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Pre-opened Shadow Box Trading Figures

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Joined: 14 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:55 pm Reply with quote
Okay, so, shadow boxed trading figures. You know, the ones like the HDM Kamen Rider figures, where there's a bunch of different figures (and usually a secret or two), that are sealed, and you have no way of knowing which figure you get until you open it.

What do you think of stores that pre-open the figures, and then tape them back closed to make them look unopened? Or tape-up returned figures, and sell them as new? Note that this is done a) without notifying customers that the figures are pre-opened, and b) in such a way to make the pre-opened ones indistinguishable from unopened ones.

I recently had this happen to me, with the Type-Moon Nendoroid Petit figures. The store in question (and their sister-store) has had problems with people opening figures, so all of their figures have the seals reinforced with tape, just to make them harder to open and hide back on the shelf. However, at neither store have I ever had problems with something having been fully opened and taped back up. A couple boxes had crappy glue holding it together, but there's a visible difference in "glue came undone" and "this has been opened by someone", but that's it.

Then I bought the figure, and there was extra tape holding it closed, in a clear attempt to hide that it had been opened. Yesterday, I brought the figure back, wanting an exchange. I was told that "oh, sometimes we open the boxes to put security tags in them." There are 4 problems I have with this: 1) I have bought plenty of shadow-box figures from them before (including something like 7-8 of the Type-Moon, and 7 of the Tales of Nendo Petits), and none of them have ever been "pre-opened"; 2) There were no security tags in either the one I brought back, or the one I got in exchange (which was also "pre-opened"); 3) The purpose of the figures is that no one knows what's in them before the consumer opens them, whereas the employees arguably knew what was in these*; and 4) I was purchasing, brand new, unopened merchandise, and these were not.

(*True, boxes move around and they probably can't tell what's in any specific box, but the "good" opened figures were likely bought by employees or saved for their friends).

#1 and #2, combined, prove that the "we add security tags in" was, at best, false, and, more likely, a bald-faced lie. My most recent purchase (prior to this incident) was a week earlier. Now, they may have restocked, but there was very little difference in the number of boxes on the shelf when I bought this one, as opposed to last week. Which tells me that it's not likely that they suddenly had theft problems to the extent where they had to change their policy and suddenly start opening sealed boxes and putting [non-existent] security tags in. The fact that neither of the "pre-opened" boxes had security tags in them doesn't help the store at all. Nor does the fact that other merchandise in the store, which is far more easy to hide in pockets and is more expensive, doesn't have security tags.

#3 pisses me off more, because it's defeating the purpose of the figures. Furthermore, since the "security tag" claim is obviously not accurate, why were these opened? Are employees going through the boxes, opening up a bunch until they find the figures they want, and then taping them up so no one can tell? Or are they bending the rules and letting employees/friends/certain people return the figures that they don't want (which is inappropriate, unless they're going to allow anyone to do it).

Finally, #4, which, quite frankly, is fraud. They are lying about the "security tags", and if the merchandise is not "brand new, unopened", they shouldn't be allowed to sell it as such. Especially when they're taping all the boxes up, so there's no way of knowing which are "pre-opened" and which aren't.

So, what do you guys think? I, personally, think this is incredibly wrong, on all points, and I will not be buying any more figures at this store (unfortunately, they're my only source for other things, so I can't boycott them completely).
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Joined: 05 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:06 pm Reply with quote
This does sound pretty shady, if that's what's happening. I've honestly never bought just an individual blind box before (I usually get the complete set from an importer if I really like a series, or if I just want one character in the set I'll go with someone selling that particular figure as opened/"used"), but I wouldn't buy from this place if I knew this was occurring.

If staff there is going through and cherry-picking the opened blindboxes to get their preferred character/whatever they need to complete their set, that's definitely unfair to the general buying public who's essentially paying for the same chance as anyone else to get the figure(s) they wanted. In such a situation, employees would not be subject to the same "gamble" as regular customers who are buying blind-- which I suppose one could argue is just an employee perk, except it also ends up skewing the odds for Joe Customer off the street, since certain characters in any given series (main characters, for example) are more likely to be popular/coveted. It would be like me only wanting Kotetsu out of a Tiger & Bunny trading figure set of 6, but because a couple store employees also want him (and are allowed to keep opening the boxes until they find him), my chance of randomly getting him could be significantly less than 1 in 6 (especially if the store doesn't carry a lot of them in stock).

So yeah, if this is what's happening it's not cool. Unless they clearly label them as "opened" and let you know which one you're buying.
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Village ElderVillage Elder

Joined: 25 Aug 2010
Posts: 7758
Location: Virginia
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:55 pm Reply with quote
It is not right, and defeats the entire purpose of the blind boxes. I doubt it is actionable though. They should just mark them opened and list the character in the box. I think your only recourse is to not buy from them anymore.

That said, no store here carries any blind box figures, or any other anime related figures for that matter. For any thing offered by Diamond in case lots I have to order an entire case if I want them. In the case of the Fate/Zero petits I did order a case. Diamond sent the store the wrong series and refused to provide the right figures. Your situation could be worse.
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