Author Topic: How Much is Too Much?  (Read 10999 times)

Offline Rob

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #75 on: February 21, 2011, 12:13 PM »
It just seems really convenient for figure prices to hike up across the board right after Hasbro announces they had one hell of a year in 2010. 

Agreed.  I think an awful lot of companies are using the economy as an excuse to pay people less... charge people more... increase bottom lines...

Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #76 on: February 21, 2011, 01:01 PM »
I say we boycott Hasbro!  Who's with me?

<sound of crickets>

anyone?

<more crickets>

<sigh>
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Offline JACKOFTRADZE

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #77 on: February 21, 2011, 03:10 PM »
Reality check guys. You are all smarter than some of this finger pointing.

While it's easy and convenient to jump to default mode with the emotional rhetoric of the lemming thinkers that like to demonize the "Greedy & Evil Corporations" have you noticed commodity, food and gas prices lately? Plastic has oil in it. Factories need energy to power them and they are powered by oil. Trucks that take the goods to the dock run on oil, ships and planes that deliver the goods here run on oil. The goods have to go back on trucks to be delivered to stores and if you have not guessed already they run on oil too. Oil costs money and oil is getting more expensive. So when oil goes up everything does including the goods we like to purchase like SW figures.

If Hasbro is losing money on the brand they will no longer make them. When costs go up the company can only absorb so much so they have to raise prices based on supply/demand. Stores need to charge more as well because they can only absorb so much too. I work in the Toy industry, China raised the price of manufacturing everything by 20%, no joke. It's devastating. My company and all companies have no choice to raise prices.

So instead of blaming Hasbro I suggest focusing on the temporary politicians that have passed horrible moratoriums, legislation and over regulating laws that is making the cost of energy, food and goods rise. These same people have spent so much an accumulated so much debt that the Dollar is dropping therefore it's worth less. When it's worth less it costs even more to buy stuff.

This is economics and business 101. Too many people know about sports and Star wars but not the very people who affect their wallet. Please, pay attention to politics, their actions have finally penetrated the bubbles of the A-Politicals Americans to the point where they are seeing their action come home to roost. It's only when wallets are affected that this happens.

Sorry for the rant but I am so tired of the Evil & Greedy Corporation spiel, it's loser talk. The majority of Companies are not out to get you, they want to earn your business and have you come back for more. They are not out to screw you.
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Offline Keonobi

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #78 on: February 21, 2011, 04:21 PM »
Without straying too far into "pit" specific talk, the reason that the price for Chinese goods are rising isn't because the dollar is depreciating, its because the Chinese have made atleast show efforts to stop manipulating the renminbi.  Meaning they are actually letting the value of their currency rise; some.  Which means you need more dollars to purchase goods made in China.

Higher commodity prices don't have a 1:1 relationship with rising consumer prices.  Action figures have a significant portion of their cost tied in the labor costs.  Which is to say the Hasbro (or freelance) sculptors, the factory workers, the packaging designers, the marketing people, the people that stock the figures, etc.  For the most part those costs haven't been escalating.  Of the $8+ of the cost of the action figure the actual value of the plastic contained in the figures is only a few cents.

It's inaccurate to state that the higher commodity prices directly lead to higher consumer prices.  Its only true for consumer items where the underlying commodity makes up the majority of the price structure.  For goods where the majority of the price is tied up in non-commodity components (for example items with a high labor content), price increases can only rise when inflation gets baked in (ie when we see increases to core inflation).

Hasbro has realized that the Vintage line sells at $8-$9 at a rate sufficient that they think they'll increase their margins if the increase prices to the $9-$10 range.  Similarly Walmart and Target have realized that they are leaving money on the table and not gaining market share by pricing their figures lower.  Its not a commodity story, its just business.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #79 on: February 21, 2011, 04:43 PM »
I'd prefer we keep all our political beliefs to ourselves.  That's not appropriate for this discussion as nobody has a definitive answer to all this, and nobody is asking to be debated.  There's not even just two clear sides.  There's a lot of reasons prices are hiking, and they go beyond political regulations, oil prices going up, and large companies being greedy and opportunistic.  And none of it's really appropriate for in here.

