Daniel Picket of Action Figure Insider explains his objections to the ban on the sale of Breaking Bad collectible figures to Harold Nicoll and the audience of The Collectors Show (ww.webtalkradio.net) during the week of November 3, 2014. According to Mr. Pickett,
Toys R Us decision to ban the line of action figures based on the television series “Breaking Bad” is negatively impacting action figure collectors and raising questions about the availability of other action figures and adult themed games and video games.
The controversy began when Susan Schriver of Fort Myers, FL. decided she did not want her children exposed to these toys. Ms. Schriver started a petition on change.org which stated: “Parents and grandparents around the world shop at Toys R Us, online and in [stores], with their children and should not be forced to explain why a certain toy comes with a bag of highly dangerous and illegal drugs or why someone who sells those drugs deserves to be made into an action figure. “Please sign to join me in asking Toys R Us to stop selling the Breaking Bad dolls and return to the family focused atmosphere for which they are known.”
Ms. Schriver also appeared on the Fort Myers, FL. Fox affiliate, Fox 4 News (http://www.jrn.com/fox4now/news/Mom-thinks-Breaking-Bad-is-sending-wrong-message-to-kids-279229312.html). Pickett started his own petition on the same change.org web site and appeared on numerous news programs. Pickett takes issue with several news accounts and uses his media time to correct those. For one, Pickett, states that the figures had been on sale for several months at Toys R Us. He also says that Ms. Schriver only heard about the figures second hand from another woman and had not actually experienced them herself. “Her opinion was not born out of any infraction. Toys R Us never sold her or children any of the figures,” Pickett said. Pickett also states that the Breaking Bad figures were in a special section, reserved for adult collectors and that they were not merchandized with other toys for children.
“In terms of the collector, it is important that Toys R Us make them available,” Pickett further stated. “So many of the smaller retailers like Sun Coast or Kaybee Toys are no more. There are not a lot of other places to go and buy these.” But there are more reasons this will impact collectors. Scale of production is the biggest one.
According to Pickett, toy makers are reluctant to invest in a production run of less well known figures without one of the big box stores willing to carry them. Beyond inconvenient, the figures likely do not get made. Toy companies that cater to niche categories like these are deprived of customers and opportunities to expand.
Pickett’s petition reached over 60,000 signatures. He hopes that the people at Toys R Us will recognize that there are just as many if not more people who want to collect action figures like these than those who find them objectionable. “I would like to have the chance to talk with the people at Toys R Us about this issue and explain a different point of view,” Pickett said. “Even if the figures were just put back on the company’s web site it would make an impact.”
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