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#470294 - 07/08/01 05:17 PM Let's paly...TODD SAYS...!
Glenn Barbis Jr Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/99
Posts: 765
Loc: Nowhere, Pa.
(Sorry...the title should be Let's PLAY...)

Todd stated on another thread...

>>"Todd did (insert fact not opinion, make sure that you have verified the fact first). He did it because (no.no. you have no knowledge of the motivation so just refrain from the 'because' stuff). He did it on ( again insert true fact)................."<<

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Okay Todd...since you never really answered me before (just made more excuses along the "You don't know jack!" lines)...I'll play the game.

Todd did me over, as he did many comic retailers. He did it because he needed to get his Todd Toys into the major chain stores, as they wouldn't order from an unknown, untried company basing it's toys on creatures from Hell. He did it on the basis of promising comic retailers to get product first, and at the same price as the major chains. Once the product was ordered, (and at outrageous quantities) he then took those sales figures to the big chains, and said it proves the toys are viable, thus getting them to order. Then he proceeded to break every promise he made to the comic retailers, making them lose a ton of money on product that shipped after the major chains already had them, and had them much cheaper than their net cost.

Todd then proceeded to brag about this endeavor and it's machinations in many trade publications, and in the toy press.

Todd...I was at the Diamond convention in 1994 in which you unvieled your plan for Todd Toys. I spoke to you PERSONALLY, FACE TO FACE, in which you assured me comic retailers would not get screwed. And at that time, you reiterated the plans of how we would get product earlier and at the same cost.

All this is fact. Promises were made, and just as fast...broken. And you bragged about it.

So why should anyone believe you would keep ANOTHER word-of-Todd promise, even though he is a well-known, respected creator (...and I'm not bringing up the Miracleman deals).

Your word means nothing to anyone.

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So...who's next?!? And remember...only use REAL FACTS and FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE!!!!


Rob, Me, & Todd at the 1994 Diamond Seminar
[img]http://www.comicsgb.com/files/Pic5.jpg[/img]

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[This message has been edited by Glenn Barbis (edited 07-08-2001).]
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#470295 - 07/08/01 05:44 PM Re: Let's paly...TODD SAYS...!
Silent Fox Offline
Member

Registered: 03/31/01
Posts: 268
Mr. Barbis, let me give you a little account of what I experienced in my area.

When Todd Toys (later McFarlane Toys) began to catch on, comic retailers in my area were ordering in the "outrageous quantities" you mentioned. But they were also selling these toys at VERY outrageous prices. Their justification for doing this was that these toys could not be found in the regular stores. These guy were literally slapping $50 price tags (sometimes even higher!) the moment they received them. I don't think it's business when they priced a toy at such prices. I think it was GREED.

Of course they ran into a problem when the major chains started carrying the toys. These poor ole retailers found themselves unable to sell the toys at these obscenely high prices and were forced to sell them at REASONABLE prices to compete.

Can you tell me what the big advantage is getting these toys before anyone else? It seems to me that the only retailers that would really be hurt by this are the ones who wanted the toys first so they could put inflated price tags on them since they could not be found anywhere else.

And no, Mr. Barbis, I am not saying you are one of these retailers. Nor am I painting all retailers with the same stroke. But I did see firsthand several retailers who were doing this. Can you eplain why it's hurting you getting the toys at the same time as the others?

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#470296 - 07/08/01 06:07 PM Re: Let's paly...TODD SAYS...!
Bobbie Subgum Offline
Member

Registered: 07/24/00
Posts: 291
Loc: Bejiing China via Pittsburgh
If I can step in here, I have researched this for a bit...

At the time, comic retailers were not able to compete with the T-R-U and Walmarts, due to the fact the big chains got discounts based on how much they ordered. And since they ordered in big quantities, they got big price breaks. Until Todd started his company, the comic retailers rarely sold toys.

