Barbie for big girls.

A Tale of Two Dolls and the Race for Platinum

Ok..so I have been gone for about a month and this was really not how I wanted to get back into the blogging routine…with a sad tale.  I didn’t want to do it but there was simply no other way.  If you heard wailing and moaning yesterday morning, you most likely were in the vicinity of a Barbie collector or more specifically a Tokidoki Barbie collector.  Here is a picture to start our journey.

©Mattel 2015

The doll above is a Black Label Tokidoki doll that Mattel offered up for sale yesterday morning at 9AM to all collectors.  It was an announced, anticipated, blogged about and hyped to within an inch of its life sale.  This doll was in itself interesting and highly collectible and worthy of excitement and anticipation.  Mattel, in an effort to relieve a system/server bottleneck instituted a high volume go-to solution called the “waiting room” where people, once they have selected to buy, are essentially  put in a queue to wait for their turn to pay.   The trick is getting to pay before the doll sells out. It is very civilized and diplomatic and used in many concert ticket sales sites as well as Comic-Con.  It is not infallible or perfect but it is better than system-crashing gridlock.

That sale on its own would have been enough, but wait…there’s more.  Mattel had to raise the ante a bit and also offer, at the same time, a platinum level doll.

©Mattel 2015

Here is the platinum label Tokidoki Barbie also offered up by Mattel this morning at 9AM.  This was again an announced sale and was open to all collectors not just BFC members.  It was advertised, talked about, blogged about and anticipated since the day it was announced over a week ago.  Mattel decided to spice things up a bit and held a treasure hunt to get the doll.  This entailed finding one of two little icons (like the icon below) hidden somewhere on The Barbie Collection website.

©Mattel 2015

Once you found the icon, you clicked on it and it would take you to a secret sales page through which you could purchase the exclusive doll.  So, you have 1) a platinum doll up for sale which means there are only 999 or fewer of them, you have 2) a black label highly collectible doll up for sale, you have 3) a system that has failed before when it comes to platinum sales and 4) you are now going to ask people to not just go in and click on one page, you are going to ask them to click on many, many pages to find a little icon.  Sounded like a recipe for misery and disaster to me.  To be fair, Mattel has updated their website (my review of that is a whole other tome waiting to be written) and they gave cryptic clues as to which pages the icons could be found on.  Ever the intrepid doll hunter, I said to myself “Well allrighty then, I’m hunting for it.”  And with this decision, a new phrase entered my doll collecting vocabulary: Platinum Hunting. Let the race begin.

Runners on your Mark!!    Per Mattel, We knew that they were offering “some” of the platinum label dolls for sale but not all.  We knew that some would be offered through other retailers but did not know which ones or at what time. All we knew yesterday morning was that at 9AM PST some platinum label Tokidoki dolls would be available for purchase at $75 if we could find the icon that unlocked the secret sales page. 

Runners Get Set!!  I knew I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in…well you know where…of getting this one but I wanted to try.  I wanted to take the clues they gave us and try out this new system.  I expected the whole experience to end as it does in one of my favorite scenes from Shakespeare in Love: “How is this to end?” one character asks,“As all stories do when love is denied – with tears and a journey,” is the prophetic reply. I expected the frustration, I expected the tears, I expected the journey to end in disappointment and anger.  Sadly, this indeed appears to have been the most common experience. My own race, however, did not go as expected.

Go!  I went in with a few guesses about where the icons might be based on the clues in Mattel’s write-up.  My plan was simple: I would try the “platinum label” page or “black label” page, see if the icons were on these pages and if they were not, that was that… no platinum for me.  Something I had noticed earlier about the Barbie Collection website came in handy and was (in hindsight) instrumental for me in this race.  I had realized that it was very difficult to find basic things using the site’s built-in search box with terms such as ”Black label”,  “Platinum label”, or the names of designers like “Bill Greening” or “Robert Best”.  The old Barbiecollector site would return the content I expected when I searched for these things.  This new site?….not so much.  Before the sale began, I had issued a search on Bing that returned links to the “platinum label” and “black label” pages within the Barbie Collection website.  I had these links on hand for the big sale and it was these pages that came in handy and not the searches using the search box within the Barbie Collection site itself.  When the 9am hour hit, I refreshed my “platinum label/Barbie Collection” Bing search, clicked on the first Barbie Collection link and got…

Tokidoki Platinum hunt_edited-1

See the funny link on the bottom left?  Yeah…I did too.