Ultimately the prices suck though, and if you want to complain about them (or praise them because you're nuts?) be my guest.  I for one know what I believe, and that I'm not just following people because I don't understand business or economics...  Had plenty of years to earn my education in the field to know better.  ;)  So let's keep the discussion here to just how basically ****** the costs of these things are, sales and stuff, and whether we're going to cut back or quit the hobby all together.

Me personally, I actually do have my finger on the red button of doom...  I easily could see giving up things if the prices go beyond $8.99.  I cut back at $7.99, and I don't feel that's a good price really, but it was tolerable.  $8.99 means I'm really cutting back and avoiding anything that isn't really well done.  Anything above that and I'm going to go OT only and pick up only what I really wanted to see made before I quit, and then basically be done with the hobby.

If Hasbro sees sales decline they may adjust.

Is the MSRP up on Star Wars figures, or no?  If the MSRP hasn't gone up...  I question who exactly is doing the price-hiking here.  MSRP's are set with room to sell figures for less and still profit, so is this Hasbro or retail?  That's a big question right now.  I do find it funny though how profitable 2010 was for the line, in a non-movie year, and considering how well the line did in 2007 which was a boom year.  2008 saw a hike but with the droid pack-in...  sales declined.  Now here we are.  Will the line boom again in 2011?

Anyway, price-hikes aren't new, but neither are price drops from time to time...  I hope they can come down which I think they can, but my hope dwindles.  You never know though, and so all you can do is watch and wait.  :-\
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 04:49 PM by Jesse James »
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Offline JediJman

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #80 on: February 21, 2011, 04:44 PM »
Its not a commodity story, its just business.

Exactly.  Lets consider a few facts:
 - We know Hasbro had a great year selling SW in 2010.  That means they made a very good profit.
 - Retail prices moving from $8 to $10 is a 25% increase.
 - Debate commodity impact or fuel costs however you like, there is simply no way Hasbro costs have risen 25%

I don't care how anyone tries to spin it, this is a company that was already is making good profit on something and is now raising their profit margin even higher.  I guess if I thought I could grow my own net income in this manner, maybe I would do the same.  That said, no one should mistake the fact that Hasbro is getting more profit per figure than they ever have before.  You don't have to hate Hasbro or stop buying figures, but don't blind yourself by saying these increases are expected or make Hasbro out to be the victim here.

By the way, if anyone can stomach the $9 price on HTS.com, coupon code HTS10 will get you 10% off.  ;)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 04:46 PM by JediJman »
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Offline JACKOFTRADZE

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #81 on: February 21, 2011, 04:52 PM »
JJ, This is not spin, it's reality. 2010 profit is great to point out but gas was a lot cheaper than it is this year. Also Labor costs were lower in 2010 than 2011. Starting in 2011, China instituted a 20% increase in manufacturing. In the Toy industry you negotiate pricing on a yearly basis.

Kenobi, I generalized without going to far in the fine details of all of the factors I mentioned so I did not go too Pitt. I just wanted to mention enough to get the point across. And I do agree with you on China (All manufacturing over there did increase by 20% nationwide too) However  the main culprit for all of the increases including commodities is oil/gas. As I pointed out in my last post it clearly it touches the Star Wars figure you buy at several points before it even reaches the pegs. It costs a lot more to make and get it to the shelf. Transportation and shipping is at an all time high, it touches every single aspect of our lives.

My main point was that after reading the comments here and on Yakface all I have been seeing is the bashing of Hasbro calling them greedy without looking into the real culprits of why we are paying more. Believe me Hasbro would love to sell these cheaper so they could move more volume, current conditions will not allow it. All of the unrest is only adding to the problem.

Take a look next time you fill your tank, it costs you more just to get to work or hunt for figures. Translate that into the supply chain of goods and services. Costs go up and they are passed on to us. We all lose.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #82 on: February 21, 2011, 04:59 PM »
JACK, I asked nicely once...  Stop it.

