Mattel Disney Pixar Diecast CARS: Danny’s Thoughts on the Motor Speedway of the South Set
Danny left this in the COMMENTS section of the Motor Speedway of the South post (from months ago) so I thought a wider audience might appreciate it … Take it away, Danny …
Good Evening of the 5th of February, 2009 to yooz “guys”. I have been looking for current info about the “Cars” lineup. After reading everyone’s letters up to May 8, 2008, I felt the need to reply. I was in awe of the angry mob (of which I have concluded there probably are thousands around the world judging from the few posted here).
As a collector of Mattel things from pre-teen years and restarted once again back in ‘94, pre-Treasure Hunt period, I have grown from the angry, disappointed, miserable person I became as I had experienced time and time again JUST MISSING the find as someone else walked away with it before my very eyes.
One emotionally destroyed evening I came upon the answer. Although the answer wasn’t the spiritual kind, it helped me eventually realize that I needed a spiritual overhaul…a revitalization…a resurrection of inner strength…a revival and renewal of the incredible thrill and excitement I used to feel from my head to my feet that energized my every sense of my being…when I found that beautiful Hot Wheel vehicle hanging on the peg!
The exclaiming AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!! No WAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!! needed to emerge from that mired mud pit on the side of the track where it lie buried for quite some time.
As I meandered through store after store, day after day, my feet grew more and more weary of the long walks to and from the toy aisles. The gas I burned was burned as though I smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol in it’s various forms or gathered drugs into my body. My hobby kept me clean, or so I thought.
But, it had become misdirected into a dark journey. When I finally found what I was looking for, I was somewhat relieved and a bit rejuvenated, but, a hint of resentment hovered behind me like a cloud of gnats and mosquitos.
The answer was Ebay. As I discovered everything I needed to complete my collection looking like a row of teeth with some missing and a brand new car with a dented fender. My spirit lifted and, even though I watched my spending, there were a few “just this times” that I overspent just to get the weight of remembering to look for it and the constant search over with. I could be looking for something else with my time. BUT!!!….I soon found some heart attack-provoking bidding very upsetting. I needed pieces and SOOOO wanted to finish my search for the one elusive piece, only to find it dissipating into the hands of someone who…you all MUST realize…are just like we are. And most times for a price better than I was able to maturely attach to it. It became apparent to me that there were lots of these models floating around in the world and I had a very good chance of finding another one and having another shot at it. Which brings me to the next subject.
But first, I must say that I had won many auctions from other bidders and my fist thrust high in the air like EVERY SINGLE HOT WHEELS PLAYSET BOY MODEL has been depicted doing! (Kinda evil, but, who cares?)
It was the thrill of…NOT winning the RACE, but, the fact that the winner won the MONEY…back in the beginning of racing. Moonshine wouldn’t have been sped along in the night if it weren’t for the CASH!
But, kids toys made it about the RACE! No money involved. (Maybe some kids did bet a wager, who knows? We DIDN’T.) (Not to say there weren’t any rivalries in the racing circuit…that came eventually. And so did the blood.)
And today…collectors race their average, everyday cars and feet to the stores. The race has found a whole new venue and goal. But, for the collector’s world, it has a forked tongue. One collector races for the item to add to one’s collection and another collector races for the item to be sold once again…whenever.
I realized one day that no matter how fast I go or how early I press my nose against the store glass, there is a huge chance it will be all for nothing. So, I became a casual collector who sees others ravaging the pegs and talking on cell phones cutting in front of me (elbow in my face as though the phone gave him precedence over my place, kind of insinuating that I am an unsharing, insensitive human being deserving of such treatment). I, somewhat reluctantly, stand back, nixing that fight-back urge with a heavy dose of experience recall and watch him behave like his mother and father died at his birth.
I wish I could say something in kindness to change his behaviour, but, somehow, I still feel a little shocked whenever this occurs and I am stunned into silence.
There is a new race track out there, people. And it’s running throughout the world. Be careful your blood doesn’t find the dirt like the forerunners’ had. As Barack once said, there will be change if the people work together…in that essence. (I’m sure he wasn’t talking about collecting, but, he does have family and I think we can apply this theory to our class of individuals.)
