Am I the only one who's seen the GIANT BATMAN JUMBO?

Posted by SteveH 
Because he's all over the endcaps at Walmart.

Yep, Big-ass Dark Knight Rises Batman jumbo. Looked like 5 whole points of articulation, maybe a little more. Hands posed to hold some swords or something. Looked about 2 foot tall.

Not really interested in it except for the sheer strangness of it. Mattel will pour development money into this while they screw around and screw up Masters of the Universe and the DC Heroes and...ranty rant rant.
They were available at Costco for a while too....kind of ugly looking things.
Is it the same as the ones that came out with the other Nolan Batman films?

I remember seeing Jumbo sized Spidermens for the Rami films, too.
Sanjeev (Admin)
And Supermens for the...uh...whoever did the Return movie.

Oh, and please stop shopping at Walmart.
Quote
Sanjeev
And Supermens for the...uh...whoever did the Return movie.

Oh, and please stop shopping at Walmart.

Yeah, I forgot about the Supes. Was there a Hulk or Iron Man?

While I'm no fan of Walmart, I gotta tell you that the old-style mom-n-pop shopping world of yesterday is highly incompatible with consumer culture. Like, you spend all fucking day going around town just to get a few essential things because no one store carries any combination of any two things you need and none of the stores are anywhere near each other. And the stores that do carry the things you need don't have any selection to choose from so you get whatever shit brand they can buy the cheapest and markup the most. And often the stores just plain run out of things or never carry then in the first place. And so on.

Again, almost every single Walmart I've ever entered had a vibe like it was built atop an old Indian burial ground. But the first time I needed to buy diapers and bananas at the same time I was missing it. Just a little.
Quote
Gcrush
But the first time I needed to buy diapers and bananas at the same time I was missing it. Just a little.

Wait, so were you going to eat the bananas while wearing the diapers or after?

Also, is there a pic of it?

Thanks!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/04/2012 12:18AM by gingaio.
Quote
gingaio
Wait, so were you going to eat the bananas while wearing the diapers or after?

Also, is there a pic of it?

Thanks!


Sadly, without Walmart nearby I have only pictures of me in either diapers or bananas. Not both at the same time. Because by the time I found the one the other was all gone. The stores here are just not so close together that you can time it right.
mcfitch (Admin)
Where do you live that there are no WalMarts? It sounds like a magical land.
-Mason

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matthewalt "I actually kinda LIKE that approach! You know: let's make a TOY. Remember those? Products designed to be played with without breaking? DO YOU REMEMBER, LOVE?!"
Sanjeev (Admin)
Quote
Gcrush
Yeah, I forgot about the Supes. Was there a Hulk or Iron Man?

Don't think they did a Jumbo Iron Man...but, man, if they did...I sure woulda been tempted to buy one up and repaint it as War Machine!

Anyway, I agree that modern consumer culture makes the mom & pop shop obsolete (everything's either big box store...or shop on the internet). I'm good with that. It's called progress.

Walmart savagely butt-fucking it's employees and doing everything they can to prevent them from organizing, however, is NOT progress. I recommend Target for your diaper, banana, and toys needs. They're the much lesser of two evils (kinda like Democrats! HAR!).
Quote
mcfitch
Where do you live that there are no WalMarts? It sounds like a magical land.

I'm in The Overseas. It's magical in some ways, and expensive and inconvenient in others.

Walmart actually tried to launch a store here a little while ago and they failed miserably. The popular explanation is that Walmart couldn't correctly read the special qualities and preferences of the local populace. As if something about the idea of offering "huge selections for less" isn't cross-culturally translatable in a capitalist economy. The more reasonable explanation is that existing business collusion leveraged the media and general public racism as a way to oust Walmart. Which left us with only two local versions of the Megabox that both somehow managed to take the shitty selection, inflated prices, erratic supply chain, and bring-your-own-shopping-bag mentality of the vendors in traditional markets and cram it into a warehouse environment with all the industrial lighting and charm of a typical rustbelt Walmart. Think of an Aldi's with an expanded non-grocery section where every isle is wide enough for only one cart and full of employees hawking wares at the top of their lungs while people climb over one another trying to find shit that they don't really want but are forced to buy because if you need a really need a blanket then you're not going to complain if your only choices are nausea-inducing pastel green or pink.