As for the fact that comic retailers want them first, well, it's just like the comic books themselves. Direct market gets comics 2-3 weeks before newstands. It's only fitting then, that comic-related merchandise be the same. And it gives the smaller direct market, a viable chance to make some money, before the bigger chains, with their lower net costs, can get the jump on them. This is especially true with Walmarts popping up everywhere now (and then!).

And the fact that the chains in your area didn't handle them...well, my area is a very Christian based town, and the people that order the toys are beholden to their beliefs, so they never order Spawn toys, even now. Every area is different. I know from my research, the major metropolitan areas were heavily saturated with Todd Toys, upon release.

As for the retailers marking them up...it's called oppurtunism (sp?). They took full advantage of the fact that they were the only ones with them. I have spoken to many retailers form across the US, and most have told me that Todd Toys were out in the major chains, in the major markets, at most, three months before direct market retailers got them. And the ones who DID get them early, marked them up at the start, due to the fact Todd had stated in the press how he used the direct market numbers to influence the chains his toys were marketable. They knew the stuff would be out in huge quantities, so they took advantage of it, by marking it up at the start, and getting what profit they could, as they knew it would be all over, soon.

And they were right.

Now...at the time, one boat-load of toys was lost at sea, delaying shipments to certain areas, until more could be made. It's been documented that most of that was intended for the chain stores, but Todd used the direct market product to "fill the holes" in certain, well populated areas (Philly, NY, Chicago). Many comic retailers felt Todd should have delayed ALL the shipments, until suitable quantity was stockpiled for everyone.

I assume the cost of this far outweighed the profit at the time, so that idea was never considered. And because of this, many direct market retailers got shafted even moreso, because their orders were even later then.

Todd did promise the direct market many things, and all of them were never delivered. That is a fact.

But to play devil's advocate (tho' I loathe to) certain retailers DID get orders before the chains in their areas. But they were few and far between, and took advantage of it, to the detriment of their customers.

And as a finisher, the way it's set up now, many smaller comic-retailers have dropped ordering TMP toys, as they can't compete with the major stores who do carry the stuff...which is something Todd had promised them in the beginning, he would never let happen to them.



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"Don't mock me, round-eye!!!"
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#470297 - 07/08/01 07:39 PM Re: Let's paly...TODD SAYS...!
Glenn Barbis Jr Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/99
Posts: 765
Loc: Nowhere, Pa.
Most of what Bobby says is true, as I understood it at the time, regarding the way product shipped and to whom. Also, his explanation of why the direct market wants product first, was on the money. We want the product we specialize in, first, because it's what we sell. We don't sell microwaves, cd's, and toilet paper as well. We sell comics and comic-related items. We SHOULD get preferential treatment, when it comes to those things.

I will add that I was in the Philadelphia area, with 5 other comic shops in a 20 mile radius. None of them got their orders before the major chain stores. Alot of retailers on the East COast I talked to around that time, did not get theirs early, either.

Todd made on very brief reply to this, on this board, that I should talk to Diamond. I did at the time. They assured me they shipped them, when they got them. I was alos told at the time, the shipments were coming in waves, and being allocated to the direct market. When I recieved my first shipment, it was 1/3 of what I ordered. I did get some of the "Party Angela" figs, so my shipment was a "first-run" while a few other stores got the corrected versions. But the major chains had the same figs, 3 months earlier.

The fact that in some areas, comic shops DID get them first...well...I would ask WHEN they got them exactly, more than if it was before or after the chain stores. Some area chains never ordered the toys originally, and waited until they heard they were selling, heard they were popular, whatever...until they ordered. (An aside: one major store in another had an employee who was also a comic fan, and he went to the buyer and told them that the toys were hot, and the direct retailers in the area were selling them for big bucks. He was pissed at this [understandable] so he had the buyer order a ton of them, so he and his friends could get them cheap.) The direct retailers shot themselves in the foot in some areas, by making the items popular enough to warrant the major chains to order them. Most areas DID have them, they had them earlier than direct, and they were selling them for the price we were paying.