Be nice to your fellow collectors. Of course it takes two or more to embrace this exchange. There will always be the unlearned, uneducated and inexperienced…those who feel left out, maybe like some of the people oversea and border-bound. (Just for the thought, if I should wish to buy a rickshaw, I am sure I would have to pay a greater sum for it should I get it shipped here in the States, assuming, probably incorrectly, there aren’t any here. So, Kudos to the man who accepted his place in the world, acknowledging that if everything grew in one place, nothing would be of any value to anyone. (Speaking of the “Motor Speedway Of The South” set, to give it it’s full name.)
I might be veering off subject here a bit, but, before I forget, my thoughts on Mattel are these:
They are a business. I believe they DO care about us. I have had cars replaced by them, glitches corrected on my account, ideas for merchandise accepted,explanations given,items found through sites they’ve offered up among other attentions given to me upon a single call.
And being a business, they need to make money in this economically sour world in order to stay afloat. They have to run factories and pay probably millions of employees (I don’t know how many). That is a lot of resources to pay for to keep a product available for a hungry collector and family oriented base.
I do not begrudge them for practically handing out sets at a lousy $300 each that most of us make in a few days work. If you don’t, then you’re not in the right line of work to support your hobby. People pay that and much more for a few hours of entertainment, whether it be football or music, racing or cable television! AND THOSE GO AWAY only to stay in your memory. A collectible stays with you daily.
I think I can applaud Mattel for a clever business move, even though I haven’t seen it come to a fruitous completion as of yet: Produce a set of only 1,000 issues…made from cars that were left over from testing or not…these issues will truely be a one of a kind in that they are ALL IN ONE SET TOGETHER! Whether or not they are reproduced later in various reincarnations, packaged this way and that, is irrelevant to the SET ITSELF!
And furthermore, (I sound like I’m scolding, but, I am not scolding…just feeling strongly…) that the, what I want to call, “introduction” of the remaining race cars all placed inside of one box, is pure genius! Now Mattel can test the public to see if it will purchase these other cars and possibly their crew members!!!!…should they release them singularly or in unique sets.
I believe Mattel is rejoicing in the “angry mob’s” reaction, because now they know they have a market. And some of the cars may be re-released with cars one might already possess so that one might pass the duplicates on to someone else, whether it be freely or not. This is definitely frustrating for some who are intent on stretching one’s budget. I’m not thrilled with multiples either. Mattel wants us to be desperate and careless with our money, seemingly. I think they will have to soon recollect their thoughts when the pegs are red hot with overstocked multiple sets and singles!! How can they nurture a collector market by destroying it the way they seem to?
Part of the reason for the huge overstock inventory of multiples, like Wal-Mart’s Ghostlight Ramone (parents do not like the drug-related voice of Cheech Marin)* or Cactus Lightning McQueen (which I liked because it was comical, but, some parents do not watch the movie with their kids, so, “what is that green stuff???”)is that possibly Mattel sees the movie attendance figures and releases according to the masses viewing the picture. Do they realize many do not go out and buy the movie or the products that fall to the shelves thereafter due to the next movie next week the kids want to hop over to? And if they buy the movie, how many buy spin-off toys for their kids in relation to the number of viewers?
Mattel can recover greatly those collectors it has discouraged and lost if it would put together SETS of those NEW issues that come in those cases the collectors cannot wait to ravage as soon as the clerk drops it to the shelving floor. And gain a much larger following this way. Collectors and casual buyers such as parents could now have the option of taking a number at the door and be sure to get the set of new cars, prepackaged. This could eliminate the disgruntled collector immediately.
Individual pieces can still be stocked on the pegs for shoppers to discover, along with an informative sign explaining to the customer that there are sets available at the service desk.
Will collectability diminish? No way! This stuff is desirable and very appealing. People will be happier and Mattel will create a happier fan base. Attention will once again be focused on how unique a piece may look instead of just plain having it. The character of the piece will be looked upon without all of the baggage that went into scoring it. And those who score sets will be more likely to keep them.
There will still be millions of people who cannot find these cars, searching Ebay for help because they live in remote locations or haven’t the time to go shopping.
Each store would have forms for collectors to fill out. They will be called when the new stuff arrives in the sets. Most likely they will want more than one set, so, after a year, each store can get an idea of how many to order. What’s left over will be available to new collectors just starting up. I think these cars are cute enough to make it on the market for years to come. Bambi is still around, Rudolph still gets a lot of attention, etc.
As for those who paid the $8.30 per car in the M.S.O.S. set, good for them! They were able to and they did! I had a financial crisis in my life and so I felt I might see them somewhere, sometime, when I might be able to fit them into my budget. I did not lose my temper, make loud noises with my hands or blame the powers that be. Kismet sometimes looks final and then somehow breath is afforded the lung once again.
