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Tales from the Toy Aisles

Black Friday Ninja Turtles Toys

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and that means Black Friday is upon us. As stores gear up for their biggest sale day of the year, it’s time for us to take a trip down the lanes of toy merchandise and see where things are at. Let’s take a peek into the land of holiday shopping as it’s time for… TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE PRE-BLACK FRIDAY EDITION!

In the run up to Black Friday, I headed out today and visited two Toys R Us locations, a K-Mart and a Walmart. Each store was gearing up for their big sale day. There were already some deals to be had, but what was the #1 trend I noticed?

Ninja Turtles is the hottest toy line on the planet! Yes, it’s true… The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back and sales are totally gangbusters. One Toys R Us location was completely wiped out. This TRU was previously stocked with every single peg full of Turtles’ toys.

But now? Nothing was left but a few roleplay toys and a backpack. Remember those $120 Sewer Lair playsets that nobody said would sell? Yeah, they were all gone too. But perhaps this is just a freak occurrence at one particular Toys R Us?

Each and every store I went to, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were kings of the aisle.

Another Toys R Us tried to pretend that the Ninja Tutles didn’t even exist. Their whole section had been wiped out, just as the other TRU, but instead of leaving the shelves as a barren wasteland, they “flexed” Power Rangers into that spot. I have to admit, I take a bit of pride in seeing that the Power Rangers are warming shelves while the TMNT are selling like hotcakes, because it was the Rangers who more or less ended the Turtles’ toy aisle dominance in the 90′s.

It’s not just Geoffrey the Giraffe who can’t keep Ninja Turtles in stock. K-Mart was sold out too. And they had quite a bit of peg space. More than K-Mart usually allows. I suspect K-Mart’s nice $7.99 pricetag is part of the reason, but even their roleplay weapons and lame Power Sound FX figures were sold out. Turtle Power!

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Just when you thought it was safe to enter the toy section, it’s time once again for another installment of… TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE!

This time we head to an entirely new type of toy aisle. The toy section at Gander Mountain! I bet you didn’t know there was a toy section at Gander Mountain, did you? Honestly, neither did I. For the uninitiated, Gander Mountain is an “outdoorsman” store, not unlike the kind of place Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing” would work at.

For the most part they sell guns, hunting gear, more guns and fishing supplies. Speaking of which, the entire store reeked of rubber fishing tackle. Literally every section smelled like some little rubber lure. Aside from the stench, what sort of toys do they have?

As you might expect, they have a lot of toy guns. And I do mean a LOT! They even have pink ones for girls.

Sometime last year I lamented that more stores didn’t sell toy guns, but at this store they take it to another level. Gander Mountain not only has a crap load of real guns, but also toy versions to get “junior” into shooting things as well. It’s kind of scary how many varieties of toy guns they had.

The best stuff is the “exclusives” like the Bone Collector here. Wait, the BONE COLLECTOR?! Gander Mountain is starting to turn into less of a sporting goods store and more into a primer for young serial killers. Who the heck comes up with this stuff? Why is this guy the Bone Collector?!

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It’s been a while, but we once again head into the dank and mysterious underworld filled with little plastic men and spring launching projectiles. It’s time for another… TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE!

My local Toys R Us is still filled to the brim with leftover Kung-Zhu, so let’s skip on over to Target instead, shall we?

First up is the new Stealth Strike Batman from the Batman Brave & The Bold line. I’d love to tell you my thoughts on this figure and the several other new guys in the line, but I’m not part of the kids whom it is aimed at, so I won’t!

Instead let’s talk Squinkies! Man these things are everywhere! This is the Marvel Squinkies set, but they make all sorts of them.

I bet Stan Lee made up all of these characters!

Kids seem to love them and who can blame them? Just look at this adorable little Ben Grimm. Keep reading for more wacky toys, including ones with glowing hearts!

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It’s time once again to take a look at the newest toys invading the stores, it’s time for TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE! This week we take a look at the incredible Imaginext toys that are quickly becoming one of my favorite toy lines out there. Originally designed for young kids, it’s hard not to imagine (no pun intended) these becoming collector’s best friends. With such a wide variety of selections and brands. Now Hasbro is getting into the act as well (more on that in a bit!) plus we take a look at another small scale mainstay, LEGO!

Up first we have Imaginext Toy Story figure packs. If you’re like me, you probably enjoy Toy Story but find many of the characters just too darn expensive. Imaginext has you covered with the entire crew (sans Potato Head) available in various forms and in multipacks that make it cheaper than any other Toy Story brand.

It’s also the only line where you can get Evil Dr. Porkchop’s spaceship! Why do I not collect these?!

Imaginext doesn’t just have licensed brands either, they have some stuff they came up with on their own. Some of that is the best stuff, like pilots and planes or the brand new Dinosaur brand! It’s clearly inspired by Dino-Riders!

I loved Dino-Riders as a kid and I can imagine these little guys would be a big hit with youngsters. They even have big items like a T-Rex and a Bronto… Or whatever the hell a Brontosaurus is these days.

Not to be outdone, Hasbro, under their Fisher-Price brand has now come out with their own Imaginext style figures featuring their brands. Star Wars and Marvel are bound to make a big splash in this format.

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This week I stopped into a local Dollar General and encountered a royal bitch. I also nearly bought a $3 toy, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. All that and more in the latest TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE!

We open with some double pack figures from The Corps. For $3, this isn’t a bad deal. I almost picked up a couple guys to go with my Ethan Crowne figure. I like the two pack idea, but unfortunately the Corps are all the same figures. I’m not likely to pay $3 for two when I can get the whole lot for about $12. Corps should repaint these dudes, but I guess it’s cheaper not to.

They have these guys for a $1. They remind me a bit of the old Remco Sgt. Rock figures. I’m sure they’re not as good. For $10 though, you could buy a whole army’s worth. That could be fun?

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It’s time for a very special pre-Easter edition of TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE!

Right now in the department stores there is a second aisle of “toys” devoted to Easter. While some of it is just candy and eggs, many include little trinkets that are designed to go into Easter baskets. I recall getting a handful of neat toys through the years at Easter, so let’s see what’s out there for kids this year.

Our first stop is Target, which has one of the largest selections of Easter goodies. One very cool item I noticed is these POP Heroes vinyl bobble heads of DC characters. They look pretty neat, but seems as though they have no articulation. Too bad, as I’d picked one up if it had a little poseability.

They also had the DC Imaginext stuff back out, but this time in egg shaped packages. I really like these, but as I’ve said in the past (Christmas) they should try to theme these beyond just the packages. These figures are the same as the Regular and Single Card releases. Do something more than just change the packaging!

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