WARNING: This post contains vitriol. Also, forum posts most clearly illustrating what I wanted to say proved harder to find. Ah, that’s life.
Ugh. Just ugh.
Look, I’m okay with complaining about stuff you don’t like. That’s fine. I’m okay with being disappointed. Remember one of my first posts here ever? Mattel has to work on its quality control, because the current level is unacceptable.
Well, there’s been enough controversy about Grayskull that Scott Neitlich has posted something further for PR, beyond MAttel’s official statements. You can see it here:
Well, let’s look at the downsides of the upcoming Castle Grayskull:
1. It’s expensive. We’re talking about $300 after shipping.
2. It’s a little smaller than the original promoted model (see the above image for how much it shrank).
3. It’s lost some accessories. They got priced out.
4. Mattel has clearly said that it might lose more, though they aren’t TRYING to reduce it without reason.
Okay. Well, that happens. Now, when this was proposed, it said – clearly – on the promotional info that the product was likely to change before its final release. If it turned out to be too expensive to produce at the small scale of production it owuld get, then the castle would have to be downgraded a bit. Yes, I fully understand that the TMNT sewer playset is bigger and cheaper, but it’s also cardboard, and manufactured in much larger numbers, and not mail-order. Those things actually make a difference. And it’s bad, but it happens. So, let’s look at some positives:
1. Scale-wise, it’s not just bigger than the original Grayskull, it’s bigger to-scale than the original.
2. They are working surprisingly hard at lowering the drawbridge, altering the throne, and doing other fan-requested changes.
3. Seriously, it’s Castle Grayskull. The impossibility. And it’s coming out.
4. You can cancel your preorder at any time, and never be charged for it.
So, what does this mean? There’s definitely cause for disappointment. Also, I’m not buying one, but I hand’t been planning on it beforehand. I’d love to visit somebody with one (and bring my family), but yeah. Space, money, and all that.
So, yes. You have a right to complain. You have a right to cancel your order. BUT…
…There’s a line. There’s a line of decorum that you shouldn’t cross. And this thread shows a lot of line-crossing (though granted, it’s all over the fandom). I’m not going to directly quote people so much as bring up certain arguments and argument types, but please understand this basic principle:
It’s okay to complain, it’s not okay to be an ass.
Imagine that you’re in a restaurant, and they bothced your order. You can complain. You can demand your money back. But one thing you can’t do is scream, smash the dishes on the floor, overturn other customer’s plates, and assault the waiter.
Or hey, let’s say you’re having trouble with technical support for your computer. You can be as frustrated as you want, but if you cuss out the person on the other end of the phone, they can hang up on you.
My parents raised me to learn that I can ask for anything I wanted, but if I threw a tantrum, the answer was “NO.” So, how is the fandom behaving right now, concerning Castle Grayskull disappointment?
“Fans entered into a contract with Mattel when they preordered. But that contract is a two way street. Yes, there is fine print stating that things are subject to change, but none the less BIG promises were made in these videos, etc, and many people signed up based on those promises. In other words, they signed up under what can reasonably be considered false pretenses, the fine print be damned.”
This was said by somebody who does not understand contracts. Or the law. Or contract law. “I don’t care what the contract says, I expected more” will never win you one dime in court.
“And apparently, only you continue to operate under the misconception that MOTUC is a 6″ line, when it’s clearly a 7″ scale line. Is this misinformation instead deliberate for some reason?”
Actually, the line is six-inches-and-some-change, the same as other 6″ lines, like DCU, Marvel Legends, and… oh, wait. The sudden campaign to call it a 7″ line (they’re under 7 inches) is ust part of the “Mattel LIES” campaign. There’s even a whole thread devoted to “discrediting” Mattel by asking about scale.
“And exactly how is Mattel involving the fans, besides taking their money and doing a meaningless Q&A every month? “
Mattel has way more fan interaction than other toy companies, barring the smaller, indy ones. Don’t forget the polls that help determine whihc toys come out, or how fan interaction has actually changed things. And yeah, taking money is what companies do. All companies.
“I thought Mattel was going to work together with the fans to make this happen and all we had for input was deciding which figures should be on the box-art (that is if the poll’s not rigged again ).”
Mattel is modifying the drawbridge, the throne, the back door, and other stuff due to fan requests. And what, rigged polls? So, who’s the liar now? People seem to think “disagreement” means “Lying.” Or maybe they’re lying…
“Hopefully, this is a learning experience for you to not promise fans something until you get all the facts straight on cost issues and production. We all saw that sentence that the size was subject to change….but usually when there is already a set price for something, then there is no reducing the size of something without reducing the cost.”
Well, at least this person was honest enough to admit that yes, Mattel said it would happen. Kudos there?
“Yes, thank you, you’ve cleared up my mind. I’m now 99.999% sure I’ll cancel most or all of my 3 preorders.”
I’m 99.999% sure he’ll still buy them.