Tokidoki Platinum hunt2_edited-1

In programming terms, this is a syntax error. Most commonly it happens when a programmer introduces a typographical error.   I saw the icons I was looking for and I also saw that they were attached to “Bill Greening”.  I saw the icon and I clicked.  Invalid syntax or not, the icon was still live/active and it took me to the hard-to-find sales page where I was able to purchase and check out successfully.  I immediately tried to tell a couple of friends where the link was and I thought telling them “find Bill Greening” was the thing to do.  It wasn’t…Here is why.

You could not search for “Bill Greening” on the current Barbie collector site and get the page you needed.  That search functionality doesn’t work on the current site.  WHAT?!!!  The only way that I have seen to get to his page within the BC site was finding a doll that Bill designed and clicking on that product page, then clicking on his name in the product description under designer.  Once you got to his page, there was the icon right next to his name.  The easiest way for people to get there would have been clicking on the other black label Tokidoki doll that was for sale. But here’s the problem with that: Mattel had just spent the last couple of hours training people to think that if you clicked on the Tokidoki link, you got sent to the waiting room. I would venture to guess that many people were concerned they would be put into the “waiting room” for the black label doll, thereby missing their chance to get the platinum label doll. That left them trying to figure out which dolls Bill Greening designed while hearing the clock tick, tick, ticking away in the background.  In retrospect, the most efficient way to get to the magic sales page was to abandon the website search functionality and search using an outside search engine such as Google or Bing.

So, the race is over…what did we learn?  Here is one thing and I will relate this to fashion: there is a well-known rule that you don’t accentuate your flaws in fashion.  For example, if you are wide in the hips you don’t wear horizontal stripes…especially around your hips, right?  If you are short or petite, you don’t wear anything that accentuates the fact that you are vertically challenged.  Well, if you have a website that does not have good search or even logical search functionality, then don’t ask people to search for something!  This isn’t brain surgery people…it’s common sense.  Now I know there will be people who will say “Well perhaps they didn’t know there were these problems until this sale showed them.”  My answer: that excuse doesn’t hold water. There’s a well-known history of the site failing when stressed (see this about the last Platinum sale).  Before re-opening a sales site (after having it closed for over a week I might add) the first thing many companies do is usability testing.  One of the many things this kind of testing does is to check the functionality of the website.  Was this done for the new site?  I am left to wonder on that one because yesterday’s exercise in frustration showed many glaring issues with usability.  If Mattel is looking for feedback,  I have a couple of suggestions for The Barbie Collection website.

1) Fix the search functionality on the site pronto.  Make sure that key logical searches are working like say…your designers, or your label categories, the actual names of products, etc..   Here are a few to help get you started..A) Bill Greening doesn’t work, Bill works but not the full name.  Will Greening will pull up a few because apparently your search tool can “infer” accurately but not come up with results if you search the actual name. B) When I searched “Robert Best”, the site came up with exactly one Silkstone doll…one. You might want to check that one Mattel. C) A Lynda Kyaw search doesn’t do any better. It comes up with mighty Aphrodite but that’s all folks.  D) Try typing “platinum label” into the search box and see what you get.  I will tell you…nada…no hits which is why I went to an outside search engine to search the site and came up with better results.   2) Test your system!!  When it comes time to test the completed system, you might want to get a few users who actually use the site to purchase something..oh like say your customers do…you might in fact want to hire a few customers to go in and actually take the site out for a test drive AHEAD of launch.   3)  Check for errors!!  When you launch something like this treasure hunt, you might want to check your site for blatant syntax errors.  They were at the top of every Bill Greening product page during the treasure hunt on the website ( wish I had grabbed a screen capture but did not).  Just saying…not a professional look.  I will give the website this though, it appears that the “waiting room” did help with stress on the system.  The website did not crash and people were able to check out with their black label Tokidoki dolls.  For myself, once I had the platinum doll in my cart, I was able to check out without issue or inordinate delays.  This was an improvement over past platinum label buying experiences. 

