Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Terrible Tariffs: Politics in MY Gear?

Have you been watching the news in America or about America?
Would you think that political things could ever show up in a Sonic Area?

The answer to both of these questions is probably "Disappointment".
A lot of the current news you don't want, and it's disappointing to find politics near Sonic--but here we are because of the recent 'tariffs news'. Skip to the "##" for Gear's news this week.

What is it?
"They" are talking and acting upon putting a higher tax upon lots of stuff that is made in China and then sold here. Clothing is not on the list, but things like steel & aluminum (raw) are. That means food in cans, drinks in cans and stuff that uses lots of metal like appliances and cars could be really expensive soon*. The other things on the list include shoes & toys. (Of course, there are many other items on the list too but for this blog purposes it's toys)

This is one of those things that has to continue for a while before it gets bad where you can actually see it and get affected by it personally. Unless you work in one of those areas like a person who makes steel widgets in America, then, it happens faster. So keep that in mind when people are saying "well its ok because nothing changed this week". It's not like some light switch gets flipped in the white house and suddenly a 6 dollar Sonic figure is 20 dollars in Target. The stuff that's already here (and there's loooads of it--probably more than you think) has to clear out first. Then, decisions have to get made of 'do we even bother making something' so it might not be 'expensive toy is too costly' but rather 'no toy at all because $$$'. If there's a chance the tariff could go away, companies might just wait, too.

*Aside: What about recycling? Shouldn't costs for steel/aluminum for food be ok because that's the thing everyone is told is so easy to recycle that basically everybody does it? I mean, it'd take a zillion pop-cans to make a car so you can see how that wouldn't work but if it's just the same cans being used over and over for the same thing shouldn't that make it more ok and let the price not raise? I have no actual answer to this.

Toys made in America?
No. Because the machines cost too much & the ones in China are already paid off. Nobody is going to buy a 40 dollar basic Barbie, they're just going to do without. No one's going to bother to set up big toy manufacturing here, and especially not on short notice for something that would take months to build then years to pay off.

So what's the outcome?
Is it no more toys for anyone?
Something like this never happened before and I am not an economist so I don't actually know enough to do a prediction. But the one thing to recommend is keeping a sharp eye, and being prepared & cautious about getting hyped for new toys...or really much from China. There's not a whole lot you can do about tariffs on other countries. The ONLY thing you can do though is vote for someone, or call your senator to ask to put the tariffs back to how they were before or work something else out.

Read more:
https://www.fatherly.com/news/american-toy-industry-freaking-trump-china-tariffs/

What's worse:
There's a TON of people in the USA that are basically alive because Chinese stuff is inexpensive. Think of everything in your own home that's made there RIGHT NOW. Go mentally looking through all your stuff. Then imagine if it didn't exist at all, or it cost 4 times as much. Would you still have it? Could you replace it if it broke? Everything from a laundry basket/hamper to a school bag, pencil box, your sneakers to a plastic plate or cup used every day at dinner. And I don't mean novelty character stuff like Sonic plates or that...I mean every-day utilities cups and things. If you think about people who don't have a lot of money because their job never gives them a raise, there will be trouble.


###
Gear News:
The SegaShop is having some kind of sweat shirt bonanza. But...I don't really approve.
Opinion Zone:
Their sweatshirts are so basic and boring. They're doing what bootleggers love to do which is take the most generic stock art they can find & just slap it on the most generic cheap clothing they can get their hands on and then mark it up for you. They are NOT DESIGNING anything. Look at the 6 they put up this week. Wow. Logos. Then remember what Bio World, ESPECIALLY Top Heavy, and even that blank brand where it just said "Sonic Sega" from the 2010s were doing with clothing. A real designer was making NEW COOL things out of stock art and more. There was actual effort going into making unique looking tees, sweats, and whatever else. This stuff can't even be bothered to have a slogan.

Item of the week:
Shadow Shoes.
This should also be 'mystery of the month'. These shoes already look better & more fitting than those dirty lint covered Puma things. But IS it the work of a secret Sonic fan under cover at Dolce & Gabbana? Or is something a zany coincidence of the century? But gee whiz a grand for a pair of shoes that's just outlandish. What if it rains? What if the tread wears down? Anybody would be too afraid to actually put the things on their feet.

Calendar of Crud:
Christmas spins off! Onto another page because the calendar page got too long. There are certain to be more of these ugly dolls out there. And as long as there are, SonicGear will be here to make fun of them.

Next week: More sweatshirts. Even if you didn't want them.


Sunday, July 08, 2018

Hiring People That Don't Care: A Sonic Example

Sometimes companies hire people who don't care.
How can you tell? Well, because this is a merchandise site: merchandise mistakes! But the culprit this time is something you wouldn't expect...The Sega Shop!

