Monday, January 29, 2024

At Long Last, R2 (AKA At What Price, Preorder?)

So I finally got the new Black Series R2-D2, and he’s fantastic. But man, what a hassle. And emblematic of the very small problem of possibly needing to change up how I preorder, and who from.
But first, the figure. This is the first proper-scale, new-sculpt R2-D2 in The Black Series, something I learned when it was announced. Apparently the mold they’ve been using from the jump was significantly smaller, so it’s a good thing it wasn’t easily available when I started or I would have gotten one.

The new one is dead-accurate, though, and as full of features as an astromech toy can be. It’s got legs and ankles, and the center leg that retracts, and doors that open, and the blue things on the front pop open, and one of the panels on the top of the head comes off, and inside the doors and the head bit are holes you can peg in one of the six included tools. Want the radar dish or the periscope in the head? You’re good. Want one of his door opening / all the garbage chute deactivating arms? You’re covered. Need to poke a Yoda? You can poke a Yoda (Yoda not included).

And all the tools can be stored inside the neck - the head pops off to reveal six little storage grooves for the six tools, which is an excellent feature. And why this R2 was apparently in high demand.

And thus a tale. If you sit through it or scroll past it, there’s three more R2 pictures because I kind of went nuts. The verst version of this to be released was the Return of the Jedi 40th Anniversary Retro Card version, so I preordered it along with a bunch of other stuff from Entertainment Earth, like I usually do. Release date, October 2023. October came and went and the release date became November. November came and went and the release date became Sold Out.

Apparently now preordering is a maybe thing? No big deal, I thought. They’re releasing the same figure in standard Black Series packaging too, and that’s still available for preorder for December. So I contacted EE and they very helpfully swapped my preorder for the other figure. And December became January, and the preorder went from January to Sold Out.

In the meantime the Clea figure I’d also preordered in the summer was showing as “Backordered”, which is hopeful but also nonspecific. Again, a preorder so I could be sure to get a figure became a maybe and/or a scramble. I ended up going to BigBadToyStore for both R2 and Clea, both of which were in stock, and within a week I had both. And I was able to cancel the orders from EE without incurring retroactive non-free shipping, because the ancient orders were still big enough to qualify.

Which is kind of also some bullshit. If I order something in good faith, fully expecting to buy it and get it, and my good faith order qualifies for free shipping, and then you the retailer don’t fulfill part of that order, and I get it somewhere else, cancelling the order shouldn’t mean you automatically charging my card for the ten bucks or so I would have paid in shipping for the smaller order.  If I cancel it for my own reasons, that’s fine. Maybe they wouldn’t if I hassled them about it but not wanting hassle is literally why I’m pre-ordering. I’ll go to BBTS and pay an extra $3-$5 just to avoid the hassle.

Now I’m running into the same thing with the Lightning Collection Remastered Pink and Green Rangers. Both were originally from January. Pink is out already - BBTS has her in stock. But my EE preorder has been pushed to February, and Green has been pushed to… SEPTEMBER 2024. But if I cancel both of them, I fall out of the free shipping range. BBTS has Green Ranger preorders for April, which may or may not be dicey. So I’ve put the Green on preorder there, in the hopes that Pink comes through at EE, and I can cancel the Green there safely when/if BBTS comes through in April. 

But I don’t want to do this math. I don’t want to manage these logistics. I want to buy the toys I want and then get them. I manage enough logistics the rest of the time. So maybe I start shifting my preorders to a more reliable retailer. Maybe I just spring for Pulse Premium and make sure I get my fifty bucks worth of free shipping by grabbing early preorders one by one and just letting them ship rather than waiting for enough to hit a free shipping total. And then find a reliable source for the non-Hasbro stuff, I gueess. 

Anyway, this is all a small problem grand scheme, obviously. It’s just a level of hassle I don’t like to associate with something I do exclusively for fun. Like making R2-D2 pictures.

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