Are you a fan of Masters of the Universe? Are you currently collecting the Masters of the Universe Origins toy line?
If you said ‘yes’ to both of those questions, then you are probably getting a little frustrated at present, as you are finding it difficult to track down all the new figures. You know they are out there (somewhere), as you are seeing a few people talking about them online, but you are still struggling to find them at retail.
Well, I hear you, because I am in the same position. I am constantly keeping an eye-out for new waves, and they are becoming increasingly more difficult to find.
I started collecting some of the MOTU Origins figures earlier this year, and while I’m not after the entire line, there are a handful I want to add to my collection. Problem is, I live in the UK, and getting hold of some of the figures is becoming very tricky.
Bricks and mortar stores barely stock this line, leaving Amazon or eBay to be the default choices. Thing is, Amazon still don’t have any of the latest waves, and eBay is ridiculously overpriced.
At present, UK stores are largely devoid of Waves 6 and 7 – the latest waves to be released. Figures from this line are popping up here and there, but you really have to search high and low for them.
I’m not entirely sure what the problem is, but I can only presume this has something to do with the ongoing HGV driver shortage, as well as all of the problems related to Brexit (the least said about that the better). I also feel that MOTU Origins is being drip-fed to stores at a glacial rate, and this is not helping either.
Anyway, one of the MOTU Origins figures that I wanted to add to my collection was the Sorceress. She is a figure from wave 7, and is a character that I’ve had my eye on for a little while.
The figure is not currently listed on Amazon, and up until a few days ago, was not listed on the website of Smyths toys either. For those who live outside of the UK, Smyths is a major toy retailer over here in the UK, which seems to have a monopoly on selling MOTU Origins figures.
But last week, I noticed that a listing for the Sorceress was added to the Smyths website over night. This gave me hope that her arrival was imminent, so a took a further look.
By clicking on the listing on the website, customers can see the stock levels of the individual figures. They can also check to see if the figure is available for home delivery.
It is important to say that while Smyths do offer a home delivery option, this is not a service which is available for every item. Some items simply have a ‘click and collect’ option, and this is only available if there is stock in a specific store. For example, if I lived in London and it said the Birmingham store had one figure in stock, while I could use the ‘click and collect’ service to reserve the figure in the Birmingham store, I would then need to travel to that store to get it.
From looking on the website I could see that some stores were showing limited stock of the Sorceress, but none were available for home delivery. And out of the 114 stores listed on the Smyths site, only a dozen had stock, and of that stock it was one figure per store.
According to the list, my nearest Smyths store had no stock at all. This was the same case for over 100 other stores on the list.
However, from past experience with Smyths and their online stock levels, this didn’t necessarily mean this information was accurate. Sometimes the website will say a specific store has no items in stock, yet I can then go to that same store and find items on the shelves.
Beats me. I expect each store has to log the stock levels themselves, and some stores are more up to speed with this than others.
Thing is, my local Smyths is about 45 minutes away on public transport, so unless I want to do a 90-minute round trip, the website is my best resource for information. If the site says a store doesn’t have stock, then I largely have to believe this.
But that doesn’t mean abandoning all hope. I can tell you now that I didn’t abandon hope. I can also tell you that I am currently the owner of a Sorceress figure.
Where did I get her? From my local Smyths store!
How did I do it? Well, with a bit of detective work, and a spot of luck.
The Smyths website provides basic details. It lists the product, displays a few photos, and also contains that all important information about stock levels. But it also tells customers a couple of other things that can be easily overlooked.
In the case of the Sorceress, regardless of what the stock level said, the website was telling me two key details:
- 1) Some stores DID have Sorceress in stock, which told me the retailer had received a delivery of the latest wave of figures from Mattel. As stock tends to be evenly distributed around the country, this suggested it was highly likely that more stores had Sorceress in stock, than just the 12 listed on the website.
- 2) The number of figures that were listed online told me that each store had received only one box of this particular wave of figures – as that’s all any store had. Now, if a store is only receiving one box, with just one Sorceress figure in it, then whoever is in charge of putting the stock on the system is probably not going to rush to upload her details online. There are bigger toy deliveries coming into the stores, so they will take priority.
All of this information, gave me the push to take a trip out to Smyths, because it suggested the Sorceress was sat in my local store somewhere. Sure, this could prove to be a pointless journey, but there was a strong chance that things could work out in my favour, based on the details that were available.