Nobody said you're spinning anything, I just said other people have other points of view, and many of them are qualified believe it or not.  You're probably not the only one is all I'm saying. ;)  So please drop it.

A buddy of mine in GE's polymers manufacturing division laughed at the notion of the increases by the percentages we're seeing...  And yes they deal with Chinese labor and manufacturing using oil-based products.  There's a lot of angles to look at the price-hikes from, and simplification to "It's oil!" is one way...  There's certainly other valid viewpoints.  And we're trying to keep this area clean from the "it's _____'s fault, and you're all blind to it!" bull****.

You're my friend, so I hate to be this dickish with my post, but please drop it.
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Offline JACKOFTRADZE

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #83 on: February 21, 2011, 05:39 PM »
Jesse I honestly missed your post, I was typing as you posted, look at the times. Noted and no offense taken, same comes from me. I also was not trying to pick fights, especially if you read my last post, but some things cannot go unchallenged. Oil is the main culprit, it does not care what political party you belong to. I also do not care what your political stripes are either, people need to pay attention to all of them and not just sports/etc. My political references were not aimed at just one party or person, it was at both parties, they are both very guilty. So please do not over read into it. I also mentioned the unrest in the mid east so there are outside factors as well which do and can make matters even worse in regards to oil.

I was defending Hasbro from all of the "greedy" accusations, frankly it's reactionary. I have not seen or read balancing points of view for Hasbro, just insults and accusations. Just because they have no voice here should not make them the ultimate punching bag, I have friends there. (I knock them when they really deserve it) I also work in the Toy industry as you know, so I take this matter personally (maybe too much which I can admit) because I deal with this on a daily basis. I am seeing increases in manufacturing, material and transportation mainly from oil first hand. We as an industry cannot hold prices and have to raise them, retailers in turn must raise prices as well. It's a fact, I stand by that. My industry in under real threat because we are a luxury not a necessity. You know I am reasonable, I am opinionated but I base my opinions on facts and logic. I do not pick fights or interject just because.

Does anyone think I like paying more for figures? I do not but I know where the increases are coming from and they are not sinister plots. I will leave it at that not to stir anything in a bad way, that was not my intention at all. No one, including Hasbro wants to raise prices just because or to rip you off. They want you to be a repeat buyer.

« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 05:43 PM by JACKOFTRADZE »
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #84 on: February 21, 2011, 05:51 PM »
That's certainly fair JACK, and I appreciate your viewpoint on things always, so don't get me wrong.  And I think everyone can agree oil's caused price hikes across the board, all industries, but there's just questioning over Hasbro's hikes and if they're excessive...  I think that's open to debate.

As far as Hasbro being greedy...  I think that's debatable too.  It's not the design team's fault obviously, but people in on the financial aspect who could be accused of this...  And Hasbro would hardly be the first large company to make a cash grab in turbulent economic times.  So do I see it as possible?  Absolutely.  I see it equally possible it's retailers and not Hasbro.  Like I said, what's the MSRP these days?  Is it up, or has it remained?  Did it just go up on CW/Legends and Vintage stayed the same?  These are things I'm not sure on...  If MSRP's went up you can start pointing fingers more at Hasbro.  If they didn't, you certainly cannot.  I'm not sure though, I just know prices have gone up.

Like I said though, there's POV's that differ that oil's all of it...  And they're pretty solid too.  So people are going to not always agree that, "It's just oil and you have to accept it".  I don't doubt that oil's playing a part though, for sure.  I think that's obvious to most in the thread so you're not losing that point on anyone JACK.

And just so you know I obviously don't hold ill-will towards you, just try to refrain from bringing politics of any party/kind into the fray please.  Oil's up, economic factors are fluctuating all over the place, financial factors are doing the same, and everyone's thoughts on the matter are pretty valid I think.

