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Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Scarcity of Wooloo Plushies

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - One Koopa's quest to get a Wooloo... hasn't ended yet.

At the start of this week, I wrote an important article mentioning how the shipping industry has gotten pwned, and Nintendo has closed their online store. However, that's not reflective of every such online store we care about. For example, The Pokémon Company International's Pokémon Center online store is still open. In fact, they're offering free shipping on all orders... not only to the continental United States, but to Hawaii and Alaska, too! (Just don't have high expectations about getting your shipment in a timely manner.)

Once upon a time, near the end of 2019, they introduced a Wooloo plushie. It's 7.5 x 6.3 x 6.3 inches and $16. It sold out very quickly and hasn't been replenished. I've stated that I wanted one. I've also stated that Wooloo is my favourite Generation 8 Galar Pokémon. I still want it. The people who do have the Wooloo plushie have left reviews such as, “very fluffy! nice to cuddle. my favorite part is how he is shaped like a best friend”.

This reminds me of the mad demand for amiibo during the height of that craze, as well as the Wii console. People were accusing Nintendo of purposefully and artificially under-supplying amiibo or Wiis, in order to make them look like rare must-haves. And there's some evidence of this... 

Behold, a new product, introduced just last week. Meet Wooloo Squishy Plush! This Wooloo is 14.25 x 10 x 10.5 inches and $42.

The cheaper Wooloo is still out of stock, but don't worry, you can still get a Wooloo for around 262% more money! (And, to be fair, it's 5x the Wooloo if you treat Wooloo like a rectangular prism. Which you shouldn't. For Wooloo is ROUND.)

Oh, wait, you can't? The bigger, squishy Wooloo sold out immediately?

Yes, it's true. Wooloo Squishy Plush sold out pretty much immediately. At first, pokemoncenter.com was claiming that it was mysteriously cancelling my order (which I was able to do because Wooloo was in-stock when I made it) “because we are unable to ship it at this time.” Their auto-responder email linked to a support page with this just-updated promoted article, “Why was my order cancelled?” The most cogent answer in that article is that they were rejecting my payment information for some reason, despite them accepting it on numerous other occasions over the years.

So I filed a ticket, and a support team member named Agent_Jack told me...
“Thank you for contacting Pokémon Center Support!

We are very sorry to hear about this issue with your order! Regrettably, the Wooloo Plush has gone out of stock which is the reason your order has been canceled. Please note, the authorization hold has been voided. The funds should reflect back into your account over the next few business days, depending on the speed of your issuing bank in releasing holds. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Thank you for supporting Pokémon! Please let us know if you have any further questions, we are happy to help! Have a wonderful weekend!”

Right after that reply, squishy Wooloo changed from being available to its currently unavailable form. Very regrettable, indeed. Not a particularly helpful response, other than getting an accurate and updated (and disappointing) grey unavailable box on the page. But it means that during the small window of the check-out process, Wooloo became out of stock.

Now, you tell me: If they artificially under-supplied the first Wooloo for the purpose of up-selling people on the more expensive Wooloo, why would they also artificially under-supply the second Wooloo? Unless, of course, it's not artificial at all, and there really is just that much demand for Wooloo that it's impossible to fulfill.

Pokémon Center online store Wooloo Poké Squishy Plush Plushie sold out unavailable
All Wooloo are unavailable.

I mean, they obviously knew from the first Wooloo plush's sell-through that everyone wants a Wooloo. They literally sent out a newsletter declaring, “NEW: Wooloo plush” in the subject line. They wanted people to rush for it. ...Surely they had a satisfactory supply.

What artificial under-supply conspiracy theorists don't recognise is that it's in the company's best interest to make a lot of money now, than make money later. Well, unless you think they really get their margins off the cost of shipping.

Maybe after they end their free shipping promotion, Wooloo will flock back to the store! And I can get one. Or both.


Despite the existence of this article, Ludwig still refuses to actually buy Pokémon Shield. There's no point if all he really wants is to snuggle with a Wooloo, and spending that $60 on Wooloo plushies is a better investment than spending it on a mediocre RPG that features Wooloo and morally reprehensible sausage-eating.


The smaller Wooloo plush has gotten back in stock... and Ludwig has actually obtained one! Proof inside.

2 comments :

  1. I have the smaller Wooloo but I'm still waiting on Pokemon to restock the squishy one.

    ReplyDelete

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