And that is my main hang-up on all this. If his promise to keep the price the same would have been kept, I could let the shipping go. I ordered 20 cases, at over $100 per case. That's about $8.00 a piece per figure. I have to sell them for $9.99 to make a few bucks. Not alot of profit, but with 20 cases, I could live with it. And when you consider that this is what Todd stated the RETAIL COST was, and Diamond stated that in the catalogs, I (being a moral retailer) was stuck selling them for that price. Then I see Wal-Mart selling them for $7.99, and I bust a blood-vessel. Why can they sell them so cheap? Especially when Todd promised it wouldn't happen?!?

This is the whole gist of my beef with McFarlane.

I lost a ton of money, by going on his "word"...and although some problems he cannot be accountable for, the fact is...he made a ton of promises to get the order numbers for Todd Toys, and he never attemtpted to keep any of them. And the fact he bragged about how the Direct market was responsible for the big chains to notice his merchandise, and basically used us to pad his walllet...well...I haven't gone out of my way to promote any TMP product since.

Todd used me, he lied to my face, and he laughed about it.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

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"We won't be fooled again!"
"Meet the new boss...same as the old boss."
- The Who



[This message has been edited by Glenn Barbis (edited 07-08-2001).]
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#470298 - 07/08/01 08:31 PM Re: Let's paly...TODD SAYS...!
Silent Fox Offline
Member

Registered: 03/31/01
Posts: 268
Bobbie Subgum:
>>>>At the time, comic retailers were not able to compete with the T-R-U and Walmarts, due to the fact the big chains got discounts based on how much they ordered. And since they ordered in big quantities, they got big price breaks.<<<<

So then the retailers had to buy at a cost equal to or greater than what the chain store were SELLING them for? Is this what is going on? If so, I can understand the bad feelings here. But there is still no justification for selling a toy at $50+ because it's scarce in the stores.

>>>>As for the retailers marking them up...it's called opportunism (sp?). They took full advantage of the fact that they were the only ones with them.<<<<

Opportunism is one thing. Just plain greed is another. We are not talking about putting a $10 price tag on a 7$ toy. We are talking about putting a $50+ price tag on a $7 toy. I should note that many of these retailers who were soaking their customers this way are now out of business. And rightfully so. When you see a toy on a Wal-Mart shelf knowing that a local retailer tried to sell you that same toy two weeks ago for $50, it leaves a very bad impression of that retailer and makes you wonder if his other products are likewise inflated.

Glenn Barbis:
>>>>(An aside: one major store in another had an employee who was also a comic fan, and he went to the buyer and told them that the toys were hot, and the direct retailers in the area were selling them for big bucks. He was pissed at this [understandable] <<<<

As was I when a retailer tried to sell me a figure for $45 talking about how "hard to find" it was and that if I didn't buy it from him I wouldn't find it anywhere else. Nice try. But I declined and later found it at a Toys R Us. See my point here? I was perfectly willing to buy it from the retailer and would have if he had sold it at a decent price. Instead he tried to soak me for an outrageous amount (I should also note that during the speculator glut, many retailers were doing this with COMICS as well). It wasn't long after that I stopped frequenting his store altogether.

>>>>The direct retailers shot themselves in the foot in some areas, by making the items popular enough to warrant the major chains to order them.<<<<

Bingo. And I think customers were VERY eager to see them in the in the store chains because they couldn't afford to pay some of the outrageous prices some retailers were charging so they went looking elsewhere. As a result, the major chains took notice.

>>>>And that is my main hang-up on all this. If his promise to keep the price the same would have been kept, I could let the shipping go. I ordered 20 cases, at over $100 per case. That's about $8.00 a piece per figure. I have to sell them for $9.99 to make a few bucks. Not a lot of profit, but with 20 cases, I could live with it. And when you consider that this is what Todd stated the RETAIL COST was, and Diamond stated that in the catalogs, I (being a moral retailer) was stuck selling them for that price. Then I see Wal-Mart selling them for $7.99, and I bust a blood-vessel.<<<<

Now THIS I can understand you being angry about and by your account then yes, Todd may be partially at fault here. But I think the greed of some of your fellow retailers is also to blame.

