Joe Con 2015 – Of price increases and parachute drops

Joe Con 2015

We’re one week out from Joe Con 2015 in Springfield, IL and the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club has posted an update to their FAQ page.   The new text is below:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

03-31-2015

Q: If I received multiple emails for package pick-up, which one do I go by?
A: The emails are sent out by invoice number, class participants, exhibitors and people on the tour. You can go by any one of them, but we recommend you use the earliest time you received for package pick-up.

 

Q: How much money should I bring to buy all of the 2015 convention exclusive souvenirs?
A: Costs have gone up because of the complexity of the deco on the items and air freight caused by the dock workers issues on the west coast. There is also an additional souvenir item this year and one that is a large vehicle. If you want to get one of everything you will need approximately $600 for the convention 3 3/4″ items and $200 for the 12″ items.

 

Q: I was able to purchase a box set, but the attending bagged sets were sold out. When non-attending allocation goes live will I be able to order a bagged set then?
A: No. You have to purchase a non-attending set to get the few loose sets reserved for that group. We will verify each order and those that try to break the rules will be deleted less service fees.

 

Q: Will there be any bag sets at the show or can I call the office and have one added to my box set?
A: No.

 

Q: On Friday are there general admission passes available?
A: No. Registered attendees only on Friday. This is a private preview no general admission.

 

Q: Is the freebie item per registered person/badge or is it by box set? I got 2 boxed sets, so how many of the freebie item do I get?
A: Attending items are by boxed set(s). Each person will only have one name badge and one voucher to use for the souvenirs until limits are raised.

 

Q: Are we going to need to print our confirmation that was emailed to us and bring to package pick-up?
A: You will need a copy to prove which time slot will be yours for package pickup. The slots are by invoice number. More instructions will be emailed to you before the event.

 

Q: Has the parachute drop been confirmed one way or the other yet?
A: Unfortunately, the venues we were trying to get for the drop did not work out. Therefore, there will not be a drop this year. However, you will be able to purchase the parachute figure starting on Thursday night and it will be very close for everyone to get a figure.

Okay, let’s address three of these FAQ’s in short order:

1) HOLY PRICE INCREASE BATMAN!  

I know that there’s a sentiment in certain sectors of the fandom that “Joe fans are cheap” and that we “just wait for everything to hit Ross” but  according to my math from last year’s souvenir sheet, to pick up all of the 1:18 scale convention souvenirs (skipping the KREO, lithograph, and the hat & t-shirt) attendees had to spend an additional $363.

Joe Con 2014 souvenir price list

The breakdown was:

  • Rescue Ops 2 pack – $58
  • Zombie Steel Brigade 3 pack – $69
  • Carded Joe Colton – $30
  • Cobra Septic Tank – $72
  • Steel Brigade Pilot & VTOL – $65
  • Rescue Ops VAMP – $69

So, from $363 to $600 is nearly a 100% increase!  Granted, the “Tiger Force” theme involves more paint applications and the Club did air freight the merchandise over to the states from China in order to have it here on time but, in all honesty, I don’t feel that either of these conditions justify THAT much of an increase!

Here’s the rub– it was the Club that chose the Tiger Force theme.  Knowing that it required more paint decos meant that they could have adjusted the number of of souvenirs to reflect that so that attendees wouldn’t be hit with THIS much of jump.  Plus, it seems to be that better overall planning would have given them more time to ship the product from overseas even with the potential dock strike that was averted.

True one of the souvenirs is a larger vehicle but eventually there is a price threshold that is reached where attendees simply cannot afford to purchase the products the Club is selling and still enjoy their trip.  It’s possible that, for most regular attendees (and not Golden Ticket holders) that 2015 could be the year that point is reached.

2) Bagged sets – GONE EARLY!

For the first time in years, it seems that the bagged sets are going to be harder to acquire than the boxed sets.  Granted, the club held off registration for the event until almost the last possible moment and therefore had to split their allocation of convention sets between attending and non-attending registrations but it seems that this situation is also a victim of the Club’s poor planning in terms of late registration.