So, in a way, we have Walmarts here. Just without the space, selection, regularly stocked shelves, and low prices. It's great!


Quote
Sanjeev
Anyway, I agree that modern consumer culture makes the mom & pop shop obsolete (everything's either big box store...or shop on the internet). I'm good with that. It's called progress.

Walmart savagely butt-fucking it's employees and doing everything they can to prevent them from organizing, however, is NOT progress. I recommend Target for your diaper, banana, and toys needs. They're the much lesser of two evils (kinda like Democrats! HAR!).

Target was always a favorite. Something about it didn't put out the bad juju like Walmart.

As for our local Very Special and Highly Culturally Unique Not-Walmart Walmarts... They definitely took the "10 Most Effective Practices for Ass-Raping Your Employees" page from the Walmart-Walmart playbook. Probably because it closely matched with the "very special and highly culturally unique" business ethic already used by local management. Which makes me suspect that something about the utter disregard for labor isn't so special amongst all the world's civilizations. Why pay people livable wages when you have an economic apparatus that can grind them into pulpy fertilizer so much more cost effectively?
Hard to escape the worker exploitation morass when we're knee-deep in toys assembled by human drones. Wal-Mart is symptomatic, even if it is a massive boil on the asscheek of unchecked capitalism.

The anti-union sentiment is certainly unsettling in this country (and my state) alone, what with Prop 32 recently defeated, though it was uncertain which way it would go up until the end (32 was a California ballot measure intended to depower unions politically in a move reminiscent of Wisconsin, and framed as campaign finance reform).



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2012 12:15AM by gingaio.
Speaking as a member of no less than three separate labor unions, I only shop at Wal-Mart for the cheap stuff. Achoo!

As noted above, there is sort of an acrimonious hypocrisy to extolling the evils of prime-time capitalism when our product de jure is sometimes crafted in the ten cents an hour world of indentured practicality.
Quote
gingaio
Hard to escape the worker exploitation morass when we're knee-deep in toys assembled by human drones. Wal-Mart is symptomatic, even if it is a massive boil on the asscheek of unchecked capitalism.

Well, Walmart has grown to the point that it directs the labor and materials markets rather than simply using them. Their purchasing power as a company exceeds that of many not-small nations. To bring this closer to home, imagine Hasbro developing a new GI Joe line of action figures - the most amazing ones you've ever seen - and their pitch to Walmart fails. Without Walmart backing them, the line won't get produced because they won't be able to move enough units to justify the investment. Or Walmart will accept the pitch, but they'll balk at the on-shelf price point and suggest that Hasbro reduce it. So, Hasbro will cut paint applications, accessories, tooling, and even materials to make the line shrink to Walmart's requested MSRP. And this happens for loads of the items at Walmart that aren't produced in-house.

Basically, Walmart's economic pull is so large that they're affecting movement in the market. And it's at such a level that even relatively large independant companies appear to be subcontractors that simply sell a fraction of their shit produced for Walmart at other locations.

Not that this makes Walmart inherently evil, or not any more so than, say, a relatively wealthy nation. Walmart appears to provide some serious benefits for consumers. But! If we think of Walmart like a country rather than a company, we can decide if it's a place we'd like to live. And the welfare they provide for their citizens, as well as the oversight they provide for affiliated industries, is pretty poor. The distribution of assets and support in Walmart looks a lot more like Brazil than it does Australia. And they could be a lot more like the latter than the former without compromising on their "low, low prices".


Quote
gingaio
The anti-union sentiment is certainly unsettling in this country (and my state) alone, what with Prop 32 recently defeated, though it was uncertain which way it would go up until the end (32 was a California ballot measure intended to depower unions politically in a move reminiscent of Wisconsin, and framed as campaign finance reform).