For me, personally, I think the price-hikes are excessive.  I think some should be expected but not by these percentages.  That's my take, and I'm happy to buy new toys if things are reasonable.  If not, I'm not happy about it, but I will leave the hobby all together if things get bad enough, and regardless, they're currently to where I'll be cutting back substantially.  If Hasbro selling less to collectors doesn't hurt them then they're making the right decisions.  I cannot imagine this won't come back to bite them in the ass to a degree though, but that's just my opinion.  I just hope they realize WHY collectors maybe aren't hanging in there like they hoped with the Vintage launch is all.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #85 on: February 21, 2011, 06:11 PM »
It's not the design team's fault obviously, but people in on the financial aspect who could be accused of this...  And Hasbro would hardly be the first large company to make a cash grab in turbulent economic times.  So do I see it as possible?  Absolutely.  I see it equally possible it's retailers and not Hasbro.  Like I said, what's the MSRP these days?  Is it up, or has it remained?  Did it just go up on CW/Legends and Vintage stayed the same?  These are things I'm not sure on...  If MSRP's went up you can start pointing fingers more at Hasbro.  If they didn't, you certainly cannot.  I'm not sure though, I just know prices have gone up.

YES, the MSRP went up.  That's why you're seeing the $8.99 price at HTS and Target and why Walmarts are now heading to $8.96 each.

It was a corporate Hasbro decision to raise prices across the board to deflect rising costs (oil, labor, etc) and keep the stock healthy. From earlier in the thread...

This was not a Hasbro Star Wars team decision to stick it to collectors, it was a corporate strategy to cover rising costs and keep the stock price looking pretty.

During the pre-Toy Fair Investor webcast, Hasbro confirmed that they have started enacting a prike hike on ALL of their toys, not just Vintage.

"Hasbro Inc (HAS.O), the No. 2 U.S. toy company, is counting on price increases to combat rising costs of commodities, freight and labor.

The company, which hiked prices by mid-single digits this month, said it will monitor the cost environment closely to see if it has to raise prices again before fall, CFO Deborah Thomas told investors ahead of the toy fair in New York."

Mattel is doing the same thing, planning price increases on all their stuff to cover increases in oil and chinese labor costs.  It sucks, but unless you have a secret strategy for allowing Hasbro to make less money and then still keep investors and Wall Street happy, that's the way it is.

I talked to the guys at Toy Fair and believe me, they get it.  They have been busting their asses to get the hard-core collectors back into the line (new AT-AT, vintage cards, new Jabba, Cloud Car, etc etc).  Do you think they are really dumb enough to say, "awesome we lured all these collectors back into the line, now let's jack up the price and chase them away again!!!" :P

And yes, it's a bit of a coincidence that the announcement came when Star Wars was on a bit of an uptick again, but the price hikes were a wider-spread decision made by guys higher up the food chain than the Star Wars team.

And yes, a $1 increase from $8 to $9 (12.5%) is disproportionate to their target (7%), but that has more to do with increasing more than they need and then allowing the retailers to price-war themselves back down a bit but still cover the price hike that Hasbro claims they need.
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #86 on: February 21, 2011, 06:26 PM »
This Reuters article on Hasbro from February 11th is absolutely germain to this discussion.

Quote
UPDATE 2-Hasbro counting on price hikes to offset costs

* Says price rises should help fight rising costs

* Does not see costs rising as much as they did in 2010

* Planning for labor rates to rise in mid-teens in 2011

* Shares down 22 cents

NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Hasbro Inc (HAS.O), the No. 2 U.S. toy company, is counting on price increases to combat rising costs of commodities, freight and labor.

The company, which hiked prices by mid-single digits this month, said it will monitor the cost environment closely to see if it has to raise prices again before fall, CFO Deborah Thomas told investors ahead of the toy fair in New York.

Larger rival Mattel Inc (MAT.O) on Feb. 2 also said rising costs of oil and Chinese labor would entail price increases in 2011.

Manufacturers of everything from food to soap to appliances are grappling with rising costs of metals, plastics, packaging paper and labor costs in manufacturing hubs such as China. Many are raising prices to pass the costs to customers, but industry experts worry if the price hikes will stick in a slowly recovering economy.