I want to love and stay loyal to the Barbie brand…I really do.  It is really hard to do when they appear to treat long standing and loyal customers the way they did yesterday.  There appeared to be way too few dolls allotted for the sale.  We have yet to hear how many were actually put up for sale yesterday.  I am thinking out of the 999 that were made, only 100 or fewer were put up for sale yesterday. The Barbie Collection website’s lack of functionality in it’s search tool hindered many collectors attempt at finding the icon.  Even if you knew the icon was on Bill Greening’s page, you were asking, “where is Bill Greening’s page?”.  I happened upon the link by pure dumb luck and an outside search engine that just happened to pull up a page with the link on it. Here is the take away for me… Why hold a contest for clients and prospective clients but give them very little chance of succeeding?  Do you garner good will that way?   It’s like inviting a large group of hungry friends to a party and once they arrive you set down a can of coke and an airline bag of pretzels.  I fail to see how Mattel or the Barbie brand added new buyers for their product on this one.  The treasure hunt was a novel and cute idea for sure but did it bring in enough visibility and new business to make up for the loyal buyers you just royally pissed off?  I am just not seeing it.  I guess time will tell.  Not a good business plan in my opinion.  I think it will take a while for the bitter taste to leave collectors mouths on this one.

***UPDATE***  Per Mattel, the remaining platinum dolls will be sold at ToysRUs, Target and FAO.  They will receive them randomly mixed in with black label TokiDoki Barbie’s.  The hunt for  many of this platinum doll continues…

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49 responses

  1. Extremely fair and thoughtful analysis of a Hindenburg level disaster of a sale. I had no problem buying the black label doll and didn’t have trouble with the waiting room, but all the search glitches you mention happened to me, including being logged out 3 times in as many minutes. I am not a die hard collector, but I got enormously frustrated by this process and I feel awful for the other collectors. I think their anger is justified.

    September 2, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    • Anger is completely justified here. I just can’t get over the really bad website functionality. I admit, I am a bit of a stickler on usability but this one is in a class by itself. Ok…won’t rant anymore. At least the newly revamped site will work with Internet Explorer again 😉

      September 2, 2015 at 3:30 pm

  2. Shuga-Shug

    Wow. What insanity! I’m not a barbie collector but those darn tokidoki ones get me close to buying every time. The platinum one is amazing and had I known about that one prior then I would have tried for her! Congrats on your score!

    September 2, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    • Thanks Shuga…although I am not sure how happy I am about it given how many people were left without on this one. IT convention is not too far away so am happily looking forward to that.

      September 2, 2015 at 3:31 pm

  3. I’m glad you got this doll and your post is right-on!!!

    September 2, 2015 at 3:37 pm

  4. Marisol

    Very well done my dear. Love the airline pretzels analogy. LOLI am not angry, just a bit let down. It would have never even entered my mind to look on Bill’s page. Mostly because I didn’t know that page existed.
    Maybe I will find her at Target….Many thanks for your wonderful input.

    September 2, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    • Thank you for the lovely comment Marisol. I hope you are able to find one. I wish the experience had been better for collectors yesterday. So sad.

      September 2, 2015 at 9:27 pm

  5. MatthewSutton

    That sounds like it was a total nightmare… I’m surprised that the remainder will only be found at Tru etc…. The 2003 chase variant was found at a local dealer back in the day, meaning truly randomly places dolls were found. If they are targeting the big chains for these I feel like it’s not very fair to the smaller dealers…..

    September 2, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    • I agree Matt. I am completely stumped when it comes to some of the marketing and tech decisions Mattel is making right now. {Rebecca scratches her head in bewilderment}.

      September 2, 2015 at 9:29 pm

  6. Tracie

    I was and am still so mad over this. First of all, the platinum dolls should be limited to BFC members. We all know there are well over 1000 of us. There is no incentive for me to join again next year. I must have clicked on a dozen pages trying to find that dang doll. After all was said and done I felt deflated and stomped on, I wasted valuable time mid work day to try to buy this doll for nothing. There is an eBay listing with all 3 dolls for $4750.00! Totally ridiculous.

