Toy Talk: Retailer Pre-Orders are Pointless IOU's from Companies

As many collectors know, a worldwide shipping debacle has swept across the county with ports unable to unload all of the incoming products. That has created a massive hit for the toy market with a lot of upcoming releases getting pushed back to 2022. One of these includes the Star Wars: The Vintage Collection HasLab Razor Crest that was originally set to release in Fall 2021 with a new Q1 2022 release. Stuff like this is not an issue as plenty of errors arise when creating a figure and it's understandable to get a delay here and there. However, at this point pre-orders from companies like Walmart and Target are mainly IOUs instead of actually binding purchases. As many collectors have seen, most retailers are stocking shelves with the exact same product that is currently put on hold through pre-orders.

Target and Walmart are both notorious for stocking shelves with Funko Pops, McFarlane Toys figures, and Hasbro collectibles like Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and Marvel Legends way before pre-orders even ship. For example, last year's Star Wars: The Black Series The Clone Wars wave was found in stores in October 2020 but pre-orders never shipped until December 2020. I would imagine a process like this should be the opposite with collectors who took the time to pre-order get them first before stores. Target is the same way with pre-orders selling out but fans are able to find collectibles like the new 10" Black Light Hulk already in store. At this point in the collecting game, pre-orders are simple placeholders until you can find the item in-store. Not a single one of my Walmart pre-orders has been fulfilled in over a year as I have already found the item in the store.

Target is honestly the worst of the sites as instead of doing a pre-order charge in full at the time of purchase they constantly charge throughout the month. Most sites like Hasbro Pulse, Walmart, EE, BBTS, and GameStop all charge when they finally have the item in-stock and ready to ship. However, Target likes to make things difficult by charging cards constantly throughout the month making sure the "funds" are there just in case. On top of that, they constantly push back releases and if collectors do not agree to the date change they cancel their order. Both sites have even gone through the method of canceling everyone's pre-orders only to relist them as in-stock completely ruins the idea of a pre-order. This just happened with the Target Exclusive McFarlane Toys Year 2 Batman Deluxe DC Multiverse figure, making fans miss out on their own pre-order and unable to acquire the relist.

I am not a tech or an import/export expert, so it is hard to say how to fix a big problem like this. I am sure more orders are fulfilled than offered which can easily create a lot of confusion on the companies side. However, it is more frustrating when these companies offer the ability to pre-order only to have it canceled down the line. Fighting the bot-infesting online pre-order system is already a problem only to not have a reward at the end of the tunnel. Retailer Exclusives are always nice to see but with how the scalper market is lately most of these exclusives never even hit shelves forcing collectors to pay that increased price. Only time will tell how these companies will force a change but until then be wary of what you pre-order and always keep your eyes open in-store.

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About Tyler Roberts

He has been the Collectibles Editor since late 2019. Funko Funatic, Historian, Air Force Veteran, and dedicated collector of many things.
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