It's weird how some of the most vulnerable labor forces are so staunchly anti-union. It's like they're ready to sell their futures for bullshit rhetoric about individualism. Having said that, my personal experiences with the benefits were based mostly on the security of higher wages and benefits at the price of having to deal with another quasi-corporate/political entity and all the shitty headaches that entails. I wasn't thrilled about it, but I liked getting paid more than everyone around me while having great medical benefits, too.
Quote
Supersentai
As noted above, there is sort of an acrimonious hypocrisy to extolling the evils of prime-time capitalism when our product de jure is sometimes crafted in the ten cents an hour world of indentured practicality.

It all comes down to some type of slavery, either outright chattle or seedy factory bondage. I think it sucks and is morally repugnant, but I haven't seen anything in human history to suggest that people really want to throw it all out. The best any civilization has had to say about it is, "Don't get born on the bottom of the pile."

Pretty fucked up, ain't it?
Sanjeev (Admin)
Quote
Gcrush
Truth.

And I don’t think it’s hypocritical or disingenuous at all to collect toys *and* choose not to shop at Walmart. We all have to pick our battles. I’ve never been coy about the fucked up realities behind the production of many of the things we collect. In fact, instead of shying away from those realities, I've always tried to raise dialog about them. I've quizzed Matt Doughty endlessly about the working conditions at his factory in China. I'm proud as fuck that every lil dinky thing I've ever produced has been manufactured by professionals in the US. And I spend more hobby time and energy on CAD modeling and researching 3D printing tech than I even do on searching/buying/talking about existing toys. Those are the battles I, personally, choose to fight. 'Cause I can. 'Cause I have the privilege to be able to do so. 'Cause...just 'cause. Everyone's different.

But one thing's for certain: this IS a hobby about luxury. We all have the privilege to be well off enough to consume these luxury items, and to be able to talk about them online. That's why I also feel that we can probably afford the extra buck-fitty-two to shop at spots like Target instead of Walmart.
Quote
Gcrush
Quote
gingaio
Hard to escape the worker exploitation morass when we're knee-deep in toys assembled by human drones. Wal-Mart is symptomatic, even if it is a massive boil on the asscheek of unchecked capitalism.

Well, Walmart has grown to the point that it directs the labor and materials markets rather than simply using them. Their purchasing power as a company exceeds that of many not-small nations. To bring this closer to home, imagine Hasbro developing a new GI Joe line of action figures - the most amazing ones you've ever seen - and their pitch to Walmart fails. Without Walmart backing them, the line won't get produced because they won't be able to move enough units to justify the investment. Or Walmart will accept the pitch, but they'll balk at the on-shelf price point and suggest that Hasbro reduce it. So, Hasbro will cut paint applications, accessories, tooling, and even materials to make the line shrink to Walmart's requested MSRP. And this happens for loads of the items at Walmart that aren't produced in-house.

Basically, Walmart's economic pull is so large that they're affecting movement in the market. And it's at such a level that even relatively large independant companies appear to be subcontractors that simply sell a fraction of their shit produced for Walmart at other locations.

Right, there’s no denying that Walmart rakes in numbers that exceed the GDP of many small nations, and that it affects and directs not only manufacturing but also countless local economies. Its reach is what has allowed Walmart to help grow and sustain a permanent impoverished working class domestically by helping to maintain and nourish one overseas.

What I meant by symptomatic was that Walmart flourished as a result of the consumerist desires of the citizenry of this country, to buy big and buy more and buy cheap regardless of long-term costs, economic or otherwise, social or otherwise.

I’m sure that if most people were polled as to whether Walmart workers should receive livable wages and basic health coverage, people would say yes, but whether they understand what achieving those things would really entail is the question. It’s what Dan Ariely refers to—by way of John Rawls—as the veil of ignorance, this notion that people want economic equality but are unable to comprehend the basic nature of economic inequality (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19284017).

Quote
Gcrush
Not that this makes Walmart inherently evil, or not any more so than, say, a relatively wealthy nation. Walmart appears to provide some serious benefits for consumers. But! If we think of Walmart like a country rather than a company, we can decide if it's a place we'd like to live. And the welfare they provide for their citizens, as well as the oversight they provide for affiliated industries, is pretty poor. The distribution of assets and support in Walmart looks a lot more like Brazil than it does Australia. And they could be a lot more like the latter than the former without compromising on their "low, low prices".