    September 2, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    • You were not alone in your feelings Tracie. I hear you. I just wish Mattel had made the decision to sell more on their website. I don’t necessarily think this sale should have been exclusive to just BFC members. The club has already had a platinum sale this year and I think that is fair. I do think , however that expectations could have been set a bit better. For instance, if Mattel marketing said ” Hey, we are only going to be selling 100 of these dolls online today”, I think people would have had more realistic expectations. When I buy a lotto ticket, I think ” I have a better chance of getting struck by lightening” and when I don’t win, it is not that big of a deal. With this, nobody really knew and lack of information can really mess with expectations. Your expectation will color your whole experience I think. Just not a fun experience all the way around for most collectors yesterday..and that makes me sad.

      September 2, 2015 at 9:38 pm

  7. Tracie

    Oh, and I had NO idea he had his own page. Who knew???

    September 2, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    • Yep…and even if you did know, you couldn’t search for it. So very wrong.

      September 2, 2015 at 9:38 pm

  8. Joan

    First I would like to say I am glad that you at least got a doll. I totally agree, and I sincerely hope Mattel pays attention. I’d like to add if Mattel is going to make spend are time making us have to hunt for the privilege of buying a doll with no website function, they should also consider doing this on a “non- working day”. No consideration for people’s valuable time or for others who have no chance at even trying.

    Joan

    September 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    • Yes! It did not leave that feeling of “good will” in our hearts for this brand yesterday. Sorry you had to spend some of your work day in this mess.

      September 2, 2015 at 9:40 pm

  9. Joan

    Sorry for the bad grammar, typing on my iPad

    September 2, 2015 at 6:01 pm

  10. Gregory

    Honestly, they gave you a pretty solid clue on where the cactus friend would be. At approximately 9:02, I went to the main webpage, clicked on the Tokidoki picture, added her to the cart, clicked on Bill Greening’s name, clicked the cactus friend, added the platinum, and went through the check out process. It took me like ten minutes on my phone. Am I that much of a shopoholic that this was such a breeze?

    September 3, 2015 at 12:42 am

    • No, not a shopaholic LOL! Just a great linear thinker and that came in real handy for you on Tuesday. Congrats on your doll! Many people guessed where the little icon would be correctly but simply could not search effectively for it. Was that a human issue or did the website make it more difficult to get to where you want to go? Let’s say you are at work and it’s lunch time and you are really really hungry. You had heard about this really, really great restaurant down the street and you decide to try it. It’s your lunch hour and you have limited time to get in, get your food, eat and get out. You have the address and you get there. When you get there, it is a big corporate building with many floors and doors. You have no idea which door to go to and the address doesn’t say. What would you do? Most people would look for a directory of some kind to show you which floor and office held the restaurant. So you look for this directory but there is none or let’s say there is a big sign that says “directory” but there is nothing on it. Are you frustrated? You look for 15 minutes but no luck, you try to ask somebody but everyone is busy. In the meantime, you are really hungry and your lunch hour is now down to 30 minutes. Finally, you give up and go to the Arby’s next door. You get something to eat but it wasn’t what you really wanted and you had to snarf it down because you had just a little bit of time to do it. Are you happy right now? Then, you get back to work and one of your co-workers just came back from lunch at this wonderful restaurant you were trying to find. They tell you ” Oh, you had to go to the door on the first floor labeled map room to get the directions. Did you know you had to go to “map room” for instructions? Was it intuitive and logical? Well yes and no. Most places would have a directory. This place did not. How do you feel right now? Are you likely to go back to the restaurant or do you say to yourself “this place is just too difficult to find” and look for something else. Is this what Mattel wants to promote for their business…really difficult products to find? All I am saying is they would have made more people happier and likely to come back if there had been a printed directory ( effective search tool ). If you had found the restaurant easily but it was packed and you couldn’t get in, you might say to yourself ” Well I will try and come back another time when it isn’t so busy”. If you could not find the place at all, how interested would you be in coming back? That is just my take on it anyway. Thanks for listening.

