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Action Figure Delays

I've owed this blog a bit of an update and commentary for some time, and hope you'll allow me the luxury of some extended commentary here as part of an explanation of some recent issues and delays...as well as an update on incoming product.

As many of you are already aware, a deluge of new product hit the US market for Doctor Who toys and action figures, in time for many to miss the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, and, especially, to miss sales and events like the one we held at our sister operation, Annie's Book Stop of Worcester (anniesbooksworcester.com) on November 16th.

Sadly, even for the best of situations, schedules now are slipping on nearly all releases, or, otherwise, there's no warning on solicitations until items are in stock. We try to coordinate orders in advance, but even the solicitations are wrong or incomplete in many ways.

In addition to this, we apparently have so many name imitators, the warehouse handling this tells us they were processing orders incorrectly, adding items for "Mike's Comics And [fill-in-the-blank]" to our orders, and adding our orders perhaps elsewhere. And, of course, corresponding billing issues with the shipment of product are involved.

While that's an explanation for delay...at least a good chunk of it...if I didn't have something positive to add here, that's just not enough reason to blog about it.

FINALLY, we're told, a great deal of backlog is about to be straightened out, and product we ordered is FINALLY shipping to us...later than the normal delay because of all the interesting handling our account has received, and, so, later than normal compared to some competitors we have, but, we're finally expecting arrivals in about a week of some number of items in demand, and already sold through elsewhere.

I'll get to a partial list in a moment.

However, first, I want to thank those who have been placing Advance Orders all along. They trust us to get them what they want, at the best price. We expect to do that again here. Nothing regarding this delay changes any of that. For those of you who went elsewhere first, saw our competitors didn't stock enough to help you, then came here after-the-fact...why did you go elsewhere first?

Second, we expect on all these products to fill ALL Advance Orders placed by November 24, 2013, immediately upon product arrival. This actually is after what should have been the actual release date, but, owing to current odd circumstances, is still before arrival here this time. The one item currently suspect for Advance Orders placed later is the 8th Doctor and Dalek Alpha two-pack, which is seeing about twenty times the order volume of any other in the series of 11 Doctor and Dalek two-packs. We ordered plenty to cover all Advance Orders placed by a certain date, plus a quantity above that...then saw our boutique competitors sell through on several of the Doctor and Dalek pairs (despite price gouging on those compared to the rest of the set!), and orders started flooding in here. This is one among several situations that can happen, and it's why we have an Advance Order system. When others don't get enough for you, our track record of filling well above 99% of all Doctor Who Advance Orders, even including allocated and limited edition items, stands alone. And, we're not playing games with pricing some parts of an assortment higher than others because we feel we have you "at our mercy." Why do I want to charge my BEST customers my WORST prices? We saw it done elsewhere. And, again, if you were going elsewhere first, I'm left with the question...why?

We also make you the commitment to try to give the best prices anywhere on Doctor Who items we sell, from the first day we have them in stock until we sell through. Not as clearance prices. As our REGULAR pricing. We aren't running all the bells and whistles of some through our web site. So, you don't have to pay more because of them, as you might elsewhere. An Advance Order with us is NOT a gamble on price...let others who use our Advance Order system tell you. If anything, for the earliest Advance Orders, we sometimes even add further price breaks when we can negotiate a special price. Is there anyone else out there doing that for you? Or even trying?

So, why do I belabor points like this? In large part because we help our customers most when they come early and place Advance Orders...and not wait for the mad rush after everyone else has sold through, after eBay scalpers push prices through the roof, and when it becomes too late to help. It's because we want to be able to help everyone, and with Advance Orders, we have our best shot. If you want the items we're carrying, lock in price and availability as much as is possible from ANY VENDOR IN THE WORLD for these items that get a licensed US distribution. If price is low somewhere else, chances are we'll still be beating it here. We won't waste our days tending a forum site, because we are busy actually answering our phones and welcoming our customers to call and deal with a human. While we run the business to make a profit, we know we're nothing without our customers, and we know enough to run our business for YOU, not for some corporate interests. And, if you think this is simply wrong or too good to be true, ask others who deal with us. Past, present, or future. We want relationships with our customers to last decades, not just seconds.

But, for this latest group of items...we're shamefacedly saying we couldn't overcome the issues at the distributor's warehouse for them, so couldn't get things here sooner. We're hoping to have items arrive on or before December 4, 2013, at this point. Among those items should be:

The remaining Doctor & Dalek two-packs
Silver TARDIS Teapots
Sound FX Daleks
Captain Jack with Doctor's Hand
Doomsday Set
Companions Set
4th Doctor
10th Doctor with Sonic Screwdriver
10th Doctor with Blue Suit & Glasses

Don't forget you can stop in at our storefront location at Annie's Book Stop of Worcester, MA, at 65 James Street for these and some unadvertised items and prices.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

---Michael Salvo
Mike's Comics

[UPDATE December 8, 2013: Most of the items listed did ultimately arrive in the quantities expected, but we did not receive any of the quantities ordered (and paid for!) of the new 3.75" variant assortment yet, and we were shorted some number of Doctor & Dalek two-packs from both Waves 2 & 3. While MOST orders are completely filled, and while we are expecting the remainder of items to be shipped to us presently, anyone with a partially fillable order...about a dozen of our customers...will be getting an e-mail update today, explaining the situation, and individual comment about whether we may ship in separate boxes for those whom more than one parcel should be sent anyway. We're trying to be frugal on shipping costs, while also being sensitive to Holiday gift-giving as possible. Assuming we receive the shorted items as we expect, we will have a modest number of 8th & 9th Doctor two-packs when our remaining supplies arrive...unless new Advance Orders to the limit of those supplies are placed in advance of that arrival.]