I was shocked when I walked into one of my local Wal-Marts on Thursday and saw that their perpetual endcap of Early Birds had disappeared. I knew full well that they couldn't have sold, as I had just run one under a scanner two days prior, hoping to get one of those cool clearance prices of 5 bucks, to no avail; still 29.97. I thought that maybe they were doing the rumored "move" by sending them to stores that didn't get them for the launch, but at least I didn't have to look at them anymore.
So, I went to another local WM and saw a woman with huge boxes filled with Early Bird kits. I asked her if they were getting rid of them, and she said, and I quote:
"We're sending them back to the toy company because we only ended up selling about a tenth of what we got."
So yes, this WM, which also had the perpetual endcap of about 40 EB sets, was sending its exclusive BACK TO HASBRO if this woman was to be believed. I couldn't help but laugh to myself as I thought of how everybody but WM and Hasbro seemed to realize that this was the dumbest idea for an exclusive ever, and now it bombed in a huge way:
Target gets not one, but two exclusive action figures that cause a huge stir and sell completely through their run almost immediately.
Toys R Us gets an exclusive figure that, while not as rare, still sells out very quickly. Even their repainted Anakin ship is out of stock at most stores these days (or so I'm told).
K-Mart (K-MART FOR THE LOVE OF GOD) gets an exclusive that is more or less a reissued series of niche toys and THOSE sell out at nearly every K-Mart I've been in.
Wal-Mart ends up having to send its exclusive back to Hasbro and/or clearance them out for 1/6th of original price because nobody wanted it.
As funny as this is to me, it was preventable. The sad thing is that this could cause some major problems if WM uses the lack of EB sales as a bargaining chip with Hasbro for the future of the SW line in a WM aisle.