      September 3, 2015 at 7:07 am

  11. Why doesn’t Mattel just offer each paid club membership a raffle ticket to participate in a drawing for each Platinum Doll released? If you win, you can buy that doll. Mattel should list the names of the winners publicly. Allow members only one win per year. In a club with over 7,000 members it would certainly be a away to offer everyone the “fair” chance at purchasing a platinum doll without the frustration. Oh, and NO MATTEL EMPLOYEES can participate in the raffle. 🙂 I think this would also increase the amount of people paying to join their club!

    September 3, 2015 at 5:24 am

    • You have a valid idea Susan and one that works very successfully for Integrity Toys and their program. I am not sure how many Barbie Collectors would sign up for this one though. I think that when you get to a certain membership number, these lotteries don’t have the same appeal. I think people want to believe they have at least a fighting chance to get a doll. When the number of lottery tickets goes up to say 7,000 you will have people say ” Well I am not even going to try”. The lottery would certainly be the “fair” way to go though. Give everyone the exact same chance.

      September 3, 2015 at 7:21 am

  12. Karen Martin

    WoW!…Whew…I’m tired just keeping up with all you stated! Thanks for sharing. I’ll keep watching at those stores mentioned. They will also have lines and people calling. Imagine the frustration those stores will have! Karen…in Nebraska!

    September 3, 2015 at 8:18 am

    • Yes…let the new race begin 🙂 Glad you liked the color commentary .

      September 3, 2015 at 1:22 pm

  13. Sarah

    Interesting and thoughtful essay. I, too, tried the same strategies and was frustrated that the search feature didn’t return any relevant results. After the doll was pretty much sold out, I found out how people found the icon. This is the first “platinum” level doll I’ve tried to buy in a while. In my opinion, the waiting room is a good idea, but I think it should have been in combination with the traditional way of ordering a platinum doll. I may still not have gotten a platinum level tokidoki but that’s okay. I did buy the pink one, as I saw it Convention and thought it was much nicer in person. I’ll have to wait and see what she is like in my hand. I’m on the hunt for two $8 dolls that are not as plentiful. But I’m getting frustrated with that. When Mattel comes up with a cool design, why do the produce so few of them? Not finding the Fashionista with the Kitty Cat shirt isn’t going to make me buy another Fashionista just because I’m there. Also, kids are not going to settle for a doll if they really want the one with the Kitty Cat shirt.

    September 3, 2015 at 8:23 am

    • Good points Sarah! I am sorry you were stuck in the not helpful search function of The Barbie Collection’s website yesterday. I hear you.

      September 3, 2015 at 1:25 pm

  14. Sarah

    I had to wait in the waiting room to even click on the TokiDoki doll. So I guess by the time I got into the site to look, the doll was already sold out. I went to look and there was no symbol.

    September 3, 2015 at 8:24 am

    • Thank you for sharing this! You just voiced and experienced what people were afraid of happening to them. They didn’t want to get stuck in the waiting room while they wanted to look for the platinum doll. As the platinum sold out within minutes, if you were in the waiting room for any length of time, you lost out.

      September 3, 2015 at 1:27 pm

  15. Jill

    Thank you for writing this, I am an avid collector and generally get most platinum dolls except one of the last ones because the site crashed. The waiting room forum was what really threw me. Before the sale, when I clicked on Tokidoki it had a clock countdown page and I would suspect what the waiting room was and it was impossible to get out of that room without some major opening up numerous other tabs to get the site open again. Since I wasn’t going to buy the Black Label as I had already pre-ordered it, I didn’t hit the Tokidoki link, if I had then I think I would of seen the Bill Greening link down on the far right corner but they warned us about the wait room and I guess most of us didn’t understand that you probably had to click on the doll to actually be put into it as I had tried prior to the sale (the day before) and was put into this room that I couldn’t get out of. Never ever entered my mind to open a search outside of the site. Wow, I feel kinda of stupid and still feel that way. Now I did eventually go into the Tokidoki link since I didn’t have anything to lose at that point and saw the Bill Greening link and went through and of course it was sold out. I had searched for Bill Greening and done other types of search but wasn’t getting anywhere. Oh well, pretty much it was a done deal, nothing much else I can do, we don’t have TRU but hope maybe see it at our Target though we don’t get collectibles except Holiday Barbie so that probably won’t happen either. Thank you for expressing so well, what we all were thinking

    September 3, 2015 at 9:09 am

    • Thank you for this response Jill. I had guessed that many people had done this but it was nice to have a confirmation. I hope that Mattel will do a post mortem and see this too…and perhaps rethink their website functionality and how they run their platinum sales. Sorry you experienced the frustration of many on Tuesday.

