League Stores need love (and product) too!

Discussion in 'TCG News & Gossip Discussion' started by Rabid Raichu, Sep 15, 2003.

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  1. Rabid Raichu

    Rabid Raichu New Member

    So, the Sandstorm Pre-Release Tournaments are over, and Sandstorm is going to be hitting the streets soon. Wait, it's already been out for over a week now at Target stores! What's with that?

    Friday (Sept 12), I went to my local shop -- the place where I and many others play Pokemon every Saturday -- to look for Sandstorm boosters and a few theme decks. The assistant manager said that they were not getting any Sandstorm products until the Pre-Release events were over. I told him that I seen online here on the 'Gym that Target had started selling Sandstorm on the 7th or 8th. He got really upset about that, and I really cannot blame him.

    When I first told the owner and the assistant manager that Nintendo was taking over the franchise, they were pretty excited, and started checking all of their options for getting in good with Nintendo. This shop LIKES Pokemon, and has been supporting the game for nearly as long as it's been out in the US. They had (and still have for MtG) a good relationship with WoTC, and were hoping that Nintendo could even be better. Instead, for all of their efforts, they first got Ruby and Sapphire boosters and theme decks about a week AFTER the official release date. To add insult to injury, I think Target was selling Ruby and Sapphire days BEFORE the official release date. But you know, the folks at the shop I play at were willing to write that off to mis-coordination and mistakes that can happen when someone is doing something new -- i.e. Nintendo and distribution of a TCG. Sure, the distribution channels were probably just messed up or not fully established.

    But for it to happen again? That's what has the shop where I play angry. They WANT to support the game, but how can they if the market for the newest Pokemon releases gets saturated days (or weeks maybe?) before they get product. How can they sell enough cards to justify the effort they put into a weekly League if places like Target, which do NOT support organized play, make all of the profit (meager as it is) generated by a new release, and thereby blunt the sales that a small shop ought to see.

    I'm pretty sure League will continue for now. The staff where I play is going to try talking with Nintendo, they want to host a few of the big events for Central/Northern California and they want to help grow Pokemon. I'll make sure that I continue to purchase boosters and decks from the shop where I and my children play as my budget allows to help keep the store Pokemon friendly. I hope everyone who reads this can make that commitment to their own local stores.

    But we need Nintendo to get this right also. Without the multitude of small shops and gaming centers across the US supporting the game, there isn't going to be anywhere to play. And if there is nowhere to hold weekly Pokemon Leagues, the game is going to die. In my opinion, that means that at the very least Nintendo needs to make sure that the release date for a new set is the same release date for EVERYONE, with no exceptions for mass retailers. I would prefer to see the small shops get first crack, as that is where the game will grow (and generate more sales), and the mass retail places perhaps be a week behind. Without making the playing field even (at least), the small shops like the one I play at will be forced to drop Pokemon for something where they CAN make enough to justify the investment.
  2. Skywolf1

    Skywolf1 New Member

    Agreed! I had heard that stores were not going to get Sandstorm Product in until Monday, 15, September 2003.

    What it sounds like is a goof on Target's part, which could result in them losing their distributor license to carry the Pokemon TCG.

    Take Care,

  3. Skywolf1

    Skywolf1 New Member


    I had just left a message with Dale Irwin at Nintendo, regarding this issue of "pre-mature release" at Target stores, and when the official street date is. From what I have heard, it is SUPPOSED to be today, 15, September 2003.

    I told Mr. Irwin to e-mail me with an answer when he had time to do so.

    I will post my response here when I receive one.

    Take Care,

  4. Scyther_trainer

    Scyther_trainer New Member

    I remember back when Gym:Challenge was coming out and the Toys 'R Us (where the league was at the time) had the Gym:Challenge product early. They weren't allowed to sell it until the following day even though there was a whole bunch of rabid players wanting to get their hands on it. They said that if they sold it before the official release date, they would lose the privelege to receive their stuff early.

    I remember prectically drooling over all those cases of Gym:Challenge.....
  5. NoPoke

    NoPoke Active Member

    Well said Rabid.

    lots of shops in the UK won't touch the product because release dates are subject to totally unpredictable delays.

    If they want to sell the product they have to go grey and risk the wrath of big N's lawyers.

    Pity N (PUI) wont direct its efforts into fixing the distribution so that availability isn't more or less random.