Hasbro, the maker of Nerf foam toys and Monopoly board games, is planning for labor rates to rise in the mid-teens in 2011. However it does not see overall costs rising as much as they did last year.

Hasbro missed sales estimates in the key fourth quarter on tepid U.S. demand for games and puzzles. The company has forecast a rise in sales and profits in 2011 citing a strong entertainment lineup for 2011, including toys modeled after the movie "Transformers -- Dark of the Moon."

Its shares were down 0.5 percent or 22 cents at $45.47 on Friday morning on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

This is not fan or collector analysis (despite the fact that a number of people in this discussion have some credibility on the topic).  This is from Reuters, which is one of the leading business news services in the world.  And it is very much the same message:  costs are up.  Labor, materials, transportation....everything.  And it's not just Hasbro.  Reuters cites Hasbro's chief competitor Mattel for comparison's sake in the toy industry, and that increasing costs in China are affecting other businesses as well.

And the reality is that we're talking about publically traded companies when we discuss Hasbro or Mattel.  They have an obligation to their shareholders to stay profitable.  There are no clear economic indicators that this could be a temporary rise in costs which companies like Hasbro or others could try to absorb in the interest of retaining customers.  And even if such a strategy was undertaken, the shareholders could very well vote out Hasbro's current board of directors and put in place new management that would return the company to profitability, and likely increase prices.

I don't think anyone is happy about price increases.  But understanding the reasons why seems very relevent.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 06:31 PM by Nicklab »
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #87 on: February 21, 2011, 06:53 PM »
It's not the design team's fault obviously, but people in on the financial aspect who could be accused of this...  And Hasbro would hardly be the first large company to make a cash grab in turbulent economic times.  So do I see it as possible?  Absolutely.  I see it equally possible it's retailers and not Hasbro.  Like I said, what's the MSRP these days?  Is it up, or has it remained?  Did it just go up on CW/Legends and Vintage stayed the same?  These are things I'm not sure on...  If MSRP's went up you can start pointing fingers more at Hasbro.  If they didn't, you certainly cannot.  I'm not sure though, I just know prices have gone up.

YES, the MSRP went up.  That's why you're seeing the $8.99 price at HTS and Target and why Walmarts are now heading to $8.96 each.

It was a corporate Hasbro decision to raise prices across the board to deflect rising costs (oil, labor, etc) and keep the stock healthy. From earlier in the thread...

*SNIP*

And yes, a $1 increase from $8 to $9 (12.5%) is disproportionate to their target (7%), but that has more to do with increasing more than they need and then allowing the retailers to price-war themselves back down a bit but still cover the price hike that Hasbro claims they need.

Thanks Jeff, I was assuming the MSRP went up but wasn't positive.  I was certainly leaning more that direction when WM finally went up, but I wasn't sure if Vintage had gone up since they lingered longer at their last price compared to CW and Legends...  So that clears that up.

I hope the last part you said holds true, but so far with TRU out of the game entirely at this point (I know mine haven't gotten anything past Wave 2 on Vintage and even then it wasn't much of it because Wave 1's been abundant), it's pretty unlikely I think.  I think it was Justin or Matt that said that if things had been more incremental, it maybe wouldn't have been such a slap.

But as the overall economic climate changes, things can change with the line.  The cost of oil's certainly been an impact but it's not the only one.  There's obviously the broad economic spectrum at work, from the US Dollar's worth globally, to China's budding middle-class and economy, etc.  Oil's just one major player in the landscape as to why things are going up though.  It sucks.  I'd say the labor issue is equal if not more an issue, myself.  China's changing so dramatically now...  When 90% of your junk comes from there...   :-\ 

It makes me wonder too if Hasbro's considering other sources for manufacturing and labor.  I read a good article not too long ago online about the possible replacement manufacturing countries providing cheap, skilled manufacturing labor.  I can't find the link though, but it was like India, Vietnam, The Phillipines, etc.  But when you're tied to China for so long I cannot imagine any change like that ever happening quickly in any capacity.