The data seems to bear this out: Wal-Mart could raise wages and benefits significantly without raising prices, yet still earn a healthy profit. For example, while still maintaining a profit margin almost 50% greater than Costco, a key competitor, Wal-Mart could have raised the wages and benefits of each of its non-supervisory employees in 2005 by more than $2,000 without raising prices a penny. (http://www.epi.org/publication/ib223/)

Though this’ll never happen. I could never conceive of a Walmart as a country, or at least a country like the U.S., which functions, at least ostensibly, according to a social contract to which Walmart is not beholden. So unless Walmart becomes beholden to its employees, then there’s no reason for the company to change.

I guess when you say that Walmart is not evil, I imagine that it’s not evil in the way the Borg is not evil. The question is whether we all want to be assimilated into a reality dominated by one way of thinking about commerce and labor, though I do admit to shopping there sometimes because it’s cheap and convenient and out of sheer laziness to go somewhere else when I can't find what I want somewhere else.

'Jeev alluded to choices. We can choose to shop at Target. We could also choose not to buy any products made in a stereotypical overseas factory, in which case a lot of us would have to stop collecting modern stuff. Depends on where you draw your lines.

Quote
Gcrush
It's weird how some of the most vulnerable labor forces are so staunchly anti-union. It's like they're ready to sell their futures for bullshit rhetoric about individualism. Having said that, my personal experiences with the benefits were based mostly on the security of higher wages and benefits at the price of having to deal with another quasi-corporate/political entity and all the shitty headaches that entails. I wasn't thrilled about it, but I liked getting paid more than everyone around me while having great medical benefits, too.

Again, I think it’s ignorance. It’s people being told (and believing) that they’re poor because of taxes on the rich or immigrants or the Chinese empire that has underwritten the better part of our debt or some other thing.

I’ve profited from being a part of a strong union that represents adjuncts and librarians. I have relatively good job security (knock on wood), decent wages, and good health benefits. I also have colleagues who are slackers/hacks and whom people would point to as the reason unions are so cancerous, but as an opposing force to the actual corporate/political entity that is my institution itself (especially given how precariously non-unionized adjuncts live and how Walmartian university administrators can conduct business*), as a part of checks and balances, as a form of protection (from being unjustly fired or from being asked to work way beyond what is contracted or from being treated as academic fodder) and not just as a vehicle for personal profit, it’s something that I’m grateful exists.

*Don’t get me started on my governor’s recent demands for state universities to move, across the board, toward online courses…it may work for lecture-based courses and for certain subjects, but for discussion-oriented courses, it doesn’t. At least not in the way such online courses have been conceived so far.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2012 03:03PM by gingaio.
Sanjeev (Admin)
There definitely is a big piece of human nature in this puzzle. People are ignorant--often willfully so. And as a whole, people could theoretically change oppressive regimes en masse. But this part of the discussion gets dangerous. Personal responsibility is always a precarious subject because we all want to uphold it as a principle...but we run the risk of "blaming the victim" when applying it on a macroscopic level--especially to particular constituency groups more affected than others by oppression. But I hear you.

Anyway, this was just recently (re-)posted on moveon.org:




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2012 06:44PM by Sanjeev.
Attachments:
open | download - 561738_10151157638696275_995128261_n.jpg (40.5 KB)
Systems like Wal-Mart are the end game of competetive consumer capitalism. Simple as that.

As far as voting with your dollar, that's all the power you have in the end. I still refuse to buy any CK label clothing after the campaign from the 90's where they attempted to glamorize the homeless, strung-out, runaway pre-pubescents as a "look"...super creepy and exploitive beyond anything that had happened up till then. Am sure such a campaign wouldn't rate in a world with Ambercrombie crap and crotchless panties for ten year olds.
cae
there's crotchless for pre-pubes? Oh, well. to hell with legal marijuana ...

---------------------------------
hassenpfeffer
wow.

