet that.
However, when I finally hit a store that must have stocked late and saw the new triple pack with Whirlwind, Double Trouble, and Drill Sergeant I bought it. I never wanted to buy this pack because it shouldn't exist. The issue I have is I've never seen Double Trouble in a single pack and with bands of people running around town to flip characters on e-bay, I thought it might be my only chance.
I had a viewer on YouTube mention this pack long ago...myself and others brushed it off, and then a reliable source posted the same thing...I was very ticked about it given the situation. I know countless others who feel the same way.
I spent a lot of time trying to track down Drill Sergeant...I know some people say they have racks of 20 at their Walmart, but I did not. I got him just in time for Chapter 20 and 21...which I have still not gotten to play thanks to the WEAPON MASTER GLITCH. Whirlwind I landed early on...prob early-mid November.
Now both of these Skylanders were labelled EXCLUSIVE. Drill Sergeant was at Sam's Club/Walmart and Whirlwind was at Target...PERIOD. You couldn't go to GameStop for either and Walmart never had Whirlwind...until now.
The new triple pack contains both of the exclusives...and it is available everywhere. In addition to that, GameStop will sell you single packs of both characters!
So for folks like myself who had so much trouble track them down...is this our slap in the face for being loyal and diligent? Thanks Activision...we really deserve that!
I may be the only person who cares enough to go this route...I'm not going to cuss them and garner thumbs-up on YouTube, instead I'm going to keep it legal...very legal.
You see Activision as a company, you might want to know about laws. I know you don't have a lot of business sense being unable to orchestrate the supply to your favor and loosing out on $20 here and there to flippers, but this is very applicable to you...
It is the Federal Trade Commission Act...you might want to read it. And just to be nice on behalf of myself and other Portal Masters, pay attention to section 5. It is titled, "Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices."
Do you have the common sense or conscience for this to phase you, or will this fall on deaf ears?
You can not misrepresent a product (self-proclaimed "Exclusive Skylanders" figures if you needed the help) to increase sales. While a Bash or Eruptor single pack would sell on e-bay or amazon for $7.99, Drill Sergeant and Whirlwind would bring a big sum of cash...often $50-$150. Now do you control what people pay on the side, after the fact? No...you've done no wrong there.
But your deceptive practices are at the root of this problem! I never bought Skylanders to "flip" them...I buy to have one for each upgrade path and to collect. Given the fact these were "exclusive" I didn't just buy 1 of them...I picked up 2-3 (which is about all I could find). I know of many other players and collectors who did the same. Now their investment in an "exclusive" Skylander has been lost as you are reintroducing the characters not only together in a triple pack with an unreleased Character, but as the same single-pack configuration you just a few weeks ago could only land with the "exclusive sticker" on the pack.
So how do you justify this? I tweeted this to @SkylandersGame, but I'm pretty confident you'll delete it, or just not respond. I know this is a benefit for newcomers to pick up two characters that use to fetch $80 with ease WITH a new Skylander, but what about the people that were there from the start? Does it even phase you what you have done? Are you not aware that you can not engage in these business practices without repercussions?
Again, I expect most to just call or email complaints with a few cussing you. I myself travel a different road. I know the difference between right and wrong, and I can't say the same for you Activision. It is unfortunate that you have created a great game (minus the few glitches), figures that folks really like collecting, and can't seem to correlate those two positives into a business practice of competence. You can blame overseas production issues all you want, but the fact of the matter is there is demand and you can't keep up with the supply...unless you are pulling puppet strings to try and keep things "hot" till your final release. In that case, your even more disgusting than I thought.
I love the game, enjoy trying to find new characters (although it is insanely difficult thanks to the black market you create with your own shortcomings), and have met a lot of great people who are equally big fans of the game.
What you have done with the "formerly exclusive" Drill Sergeant and Whirlwind is shameful at face value, but dig a little deeper and I believe it to be shady, deceptive, and a blatant misrepresentation of the product given the fact you are now shipping not only the new Triple Packs everywhere, but also the single packs...to me that has crushed your loop-hole exit.
I, and thousands of other Skylander fans, would love to see how you justify this. Are you going to step-up to the plate and explain it, or just laugh at those of us who don't cuss you as most would and keep counting your "hard-earned" money? The ball is in your court at this time.
And just so you know Activision...I plan to send this information on your business practices to folks who are more interested in it than you seem to be...I am nice enough to disclose that to you in advance...Something that if you did with Drill Sergeant and Whirlwind months ago (that they'd be available everywhere in 2012 or packaged together with Double Trouble) you might have not stuck an "exclusive" tag on them and I wouldn't be having to make this blog post right now.
On behalf of Portal Masters everywhere, I look forward to hearing from you...and I'm sorry, but we won't buy the line that "Trolls working for Kaos handled marketing for Drill Sergeant and Whirlwind."