      September 3, 2015 at 1:30 pm

  16. jean-huy

    First off, congratulation on your luck of getting this Platinum Tokidoki doll.

    I have to say that your article pointed out a very good point about the Mattel’s issue on their new website. I am still baffling over the fact that this website was so haphazardly build for a corporation like Mattel.

    The other issue that I think Mattel hasn’t anticipated yet is the rest of the so-called Platinum Tokidoki being shipped out to the retailers.

    (1) how many of these PL dolls are being shipped out, does anyone know? Are we talking about 100 units for the entire country, or 500 units?!!!

    (2) how can Mattel guarantee that these PL dolls will be there once it is out of their hands, as these shipments are being shipped out to the retailers, and guess what, the staffs will snag them for themselves. They might as well just send an invite to the scalpers!

    See, my friends, the problem here is not only about the new website, but also the lack of transparency in communications on the Mattel part. Even with the Black Label dolls, do we know how many of these were produced?!!! For the life of me, I have never understood why it is so difficult for Mattel to disclose the production numbers on their dolls!

    September 3, 2015 at 10:31 am

    • Very excellent and valid points jean-huy. I don’t understand the non disclosure either. Mattel has stated that the remaining Platinum label dolls will be sent to TRU, Target and FAO. It was stated that these platinum labels will be mixed in with black label Tokidoki dolls. TRU has already had at least one listing of the platinum Tokidoki doll and it has sold out.
      http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=60779036&prodFindSrc=search&cp=
      I understand the business reasons behind perceived scarcity, I was in marketing and finance for years…what I also know is that this kind of scarcity borders on starvation and when your customers starve or no longer have a taste for your product…you are out of business.

      September 3, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      • MatthewSutton

        The TRU one may not have been available yet….the listing us up but I’ve seen that happen on lots of MH dolls too…..the listing us up in preparation of availability but has not yet been available…

        I do like the idea of a lottery…bit an automatic ticket per member but like IT…sign up for a chance. And quite honestly is it a big deal to make 2000? That’s still a tiny number for a Mattel doll which usually has edition sizes of 10k or higher. Makes it a little easier to get but still not overproduced…. And you have 1000 more happy customers 🙂

        September 3, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      • jean-huy

        Yesterday, I had another thought as well. What is the point of rolling out the remaining Platinum Label Tokidoki to other retailers, such as FAO & Target. While TRU may be stocking the Barbies on their shelves, but FAO & Target typically don’t for the ones that are more than $25. That is, FAO & Target will most likely be listing these dolls on their websites anyway!

        So, the question is, how come Mattel didn’t just run the whole darn sales on their own website?!!! LOL!

        September 4, 2015 at 6:46 am

  17. April Lilly

    For me, the nightmare didn’t end there! I was also able to find the Platinum, add her to my cart and check out, but guess what!! I got an email ‘acknowledging’ my order, not confirming it, saying something that the tax couldn’t be calculated when i checked out and ‘as soon as the system will be back up’ they will send me a total that I have to pay. Well, I still have not heard anything from the website, no reply to my email asking what’s happening, my order status on the website still says ‘in progress’ and my card hadn’t been charged. So it seems like they’re not even honoring the orders for people who WERE able to find the doll and check out with her. May I ask, did you get an email confirmation for your order?

    September 3, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    • Ohhh noooooo! I was and am so afraid of this. I did receive a standard “confirmation” email but have not received a shipping confirmation. I wonder about the tax question. When I looked on my confirmation and shipping confirmation for the black label Tokidoki, I did not see any tax calculated. Interesting. I have seen no movement on my platinum label Tokidoki…all it says is “in process”. I guess we will both wait and see. Keep us informed. This lack of acknowledging your question is a real slap. So sorry. Hoping there is a positive outcome for us both.

      September 3, 2015 at 1:53 pm

  18. Every point that you made about the Barbie website has also been true for another Mattel company that has been pissing off its customer base…American Girl.

