There are two Wal-Marts within fifteen minutes of one another in my area (which is depressing in and of itself, but I digress) and both of them have sections for these that are literally packed to the limit. There are at least 50 and possibly more at each store and since moving them into an aisle from the tent sale, I have yet to see a single one change positions.
People are not buying these because, as I said when this was first announced, the reason the EB promotion was so successful in the 1970s was that at that time, there were no SW action figures to buy as an alternative. To get them, you HAD to buy the EB package. Even today the EB package is looked back on as being a really audacious promotion that succeeded in spite of logic and an abundance of what is often referred to as "testicular fortitude."
Now, you've got the same promotion for a different age, but the difference is that there is not as much demand for SW toys as there was back in 1977 (relatively speaking), since there are at least 1000 different things being sold alongside this new EB kit which require absolutely no waiting for 6-8 weeks (or more) and are infinitely cheaper. And to be honest, I'm right there with mosnab in thinking that the average non-collector doesn't know what the hell this thing is; all they see is an envelope with dated artwork for a ridiculously high price. Why pay 30 dollars for this when you can go three feet down the aisle and get 6 figures right now for the same cost?
This exclusive was poorly planned, poorly executed, and is selling equally poor. Even K-Mart, the raging bastion of Chapter 11 that it is, got an exclusive that you can actually tangibly touch in their establishments (the ones that are still open, of course). Target gets two figures that create a whole lot of buzz and attention and actually promoted these items (well, they did with Vader; who knows what cluster**** awaits with the Clone), TRU gets a Yoda that was equally promoted and had a lot of buzz, and WM sits on announcing theirs until a few days before it goes on sale, Hasbro doesn't actually reveal the figures until after it goes on sale, and in the end, all they got was a crappy (yes, I said it) envelope that nobody but die-hard collectors are going to buy.
Oh, and the other WM exclusive items (the Titanium series) are just flying off the shelves here too. There have to be at least 400 of the various things hanging around collecting dust.
And you know, the conspiracy side of my personality makes me think that this Early Bird disaster (and regardless of what you think of the figures or the coolness/lameness of the item itself, it is, on a retail level, a disaster) could end up being a really bad harbinger of the future of the SW line as a whole after ROTS has run its course. Keep in mind that WM is the number one toy retailer in the country (this sickens me, but still...), and if you want to see what kind of effects WM can have on any company, just Google "WalMart Predatory Business Practices" or something like that.
I'm not saying that WM will drive Hasbro into bankruptcy, but when WM sees how poorly this EB stuff has done, I have a feeling it's going to take a whole lot of placating on the part of Hasbro to get them to carry SW toys in the next few years.