Ok... story time.
This is is the utterly ridiculous, unbelievably frustrating, but overall happy ending true story of what it took to get my 80th Anniversary Captain America.
So I’ve been watching on Brickseek and the Walmart website for any movement of Cap to “in stock” and available for ship or in store pickup status. On Tuesday I see that my closest Walmart is listing the figure as “in stock” and available for in store purchase with 5 quantity in stock. I rush to Walmart on my way home from work and arrive to the same worthless toy aisle full of Wasps, Gwenpools, and Captain Marvels. I see a few remnants of the Caliban wave that weren’t there the last time I was in, so it’s clear that they do, in fact, stock new figures at some point.
I see stock carts and boxes in other departments around toys and find an employee. I ask him if he can help me find an item that their website says is in stock in the store, and when I tell him that there are none in the toy aisle he says it must be in the clearance aisle. I tell him that it’s a brand new product and there’s no way it’s on clearance, so he pulls out his iPhone/scanner combo and looks up the item with the UPC I provide.
He he tells me that it’s in the stock room but not on the floor, so that’s why the system shows it in stock. This employee works in lawn and garden and is the only one there for his department, so he can’t go back and check. I tell him I understand, and he says that the toy department is coming in from midnight to 7 AM to do a reset of the department for Christmas.
Wednesday morning I get up and move through my morning routine so that I’m ready to leave the house at 7:00 AM with enough time to hit Walmart and then go to work. I get to Walmart at 7:20 and the toy aisle is the same worthless stock. Disappointed but not surprised, I go to work.
Around 11:00 I take advantage of a need to run out for an errand to pick up something for one of my employees, and head back to Walmart. The toy aisle hasn’t changed, but I see an employee with a stock cart and some toys a few aisles over. I explain things to him, and he agrees to go check the stock room.
The employee comes back a few minutes later and tells me that the toy shipment is between a whole bunch of pallets that are still shrink wrapped and double stacked and that there’s no way for him to find it. I work in a warehouse, so I know what new product pallets are like when they come off the truck. I thank him for checking, and resolve myself to trying to acquire the figure through 3rd party means.
I haven’t seen a Walmart exclusive Marvel Legend in the store since Falcon and Winter Soldier from “Civil War”. I have no faith in my local store to ever have the figure available, so when another board member puts it out there that his area has extra Caps I sent a message that I was interested. Messages back and forth during the day result in no extra Caps for me (Thanks again for trying!).
So, I resign myself to a long hunt ahead of me. I keep checking the Walmart website and it still shows 5 in stock which means that it hasn’t hit the floor to be consumed by scalpers.
This evening I’m at home with my son just checking things on my iPad while he watches a movie on Netflix. I refresh the Walmart page, and the in stock quantity has changed to 4.
My wife is away until tomorrow morning on a staff retreat. I have a two year old who I can smell needs a diaper change contently watching a movie on Netflix. I need a plan.
I open the Netflix app and look for the “Next Avengers” animated movie that my son is watching.
It’s available to download and watch offline.
I start downloading the movie and getting my shoes and keys together. Once it’s downloaded I queue it up to where he’s at on the TV and make the switch to hand him the iPad.
i let him keep watching the movie on the iPad as I change his diaper and I tell him that it’s time to go on an adventure with daddy.
I refresh the Walmart page on my phone and the in stock quantity has dropped to 2. I get my son strapped in to his car seat and give him the iPad and I race to Walmart.
I get stuck at a red light and refresh the page on my phone again.
1 left in stock.
I make it Walmart, transfer my son and the iPad to a cart, and power walk inside. I bob and weave around the people of Walmart and make it to the toy aisle.
Four trips to the same Walmart in as many days, and I finally have it.
Hasbro, if you’re reading... please stop giving exclusives to Walmart. Collectors will buy your product without the need to create artificial scarcity. I know you’re not trying to make these figures so difficult to acquire, but Walmart doesn’t understand distribution. They have a store in every town in America but don’t know how to turn this physical network in to a virtual one. Amazon, Entertainment Earth, Big Bad Toy Store, Game Stop, Target, Best Buy, and many others sell plenty of Marvel Legends that can support exclusives.
I wish this were the end... but we all know there will be another Walmart exclusive 6 months from now.