Like I said, price hikes are something you've gotta deal with or bail to send a message (or at least dramatically cut back)...  I'm very curious what kind of push back the consumers will give to Hasbro (if any?), and will Hasbro make adjustments?  Only time is going to tell on that.  I just know I'm at my threshold simply because I can't really justify an action figure costing half a tank of gas in my car.  It just weighs funny to me when I look at things like that, which I sort of do everything in that regard.  Too many years being taught that way in Accounting classes I guess.  It makes even the things you love look absurd when you're constantly comparing.   :-[

Anyway, hopefully nobody's pointing their fingers at Hasbro's Star Wars team...  :)  If they are, they've obviously been off-base on that.  They're helpless to beancounters and Lucasfilm.
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Offline Brian

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #88 on: February 21, 2011, 07:49 PM »
I know it isn't necessarily MSRP, and might not be related, but I was reading through Hasbro's Press Release where it mentions the "Approximate Retail Price" of $7.99 for both CW and Vintage.  Sure, we won't (and aren't) seeing that, but I just thought it was interesting they were both listed at the same price (which may be a typo too - I didn't see this posted anywhere else off hand).

I'll be curious to see what the true tipping point is going to be with the line.  I think many to most of us have already cut back in some capacity.  I know that I have.  I was never the army builder that many people here are/were, but I've cut back even more in that capacity.  I've also start to just skip many clones.  Part of it may be cloned out, but part of it is that I'm happy enough with the previous versions (thinking of things like Utapau, AT-RT Driver, 501st, AOTC, etc.)  I originally wanted to get a couple more of the Utapau troops, but it sounds like they may have wonky helmets and/or discolorations, so I'll probably just pass.  Same with the recent Stormtrooper - I'm really not a fan of that helmet either, and I have enough of previous versions that I'm happy with, that with the price being that high, I'll just skip it.

I consider myself someone who will always be buying these things in some capacity, unless we hit some crazy price like $15-20 a figure (an extreme of course).  $9-10 is bad enough already, I agree.  I'm already skipping some things, and like Jesse mentioned above, if things got worse I'd likely go to OT only and break it down further from there (or drop the "other" things I collect to increase the SW budget).  The prices are getting hard to stomach, that is for sure.  It does seem to be happening to most toy lines though (Hasbro or otherwise), because I know things like Marvel and DC stuff has been steadily creeping up as well (and GI Joe for that matter).  Like Jeff mentioned in his post, I'm sure the actual Star Wars team isn't real happy about it either, and I don't blame them.  I feel bad in a way that they bear a lot of the brunt of this type of stuff in Q and A's, conventions, etc., because I get the impression that guys like Derryl and co. really are fans of the line just like we are.

It will be interesting to see what the actual tipping point will be to get the majority of people to jump ship.  Would it/could it affect the line to the point that they cut it back further (or even - panic button - drop it altogether?).  I know just in our little community here, we've seen a lot of people quit the line, significantly cut back, or at least start talking about stopping over the past few years.  Not just casual ones either, but people who have rooms and storage units full of this stuff.  That has to be concerning for Hasbro.  Sure, they can talk about "new fans" that have come in with the PT or CW, but for some reason I just don't know that they have the staying power that the older generation has (for the most part anyways).  I look at age groups like my brother (early 20s) or even nephews (10-ish), and things don't hold either the nostalgia or interest for them the way it does for us (with SW, Joe, TF, etc.)  It is an interesting time for the line, that's for sure.

Summing up a way too long post, I'm interested to see what the tipping  point will be for people.  Some have already hit it, and if prices keep rising, many more will.  I think we'll see a line for awhile (through the movie re-releases at least), but I'm wondering how limited it might become after that.

Offline Darby

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #89 on: February 21, 2011, 09:43 PM »
I think for me, $10 is the end.  $9 is really a bit unthinkable.  I'll start waiting a while to pick up loose unless it's something I have to have.  I set out to complete a carded set of TVC and that's gone now; it's a shame for the brand, because it was coming back.  It will be interesting to see how much the price increase erodes the base.