“Slightly smaller” is a very curious way to say about 25% smaller.”
Actually, it’s 11.8%.
“No, it’s not. Other companies are doing presales all the time, and what they promise, they deliver. If Hot Toys overpromised the moon and stars on a $250 item and then underdelivered a subpar product and justified it with Mattel’s kind of lame excuses, the customer backlash would surely be unprecedented.” Yes, it is. Hot Toys fails to deliver all the time, and the fuss is minor, at best.
“Nobody outside Mattel wants that silly and utterly useless WR plug.”
Several people in this thread said that yes, they do want it. And this poster disagreed with them and told them that they didn’t want it.
“Just because it’s not the “industry standard” doesn’t mean that warrants a pass with the way Castle Grayskull or other types of issues have been handled.”
Yes it is.
“I don’t remember any “fine print” at the end of each of Toyguru’s many personal sales pitches.” I’m sorry, man. You just didn’t read it all.
“Mattel taking their $250 and walking.” You mean taking their $250 and giving them a castle.
“Just a wild guess, but I’d bet it’s because it was TG’s (or maybe Ruben’s) own idea “to increase the sales of the WR”. So they’ll stubbornly stick to it until the finish line come hell or high water, and won’t budge an inch about it no matter how silly, unrequested, majorly disliked and counterproductive it turned out to be.”
Yes, this is about the Wind Raider thing that people agreed they wanted.
“I can assure you that I feel not a single shred of gratitude towards Scott in regards to this toyline. “
WE CAN TELL.
“He didn’t answer a single question fans have.”
He answered a bunch. Of your questions.
“As of today, Mattel is continuing to sell the castle under false pretense by listing specs they know are wrong on the pre-order page, therefore ToyGuru’s claims about being upfront ring hollow.”
Kind of funny. They might be slow to update that page, but they’re plastering the correct info EVERYWHERE.
“Not happy with this response..to me it seems like excuses..whether or not he really believed what Mattel was promising I dont know..but corporate Mattel won in the end. I dont believe WE made the playset happen..it was always going to happen in my opinion.”
Some background: Grayskull only happened because the preorders reached a certain point by a certaind ate. This guy is claiming – as several have before – that it was all a lie, the castle was alwyas going to be produced, and it’s a mssive conspiracy. By the Freemasons, I guess.
“I think they should increase the price point and make the renovations or scrap it start over at higher price point”
Then people would complain about how Mattel promised a certain price, but “lied.”
“I don’t know many other industries, and certainly not one in this market place, where the customers/fans are dumped on so bad.”
Dumped on. They have an unprecedented amount of open customer communication, and you spit it in their face.
“I hope the line dies a quick and painless death after this year…”
Yeah, that sentiment will definitely make the line “better.”
“We are paying customers, there’s no need to be grateful. Mattel aren’t doing us a favour by making these toys, they are a business. All they care about is making money.”
Well, from what I understand, the line is virtually a liability for Mattel, and the money you donate is barely a drop in the bucket – the only real benefit to the company is that thye get to keep the license going. So yeah, maybe you should be a little more grateful…
:were doing Mattel a favor by paying for their CEO and management golf outings!!”
Actually, you’re paying the salaries of hundreds of little employees. The CEO’s gonna get his money regardless of how well He-man sells.
“Isn’t this whole *****-laden rant just a thinly-disguised “complaining about complaining” post? Not constructive at all, highly argumentative.”
The guy with the foul-language is being argumentative.
“And it is not the first time they have guaranteed something in writing and then reneged. Please defend that, if you can.”
Because they DID NOT GUARANTEE. They clearly stated that the castle was subject to change.
“My thoughts are if they ever propose another playset every last square inch of it should be fan demanded and voted on right here on these forums with a set price in mind get them in a legal contract to not change our fan demanded beloved Snake Mountain,Mattell would probley say sure but its gona cost ya”a Grand after shipping and taxs probley 2 Grand.”
I doubt every square inch would be… hey wait, he just said he’d pay $1000 for Snake Mountain? O_o…
It’s odd, but can’t find the quotes now – but several people have said, “I would rather no castle than the one we have now.” Really? You’ll deny all the people who want the castle because you’re angry? Right.
Okay, all that aside (and there’s more. There was more vitriol, but a lot of it got edited or deleted), but here’s the thing. Scott Neitlich is going to have to do a few things now, I suppose:
1. Stop communicating with the fans. It never helps anything. other companies do not communicate to this extent, and now we can see why. When a toy company is distant, people complain less.
2. See #1.
Some of the stuff that goes on makes me think mattel should cancel people’s subscriptions for them, but that’s just hyperbole. But seriously – people, if you throw a tantrum, you shouldn’t get your toys. Learn to complain civilly. Don’t pretend that, when Mattel said “Size subject ot change,” it was somehow a legal contract that the size would never change. Cut out the conspiracy theories.
Just be civil. Then you can complain as much as you want.