Sucks for us, but to any corporation, people are cattle.
Worse than cattle, we're all just numbers to them. At least with cattle they can sell the meat for various products, get milk from them, etc; with numbers, the only thing that we represent is leverage for corporations to line their own wallets. They operate under the guise of actually caring what their customers think, but in the end scheme of things, their basic philosophy is "if you don't like it, go somewhere else." Except for Wal-Mart, whose philosophy is, "if you don't like it, too bad, because we ran all the other people out of business and you have nowhere else to go."
But I digress.
The thing that gets me is that retail is leading Hasbro to believe that there is a future for SW toys. To retail, Star Wars is only really profitable in a movie year or with something huge attached to the movies (e.g. the DVD box sets) to tie toy sales to. When January 2006 hits and ROTS is just another DVD in the movie section, SW will be back to its now all too familiar four pegs for basic figures at WM, Target, and K-Mart (if they are even still around by then). The majority of the ROTS figures will be hanging in the clearance aisle for 2 bucks a pop, and Hasbro will be citing disappointing sales for everything they did in 2005. They will scale back SW production until a lot of the items they probably have planned for 2006 won't even see production on a large scale, retail will have been burned for the third time in six years by a massive product rollout and won't order enough, and a combined low production with low ordering will equal collecting nightmares.
The SW toy line, in non-movie years, is pretty much seen as the redheaded stepchild of the toy aisle. If you look at any WM during a non-film year, SW has the smallest section of pegs allotted to it of any toy line in the boys' action figure aisle. 90 percent of the time the only thing that I ever saw in the SW section last year (OTC included) were lightsabers in both electronic and basic varieties. Some will say that it's because the OTC sold so well and they flew off the shelves, but even if that is the case, empty pegs are poison for retailers. If there's nothing there, they can't make money, and wouldn't logic dictate that they restock them constantly?
The problem with that is that retail doesn't want to order a lot of SW stuff because while the stuff sells well in the short run, in the long run, it's a disaster. Most collectors will get their 1 or 2 of each figure and that's that. You might get some kids or random adults buying something, but it's a real rarity in this day and age of video games and a lack of imagination. When there isn't a movie to tie into the toys, kids aren't going to be interested, and even then their interest is dubious.
Television show or not (and let me commit heresy by saying a live action television show fills me more with dread than it does anticipation), SW is dying a slow death at retail. Target can charge 13 dollars for an action figure all they want, since they know this is their last chance. It's like the elephant in the room these days, and retail knows it. Once ROTS has run its course, retail will turn its backs, and Hasbro will be caught with their pants down because they'll keep churning out the same old thing, again and again and again, and what retail didn't kill of the line will be put out of its misery by Hasbro.
And once again, we will be blamed because we just didn't buy enough of those Force Battlers to keep the line afloat.
And to keep this even remotely on topic (says the man that just went on a tirade that is even more pessimistic than I usually go on), I looked at Ebay this morning to see how out of control the Clone Trooper auctions were. At around 10 AM there were 70 or so auctions and none of them that had been active for more than a few hours were below 30 dollars for a single figure. And in a lot of cases, the sellers were offering multiple figures, even full cases of the figures.
But the SW line isn't dying, Hasbro has the license until 2018 or something like that. Just pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.