Personally, I’m almost of the mindset that the Club could just do away with boxed sets entirely.  Of course, I’m the type of collector who purchases figures to display, not to leave sitting in a box collecting dust.

Snake Plissken

3) Parachute figures – once again at a premium!

I find this one almost ironic.  Last year’s parachute figure proved to create a bit of a debacle for the GIJCC.  Due to some logical issues in 2013, the planned parachute figure that tied into the Nocturnal Fire theme had to be scrapped and a Kreo figure was substituted.  Rather than just sell the intended figure in the con store, the club withheld him until 2014 to save on costs.  Night Force Crazylegs proved to be incredibly popular with fans who wanted to complete their Nocturnal Fire sets and promptly sold out before the general attendees were able to purchase them.  (Golden Ticket holders were able to acquire their three times limit but that’s another story.)

It looks like we’re in for another “Parachute-Gate” this year as the parachute drop has been cancelled and the parachute figures are going to be in short supply for every pre-registered attendee to have the opportunity to purchase one.  Again.

Honestly, this last one is a real head-scratcher for me.  With all of the registration delays and cost hikes, you’d think the Club would want to keep the pre-registered attendees happy.  A simple solution is produce 1 parachute figure for every pre-registration that is received.  However, in this case, with registration occuring two weeks before the event it just wasn’t possible.  Once again, poor planning and execution creates another PR issue for an organization already has a dicey relationship with its member base at best.

This isn’t meant to be a big “Club Bash.”  Quite honestly– I don’t want to see the Club fail.  What I would like to see is for the Club to make a real honest concerted effort to change.  I’d like to see the Club function in an organized fashion with logistical foresight instead of the series of “last minute solutions” and “quick fixes” that seem to have plagued them ever since they took over management of the annual Transformers convention several years ago.  It seems clear to me that running two conventions and two subscription services has taxed the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club beyond their logistical and technological capacity.  Something has to give or, given the current mood in the fandom, there won’t be much of a Collector’s Club in a few years.

Of course, that’s just one Joe fan’s opinion.

What do YOU think?  Is the Club once again a victim of bad luck?  Or is change needed?  

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

12 thoughts on “Joe Con 2015 – Of price increases and parachute drops

  1. you are spot on my friend and not only that but this year we have no Casino night, Bingo, as well as no parachute drop. I have a 19 month old and was really looking forward to the drop.

  2. Don’t forget that last year there were many Golden Ticket holders who missed out on the para drop figure as well.

    • Good point! Again, it all comes down to poor planning.

      For the average con goer there really isn’t an affordable souvenir of the event to take home offered by the Club. To me, that should be the parachute figure. Make up one for every con set and then some and sell them for $20.00 at the con store.

      Last year really showed the flaws in the “limited edition” mentality.

  3. This is the only Convention I’ll ever be able to go to and of course I have to deal with a nearly 100% price increase. On top of that, it’s starting to feel like I won’t even be able to get any of the 2 figure, 3 figure or parachute figures anyway as the scalpers, err, “Golden Ticket” holders not only have the ability to buy 3 of almost everything, but get first crack into the store Thursday morning.

    The club could really make themselves look like they care about the actual collectors, and not the scalpers who are only looking to turn a profit, by taking away the 3x rule for them, at least for this year. That should almost guarantee that the exclusives will last through Friday and possibly into Saturday. I know they need to make the money back but I’m sure it would sell out quickly through the store from the people who could not attend due to the registration hitting so late.

    The club really needs to look at bring in more people to help run things as it truly does feel like things are done somewhat haphazardly most of the time.

    My first full year as a proud club member and I feel like it’s more work for me and less hobby. Kind of disappointing.