    WotC , bless 'em, did manage to synchronise releases world wide. At least for products that were important to them.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2003
  6. Gym Leader Blaine

    Gym Leader Blaine <a href="http://pokegym.net/forums/member.php?u=15

    From my understanding this was a mistake. Target has a company that stocks their Pokemon and other card game cards. They had the cards in hand, but was suppose to hold them till the street date. Cause of some mix up they were put on the shelf early. Nintendo found out about it and has talked to Target on this subject, and it should not happen again from what I have heard.
  7. SD PokeMom

    SD PokeMom Mod Supervisor Staff Member

    My question, though, is this: if the street date is TODAY, Sept. 15..then why were Sandstorm boosters in Target's weekly color ad flyer YESTERDAY with no mention of an 'available on' date? It's not like Target doesn't routinely do that in their ads with DVDs, CDs and videogames that aren't available till mid-week...

  8. GodTrainer

    GodTrainer Member

    hey ken, its joe whats up man nice to see you posting. Send me an email telling me if you got some at our targets over in jersey yet.

    but yea, i dont think its right to have the big retailers get there product first. However around my area (thats were i live not were i go to college) big retailers like target are the only places were we can get the cards anyway. The only league around our area is at wizards and they dont sell nintendo's cards so we useualy get them at target anyways, so in that instance i dont realy care if target gets them early or not becuase im going to buy them there anyway becuase its the only place i can get them (baring online, which is what i useully do anyway). So yea, in places that have card shops that DO sell them i totaly belive its wrong, and sience you have to have a universail system, then i do belive that EVERYBODY should wait untill the release date.
  9. Gym Leader Blaine

    Gym Leader Blaine <a href="http://pokegym.net/forums/member.php?u=15

    I couldn't tell you Mom. All I know is the boosters were put out early by mistake, and PUI has talked to them about it so that it shouldn't happen again. Which is nice for the next Prerelease.
  10. Broken Lizard

    Broken Lizard New Member

    There has been speculation in some circles that, by virtue of its massive purchasing power, Target was able to negotiate the delivery and sale of Nintendo product ahead of the general market.

    I sincerely hope that this is not the case.

    This situation is possibly also due to the individial cardboard packaging for the boosters at Target, which is obviously done separately from (and perhaps before) the standard booster box packaging sent to other outlets.

    Many of my league players have gone to Target to purchase boosters because they were available 10 days before the official release date (for both R/S and Sandstorm).

    This cost my shop owner $100's in sales. I got my own boosters a week after most of my league members got theirs, since I waited to buy them from my card shop. The shop is part of a national chain, with a sophisticated corporate distribution network, though nowhere near Target's.

    The playing field MUST be leveled. The next release will obviously clarify the situation...
  11. LugiasForce

    LugiasForce New Member

    Target did this with Ex Ruby/Sapphire, then with Sandstorm. Don't you see? The only talking Nintendo did was to negotiate the price Target would pay for the prerogative to sell the product early.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2003
  12. Orange Soda

    Orange Soda New Member

    I would guess that it's just some error on Target's part. I recall hearing on the news a few years ago, before the official release date Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (I think), there were stores who mistakenly put it on shelves when the released the shipment.

    When you're hiring minimum wage work, there's bound to be some mistakes made.
  13. UncleBob

    UncleBob New Member

    I work in retail (and have for about four years now and I'm currently in Management Training... yay... - Yeah, I know it doesn't make me an expert on anything, but...)

    I could totally understand if there were a *few* Target stores that errored and put the product out early, but it really seems as it if this is a chain wide problem. Has anyone here checked a local Target and *not* found Sandstorm? I checked both of the "local" ones and they both had *tons* of them (boosters and pre-cons).

    Now, could this have been an error on the independant vendor's part (*most* retail stores, as mentioned above, have a third party company who comes in and sets out and organizes the trading card product, although not all. I personally do not know if Target does or not, though from what I've seen there, I'd be inclined to believe that they do.). It could be an error on the stores part (either a store employee putting them out or instructing the vendor to put them out so they wern't taking up space in the back room), or it could have been an error on the distributor's part (not clearly marking the product with a street date, making it unclear for the stores/vendors to know when to put it out). But... I really have a hard time believe that this could be a chain-wide "accident" that happened twice (R/S and SS).

