We may have lost the Cub.

Alex had a birthday shortly before we left on vacation, and along with some toys he acquired a fistful of Target dollars. Er, gift card thingies.

So, armed with gelt we took him to Target and let him run loose in the toy department.

What he wanted more than anything was the Mega Bloks Goblin Shredder, which Target’s website showed was in stock.

Yeah. They lied. Nope, nope, nope.

Not anywhere in the toy area, the clearance shelves, hidden behind something else. Might have had one in another department, but none in Toys.

Standing in the store we called around to other Targets that showed it as being in stock. We got the store clerks involved. We networked.

Nope, nope, nope.

This isn’t a rant on Target, but what turned out to have happened is funny, and Target Corporate has sure paid the price.

See, the Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Goblin Shredder is a new toy priced at $24.99. And as such, it is at the same price point as the old Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Barrens Chase set.

The old Barrens Chase set, along with ALL the old Mega Bloks World of Warcraft stuff has been clearanced out. it’s the same at Walmart, I saw a Goblin Zeppelin for $22 at Walmart the week before.

Whoever handled the toy purchasing for Target at the corporate level made absolutely no distinction between old series toys and brand new cutting edge releases. And to make it more fun, the store doesn’t track inventory by SKU, or by name… but by ‘assortment’.

They put all Mega Bloks World of Warcraft ‘assortments’ priced at $24.99 on clearance, so they clearanced the Goblin Shredders. At half off.

Plus this weeks advertisement had a 30% discount coupon for Mega Bloks sets.

Yeah, Target took that one in the shorts. Well done, sir and ma’am. No need for me to rub salt in the wound by letting everyone know how badly you messed up… but what the heck, if you’re going to be that ignorant, so be it.

Next time, might want to make an effort to know the difference between older toys and newer toys and track by SKU or name. Us customers certainly know the difference, and we thank you for funding our eBay sales.

Well, not mine, but I’m sure somebody saw that one and chortled with glee.

Oh, and if you search Target.com, make sure and use the correct spelling. Apparently, it’s a “Goblin Schreder“.

Yeah, we can tell Target has their finger on the pulse of the toy market. Might be squeezing a bit tight, though.

We ordered the toy online, so no worries there. But that still left our son with cash in hand and no new toy to get that new car smell.

After he wandered the aisles with no result, because it makes a difference when the toy you buy is with your OWN money instead of momma moneybags, I mentioned that there were also video games for 3DS or PS3 or even the Wii he could check out.

Oh, boy.

Our son, blessed that he is, finds exactly what he wants, and it came as no surprise since he’s wanted it for two years.

Skylanders. In this case, Skylanders Giants.

Ah, shit.

Cassie has fought this battle for two years. Skylanders is another way of saying, “Parents, just hand over your wallets, you’re fucked.”

As Cassie began to explain first that we were planning on buying into the Disney Infinity version soon to be released (and thus if we buy Skylanders there would be no money for the Disney version) and second that there was no way his $50 or so was going to stretch to a $75 starter set, plus you need at least one of each of the eight types of power characters to unlock every area, which go for $10 to $15 A POP, I called a halt to the discussion.

That day, Saturday, the last day of the sale week… the Skylanders Giants PS3 starter set was $40. It was $35 off. That one day. And all sets were buy two get one free.

A huddle formed, because the truth was clear.

If this shit is getting bought, it’s happening today, because we ain’t paying $75 ever in the future. But $40… he could afford $40.

Cassie said Amazon usually price matched when a big chain did this kind of thing. I checked, sure as heck she was right as usual, they were price matching… and she said that if they did, again they would stop as soon as the big store sale was over.

Move your ass and decide now, or forever hold your peace.

But does he really want the game? Is he sure?

What it came down to, as we discussed it over lunch, was he didn’t want it if it meant he couldn’t get the Goblin Schreder (sic). He was almost in tears at the pain of this decision. Goblin Schreder or Skylanders Giants?

When Cassie assured him that his money, if he pushed it and used some allowance, would stretch to both… well, he went for it.

With that decision made, Cassie became directly involved.

I might not have ever mentioned this before, but I do not handle the family finances. Cassie does. She is a master at knowing when to hold ‘em, and when to go all in. It’s because of her diligent efforts that we have a house, because if it were up to me we’d have lost the mortgage due to a Battlemech miniature game addiction years ago or something equally stupid.

No, I’m not kidding. I grew up so poor you’ve got no freaking idea. Living in the ghetto poor. I have within me this destructive little thing that whispers to me, “Buy that. You know you want it. You’ll feel better if you have it. You won’t be able to stop thinking about it until you do. Go ahead, what’ll it hurt.”

I’m a lot better these days, but there are still those moments where I feel the yearning to impulse buy something to feel good. And for those moments, there is the Auction House, where I can blow my gold and ask Cassie for a loan until the cash from my dailies comes in, lol.

So she has the veto. She has the sense as well as the cents.

She took a good, hard look at the Target special, checked for price matching at Toys R Us, Walmart and Best Buy, looked at Gamestop, and ultimately decided on a course of action that had us purchase the PS3 Skylanders Giants starter set, three more Giants (Crusher, the Whale and the Cubs ultimate favorite, Eye-brawl) and three of the 3-packs.