    They introduced the “waiting room” concept with a Jill’s Steals and Deals in August. (A link from the Today Show is given where AG dolls and accessories are marked at a steep discount for flash sale.) I was able to click on the link the exact second it became available–and was automatically sent to the waiting room. And the page stayed there for HOURS.

    Since I was on an AG forum and we were all keeping tabs on each other during this time, I was able to see other people who logged in AFTER I did–as much as an hour after I did–manage to get in and checkout before my page had even loaded. I began to open multiple tabs–no dice. Then people started having luck refreshing their pages over and over (exactly what Mattel tells you not to do). That got some of them in. Then when you got merchandise in your cart, there was a big chance you would get kicked out and sent to the waiting room again, and then if you ever got let back in (some people didn’t) everything was listed as sold out. I wasn’t the only person who was still looking at the “waiting room” page into the late afternoon–long after everything had been sold out. This happened to a LOT of people.

    The working theory (and I have to agree on this) is that this waiting room was introduced by Mattel to stop bottlenecking of the website since they can’t seem to code an ecommerce website that actually functions properly. They redid the AG website before Barbie, and my account is STILL messed up. Customer Service will tell you it is an IT issue and the matter ends there.

    I was NOT happy to have the same experience trying to get the purple Tokidoki. At this point, I don’t even care about Platinum dolls, I just want Mattel to staff an IT department that can do their jobs.

    I am about 95% sure that most of these purple Tokidoki going to the big box retailers will never ever ever see the sales floor. Employees will buy them and take them home to sell for a big eBay markup.

    September 3, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    • First and foremost, I am so very sorry for your and this frustrating experience. The waiting room concept is a great one…when it works the way it should. Sounds like you got stuck in the infinite loop of nowhere within the Mattel/AG website. Your experience was so not cool. I am in agreement with you, the ever increasing problems with Mattel and Barbie Collectors ( is it BC or The Barbie Collection now? I can’t get it straight and apparently they are not even sure what to call themselves as I see it either way on the website)…anywhoo…the ever increasing problems with the site have me losing interest in this brand. Who wants the kinds of experiences you have had and many others had on Tuesday? It will be interesting to see how this one plays out in the secondary market. Thank you for sharing your experience with the website. You would have to think that the more people who speak up about these issues, the better chance Mattel will have to improve it. You would think that but I suspect many won’t hang around to find out if that happens. Mattel….are you listening?

      September 4, 2015 at 7:13 am

      • I know that I have been spending more of my doll dollars at IT because dealing with Mattel’s problems aren’t worth it to me any longer. It makes me sad that Barbie and AG are both experiencing the exact same problems, because that means it is a company issue stretching across several brands. Either way, I don’t think they have much of a right to complain anymore about how sales are down.

        September 6, 2015 at 11:39 am

  19. Laura

    I didn’t even get an opportunity to try to find the doll. In advance of the sale I tried to logon to the site. The site wouldn’t take my password – said it was incorrect. So I hit the link to change password. got the standard, you’ll be emailed a link. Sure enough, I was quickly emailed a link . But the link routed me back to the logon page – not a reset password page. Back on the logon page, I couldn’t enter a new password and again got instructed to click the forgot password link. The cycle began again. After several rounds I gave up That website continues to be a disaster.
    Even if I had managed to get on the site, odds were very high, based on past experience, that the site would crash, I wouldn’t able to add items to the cart (happens to me every time there is a sale on the site), and other errors. My interest in Barbie has been waning due to quality issues and the hassle of shopping on the site makes me even less interested in the brand. At this point, I’d rather deal with the stress of waiting to hear back from a dealer about whether I can get the Poppy or FR doll I want than the frustration of the BC website.
    I hope you truly did get your doll — I suspect some will find out they did’t after all.

    September 4, 2015 at 4:38 am

    • Thank you for posting this Laura! Your experience with not even being able to log back in was another big issue that many had and I didn’t mention it in my blog post. I also had your experience about a month ago when I tried to log back in after the system “upgrade” ( still waiting to see what was upgraded). I ended up having to call customer service and it still took a while to be able to get logged back in with a new password. I agree with you that all this hassle makes Integrity Toys and their line of products a lot more interesting. We are simple creatures…we know what we like and we want the opportunity to buy it. If buying it becomes too difficult, we move on to other things. I am happy to report I did receive a shipping notice so it looks like I will actually get this one. I hope April Lily is able to get a confirmation as well.