Well, I'm staying out of this for the most part but I have to point out one thing. It's not fair to compare how Costco pays people to Walmart simply because they're two completely different retail envrionments.

Costco is a paid membership warehouse club, Walmart is an all-access department store.

Costco was, until very recently, run by the guy that started it (and thus policies are based on his ideals). Now that the gentleman has retired I fully expect them to start to go to hell in the same way as Walmart.

See, I was an employee of Sam's Club (which is what one should compare with Costco) way back in the '90s, and I was there when Sam Walton passed away. When I started the raises and promotions came fast and furious. Over the course of my first 6 months I had gotten over $3/hr in pay raises and incentives, because I'm that damn good.

There was a thing they did that I thought (from a business perspective) was very clever. They had an annual stock buying period, where one could pick up shares at a preferred price. (there was already an option to buy stock as a payroll deduction). There was also an annual store bonus that kicked in if your store hit its (actually reasonable) sales goals for membership sign-ups and profit/loss and so on. The bonus was timed to hit right before the stock buying period, so as a result many employees would just plow that bonus right into company stock.

(I'm sure someone is going to shout how evil that is. Nobody was ever forced to do it, there was no management pressure)

Everybody was happy. Then Mr. Sam died. It took about a year and everything pretty much went to hell. Raises stopped being nice, and fast, and often. It went to a more 'industry standard' of like 50 cents an hour once a year. They changed over their health care plan so it cost more and did less. There were many other little changes.

Long story short, it's what happens when a company is run by a person who has ideals and standards, and that person is no longer running the company, and it's taken over by the Harvard MBA grads who only think of "how can I make ONE MORE PENNY NOW regardless of what problems it may cause later?".

blah blah blah
I bought that batman. He's taller than the rest of my jumbos. About 36" tall.

He's swell and he was only 30 bucks.

My Dad was in the Pan Am union when I was a kid. They gave their pension fund to the company to keep the company afloat and then it went under anyway.

That union sure took care of us!

I really like the batman.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Good input, Steve. Let's just hope the same slide that happened to Walmart doesn't happen with Costco...

Anyway, I don't think it really changes the conclusions of the discussion, but it adds some useful background. One way or another, the labor movement in this country's fucked...and it doesn't look like it's gonna change any time soon... :/
Labor is fucked because of the Harvard MBAs, roughly those that graduated from 1978 onward. They're not just in retail, they're in the unions as well.

At some point something changed in the teaching.

Somewhere around the late '80s a new idea rose and became an 'action line', born from the 'work smarter not harder' theory. The 'tipping point' idea was that payroll was an infinite well that can dipped from time and again to better the bottom line RIGHT NOW. Attend me.

When I used to do the books for various companies I've worked for, everything was based on the idea that at the end of the month you should, ideally, do better than the same month last year. ANY increase was seen as a good thing.

With the goal being 'have a good month' it was possible to ride the roller coaster of daily sales. You *couldn't* always do better than last year, there are so many variables, weather being one really important factor (and not just winter. a really, really hot summer day used to bring people to the mall to cool off some.). So, on a daily basis there are ups and downs that tend to even out into the week. Following me so far? Monthly payroll was budgeted based on sales, if the month was a little weak you might get a few hours trimmed which meant that management was expected to pick up the slack as they were on a fixed salary. Work schedules could be planned, everyone could put in for time off in advance, it all worked.

But then that thing happened. Suddenly the plan was you had to better the same week, every week, in an attempt to guarantee that monthly increase. Daily sales were submitted and if you weren't increasing on a DAILY, CONSTANT basis your hours for that week would be gutted in order to improve the bottom line.

Which meant people who were planning on x hours of work suddenly were told they weren't to come in. Which meant tasks didn't get done, or didn't get done well. People quit because even tho they were part time it's really not worth many folks time to come work for one 4 hour shift a week. (some did just to stay on for expanded hours at Christmas, or for the discount)

This is insanity. You cannot plan your workforce with any useful effect. All the little things that are let slide (loss prevention being one huge factor) end up costing more in the long term. but that doesn't matter because the District Manager made his numbers and got HIS bonus for the month.

