I think I'm looking at it at a slightly different perspective from you Jeff, in that I'm looking at it from a "by the case" standard sort of thing.
If you order that way, then yeah - the $24 hike in "by the case" price stings quite a bit, especially if you're not splitting it with someone else. Case packs will become even more important going forward I guess... especially if Target is going to continue to break up cases for the stores.
But like you said Jeff, a Jawa 2-Pack is a 2-pack in general, and that's a step in the right direction at least even if it's not something I'm giddy about. If it were in a set I had to buy and I wanted the rest, I'm in on that. But what if it were just a Jawa? Or what if it were that Yoda, or R5 droid (And I LOVE droid repaints)? Things start getting funky at that point.
I think you can count on there being duds. Do I want that repainted TVC C-3PO they showed at NYCC for $13? Nope.
I guess it's not so much the price hike's actual financial impact, especially if figure counts on the year stay similar. I think it's more just how it makes me perhaps a little more critical of the toy itself? Such as Yoda, who I could pass through my nitpicking because the backpack, the gear, and all that made it cool and fun to me. But $2 more and I'm looking at it and thinking Yoda's more an accessory that should've been packed with Luke (I'm kidding... sorta. ).
I guess that's where I'm hopeful. Hopeful that Hasbro saw the reaction to the $10 BAD repaint and tiny Yoda and decided the price hike to add/keep value was more important than the idea of needing to hold the line at $10. If that Yoda was $12 instead of $10, maybe we would have got something closer to the original spec drawing that Yakface posted a while back?
Time will ultimately tell us whether this hike was good or bad. If $12 gets us back to Jawa 2-packs instead of one Jawa for $10. It's a good thing. If $12 gets us more corner-cutting stuff like the poorly deco'd, tiny Yoda and/or BAD repaints, then it's not a good thing. If the line was holding steady at $10, there's no way that Carbonite Block gets packed in with Han Solo.
So, for now, I'll wait and see. My gut says I'm fine with the extra $2 for now... but whatever they show us at Toy Fair and/or Celebration could really change things though.