So, first thing in the morning, I set off to my local store. It took me the usual 45 minutes to get there, but I remained fairly upbeat about the whole thing.
When I got to the shop I checked the shelves, only to discover the display of Masters of the Universe Origins figures looked somewhat disappointing. This Smyths store did have a few figures on shelves, but they were the usual peg warmers, aka He-Man and Skeletor, and not much else.
However, on closer inspection I discovered two additional figures that piqued my interest. The first was Faker, while the second was Stratos.
These figures piqued my interest because I knew neither of these toys were listed on the Smyths website as being ‘in stock’. According to the website, Faker was completely out of stock in this store, while Stratos wasn’t even listed online!
Straight away this confirmed what I already knew – that the website was incorrect. Even if my trip to the store had proved unsuccessful in nabbing a Sorceress figure, then at least it was worth coming here just to confirm my theory about the website.
But here’s the really useful thing: I knew that Stratos was part of the same wave of figures that contained the Sorceress. And this meant that in order for this figure to be in the store, and sat on the shelf in front of me, this store MUST have received a box of figures containing the Sorceress too!
As I couldn’t see Sorceress on the shelf, it was very likely that she had come into store, but had sold out in the space of a day. But not prepared to take this as a guarantee, I went in search of a member of staff to find out if there was a chance she was knocking around the store somewhere.
I found a friendly member of staff putting out some toys. After approaching him with an equally friendly “hello”, I asked him if the store had any extra MOTU Origins toys in the stock room.
The man told me they did not. He said: “No, we have everything out on the shelves – we don’t keep anything out the back.”
At this point I figured the store must have sold the Sorceress. She would have come in the day before, been placed on the shelf, and picked up by a fellow collector.
But just as I was about to head out of the store, I had another thought. From working in retail (many years ago), I know that some stores keep their excess stock out on the shop floor… but slightly out of view.
Sometimes excess stock is hidden in draws below the shelves, while at other times it can be up high, perched at the top of a bay. So, I headed back to the aisle with the MOTU toys… and I looked up.
All the way up, right at the top of the bay, I could see a couple of Mattel boxes. This had to be excess MOTU stock, right?
I walked back over to the member of staff I had previously spoken to, and asked if he wouldn’t mind having a look in those boxes, to tell me what was inside. He agreed, and brought a ladder over to the shelves.
I showed him a picture of the Sorceress figure I was after, and then he went up the ladder. He looked in both boxes, and after moving a few He-Man and Skeletor figures out of the way (yes, there were even more of those figures on top of the shelf), he plucked the Sorceress out of the box!
Success! She was there and I was the first customer to catch sight of her!
Thing is, she wasn’t alone, as Jitsu and Buzz-Off (two other figures from the same wave), were also in the box. These figures had not only been missed off the stock levels on the website, they had never even made it onto shelves!
Had I not suggested looking in the box, they would have remained hidden away until someone re-stocked the shelves. And presumably, this would only happen once a few of those He-Man and Skeletor figures had sold, which probably wouldn’t have taken an eternity to get to.
Now I should add, that before the member of staff went up the ladder, he did suggest taking a look at the stock levels on the system in-store. However, after explaining the discrepancy with the website information, I insisted (politely) that it would be best if he could check the box himself, just in case this info was also incorrect.
I don’t know what the store stock levels would have said – maybe he had access to different information – but for me, checking in person was important.
For those wondering, now that Sorceress is back home with me, she is perfectly settled in. She keeps guard of our plants and is thankful to not be stuck in a box on top of a shelf.
As for the point of this post, well it is to tell you that sometimes a bit of detective work pays off. Just because a website seems to be telling you one thing, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t telling you something else entirely, and you should use your initiative.
Had I taken the stock information at face value, I would never have taken a trip to the store. But because I used the information slightly differently, it all paid off!
It also helps to ask in store. Just because you don’t see the item on the shelf, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. So, look up, look down, and be ready to ask some questions.
I hope this information about my search for the Sorceress has proved useful. I’ve noticed that a number of Sorceress figures are now popping up on eBay, at more than double her retail value, and I can only presume that these figures were picked up in a bricks and mortar store too, before then being resold online.
If you are desperate to get your hands on one of these figures, before you shell out your cash on eBay, I suggest doing a bit of detective work yourself. Do your homework, go to your local store and see what you can find. It might save you a few pounds.
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