Surprised?
Well me too. That expensive website for Sonic (and other) Sega merchandise has someone working in it that doesn't care about Sonic. Much like some of the early Archie artists that had no idea or care what the characters should look/act like, whoever's putting the site together doesn't know their basics and proves it every now and then.

Current case:
The Ultimate Life Form Shadow Mug.
You can see it as an entry on the site this week (At USA Homegoods page) but the description for the thing on the SegaShop itself is abysmal. First, they say that's Sonic there on the mug, and then that he is referred to as 'the ultimate life form' because Sonic is the best.  Would your grandma know these things? Probably not. But the real question is would anyone EXPECT her to? No, also. Some casual person could tell Mickey Mouse apart from Sonic, but couldn't pin Shadow's 'title'/designation' to him.

The problem is when you've got somebody doing descriptions for very obviously marked up goods on your website that you can't respect the potential buyer enough to describe it correctly. If you're getting some non-fan web designer to do the work at least give them a picture chart of characters with their names under it or something so they don't go writing ANT MAN on Spiderman merchandise because 'well they are both bugs'. So they didn't care to hire a fan, AND they didn't care enough to give a chart of characters so whoever this is can tell Blaze apart from Cream (well they are both girls so its easy to confuse..........mammals....) so that's like 2 layers of not caring. I mean, if it was cheap stuff like 5 dollar pins or bargain socks or something....well...stinks but 'cheap is as cheap does', but this is like 3 tiny pins for 30 dollars, fake fleece blankets for 56 bucks when the same thing sells for 18 at Target / Walmart....it's an insult.

*No I'm not nitpicking over just one instance of 'they dont know who these characters are' if you actually go there you'll find a few of them in 2018/summer.

Next Week:
More looks at the Dance Power CDs, probably more housewares.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Toy Store Fill-Ins & Unsure Sonic Birthday

As you know...
It was Sonic's birthday on the 23rd of June...and usually SonicGear is doing something big to celebrate. Extra updates, a big update...something really unusual, etc. But this year, that didn't happen. It was a normal update (which is fine) but due to Net Neutrality getting lost everything's on unsure footing--even gear.

Why no problems yet?
Because now that the rule is gone, everyone is paranoid & unsure. What will happen? Will Comcast come knocking for more money out of Blogger (where this is hosted) and force it to shut down if they don't get it? Questions like that are on the ISPs minds as well, and they know not to act while everyone is vigilant & still really salty at the public's loss.

Example:
They just spent millions & millions to get a law that says "Stabbing people is ok"
Everyone is now worried about being stabbed.
If they start stabbing now, there will be a big outcry & maybe their rule could be undone.
It's better to start picking on small fry & stabbing them slowly later, when the focus is off. Start with tiny sites no one cares about by the millions. Stuff with no lawyer. Erosion is the name of the game. "See, no one I know is being stabbed...nothings REALLY happening" so that by the time they get to extorting places enough people use (Pay for Facebook! Pay to see Ebay! Pay a fee to load Paypal! Pay to use Skype/Discord! Pay extra to play your Xbox! Fee for Nintendo Switch! Playstation fees) there won't be anywhere to go to try to organize against that kind of thing.

Who is a small fry?
SonicGear. Blogger. Probably stuff like etsy & ecrater. Ebay isn't, they have at least 1 lawyer so they're not a good first target. But, if they start picking (and they WILL, you don't just spend millions to get a "stabbing is fine now" law to NOT stab) they'll pick at those first, and then the places where anyone could go to protest about something like "all our forums are being extinguished by huge fees", so that no one can complain any more.

So understandable for this year, if Gear is basically waiting for at least 4 companies to come knocking around looking for an additional 100 dollars each per month to even PERMIT the site to be shown to their customers...it is basically waiting to get shut down. Unhappy Birthday, I guess.*

Toy Store Fill Ins:
You may have seen some Walmart ads recently bragging about their 'better toy aisles' in the wake of the loss of Toys R Us. But what you may not know is that Party City (the party supply store & known Sonic items carrier) is planning Pop-Up Toy Shops starting in September till 'Xmas this year. It's a trial run to see if they want to get into toys too. Big brands are confirmed (Hasbro, etc) but will anything Sonic be there? Time to wait and see--but it is good news for toy fans that they will make the attempt.

*SonicGear isn't giving up. It will update until the very day that someone comes and shuts it down. And it will have to be forced down, and there should be plenty of warning and explanation first...if it ever comes to that.