One of the 3 packs had all series 2 characters that included a Gear and a Magic, the other two sets were adventure sets from the first Spyro’s Adventures game with the pirate ship and the Dragon Peak, which gave us a fire character too.

This careful balancing act left us with at least one of each type for maximum game unlocks, two adventure sets for expansion, and the most value for the money.

It also left our wallets weeping, but it was on sale! We didn’t spend money, we SAVED money! Yeah!

Oh dear lord what have we done… even I’m wincing at the memory.

Anyway, the Cub now has a level 10 Eye-brawl and is having a blast.

I asked him last night if he wanted to play some more Skylanders, or if he wanted to log in and do LFR on his Death Knight with me for the very first time before the reset.

He chose Skylanders, so, yeah. He might be gone.

On the other hand, I was watching him play, and he let me take the controls a few times…

That Cynder is pretty cool. I like the way he turns into a shadow to scoot along underground, and leaves a trail of ghosts behind.

And if you blast sheep with lightning bolts, they puff up like cotton balls and you can roll them around!

And, and, and…

You know, I might not be logging on for a while.

Take care of my alts, feed my dinosaur, and water my garden, okay?

And if you don’t hear from me after a month or so…

No, you can’t have my stuffs.

12 Responses to “Cub Down! Cub Down!”
  1. Ted says:

    You might not want to let him see this: https://infinity.disney.com/#!/game

  2. Tesh says:

    We got a used batch of Skylanders stuff for Christmas, and the kids (6 and 4) played like crazy for a few weeks, then moved back to Minecraft and LEGO Batman. Never can tell what kids latch on to.

    …and I’m currently working on Infinity. It’s… not the same. It’s cool, but it’s not really a riff on Skylanders. Just in case it comes up. ;)

  3. Cerylia says:

    This money-spending adventure was so cute to read. x) Silly Target.

    I personally tend to err on the side of saving money, rather than spending it. I always tell myself “could you survive without this? You have this far; you probably don’t need it.” But now that I’ve been saving up some spending money with my new job, I find myself buying all these things I’ve always wanted. I hope this won’t be a problem down the road when I wish I saved more money. xD;

    I hope bear cub loves Skylanders! ^^ And has a lot of fun with his Mega Bloks when they come in.

  4. Rkik says:

    Yeah,Skylanders can definitely be a money sink. What ended up tipping the balance for me was trading a big box of old movie in for game store credit and receive 150 in return. That was enough to pick up the starter and a bunch of new and used Skylanders
    My 6 year old son loves the game and it is pretty fun to play coop with him. The Skylanders also make for a relatively inexpensive reward for when such a thing is warranted.

    • Torcthaim says:

      We use the Skylanders figures as a reward/incentive too; two of our kids play it. Not to mention Dad… :) The scary thing is, we have all but one of the original skylanders (not variants) and most of the Giants. I asked our son to total it up, and his jaw hit the floor. He could’ve had a new xbox instead of all those Skylanders (we have a wii). But the kids will do chores willingly and happily when there’s a new Skylander at stake.

  5. Aleysha says:

    Welcome to the Skylands. Around here, my six year old has been learning about money and economics thanks to the cute little critters. He juggles his weekly allowance and he saves like mad to buy them. If he can save half the money I put in the other half which is fair ’cause we both play with them.

    Oh, and Cynder is a she. I think she wants to grow up too be Onyxia.

    • Jamie says:

      Beat me to it! Skylanders has precious few female characters, so it matters, but I have to say that all of them are pure awesome. Cynder the purple dragon, Stealth Elf the rogue, and Sproket, aka Agatha from Girl Genius are my most loved, though I don’t have the last… Yet. ;)

      I actually have TWO Stealth Elfs, because she was my first and loved, so my darling wife saw a gold Limted Edition one and snuck it in my xmas stocking. ;)

      I love the persistence of the Skylanders toys, and I will note if you have iDevices and web access, there are multiple IOS games and a not-terrible minigame website that you can use the codes that come with the physical skylanders to unlock in all of them. One of the IOS games is one of the MEH IOS city builders (Well, I like them, but they are pretty thin on gameplay), but the other two are good, one a casual short-burst shooting game, the other a more involved strategy game. They’ve done a good job of making the toys stretch!

      • Seren says:

        Flashwing, Hex, Chill, Whirlwind, and Sonicboom are also female. I don’t play the game, but nieces do, so I’ve spent a lot of my money on Skylanders for them. Apparently there is a Jade Flashwing out and about that I am going to have to hunt down next XD

  6. Skylanders is new to me, but then again, I don’t have little ones anymore. The last money sink (aside from college) I can remember was Crash Dummies.

  7. Iocane says:

    Oh man…I’m so glad that my guy didn’t wander over to Target while I was out of town last week…he’s 31, but the Skylanders have been calling him for months. (He sighs wistfully over them every time we go shopping.)

  8. James says:

    Yup….we’ve been sucked in big too. We tried to say we weren’t going to sink too much in to Skylanders for the boy, but sales at Christmas (plus the one last week that you mentioned at Target), we now have at least 1 version of most of the characters…plus both games….and I hear a new one is coming later this year again…not to mention this disney infinity thing mentioned….OMG…so much money spent (but it really is fun :P )

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