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Barbie for big girls.

Posts tagged “BFC 2016

Barbie and Oscar

No, Barbie isn’t stepping out on Ken but she has been spending a whole lot of time with Oscar de la Renta recently.  In the past week, Mattel released the ODLR Bride Barbie through dealers and their Barbie collection website.

Oscar de la Renta Barbie® Doll

©2016 Mattel

©2016 Mattel

©2016 Mattel©2016 Mattel

 

©2016 Mattel

This past week, Barbie has also been exhibiting an definite Oscar de la Renta affinity.  If you are a fan of the @Barbiestyle Instagram account, you may have noticed quite a few  ODLR designs making an appearance.

This one is my favorite….

©2016 Mattel

Wish we could get this suit produced!!  Here is the inspiration I think.. Oscar de la Renta PreFall 2016 collection

oscar-de-la-renta-pre-fall-2016-lookbook-27

As Barbie enjoyed the Tribeca Film Festival this pastt week….

©2016 Mattel

And from the Oscar de la Renta Pre Fall 2016 collection

oscar-de-la-renta-pre-fall-2016-lookbook-05

Barbie also enjoyed some time in New York City prior to the the film festival…

©2016 Mattel

And another look straight off the catwalk, from the ODLR spring 2016 runway.

Oscar-de-la renta spring 2016 RTW

Last but certainly not least…this weekend at Grant a Wish Convention, the 2016 Silkstone BFMC exclusive was debuted.  Her name is City Chic Suit.  Here she is…  A big Thanks to Aleshia Hunley for letting me use her photos {Hugs}.  No information on when she will be available or what her price will be.

©2016 Aleshia Hunley

©2016 Aleshia Hunley

©2016 Mattel

Hmmmmmm….not sure about this one folks.  The drawing is divine.  The production…not so much.  I guess it will depend on the price point but I’m thinking…..Pass.  The inspiration for this one also seems to also be Oscar de la Renta.  This time we go to the 2016 Resort collection of ODLR.

oscar-de-la-renta-Resort 2016020-1366

-Rebecca

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There is Grey and There is Black and White

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.

©2016 Mattel, Inc

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.

cat6776

** – http://consumer.laws.com/deceptive-advertising/bait-and-switch-advertising


2016 BFC Membership Renewal Open to Current Members…

…and I am honestly conflicted about it.  I went ahead and purchased a membership ( and had difficulties doing it see story below) but I am conflicted as to whether this is something I would really recommend to a new or even seasoned collector at this point. 

©2016 Mattel, Inc.

©2016 Mattel, Inc.

Here is what I am liking about this years club.

1) AA Silkstone in a blue suit looks scrumptious!!  She will be a BFC exclusive so only available to the club.  This may be worth the $25 alone and is perhaps the main reason I signed back up this year.  Mr. Best, you get my vote…your tech department does not.

2)  Soda Shop Barbie ( part of the Willows, WI  line) is ADORABLE.  Love the poodle skirt and love where Bill Greening has taken and seems to be taking this line.  Well done Mr. Greening.

3) The Free gift is a chair!  And it seems to be the same pattern as the gilt chairs in the dioramas we all love so much from BFMC.  But…it’s black and not gold or gilt.  Hmmmmm… see more on this below.

 

Here is what I am not liking about this years club:

1) The chair is black and not gilt or gold.  I mean we can spray paint…no problem … but there is some work involved with that one.  You need to make sure it’s the right gold…and does that white seat cover come off?  Is it cloth or is it plastic?  It’s totally doable…just wish they had sprung the extra buck and had them sprayed gold is all.  I was kind of primed for the gold based on what was said in the promotional video about the articulated silkstone’s.  But…free is free so guess I really can’t complain.  Will take it and say “Thank you!”

2) The free gift doesn’t come until March?  Why the three month delay?  Yes, I say three months because I suspect this puppy won’t be mailed until late March.  Oh and read the fine print people…in order to get said chair, you need to have signed up by 03/31/16.

3) NOT liking the troubles I experienced on the “improved” website.  I had to sign in multiple times to get my account to recognize me as a BFC member and therefore allowed to purchase a membership today.  Once that hurdle was jumped,  I experienced the “waiting room” and once I made it out of the waiting room and had the item in my cart, I attempted to actually pay for my membership.  Here is what I got

BFC 2016 2

What!!  My response to the screen was “ You have got to be kidding me!  This was supposed to be the “improved system”.  Do you want my business and money or not Mattel?!!

After about 4 minutes, I went back in and was able  to re-enter all my payment info and successfully complete my transaction but for 4 minutes I contemplated whether or not it was worth it.  This BC website is seriously affecting my love of Barbie and my collecting mojo.  I am just not feeling the love from Mattel when stuff like this happens and the more it happens, it makes me question why I am giving my money to them.  I hate to say it but there it is.  Just expressing my concern and sadness.    Oh and the graphic you see above…the nice one with the pictures and explanation of the club…it’s only visible if you sign out of your membership account and are looking at the BC site as a non -member.  What?!!  So members were not able to actually see the free gift chair on the product page when they paid for their membership but people who are thinking about signing up for the first time can see it?  Can someone please, please explain this one to me?!! 

So…here I am….conflicted because I am in essence advertising the Barbie Fan Club and including links in this blog post for people if they are interested and yet…I am really disappointed at how the roll out of this club has played out.  Is this a harbinger for tough times ahead?  Will I continually have problems purchasing?  Will I have to log in and out of the website to see content that I am interested in?  Will I ever be able to search the BC website and find what I am looking for?  I remain hopeful but guarded.  Mattel, are you hearing any of this?

I guess what I will leave potential buyers with is a big fat CAVEAT EMPTOR .

                                       Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware

If you are a current BFC member, you can sign up for the club now.  If you are a new member, you can start signing up a week from now on 1/19/2016.