Because I work retail, I am privy to the issues that happen on the back end of things and I don’t normally pitch a fuss regarding items I have ordered. I’d like to think I’m pretty laid back about it and that I only inquire about my ordered items when I need to. But this time? This time I am so frustrated to the point that it actually caused me to start an uproar.
Hot Topic… You are slipping.
I have been shopping at Hot Topic since I was a teenager. So seriously, we’re talking about 15 years. I’ve watched the store gradually change to being a place for goths and punks to get attire and accessories to it becoming more of a catch-all for trending fandoms like Doctor Who, Frozen, Minecraft, etc.
It’s also home to quite the selection of exclusive My Little Pony items – notably, some really nice vinyl figurines made by Funko. I have an ever growing collection that started with a limited edition “clear” Doctor Whooves figurine (pictured above) that my best friend bought for me when I was first introduced to the MLP reboot. Since then, I have made it a point to get the special version of each figurine I purchased. Some are more difficult to come by and others I easily purchased from other collectors on eBay – like my clear Derpy figurine (pictured below) because it was a Comic-Con exclusive release that you couldn’t get in stores.
At the end of October, I caught on that Funko was releasing a new Princess Luna figurine and according to the Hot Topic website, it would hit their stores on November 4th (11/4). I was super excited and when 11/4 came, I rushed to the store looking for a chance at that limited edition version. There’s a rare chance at getting one when you order it directly from the website, and being that I work in our local mall, I figured I was much more likely to get the clear figurine if I bought it from the store.
There was no Princess Luna to be found.
The employees seemed clueless about what I was talking about and suggested that they perhaps simply hadn’t gotten their shipment yet. Again, I work retail so I completely understood. I told them I would check back another time. I waited a couple of days (I had a day off in between) and checked back. Nothing.
I repeated this several more times – checking back every 2-3 days and apologizing over and over to various employees for taking up their valuable time. At one point, I considered ordering it online instead, figuring that maybe if I did that, I’d have another chance at the limited edition item and could just return one or give it away as a gift to my best friend. That is when I noticed that the “street date” had been changed to November 24th (11/24).
See, I was honestly hoping that I could walk into the store and get there early enough to simply pick the item right off of the shelf like my best friend did when he happened on what would become my clear Trixie figurine (pictured below). I didn’t have time then to get to the store on or around its street date. He did, and he ended up with the limited edition version which he ended up giving to me.
Okay. So Maybe the 11/4 was a typo. Maybe I’m the crazy one. Maybe the date had to be changed for whatever reason. These are all very much possible. And so I waited. I waited until the day before Thanksgiving to check back again. That’s 2 days after the item was supposed to be in stores.
Nothing. No Princess Luna.
One employee suggested that their shipments are usually a little delayed because they aren’t a high volume store. Another, suggested that the item was still available for Pre-Order and they didn’t understand why. No one could give me any information.
On 11/30 I decided to follow in the footsteps of my best friend and order one online. He ordered his just days before me and made the suggestion to me because he ended up paying several dollars less to do it that way and of course the shipping was free to the store. Next thing I know, not only has he received his ordered item for cheaper, but he’s scored one of the limited edition clear figurines.
It is at this point that I realize… I’m not going to get what I want. How likely is it that he and I both will get a clear? Not very. And I’m bummed that I did all of the work only for it to have meant nothing.
On 12/8 I realize that my item hasn’t even shipped yet. Concerned, I go back to my local Hot Topic to ask if I should be worried. They check the status and it definitely hasn’t been shipped. They suggest to me that I’m not the only customer having this problem and that they must just be back up. Okay, I can totally understand that and I’m willing to be patient a little longer.
On 12/14 I receive an email from Hot Topic, thanking me for my purchase and asking me to review the item I bought. Huh!? I don’t have it yet. I can’t review that which I do not have. I go back to the store the very next day and I find out that my item STILL has not been shipped.
Now I’m angry.
It takes a lot to get me worked up – especially retail stuff. I really do get it… I swear. But this pushed me over the edge and I was done being patient. I contact customer service during my work break. I sat on hold for 30 minutes (half of my break) waiting to speak to someone about why my item had not even been shipped that I paid for 2 weeks prior.
The answer? They didn’t know. Not really. Something having to do with the warehouse not sending it to them. But they didn’t seem to know why. They assured me that I would have my item Thursday or Friday.
I went into Hot Topic yesterday. The manager (bless that man’s heart) gets a deer caught in headlights look now whenever he sees me. I realize it’s not his fault and he has had to turn me away now on several occasions because he had nothing for me. But this time, he excitedly hands me a box off of the shelf… which is totally not the item I am looking for. What I am holding is a Princess Celestia. I tell him “No, this isn’t it. I have a box in the back that I ordered.” and as I am putting the box back down, it hits me…
This is a clear, limited edition Princess Celestia. Holy crap.
Realizing she’s the only one on the shelf, I hang on tightly to her. I mean, not only is she Princess Celestia of all freaking ponies… she’s the limited edition. And SHE’S MINE. Okay, she’s actually opaque, but the regular version is painted completely white instead of this opaque body with faint micro glitter.
Funko might be slipping too…
Of course upon opening the box containing what I actually ordered, I am sad to report that my Princess Luna is not clear. In fact, there’s a part of me what wants to return her because although all of these figurines have their flaws, this one has a lot more than I would expect, including her wings almost looking as if they have been chewed up. There are dings, scratches, parts of the vinyl that just look strange and what I can only describe as places it appears whatever type of glue they use to put certain pieces together (like on her hooves), it has oozed out. In fact, you can see it in the above picture.
I’m sad and frustrated about it. This part isn’t Hot Topic’s fault… but the issues I’ve had with them just make the large amount of quite noticable imperfections in my figurine add insult to injury.
I’ve spent time examining each of my figurines in hopes that perhaps I was just being extra hard on the Princess Luna out of pure frustration. But sadly, I’m right and she isn’t up to par with the quality I expect in my collectibles from Funko. I even looked over my Pop! collection, also by Funko. I have some limited edition items in that line as well and they all seem fine. Princess Celestia has a couple of little things but they aren’t majorly noticeable and the imperfections are so minor, they aren’t really an issue for me.
Here, you can see what I mean about the wings. I had both my Princess Celestia and Derpy to compare wings to and neither of those have this kind of issue.
I’m only suggesting that perhaps Funko is slipping because after everything I have been through, I’m suspecting that the manufacturing of my item was rushed. I’ve been made to believe that this was a highly demanded for item that they were unable to keep up with and now I fear I have been given the short end of the stick despite my loyalty to both Hot Topic and Funko. I’ve spent a great deal of money on these items. I have purchased well over a dozen Funko brand figurines from Hot Topic for myself and others.
I considered going the eBay route during all of this. I probably could have spent extra money and gotten exactly what I wanted without all of this hassle. Sure, I would have spent about $80, the current price I am seeing on eBay for the clear Princess Luna as of this post… but I would have had what I wanted. But no… I decided to do things the right way. I decided to give my money directly to the manufacturer and their affiliated stores. I have done that with all of my items (again, excluding Derpy who you couldn’t buy from a store anyways). Now? I’ll probably end up on eBay giving my money to some stranger in exchange for their luck-of-the-draw clear Princess Luna. Bummer.
So what do you think?
Am I being completely unreasonable? Honestly, I try hard not to be. What would you do in my case?