Blind-boxing is one of the funnest things to do in the vinyl toy world. There is nothing like ripping open that foil and revealing the awesome toy you just got and smelling the freshly produced vinyl in your hand... Mmmmmm. Well, that will not be happening at Puzzle Zoo in Santa Monica, CA. Puzzle Zoo is one of the greatest toy stores known in Santa Monica. Everybody knows they carry a variety of toys including Kidrobot, Funko Pop!’s and Tokidoki vinyl toys. So, if you’re in the neighborhood or strolling the 3rd St. Promenade and had an urge to buy some toys, you would probably go there. That’s exactly what I did after having dinner with my family last night.
As I strolled inside the store I noticed a huge army of 3 inch vinyl figures behind the counter on shelves. There was Funko Mystery Minis, Kidrobot series of all kinds, Tokidoki Unicornos, The Loyal Subjects GI Joe & Transformers series and a bunch of opened out of box larger Kidrobot figures and Funko Pop! vinyls. Weird right! At first, I thought they were there for trading purposes. But when I asked the store employee what the deal was, I was informed that they open every single-blind box, display them and sell the same series at the same price (regardless whether it was a common or chase).
This make no sense to me! I guess if one just wanted a common figure, it would be cool. That person would not have to blind box until he got the one he wanted because there’s a whole shelf of commons! But for the folks that wanted to hunt down a chase, they would be fucked! Something is very fishy about this. And I’m sure the owners and the employee are well aware of what these chasers and super chasers are worth. Once a case is opened, I’m sure the Puzzle Zoo employees put the good stuff aside or text their buddies in a heart beat to grab the rare figures.
Also, the store is going to be left with a shit-load of common figures that nobody wants. They are going to have to sell them at a crazy discount to get rid of them.
I'm going to be fair and say... maybe the owners were sick & tired of shameless collectors finger-banging the boxes and even ripping open the foils to get chasers to flip on eBay. If that's the case, just put the cases behind the counter and have the customer ask for the blind-boxes. If they have the room to display hundreds of figures, they have the room for some cases back there. Just saying. I know big chain stores like Barnes & Noble and the Disney Store have to stick to floor display plans. So they can't move the cases behind the counters. But Puzzle Zoo is an independent store. I think they can come up with a different solution if that's the case.
This is a LOSE-LOSE situation for everybody.
It was about a year ago I walked into a Sanrio store (Hello Kitty) because my daughter wanted some Tokidoki Unicorno figures. The boxes seemed fine, nothing out of the ordinary. When we left the store my daughter couldn’t wait to get home to open them so we pulled up on a bench and opened them. When I open the boxes there was no foil inside the box, just a figure. You can’t fool me! I know the owners of the store opened every box to look for the chasers and re-glued the boxes back together. I was pissed! Again, trying to make a quick buck and taking the fun out of blind-boxing. While my daughter was happy about the figures she got, I refuse to keep them and I demanded a refund. I will not support the stores that do this kind of crap. So, I took my daughter to the Disney Store to buy some Vinylmation figures to make up for the situation that just happened.
I, myself thinks that the marketing strategy for blind boxing is awesome. If you end up getting the ones you want, it’s a grand feeling! If you end up with ones you don’t want or doubles, it’s always fun to trade them. What do you guys think?
HAPPY BLIND-BOXING and TRADING! Keep it real.
Sorry about the crappy phone pics. :)