    • Well, as I am re acquainting myself with the world of GI Joe, and a first year club member myself,( with a great deal of help from this guy here) I am already seeing the reasons for conflict in this instance. The club needs to add some staff to this branch of the club, and possibly look into a web designer in house for the creation of a full function easily updatable software that’s adjusted for the club and the club alone. From what I’ve heard in the club threads dealing with the past 2 to 3 years I can see were people are screaming ridiculous. As for the GT situation…… Make that thing really worth something if you are gonna sell a package deal so ludicrous. Allow 25 GT packages per format. Add up the total package x3 for all items available to club members, then tack on 20% for the purchase of the package. The club makes an easy $50 grand right off the bat, and the patrons of the con, the actual collectors the GT ticket holders are trying to shaft, can have a chance at getting what they want without have to run to a scalp–,uh, er, GT that going to charge double the already outrageous price anyway.

      Just a thought….
      That said I am looking forward to this Convention!!
      Rant over.

      And to all club staff! Seriously, I realize you all are under a lot of stress over this whole situation and I just want to say i’m not beating you all down in anyway shape or form. The fact that we are going to a convention this year at all shows how hard you were obviously worked to get this done. Keep up the good work, and I hope you’ll listen to some of our suggestions and maybe help make things a little better for everybody. Uber kudos people and thank you!

      • I handle the lion’s share of logistics on my team where I work, so I’ve dealt with all kinds of issues like the club has had going back to FSS 3.0 issues last summer. Ever since then it feels like things just keep spiraling further and further down the line.

        I honestly believe that if you told club members that, “In an effort to get our house in order, we will not hold a GI Joe Convention in 2016, but will resume even better and more prepared in 2017 and beyond” they would gladly take that. I know I would and I’m the kind of guy who sits around my house reading file cards when I get bored (which is often).

        That being said, I think the problem really stems from trying to do too much and not being prepared in the past. Between preparations for the convention and the FSS, the Club is trying to do 13 months worth of work in 12 months. Last summer it finally caught up to them with the dock delays not helping at all.

        What the club needs is to get themselves into a 12 month lead time cycle. There are so many problems, either minor or major that this would help alleviate.

        Starting with the FSS, if the figures are revealed 10-12 months prior that allows a larger window for club members to sign up for the service. It also allows for time to determine if productions runs need to go up or down based on demand. And if the orders are put in early enough then basically the club members fund the production directly. Lastly, you have time to make changes to the final product before production begins. What was done with Hit & Run this year was turned him from a really nice figure into an amazing figure. He got changed but what other changes were proposed but simply couldn’t be done?

        A long lead time for the convention also eases the same issues as outlined above for the FSS but much more as well. An extra month or two could have landed a spot to do a parachute drop this year. It could have also bought time to get the product from the dock and not have to pass costs onto the attendees. I do not blame the club for this as this is rare situation where neither of the two parties involved are at fault, but still taking on that extra cost still sucks.

        There are so many more ideas I have and things I could point out, but I feel obligated to stop here before you stop reading.
        Hopefully I held your attention long enough and we can all start making some noise try to get the club back on track for the club members who love GI Joe and the product the club makes and not just to put product out into the public for aftermarket consumption. Which is another problem the club faces but that’s for another discussion.

        If anyone form the Club would like to contact me you can PM Arock1922 through the Collectors Club site. I’d love to share some of my ideas.

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  5. There is no casino night because gambling is illegal in Illinois.
    They should limit golden ticket holders to 1 per day until they hit their 3x limit.
    I guess I won’t be getting any souvenirs at all since the club priced me out.

    • Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. Gambling is legal in Illinois but with certain restrictions. For example, a former employer of mine always had a casino night for the year-end holiday party structured just as the Club held theirs. (Using “play money”, etc)

      I think the Club’s using the perception of Gambling restrictions as an excuse to cut costs. If an advertising agency can have an annual casino night then the Club most certainly can.

  6. If the club plans to ditch casino night, bingo night in future events my family will no longer go. My wife does not collect Gi joe and looks forward to casino and bingo. Not having these events really takes from the joe con experience IMO.

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