And LO AND BEHOLD! HERE THEY COME! First sight for me were the K-Mart cars. Then a few single packs and a triple set. Then a three-pack and some play sets. Some launchers later, I’m looking at TWENTY-ONE OUT OF THIRTY-SIX CARS!!!! Only 15 to go!!! So, I am comfortable knowing Mattel is plugging along the best way they can, for now. And I am sure that they are learning as they go. Trying to make things interesting like the playset dioramas (I think they are called)with Flo, Ramone, Luigi and his buddy and Mater. The Mack sets and of course the new stuff coming….including the new movie. I just hope Mattel doesn’t mess us all up with another gathering of race cars…unless it will be a smattering of rookies. That is what they would have to be in the tradition of racing history.
In closing, I would like to add that when I see another person holding the coveted piece, I remind myself that there are others out there. I may have to work a little harder or search a little longer, but, eventually I will be glad to acquire it knowing I did not hurt somebody in the process…on purpose and ignorantly.
And if they are all gone, I will wait until someone decides they do not want it any longer. Then it will be my turn to bid…or simply purchase.
May your collecting life remain a fun and exciting adventure. Walk away from clouded thoughts and prosper in a light spirit and an awakened heart.
And carry on……
P.S. Not to take away from any of the heightened awareness that I hoped to instill with my first ever letter, I need to add one more thought.
I can’t help but feel that the price of the neatly displayed Motor Speedway Of The South in all of it’s manufactured difficulty is o.k. at it’s level between just out of reach for some and within reach for others. I think the price will distinguish between some really serious collectors on one hand. On the other hand, when resellers offer it, it will become available at astronomical prices…and those who buy it at that level probably get their money at a very comfortable rate. And those who keep the sets will not open them, thus preserving a piece to pass on some day that will still be a gem in the “Cars” line. (Of course, opening them would be half the fun, I’m sure. Some display them differently.) The added bonus being the low number of produced sets, whether planned or for market testing, makes this SET truly unique and special: therefore valuable. Like any classic automobile or one-of-a-kind gemstone. If one opens it, one loses THAT essence of the sealed package. That is why we keep our classics in a garage: protection for a beautiful thing.
But, the original price, being that it is truly a little high for some, is right on target for a set that Mattel may have deemed a little risky to produce in it’s infant stages. Since those other cars weren’t really the stars of the movie, it may have been thought of as taking a big chance.
So, producing them in a relatively small number was necessary, to be safe. Small numbers are costly in production. So, doubling the cost to the consumer was realistic in that light.
Now that the market has been proven, the remaining cars may STILL be costly because NOW Mattel has a new dilemma! Selling the cars for the same cost as the regular, single issues would cause an uproar from many of the box set consumers! So, Mattel must now find a way to introduce them to the rest of the collectors and families in a product line that includes a lot of extra stuff accompanying the purchase…like launchers and car carriers, etc.
If I owned a box set, I wouldn’t begrudge anyone for having access to these cars at the regular price. Since I do not own a box set, I guess I wouldn’t be begrudging myself either….:)
If I owned the set, I would have the display, something others would have trouble obtaining unless Mattel offered it up as a starter piece or someone owning the box set didn’t want it.
I spent almost $400.00 on groceries last month. But, most of it will last a long time. The M.S.O.T.S. sets will be out there for years to come. Some of us have to be patient…or pick the pieces up as they arrive.
And the price just about guarantees their preservation in time. This fares well for Mattel as well due to the fact that a product of theirs will still be in good form many years from now, strengthening the notions of collecting and collectibles. And besides, who out there DOESN’T like having something worth a little something? If not, then why the diamond rings? (Some do not care for them, I know.) I like the thought of it myself, but, for some reason, I just cannot bear the thought of parting with any of it. Novelty, novelty, novelty. Joy, Joy, Joy.
A smile is worth a million bucks or something like that.
When I look around and see what I’ve collected over the years, I get the goosebumps….there’s nothing like it! Kinda makes me feel like a king…..
* I would disagree with you regarding Cheech Marin’s as the voice of Ramone affecting his sales very much in the sense in that if you are buying/collecting CARS, it’s a non-starter of an issue as he is nothing but the character of Ramone, a car body shop owner. It’s a great character and he as usual is distinctive and funny … I think it’s more of poor packing and an overshipment of 4 of the WM CARS (remember, even TJ hung on the shelves for a long time!) …
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