I have never seen an episode of BREAKING BAD, but stories like this make me want to dig in on Netflix. “Florida Mom” Susan Schrivjer of Fort Myers raised all kinds of trouble this past week, going after Toys “R” Us (a store I love, despite their reward program being… not very rewarding) for carrying Mezco’s BREAKING BAD action figures in their “adult collectibles” section. In a lot of ways, TRU is much akin to this very site – carrying toys “for all ages,” kids to grownups alike. There’s a HUGE market for “adult collectibles,” and just this past week I spotted the aforementioned figures on the pegs while I was checking out Diamond Select’s new Minimates based on Kevin Smith’s CLERKS. After a back-and-forth in the media, Toys “R” Us has pulled the figures, and the $15-$30 toys are now fetching $100+ on the secondary market. If you were hoping to score a set, be patient, as specialty retailers like my associates at Entertainment Earth will soon be well-stocked with all the BREAKING BAD characters that you’re looking for – including exclusives that even TRU didn’t have.
Thanks to the efforts of Ms. Schrivjer, sales of BREAKING BAD merchandise have skyrocketed Nationwide, with figures, plush, and even the Funko Pop! Vinyl selling out everywhere. New batches of figures, including Walt, Jesse Pinkman, Heisenberg, Saul Goodman and Gus Fring are on the way, with the full assortment up for pre-order now.
What gets me is statements like this one, presented by Schrivjer to a CNN affiliate: “Kids mimic their action figures, if you will. Do you want your child in an orange jumpsuit?”
No, because if you’re doing your job as a parent, “kids” wouldn’t be playing with figures like this – ones geared toward an older audience. Not only that, what kid would actually even want one… do little kids even know what BREAKING BAD is?
In a lot of ways, seeing Toys “R” Us cave on this issue reminds me of how stores like Walmart stock R-rated (17+ movies), but won’t sell so-called “explicit” music. Toys “R” Us still carries games that are rated M for Mature, but now pulls one line of figures because of a paltry 9,000 signatures? This is a sign of weakness, and it’s disappointing for a company that I’m always rooting for – one that needs a big time turnaround.
So what happens next time – with some of the neighboring figures from other adult-aimed lines like THE WALKING DEAD, ROBOCOP, SONS OF ANARCHY, etc? Are those gonna get pulled, too? And pulled based on signatures from people who likely aren’t shopping your store on a regular basis anyway?