Next week: Some odd blankets, a look at the new Tomy plush 'in the wild' and hopefully a return to being rather on schedule again.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Net Neutrality & Sonic Gear: 1 Success

Well, Gear's still here.
The dire warning that's been sitting up there since December or so has paid off, as people DID do as asked, and did senator phone calls, wrote letters, and made a lot of general noise about net neutrality. A victory happened when three more people who used to be against it, turned to for it, once they heard everyone's voices....so Gear can continue to exist however there are 3 more fights ahead.

June:
This is the next one, supposedly. Remember, this is the government and everything is really (relatively) slow so it's not like win or lose over a week. People are hoping you will get bored and go away and forget. Because if this loses the chance of getting NN back is reduced to near nothing. Why? Taking NN away LITERALLY takes away your ability to complain about it in any way and simply erases everything that has a word for Net Neutrality.

A bunch of dirty stuff:
So the anti-nn group's just been caught forging signatures & letters of 1 dem & 1 republican senator. Pai Ajit has just also been found to have taken another 400 grand in money to try and erase NN. As if the whole thing wasn't dirty enough this gets piled on there. There are better places to read about it than on here though, and with more facts. But, because Gear is trying to make a rallying call because I DO have a voice & an audience it's important to at least explain some things.

Item of the week:
The Eggman Puma Shoe! For everything the Sonic shoe does wrong, this one is doing right. THIS is the example of 'subtle design' that has to do with the character without naming or showing it on the merchandise. This would be a shoe that Eggman would make. (though his would probably have a gun in the heel that shoots a spiked ball at hedgehogs & feature self-tying laces) How can they get one shoe so wrong and the other so right?

Paperchild Keychains: Yes these are paperchild inspired and yes they're wacky and cute.
But what's the deal with 'limited'? WHY limit it? Oh we're going to make this cool thing and then let like 100 people buy it and that's it because we don't like money? As far as merchandise, I never had a problem with something pre order exclusive, or some kind of anniversary or special deal that's limited somehow. But for every day stuff that's just fun & normal not commemorative/release/whatever it seems dumb to limit it.

Boom Keychains:
They are reasonably priced. Isn't THAT a shock? Are they literally the first Boom thing aside from shirts that costs a normal or even bargain/fun/enticing amount of money? It's sure possible. Tomy seems to love trying to pick everyone's wallet with lower-quality stuff...(notice how it took forever to get fan photos of anything that's because nobody's buying their stuff much) But these Boom chains at 1.99 each are incredibly reasonable and designed cute enough that it would be way tempting to just collect them all. That's the kind of thing I like to see!

Next week:
Tees to be sure. Probably some kind of rallying call for Net Neutrality because if it fails at any point it's real likely Gear will too. 

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Tomy at Target? Sonic Source...

Is Target the new home of Tomy Sonic?
Maybe.

People are reporting that there are a few of the Tomy plushes showing up in Target...but NOT in toys. They turn up in the video games & music area, for some reason. FNAF is a video game too but all that Freddy stuff's always in the toy aisle--so of course fans would look there first for Sonic. But it seems to not be so.

What else may appear?
As you know, Toys R Us is gone, and they were THE ONLY place that had the action figures & those 'emoji heads Boom plush'. Then, GameStop started picking up a few toy things, and got an exclusive on the classic 'switching deluxe' figure. Will Gamestop pick up the plush too? Will they pick up everything TRU had? One can hope, but with their limited space it seems unlikely.

Target is a good....target.
They have loads of space for merch that sells well, but will they use it?
PROBLEM:
Sticker-shock / Price-Rage...The neutral chao plush? It's barely bigger than a child's hand & has no features/gimmicks, yet is 14.99 at Target. A tiny doll like that? How is it so expensive? It looks nice, sure...it's not crumby and off-model or lame or anything but...gee whiz one can't help but feel that's a rip off at such a price. 9.99 would've been ok for such a small toy. Are these going to sell well or at all with such nasty prices?

You can't look for anything Sonic really online with them yet, their website isn't very updated, it seems. (For such a big store hmmmm)

Sonic Board Game Coming:
Sonic Crash Course the Board Game is coming soon to a Game Stop near you. Is this the game that was on kickstarter?

Affiliate Trouble:
SonicGear seems like a good* candidate to be an affiliate for First4Figures Sonic line, doesn't it?
However, F4F didn't seem to think so and ignored the application after specifically inviting Gear to apply for it! How does that work? It doesn't. That 25th twirling sign diorama has been sitting around in the image bin for months now waiting on the app to go through. When nothing ever happened, I just went and posted it. It's disappointing because if Gear became an affiliate and somebody actually got an item through the link it would be nice to be able to give it to the hosting fee for the site.

*It's actually the best candidate because it has the most Sonic merchandise of any site online & people only come there if they want to see Sonic stuff so............

Next Week: The board game, and hopefully some new stuff from Vandor