      September 4, 2015 at 7:18 am

  20. Posting back to Matthew Sutton here since only one person can reply to a comment on WordPress ( really?!!). A valid solution Mr. Sutton. It sure seems to work for I.T. and as you say, the customer base is larger for Barbie and could withstand a larger issue size. My hope is that they will address their serious website issues before they go on to product retooling.

    September 4, 2015 at 7:23 am

  21. Mo

    I too have discovered that if you want to search for something on BFC to do so with Google. Discovered this after this treasure hunt fiasco. Oh well, but yes, when your site doesn’t work properly, you don’t then introduce a treasure hunt to it. I can live without either doll, but congrats to those who did get her.

    September 5, 2015 at 12:19 pm

  22. Carol

    So nice that you thought to tell your friends where to look. Two of them are making a killing on eBay; one sold four and the other sold five and has one currently listed. Sucks for those of us who would have been happy to get just one and actually keep it rather than take advantage of people.

    September 18, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    • Wow! Full frontal attack…ok..I’m in. Look, first and foremost, I get that people are still upset about not being able to get this doll hence my last comment in this blog post about the bitter taste being left in peoples mouths for a while after this one. While I understand your disappointment, I don’t agree with your point of view or they way in which you expressed it. There is a famous quote, “Everyone is entitled to her own opinion, but not her own set of facts.” There are some inaccuracies in your comment that I would like to take care of right now. Inaccuracy #1 You claim I have two “friends” that sold multiple Tokidoki’s. Truth..I have one friend that I know of who purchased and sold multiple Tokidoki’s and he has stated that publically. If you have a problem with that, I suggest you take it up with him. Personally, I am not going to judge someone for what they buy and sell. While I may be upset with Mattel for the limited number available and way they distributed the doll, I am not going to judge a fellow collector on what they legally purchased or their decision on what they choose to do with that purchase. Inaccuracy #2 You implied that my tips helped said friend procure the multiple Tokidoki’s. Truth: I believe I was quite clear in my blog post that I did try to help a couple friends find the icon on the BC site but IN FACT this did not help them because of the poor search functionality of the BC website. As I understand it, a number of retail sites had this doll up for sale to the general public ( that’s you , me and the whole world equally) after the BC sale. It was through these various retail sites that this friend of mine was able to purchase multiple platinum Tokidoki’s. He did the work, found the items and purchased them. Is what he did wrong? Did he offer up these Tokidoki’s to collector friends at cost before deciding to sell? That is perhaps one factor you might want to take into consideration.

      So I ask the question…what is really the issue here? Is the issue that collectors are choosing to sell this item at a profit or is the issue the limited number and availability of this doll? Either way, some collector/buyers were at the right place at the right time to purchase…and some were not.

      September 19, 2015 at 11:16 am

  23. Hi Carol, let me help you out on a few other facts. While Rebecca is a friend (and a most awesome one at that), she did not contact me (what’s up with that? LOL) and I did not manage to get one from the BC website. One week later, I was monitoring both the BFC forums and the TRU website and the doll came up as in stock. I ordered several, as there were NO limits imposed by TRU on the number one could order. If you have an issue with that, take it up with TRU. The doll was also available on-line at Harrods and French Amazon. The opportunities were there and you missed them. That happens with a platinum doll.
    So it was a ‘right place, right time’ thing and quite frankly, what I buy or sell is my business, not yours and in no way excuses your or others inaccurate comments or personal attacks on Rebecca, me nor any other collector that has purchased one or more dolls.
    Sheree

    September 20, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    • Your honor…the defense rests. 😉

      September 20, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    • As the friend that Rebecca tried to help out during the sale, I can confirm that while her tip helped me find the icon eventually, it was too late since the site logged me out repeatedly and the search feature didn’t work. If you had a friend online with you at the time and you had found the clue, wouldn’t you do the same and tell them where to find the clue? Maybe I am just really lucky to have such good friends.

      September 21, 2015 at 9:06 am

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