No this isn’t an April Fools’ joke. I wish it were.
I was all ready to share a quick blog post about the new Camel Coat Silkstone Barbie that became available on the Barbie Collection website yesterday for BFC members (a day ahead of general public distribution). I was all ready…and then…something happened that sank me and many collectors into a state of complete and total disbelief. It was a situation where something was so clearly black and white that I could not stay on the sidelines and watch it happen without comment. Our story begins with a Sneak Peek on the BFC.
I can’t show you the sneak peek because that would violate my agreement with the BFC but I can tell you that pictures of the doll were shown last week (3/24/16 to be specific) and a release date of March 31st was given. The big surprise — and a pleasant one at that — was the $50.00 list price. This doll had a full outfit with accessories (yes she has earrings and a purse!!) and the price was more than reasonable. The verbiage in the sneak peek was general…name, label, designer and…price. It was not listed with suggested price, not estimated price, just price: $50. For the entire week after the sneak was posted, member after member commented how this price seemed low. There were questions as to its validity but no correction or retraction was submitted or offered by Mattel. As of this morning, $50 was the set price.
Fast forward to yesterday. Gates open in the morning at Barbiecollection.com and many collectors were able to purchase Miss Camel Coat at $50. Somewhere after the first hours of happy purchasing, the price jumped to $75. To say collectors were surprised is a gross understatement. When people questioned this, the response back from the official Mattel channels was, “We are having issues with the price and that she was really $75.” Hmmmmm…what issues change a doll with an “advertised” price of $50 to $75? Look, I understand that mistakes are made and if Mattel had explained after say…a couple of days in the sneak peek forum that “oops we goofed, we put the price down wrong.” , I think it is fair to say that most of us would have understood. Stuff happens.
When you hike the price up 50% mid-sale while people are purchasing (yes, collectors have stories of seeing the dolls price change while still in their cart) then you have a bigger problem I think. You not only have a problem of epic customer service proportions, you also have a potential legal issue. Let me explain.
I need to state up front that I am not a lawyer. I have never been one. My background is in business and finance. While studying for my bachelor of science in this field, one of the main areas of study was business law. The first lesson we learned…and I mean the first lesson, day one… had to do with unfair and illegal marketing practices. One of the most common ones is called “Bait and Switch”. It is illegal in the United States. Here is a brief description of what it means:
"Bait and switch advertising is a violation of consumer laws. It is a type of fraudulent business practice where one party, such as a manufacturer or business, will offer the "bait". This could be a product that is advertised at a very low cost and is designed to lure in a customer. Once the customer is attracted, the manufacturer will pull the "switch". The proposed product will no longer be available at the advertised price, but instead it will be offered at a much higher price or an altogether different product will be offered." **
Simply put, you can’t advertise something for a price then hike the price when people come to buy it. You just can’t. Now, here is where things can get a little grey. Do you consider the sneak peeks we receive in the BFC “advertising”? I will admit, kind of grey because this is information shared only with BFC members and it could be considered preliminary. If that had been the only place where Mattel had mentioned a price, then perhaps categorizing this as bait and switch could be debated. However, it’s not the only place they advertised the price.
This was what you found when you went to the BFC tab of the website all day yesterday. This is not a grey area. This is advertising space on their public website.
While I sat at my computer and saw this story unfurl I was shocked that Mattel was not coming forth and 1) apologizing for their error, and 2) honoring the $50 price for BFC members. To me, this was so black and white. They advertised it at $50 for BFC members, some BFC members had already purchased dolls at that price, and I assumed they would simply have to honor the price for other BFC members. No brainer, fair, legally and ethically right. But for a time, Mattel was silent and calls to the customer service center in Wisconsin just gave the response of, “The price is $75.” Holy cow! When I called the customer service center, I explained that if that doll was $75, then they needed to yank the ad that stated she was $50 or they could get slapped with false advertising. The ad remained up all day.
By late afternoon, Mattel did respond stating that the $50 price would be honored if you called customer service but it was a one day only deal. For those who had purchased the doll at the $75 price, they could email customer service and their account would be adjusted. On my third call to customer service, I finally was able to purchase this doll for the price she was advertised for: $50.00 This was half my day people, to try to accomplish something that should never have been set up this way. And this was half a day in which I had to argue with two customer service reps that their website and company were in violation of consumer law. Not something I do every day…every year or frankly every decade. It has left me repeating one phrase over and over again…”What in the Sam Hill is going on over at Mattel?”
For those unfortunate collectors who come late to the party tomorrow hoping to use their brand new quarterly reward on a $50 Camel Coat Silkstone, good luck. I hope Mattel will do the right thing here and honor the $50 price to the BFC members they advertised it to. I am hoping but I don’t expect it. I am left with a lingering sense of mistrust in this company I have supported for years with many compliments, time and dollars. What a sad way to show their appreciation. #customerfail.
I’m not even showing the doll or giving the link. Caveat Emptor people! Now, as they say over at Flickr when a disturbing or alarming picture is about to be shown, “Take me to the Kitties”. I have such a bad taste in my mouth on this one, I need a whole box of Altoids and hours of cute animal videos.
