Ok, I'm answering these as honestly as I can, as both a fellow Collector that's been on the outside, and as a Team Lead on the inside.
Darth Chuck - I see your point, but now please hear me out:
1. I have a Target in my area that "profiles" the collectors, puts out alerts that "no new Star Wars should be brought out for the next 30 minutes" when we enter the store and outright REFUSES to stock EMPTY figure pegs even though they have more in the back.
That is simply wrong. Not your statement, but the fact that they are doing so, and especially blatantly in front of you guys. Unless there has been numerous complaints from other Guests, about rude behavior from 8am Collectors (which happens more than you think), I can't justify WHY they'd adopt that policy....which ISN'T corporate at all. Some stores in my area DO wait to stock HTF items after a few of the regulars leave, only because these guys have been hassling Team Members and even Guests for years. Refusing to fill empty pegs when there is stock in the back should be brought up to the STL or Hardlines ETL if the Team Lead isn't helping. If that doesn't work, ask for the DTLs email or phone number.
2. I have spoken with Target Corporate Customer Service, and everytime I do they confirm to me that the price scanners with the keypads are to assist customers in looking-up items that are not out on the shelves/pegs.
Technically, yes. That's why they are there....the issue is, people are using DPCIs found online weeks before items are even due to be on the sales floor, and seeing them IN STOCK. Some are then demanding product be brought out and sold to them, or asking people that don't know any better, to pull the items so they can buy them early. Just because it's IN STOCK, doesn't mean they HAVE to sell it to you or that you're entitled to it. Until you've paid at the front lanes, it is Target's merchandise, and they can do whatever they want with it.
3. The same Target that I mention in item #1 will allow an 18 year old kid walk in with DPCI numbers, ask customer service for those items, get them for him and let him walk back out again. I know this for a fact - I've gone to the store with my stepson, I go in and I get denied. He'll go in after me and then call me into the store to meet him at the register to pay. WTF?
Again, it's NOT what they are supposed to be doing. I'm not being facetious here, but have you ever "caused a problem" at this store? You know, pitched a bit of a fit over a toy for any reason, that would make them single you out? I'm only asking since I can't think of another "valid" reason they may single you out.
4. Items ALWAYS leak out early, all you have to do is hit the store when the dictator who manages the area that includes Toys is not working.
Items leak out because of several reasons.....it usually has nothing to do with the "dictator" though. All stores have a Flow Team. Some work overnight 10pm-7am, some come in around 3am-11am. These people are pushed to work 1,200-2,000 piece trucks (and by piece I mean Cases) every night....sometimes 2 trucks. If a case with a "set date" slips by and makes it to the floor, instead of backstock, it may get put on a riser or flexed in where that BRAND normally resides. Accidents happen when people are overtired and in a rush. Of course, people using DPCIs to having stuff pulled from the Backroom doesn't help either. If they don't by the whole case, the Team Member usually walks over to the aisle, and just puts the leftovers anywhere to avoid having to Backstock them (since most don't know how, because they aren't trained to).
5. They never set limits in my area. EVER.
Limits are set per store discretion.
6. Why is it that Target seems hell-bent on lumping scalpers in with collectors? I should be able to get my two of everything w/o any hassle. Clearly I'm not buying in quantities to resell like the Granny you describe below when I'm only getting two.
The average Team Member really doesn't know the difference. They see 20-30 something year old men, showing up daily to buy toys, and naturally, after years of seeing it happen, assume that they are one in the same. The only reason I know the difference, is because I make it a habit to introduce myself to these crazy 8am'ers to find out who's who.
7. If Target finds these exclusives such a "hassle" - I'll be perfectly happy not having to worry about even stepping foot into a Target if you guys stop getting them from Hasbro.
Collectors seem to be making these more of a "hassle" than anything. If people wouldn't go into panic mode everytime me or some other Target spy slip DPCIs to let you guys know what's coming, there wouldn't be a hassle for anyone. If we say, "Target is gonna have Star Wars exclusive "X", and we don't leak the DPCI, people start slamming us for holding out on them and being jerks.
and last but not least...
8. I dropped over $500.00 on a single day picking up all of the exclusives and UBPs. I shop at the store for toys all year 'round. Where's the customer loyalty for someone like me? You make it sound like you'd rather let the moms who shops for toys once, perhaps twice a year get something before the toy department "regular" customers.
Just because you shop there daily, weekly, monthly, doesn't entitle you to anything more than the next guy. What exactly are you expecting for "customer loyalty"? I have Mom's DAILY that shop for Toys....some for SW, some for TFs, etc. The 10-15 minutes you spend in the store are a very small snapshot of who the "regulars" really are.
Look, I'm not saying Target is perfect by ANY means. I will say there are far worse stores you could have to deal with (at least in my experience). Walmart has NEVER checked the back for me, because they CAN'T. There stuff is shoved on pallets and shrink wrapped until they start stocking again overnight. Target can at least tell you "YES we have that!", and sometimes even go get it for you.
TRU, from my experience, has a built in Collector Ring in every store. Probably because the guys hired there are collectors to begin with. I'm sure quite a few flip stuff on eBay to cover the cost of their own collections. I personally know of at least 2 in the Orlando area that do this.
KB, well, not much else to say, they may be worse than TRU.
Kmart shouldn't even bother carrying toys, plain and simple.
If retail is bumming you out, busting your balls, or generally pissing you off, I'd say try Etailers or just find a new hobby. SW toys are supposed to be fun (as are all toys). I think people take them too seriously. When you're stressing this much over plastic and carboard, it may be time to try something new.