Another Open Letter to My Friend Matty (and to my breathren who enable him)
September 15, 2010

Dear Matty,

It is because we’re such good friends I feel I can tell you the truth.

You are a drug dealer.  We are your addicts.


As you no doubt remember, I don’t patronize your website anymore; you made it plain to me you don’t want my money, but that doesn’t mean I don’t watch each month as many of my fellows wallow in agony over your continued failure to provide even a nominal level of customer service. 

Today, your failure extended beyond its normal parameters to include the new feature whereby your website continued to refresh even after customers fought tooth and claw to reach the promised land of a simple order page or item description, denying them your merchandise in yet another way.  Many, it would appear, grew so frustrated with your absolute bottle-necked, emaciated, shriveled-up prune of an interface, they left empty-handed even before your usual Over Before The Sale Starts sellouts.  In fact, as of this writing, today’s items are still available, so I suppose the backslapping grinnery and Facebooking over your latest perceived success will have to wait a few more minutes.

Before you celebrate, I just want to make a few things clear to you, since it seems the voices of so many are difficult for you to hear…

Your website exists for two reasons; the pathological predilection for nostalgia ingrained in most collectors and the artistry of four sculptors.  That’s it.  Absent either of those things would have gone the way of three months after it opened.  There is nothing about the way the website is run, or the product managed, that can be credited with the site’s success.  Nothing.

Just wanted to get that straight.


However, by falling ass backwards over your own incompetence, you’ve got your market crawling over its own dead and dying for the hot, new plastic because you’ve told them they have to do exactly that or you’ll cut off their supply.  At this point, you know what you’re doing and you’re doing it on purpose.

And that’s shameful.

I know the company at-large has about as much interest in, and ability to hear, these words as the paper mache head does, so I know who I’m really talking to, and so do you.  If you’re what you say you are, I don’t understand how any of this is OK with you.

And now the other side…

If far too many collectors didn’t have a rapacious need to Have It Now, and far more importantly, Have It First, would die twisting on the vine.  Think what would happen if Amazon treated its customers this way…or if Matty had to sell to parents.  Is there any question both ventures would cease to exist under the conditions which Matty currently operates?

And so, my fellows, once you know that, you know what Matty does to you every month is purposely done to ensure you do exactly what you do every month.  I don’t know how that’s OK with you.

It’s not OK with me, and I’m not even buying the stuff.


PS: Matty, don’t ever offer a WWE exclusive on your site.  You are not prepared for wrestling nerds.

Jason "JJJason" Chirevas
Jason Chirevas is a toy collector whether he likes it or not (and he often doesn't). This former Would've-Been Action Hero is as interested in the humanity, psychology, and psychosis of collecting as he is in the action figures themselves. Fun guy.
Read other articles by Jason "JJJason" Chirevas.





  • demoncat says:

    could not agree with the post more. for Mattel needs to change its way or soon Matty collector will die and not only that but Mattel will wind up in the land of dead toy companies. or worse wind up having Hasbro come grab its carcus in the end.

  • FlaBat says:

    A well thought out blog. I learned a long time ago that Mattel does not care about us, so I don’t care about them too much either. Get the figures to a store and maybe I’ll buy them, otherwise just ship them directly to the eBay scalpers and call it a day.

  • Erik superfriend says:

    Not buying from Matty until they dump Digital River AND address the fact that normal working folks have no shot at getting this stuff the way they are offering it.
    And most product offered on Matty doesn’t belong there anyway. It belongs at retail. The JLU 4 packs and DCUC 2 packs were normal product.

  • Newt says:

    I agree with a lot of this, but you missed the fact that Mattel charges so much at retail for many of their products and has such poor distribution on others that people feel Mattel’s site offers a reasonable price point and a simpler hoop than trying to track down the figures.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d almost say they intentionally botched MOTU 200X, so they could set up this better system down the line. Obviously, that’s not the case. Still, it has a lot to do with why people put up with the crap. Moreso than every collectors need to have it all and have it first.

    Mattel has proven as a company, they are completely unable to get product to the shelves in a manner and time that people can depend on. So much so, that they’ll put up with one of the poorest e-retail sites in history, just to avoid Mattel’s retail nightmare.

    Matty’s site has improved though. It’s hard to deny that and Mattel has been surprisingly competant with their WWE retail line (aside from high prices). So maybe, things are changing for the better overall. I don’t think any one collector working within Mattel, no matter how high up, can fix everything that needs to be fixed.

  • Shellhead says:

    I only use Matty for one reason and one reason only: It’s currently the only place I can get MOTUC. Unfortunately, I am not a completist so I don’t want a subscription (this year, for example, I’ve bought 6 of the nine figures so far; next year I want 2 of the 4 they’ve shown). So I have to deal with Matty on a semi-regular basis. It stinks and I often get frustrated. But the 4H are rocking the line! The figures themselves are GREAT.

    I just wish I could get them more easily.

  • Daniel Pickett JuliusMarx says:

    I guess I’m confused about what you are upset about. All 3 items for sale were available until 6:00pm PST yesterday. I’d say that is a significant improvement from past sales where items sold out in 4 minutes. Two of the three sale items are STILL available on the site as of this writing.

    Of course there was the launch log-jam as people were panicked about missing out because of past history.