There was a designer chat over at the Barbie Fan Club yesterday and here is what we learned about our beloved Silkies …
1. New Silkstone sneak. I can’t publish the photos because it was designated for BFC members only but once it’s been released to retailers, I can share it. If you are a member, run on over to the BFC and check it out under “Sneak Peaks” in the forum. She is a lovely redhead wearing a spring floral pink print day suit ( dress and coat) and ….a pink turban hat. Yes, I called it from the video. ( Wow!! can you hear Rebecca tooting her own horn there?!…shameless!). She has a beautiful face with blue or green eyes and rose pink lips. Her name at this point is “Luncheon Ensemble” Barbie. She should be available early 2013.
2. The “Luncheon Ensemble” Barbie will not be the club doll.
3. There will be more AA dolls in the BFMC lineup next year. That’s dolls with an “s” so hopefully more than one. Yipeee!! This is definitely an underrepresented skin tone in this line.
4. Robert Best confirmed again that the Atelier theme will continue into 2013 and that there will be day looks, evening gowns and…wait for it….maybe a tuxedo. Quoi!? Does he mean a tuxedo for Barbie or a BFMC Ken??!! Have absolutely no idea as it was not clarified. Let the speculations begin.
5. Drum roll please……There is a platinum Silkstone planned for 2013. Should we all put aside that big bucket of valium now? I can only imagine the nightmare server error mess that will ensue on the day this baby becomes available. I may have to enter the quagmire for this one folks. We have not had a platinum Silkie since FAO’s pink Soiree right? … If you don’t count the Golden Gala Silkies given at 2009 BarbieCon. How do I feel about the idea of a platinum Silkie???
I may look on with prim disapproval…but the reality of it is…I will be down in the mud with all the rest of the collectors fighting over the limited number like it was a Kmart blue light special. Yes, my name is Rebecca and I am addicted to Silkstone Barbies.
Photos are starting to show up on retail sites so I believe it’s okay to share them here. Mattel shared some preview photos of dolls coming up in 2013. If you like Dolls of the World, you will perhaps be happy with the offerings. I don’t know about you guys but….I am getting a little tired of France and Spain coming out again and again. I can’t deny they are cute but it shows up so often it’s making me feel like Mattel is brokering some kind of trade deal with these countries. I mean no disrespect to the lovely countries of Spain and France….just want to see some different ones from Mattel and their Dolls of the World series. Based on early pricing from dealers sites, the Dolls of the World will cost around $25.00 and are due out in December of 2012.
** Photos are property of Mattel, Inc.**
Bill greening debuted the successor to his highly successful Barbie Basics line with The Barbie Look series:
The Barbie Look 1:
Oh my word!!! Is she wearing Missoni??!! She is a Steffie faced beauty with rooted eyelashes. Toooo cute! Priced around $30.00 and due out first quarter of 2013.
The Barbie Look 2:
Very Chic! Uses the Mbili face mold I believe. Priced around $30.00 and due out first quarter of 2013.
Since this new series is all based around “ The Look”, there had to be fashion packs as well….
The Tea Party Accessory Pack
Each pack should retail for around $25.00. There is not date as to when these are expected but I suspect it will be the same time as the dolls. Girl has to have her clothes when she arrives right?
The news coming from the 2012 Italian Doll Convention is that the next Celebrity Silkstone will be Elizabeth Taylor. Mattel has not confirmed this but I am assuming it was a Mattel Representative who shared this information in Italy last week. This is not suprising as they already have the face mold. The speculation has already begun on which outfit she will be sporting. My vote goes for the white gown in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and I would DIE if it came as a gift set with the slip dress as well…..ohhhhh pretty please.
Although…I have to pay tribute to some of these looks as well. Liz, you were one gorgeous lady.
Well…I was apparently incorrectly under the impression that this information was not supposed to be shared outside of the Barbie Fan Club(BFC) but since everyone else is sharing it and posting photos outside of the BFC, I might as well join the club The BFC hosted an event at NBDCC this year where they showed some things that are coming up in 2012. First and foremost, the BFMC is going back to its roots with classic styling. They had one of the silkies on display and I think she is gorgeous!!
a little blurry but thought I would include it….
And Mr. Best with his beautiful creation.
Next up was Bill Greening with next years vintage reproduction offerings
It is my understanding that you can have your pick of blond, brunette or redhead and you will receive all four reproduction outfits with the doll. One for each season…Spring( Garden Party), Summer ( Resort Set), Fall( Dinner At Eight) and Winter(Winter Holiday). Eeeeeek! Too much loveliness!!
Lastly, they showed us what is in store for the final Barbie Basics line. It is Barbie Basics 3.0 and they will be in swimsuits.
I believe these are the accessory packs that will be available with this line…adorable!
I can’t wait for 2012!!!
Mattel has finally released photos to verify the Grace Kelly Trousseau Silkstone giftset and the new Silkstone Francie is finally revealed.
It looks like the photos that showed up on a retail site earlier this year were accurate. The Grace Kelly trousseau giftset will have the floral gown she met Prince Rainier for the first time in and the navy coat, dress and white hat that she wore on her honeymoon. I am really excited for this set to be available. It appears that the Hermès Kelly bag that was originally going to be with it will NOT be included. That is a bit of a bummer but oh well. I could understand that Hermès is most likely not willing to let that be copied even if it was in 1/6 scale. It would have been perfect though.
This Grace Kelly Silkstone set should be available in October and will retail for around $160.00
Silkstone Francie is finally revealed
Okay….I admit….I have never been a big Francie fan. This lady, however, is CUTE! She will be coming home to my collection. LOVE the little dog with her.
She is scheduled to arrive in September and will retail for around $90.00