[This message has been edited by Silent Fox (edited 07-08-2001).]

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#470299 - 07/08/01 09:30 PM Re: Let's paly...TODD SAYS...!
Glenn Barbis Jr Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/99
Posts: 765
Loc: Nowhere, Pa.
What other retailers do, is not mine or Todd's fault.

However...if Todd would have waited until enough supply was made (which he obviously knew of, as the high order numbers prove), then the whole situation would have been avoided, the consumers would have gotten the product at reasonable cost, and all would be happy.

One major thing to remember is, this was during the speculator craze. Many retailers were only in business, because of this. Many retailers thought Todd would be out of business in a year, thus all this was "collectible."

How many of the retailers that were selling those toys for $45 are still in business today? I would think that after seeing how they ripped people off during this, would have kept them from doing further business with these types of retailers.

I only know that I talked to Todd directly, in person, and he told me it would be a level playing field for all regarding pricing (retail & net). It wasn't from the start.

I only know Todd told us we would get the product first. We didn't. (And I'm accounting for all the first shipments. Areas were major chains didn't order, and those direct retailers had product, can only be counted if we know exactly when the product shipped to them, compared to the major chains that did order.)

I only know how Todd bragged to the press that the Direct Market retailers were responsible for Wal-Mart & others to notice his company, and order. (And by this, I mean the original order numbers, not the sell-through.}

The fact that retailers took advantage of a boom market, is a shame, but it happens. I would hope that people taken by them, have stopped using them, and they have disappeared from the comic retail side.

And the fact that Todd took advantage of me, and cost me hundreds of dollars, is the reason I do not support TMP anymore. I've stopped buying from them, and I hope they disappear from the comic industry.

Sorry to be so cruel, but Todd has gone out of way to distance himself from the comic side of it, and thus, I have no use for him or his products.
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#470300 - 07/09/01 02:14 AM Re: Let's paly...TODD SAYS...!
Toddy McFarlane Offline
Member

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 65
And here we go again with the misinformation.

In the intire time I have been in business no one has gotten a volume discount on any of my toys that weren't inventory close outs. Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and Diamond all get them for the exact same price. If you are unhappy with the price you are paying Diamond take it up with them. Or if you qualify you can buy directly from us and skip the middle man.

The reasons for not getting your toys in the first wave is more a matter of how Diamond conducts business. Nothing more. Thier system back then wasn't built for partial shipping but every other account we had was.
And Diamond was trying to grow their own toy business in ways that didn't quite work with ours. Why else do you think I stopped making Comic shop exclusives?

The theory was sincere. Unfortunately the system wasn't built to take advantage of it. And I didn't build the system.

TODD

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#470301 - 07/09/01 09:10 AM Re: Let's paly...TODD SAYS...!
Glenn Barbis Jr Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/99
Posts: 765
Loc: Nowhere, Pa.
You stated I'm misinformed. Well...I'm only working with the information I was given, when I started trying to find out why I lost a ton of money on Todd Toys. I'm only using the information I gained from buyers, Diamond, and what I've read (mostly interviews of you). So please...ENLIGHTEN ME!!!

Why was it, when I inquired about ordering direct way back when, I was told that it wasn't possible? Todd Toys told me, when I called about the 3 month shipping disparity, that they only sold through distributors to the direct market. And the only sales they did direct, was to Toys R Us and other major chains, in huge volume/order pricing.

From the outset, at the 1994 Diamond Seminar, you stated that the direct market would be on an even playing field with the major chains. I've spoken to buyers (one in New York, and a few in the Philadelphia area) who have told me they get order discounts that far exceed anything offered through Diamond (at that time).

Maybe you don't do it now, as the Direct Market has decreased in ordering your toy product, but you did it then.