"do more with less" has become "do everything with nothing". make ONE MORE PENNY RIGHT NOW no matter what. That's not healthy. and it's completely endemic in business now. You can see it at Mattel, at Hasbro, every retailer and not just Walmart, hell, you can even see it at work at Bandai for god's sake.

I mean, there's no rational reason Bluefin (which may or may not be Bandai owned, but I suspect it has ties to the old Uchino International wholesale company) to be selling toys not at insane Yen Conversion prices, but at AMERICAN SECONDARY MARKET prices (i.e. 200% markup over cost). but boy that sure prevents the ol' debbil reverse importing, doesn't it?

Bah.
Sanjeev (Admin)
I agree with your points...and I don't want to cop out by saying "hate the game, not the player", but I still feel that there's an element missing from what you're saying. The problem exists on both sides of the coin: corporations are essentially forced to scramble for every last penny...NOW...especially the higher you get on the food chain (the larger the corporation is). This is the competition mandate of (advanced) capitalism. Gotta keep those shareholders happy...or say goodbye.

I'm not making excuses for those Harvard MBAs, but that's just how the system is rigged. We see it as greed...but psychologically, it actually operates like fear. Ironically, my coworkers were just having this conversation, but in the context of that other serious thread--the school shooting. Rich folks are rich because they're scared of being poor. Think American Beauty--no, the movie's not directly about crushing the working class or shooting up schools in the 'burbs...but it illuminates the gulf between the "American Dream" for rich (or at least upper middle class people) and what happiness really is...
I have long held that the 'keep the shareholders happy' thinking is misguided, insofar as people actually interested in the health of a company goes.

I'm not going to bore everyone (more!) with my (maybe complete misunderstanding) of the value of stock shares Vs real money (OK, real quick. It seems to me that once a company sells stock, it has no actual value to the company. Stock exists to raise money, once the stock is issued, if the value rises the company makes no extra income, that goes to the shareholder. value of stock should only affect future issues, seems to me).

But here's the thing. If all one is doing is buying and selling stock 'day trader' style, looking to make profit from momentary fluctuations, you don't CARE about the health of the company. It's completely disposable and just numbers. Tomorrow you're buying different stock.

If you ARE invested(emotionally) in the company, you're holding long-term, and THEN the 'make one more penny now' mentality should be POISON to you because eventually it will kill the company. See also Turnstyle, Hills, Zayers, Yankees, Montgomery Wards...

I don't know the solution, other than we need a return of dynamic CEOs who have the long term view and are hands-on without micromanaging.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Quote
SteveH
I have long held that the 'keep the shareholders happy' thinking is misguided, insofar as people actually interested in the health of a company goes....If all one is doing is buying and selling stock 'day trader' style, looking to make profit from momentary fluctuations, you don't CARE about the health of the company. It's completely disposable and just numbers. Tomorrow you're buying different stock.

Of course. Shareholders couldn't care less about the long-term health of the company....or the health of its employees...or its impact on the environment...or the health of the overall US economy.....

Why would they? That's not their priority. "Health" is one of those pesky things that often gets in the way of profit. It's a simple and fundamental conflict of interest.

Quote
SteveH
...we need a return of dynamic CEOs who have the long term view and are hands-on without micromanaging.

I hate to sound pessimistic, but I just don't see that happening. Again: conflict of interest. Boards of Directors (usually top shareholders) only hire CEOs well-versed in maximizing short- and perhaps medium-term profits. See Bain Capital...and countless others.
Quote
SteveH
Labor is fucked because of the Harvard MBAs, roughly those that graduated from 1978 onward. They're not just in retail, they're in the unions as well.

At some point something changed in the teaching.

No. "Gentle" capitalism has always been an exception. The basic reason is because ownership has a manifest advantage over labor. The history of economics is literally that one story over and over again. The only thing that ever changes is sometimes it's an absolute advantage and other times it's a near absolute advantage.
Hey, wasn't there a giant vinyl Eric Bana Hulk at some point? Was it jumbo sized?
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

footer