    Now, could it be that Nintendo doesn't have a *true* release date on the product? I know that, technically, with their video games* (not systems, just games) that the games do *not* have a "release" date or "street" date - The product, however, is typically marked with an "instore" date or a "ship" date (for Nintendo, the ship date is typically on a Monday and the instore date is usually Tuesday or Wednesday). This "in store" date is simply a guide for Nintendo to allow customers (and stores) to have an estimation as to when the title is due to be in. Many stores, however, are so accustomed to music and movies (and other software/video games) having contracted "Street Dates" (remember, unless it is in a legal contract between the store and the company/third party, "Street Dates" are not legally binding, in and of themselves) that they believe these "in store" dates are "street dates" and won't put product out until them (also, some stores like to have a set date for the new/hot product so if they tell everyone it'll be instore on Wednesday and they put it out Tuesday and it sells out, they don't have angry customers coming in Wednesday who were told it wouldn't be there until Wednesday).

    (*Occasinally, Nintendo will do a promo with a video game where in a store cannot release the product until a certian date if they wish to be involved with the promotion - i.e.: The Legend of Zelda bonus disk from Wind Waker. These can be legal "Street Dates" if the release date is in the contract that the store/chain agrees to when they sign on to the promotion.)

    Anywhoo, the whole point was, does Nintendo (or their distributors) have a legal (contractual) "street date" on the cards with the stores that sell them? If not, then the issue at hand is not "Target breaking the street date". It would simply be "Why the heck is Target getting large quantites of the product before us?" (Also, note, Nintendo could choose to have a street date in contract with some stores and not with others - i.e.: Hobby stores have to sign a contract with their distributor that they won't sell the product before X Day, but Target doesn't. - This could be because Nintendo wanted Target to sell their product, but Target refused to unless Nintendo did not put a street date on it, or shipped them (Target) the product early).

    Now, if there is no street date at all on the product, then we go back to the other question, "Why is Target getting the product early?" This is a pretty simple issue - Product ships either straight from Nintendo to Target Store, or product ships from Nintendo to organized Target Distribution to Target Store. On the other hand, you have Product shipping from Nintendo to at least one less organized distributor (sometimes many, many more than one distributor in the middle) then finally to the small hobby store. There's really no fair way to fix this, short of ordering straight from Nintendo or if Nintendo was to hold back on shipping Product to Target - which really isn't fair for Target who's on the ball...

    So, there is a *lot* to think about here, not just "Target suxxors!!!" I do hope my post makes sense to everyone.. I know it kinda goes in a lot of different directions, but this is all a very complext matter and trying to explain it all at once is cornfusing....
  14. Skywolf1

    Skywolf1 New Member

    *Update from Nintendo*

    Hi Mark,

    EX Sandstorm showing up on the shelf early at Target is the result of a combination of issues we ran into on this release. It's unfortunate that this happened and we will plan accordingly to prevent such things from happening again in the future. We will support hobby shops appropriately!

    Please feel free to contact me anytime.

    Thanks for your support!

    Dean Irwin
    Nintendo of America Inc.

    Voice: xxx-xxx-xxxx (Please do not list phone numbers)
    Fax: 425-882-3585

    Hope this helps,


    [EDIT]Removed phone number. Please do not list phone numbers that are not normally available to the public. Thanks. BDS[/EDIT]
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2003
  15. Darkleaf Master

    Darkleaf Master New Member

    *Looks guiltly over at the discarded wrappings of EX Sandstorm Boosters and a Theme deck.* *whistles* Urm... yeah, well, I would like to see the smaller stores get the product first, or at least have a set date when the cards should be released. I asked the store owner of the League I run when they would get them and they said as soon as they release the cards to the public. I refrained from mentioning that the target a mile or so away had the cards in already. (and boy are they selling fast!!) My two cents...
  16. NoPoke

    NoPoke Active Member

    Target doesn't have a problem... Target is almost certainly VERY happy with the current 'difficulties' it finds itself in.

    Now instead of a week or two imagine what happens when the release date in different outlets is separated by a couple of months. Just how long before all the other outlets give up?

    WotC had no choice but to synchronise release dates across the world for its premier product, and that was before there were so many compeeting tcgs out there. If the product is consistantly available in one outlet or market significantly earlier than elsewhere, then all the other outlets and markets are damaged by such action. The clock is ticking for Nintendo/PUI.

    Remmeber TPC is watching too, I doubt if they are very happy with the current situation. TPC believe that they have a GLOBAL brand.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2003
  17. Gym Leader Blaine

    Gym Leader Blaine <a href="http://pokegym.net/forums/member.php?u=15

    Most WOTC stores had the stuff a week or two early, but would keep it in the back till the release date, unless they found a store in the area that was selling it, then they could sell it also.

    As for Target I really do think it was a mistake, and I'm sure it will be fixed for EX Dragon. I guess we will have to wait till that one comes out to see if the problem was fixed or not.
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