You blame Diamond. Why would they hold back shipments 2-3 months? I would like an explanation, from you or a Diamond rep, on what the problem was, in detail. When I lose the money like I did on that deal, I want more precise explanations.

Diamond went so far as to tell me (at the time) that they shipped them as they got them, and since the product was coming in waves, it was allocated to the shops, in which case most who ordered smaller quantities, got anywhere from 0 to 2 cases, while the higher ordering shops (and the ones whose monthly orders were above a certain dollar amount) received more.

I ordered 20 cases. My monthly order total was over $3000 before the toys. I received 10 cases. But by then, they had already been out in Wal-Mart, Ames, and a few other big chains, and selling for $7.99. My cost was $8 per figure. So how was I to compete with that? The Wal-Mart had them on the shelves for months, and in huge quantities, so my figs, marked at what I was told was a retail price ($9.99), were more expensive and thus, never sold. And then, I had 10 more cases still coming! More toys that I couldn't sell, because most everyone didn't want to wait, or pay a higher price.

Why the disparity in retail price? Why did Diamond's Previews list the item at Manufacturer's Suggested Price, then they were everywhere else for $2.00 cheaper?

These are things you said would not happen. They did.

Why did you ship in waves from the beginning, after making promises that product wouldn't be shipped, until enough was available for everyone? Remember the heat Image was under for soliciting books that were late or never came out at all? You stated you were going to avoid that with the toy compnay...but it never happened.

Why did you brag how the Direct Market order numbers were responsible for the major stores to be interested in your company, but never do anything to reward them for this? Instead we get hosed with late shipping, non-competitive prices, and more promises that were never kept.

The reason you don't do Direct Exclusives anymore, is because the direct market doesn't support you. And they have no reason to.

And of course, you don't need them to. McFarlane Toys is big enough with the outlets you have, to not worry about those 3000 direct market retailers, who helped get you to the ball (no pun intended).

Again, I would love a detailed accounting of what these "problems" were, from you or any Diamond rep. You can even email it to me. And I will gladly post an apology to you here and on your board, if I get a reasoned answer.

When I lost all that money, I wanted answers. I called Diamond, who gave me more information than I asked for at the time, and were very helpful in what was going on. I called Todd Toys, who gave me various people to call, and never once, did I get a direct answer. Just never returned calls or non-answers.

So please...INFORM ME!!!
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#470302 - 07/09/01 09:38 AM Re: Let's paly...TODD SAYS...!
jack Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/99
Posts: 12596
Loc: Just south of NYC
Todd is LYING when he says we pay the same by telling the "truth" that "Diamond" is the same as "Wal-Mart".

Wal mart and kay bee are END USERS. They are RETAIL OUTLETS, chains or not. When Todd says Walmart got theirs the same as Diamond, what he is forgetting to say is that walmart and kaybees should have bought through Diamond like the rest of us "toy retailers", but did the "direct buying" thing because they "qualified"

In other words todd, you are full of shit. You treat some retailers like wholesalers, otherwise KAY BEE couldnt sell spawn for the same price we buy it for.

Why complain to Diamond about price? You are the guys cheating the retailers by defining wholesale at different levels based on volume.

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#470303 - 07/09/01 11:45 AM Re: Let's paly...TODD SAYS...!
Glenn Barbis Jr Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/99
Posts: 765
Loc: Nowhere, Pa.
Thanks Jack for coming in on this.

I can understand that some direct retailers wouldn't want to raise a fuss on this (especially after all this time), and since I do not deal with Diamond or Todd anymore, I have nothing to lose by confronting them.

I've confronted Diamond on a few things in the past, here and directly, and they have always been great at giving me concise answers and taking care of things. This thing has left a bad taste in my mouth since 1994-95, and since the main cog of the wheel is finally around to answer, I want to ask some questions.

(And when you consider I was banned a year and a half ago for asking these same things on Todd's board [in a reasonable manner as here]...well...it's another reason I'm adamant about it.)

So please Todd, or anyone from Diamond...let's get down to it.

Who screwed whom?
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