I agree that there's some good points coming out from Brent and Jeff, but I disagree on a few things somewhat...
And I don't think anyone's saying they DON'T sympathize with the plight of foreign collectors either. If I could make sure everyone got figures for as cheap as possible, I would love to see it happen really... I don't begrudge anyone, but GNT's argument has no solid basis in anything.
He basically is saying "We pay more, so you should be happy". So yeah I agree you (meaning anyone outside the U.S.) has as much right to complain about pricing... GNT is basically saying ONLY the people outside the U.S. can complain about it... That we "have it good", when in reality we're buying what ammounts to a domestic product for the U.S., even if it's physically created in contracted factories over seas.
That said, I agree that I am not HAPPY to see anyone pay a ton for figures... I don't like seeing it at local Toy Shows, on Ebay, overseas or whatever... And it's everyone's right to say "this sucks", because it does.
As far as the US dollar fluctuations though, that's more a long-term economic effect... No company is going to change price on the short-term based on that factor unless the U.S. dollar's value was truly expected to be at a new "permanent" low... It's not though, so Hasbro's not going to change their pricing based on what's being considered wild dollar value fluctuations in the past year+.
Let's say the U.S. dollar made a huge gain just this month or next... For whatever freaky reason. Does that mean everyone should pay $30 per basic figure outside the U.S. then all of a sudden? It's part of pricing and everything, but it really isn't going to affect an action figure's price in any way other than long-term, and if the value change took a more permanent plateau... Which is unlikely.
I don't think anyone's disagreeing with your points, either entirely or mostly Brent, because I'm not I know... And I don't believe in a "tough ****" attitude to anyone outside the U.S. either... I wish nothing but good will to anyone outside the U.S. trying to get figures or whatever, and get them for cheapy cheap too.
The thing is though, these ARE import products to countries other than the U.S., and as long as the economic structure of the world stays (pretty much) as it currently is, which is how it has been for quite some time, then U.S. product exported to other countries will cost high prices in other nations, just as product from other nations exported here will cost more. Global economics aren't near taking over enough to where things are more balanced globally.
To say that the U.S. collectors need to stop whining because someone buying what DOES ammount to import product in another country has to pay more, simply isn't logical on any level. U.S. car buyers don't complain when they see sticker shock on a BMW. Kubrick fans can't gripe too much about prices on them... It's just expected.
I'd classify the Raw Materials similar to the FER as well... Something that doesn't get highlighted as a sharp spike in price increases for product like we are seeing with Star Wars figures right now...
To me, it's more to the idea of Hasbro and EE (and whoever else you want to include) making that extra $ while they can.
The question then with the Clones is, will they sell as many units, and will the sales at the increased price match what was possibly made with MORE sales at a cheaper price? That's not an easy question to answer... not to mention any possible adverse effect this could have on turning consumers off to the brand, on killing possible future ideas, etc.
I have my set purchased too... But I have my SET. Not my sets. So had these been $5 to $10 cheaper, then what kind of profits would we have been seeing?
There's not much easy answer to this either because it's an exclusive, and there you throw yet another wrench into the whole concept... And EE's also touting the famed, "Limited Edition" too with this...
By no means was anything meant to be offensive to collectors outside the U.S., and I tried being careful of that with my post because I know the topic is sensitive... But everyone has a right to gripe about pricing, they just have to know why the pricing is what it is before they make their opinion known...
GNT didn't do his homework, and that I think we can all agree on. And in the end, U.S. guys have as much right to cry foul on this as Canuckleheads and those over the pond(s) as well.
And if anyone's happy to pay that, well then they're wealthier than I, or just easier going maybe.