    So quantities were increased so that items would be available on the site longer than 5-34 minutes… which is exactly what fans have been asking for. How is that “incompetence?”

    Most reports I have seen have said it took awhile to get in to place an order (it took me 47 minutes to get off of the WSOD) but so far it looks like everyone got what they were looking for.

    And it’s for a line you don’t collect?
    I guess I don’t see the point.

    • So quantities were increased so that items would be available on the site longer than 5-34 minutes… which is exactly what fans have been asking for. How is that “incompetence?”

      Because OMG THEY COULDN’T HAVE THEM RIGHT 12:05! The horror!

    • Newt says:

      I have to agree. I thought some of this was pretty reactionary. I mean, I didn’t need anything from the site, but I logged on hours later and everything was still up for sale and I could have checked out without ever seeing a WSOD. I think the problem, is that people don’t know if this will always be the case. Did they really increase numbers that much? Or were these characters simply not as popular? Gygor and the cat dude that nobody knows both seem to have gotten more of a ho-hum reaction than any other releases. I think we still need a few more examples to see if this is really a case of Mattel fixing elements of the site, or lack of demand.

      My last few transactions have been a breeze, though. I just skip the noon rush and pick my figures up a few hours later, if I want them.

    • Pamela Isley says:

      So it took you 47 minutes to buy a toy online, and you don’t see anything wrong with this system?

      You really are an apologist for Mattel. That, or you don’t want to mess with the gravy train that delivers you free stuff every month.

      No wonder you’re so hard on the author of this post. You don’t want Mattel to see ANY criticism on your website, lest they cut you off.

      • Daniel Pickett JuliusMarx says:

        And you obviously have such an ax to grind that you didn’t really read what I said.

        We’ve all be conditioned to show up right at sale time because so much stuff has sold out so soon. Everyone logs on and causes the log jam, and it’s a tense time. People have been looking for an angle to work to make it easier. F5, the back door… it can suck. Me and some of the other local Men of Action have a system that works pretty well so far.

        My point was it looks like Mattel might have made the proper adjustments to the quantities that going forward we might not all have to jam into right at the launch time like some sort of virtual The Who concert. Next month will help determine if they finally got the quantity right. Stuff lasted for hours as opposed to minutes… which is what we’ve all be asking for.

        Personally I like knowing what day/time stuff will go on sale unlike that’s usually sold out of what you are looking for before you even find out that they have gone up for sale.

      • It took me longer to order the SDCC exclusives from than it’s ever taken me to place an order on the site (including the day they sold their own exclusives). It would be even worse if they had announced a specific time for the sale like Mattel does. The habitual complainers (like you) ignore the fact that the online traffic jam is not exclusive to Mattel. And if JM didn’t allow criticism of Mattel on this site, there would barely be any posts on the message board. Nerd Rage is pretty much the only language some of you speak.

  • Jeff Cope Jeff Cope says:

    Here’s the problem.

    If you’re a Masters of the Universe fan (as I am), and MOTUC is only offered via Matty then, if you want the figures you have no viable option outside of dealing with the Matty madness. It’s not worth it to me to miss out on these toys on principle. I have the 2010 sub, so I’ve only had to deal with it periodically this year. But, heck, I forgot the date yesterday and logged in at 2:30pm and got Gygor. Mission accomplished. No stress. No fuss.

    I agree that Digital River offers horrible service, but if you’re a MOTUC fan or a Ghostbusters fan…such is your lot in life to deal with it.

  • Spazmaster-J says:

    I don’t understand why the maximum order for these exclusives is still at 10. why not make it 2 or 3? then you would get your product into more hands and still sell out, right? All I know is I personally can’t justify paying that much for a mass produced mattel figure. Is the run really that small? We’ll never know. But those molds will be sitting on a shelf in a warehouse waiting to be utilized again… pretty clever Mattel. Thanks for resisting Jason, it’s NOT futile. 😀

    • allfigs says:

      Definitely-2 or 3 maximum. Mattel is just encouraging scalpers to horde these new figures by setting the max purchase at 10.

  • Russ says:

    I thought the problem with was that they pretty much entirely banked on convincing people to buy exclusive hot items, hoping they’d stick around for other stuff?

  • gl666 says:

    When I finally get my Pitchforks and Torches concession off the ground, I really hope to get Jason as my spokesperson. Mattel had this same exact problem with Digital Riverdam hosting their Hot Wheels store; now its better, but after at least 4 years of complaining.

    YES, 4 YEARS!

  • allfigs says:

    I too, am also sick of Matty and Digital River, but I still have a couple of MOTUC figs that i want. I’ll log on the day of the sale (if I’m able to), and wait about as long as I can wait. This past sale for Gygor and Carnivus (and forget the Egon figure that was available almost a week after sale date) shows that Matty’s power is waning…I logged on at 10pm that day for the hell of it, found that BOTH were still available, and ordered 10 hours after the initial sale. No problem, less that two minutes, and I was done.

    i think people are finally starting to feel our pain. I know Carnivus was a less sought after figure, by Gygor was definitely one that many collectors wanted. I actually look forward to Oct. 15th and Roboto to see if there’s still stock left later that day. I do hope that Mattel finally sees the error of their ways and makes more product available in retail stores, but after this year, I only have Panthor to go, and I’m done with them either way.

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