This shows you where my mind has been lately: as I was watching QVC hawk the “Waiting for Santa” Play Set on Tuesday, all I could think about was the fabric in the flipping sleeping bag. Were the fabrics also exclusive? Could I get bolts of them anywhere?
I'd so totally buy a bolt of Breyer-branded fabric. I've been itching to make a Breyer-themed quilt for years. Fabric with preprinted logos and models would make things so much easier. And just imagine all of the other possibilities: show bags, table covers, tote bags and purses, slipcovers, curtains, evening apparel...
Back to the Play Set. It's nice to see the Midnight Tango mold again; poor thing hasn't been getting much use lately, which is a shame. Since his introduction in 2000, he's only had four other releases:
461 Midnight Tango
1173 Boone's Little Buckaroo
1180 LTD's Red Cloud
4116 Paint By Number Kit
Contrast that with the Traditional Silver, who has had over twenty different releases since 2001. (I don't have a particularly strong opinion of the Silver mold itself one way or another, so I'm sorta baffled by his popularity. And mildly relieved I didn't get pulled for the Early Bird Raffle Silver at Fest this year.)
Even Bouncer has had as many releases since his debut in 2007 (five, if you count the Gloss show prize pieces.)
I didn't get the set, partly because I finally found some of the Pony Gals stuff at a local Target (more Mini Whinnies, yay!) and because they pointed out, several times, that the set would be available later in the year through other retailers. Other retailers they didn't identify, naturally.
I'm going to guess that this set is going to be another one of those “Big Box Specials,” available for somewhat limited distribution either at one or several of other Big Box retailers like Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart, etc. or through the various local farm chain stores serviced by Mid-States Distributing. Or some combination thereof. Maybe even Tractor Supply: even though the TSC specials are usually labeled as TSC exclusives, the past couple of years they've also been getting a lot of semi-specials in their Holiday toy mix (repackaged older specials, re-issued discontinued items, leftover Wal-Mart stuff, etc.) We'll find out soon enough.
Yes, I am aware that TSC and Mid-States have their own exclusives independent of the other retailers; I'm just trying to come up with a suitable term that covers items that don't appear in any catalog, yet appear in a multiple store chains (i.e. the Bay Appaloosa Classic Frolic Stallion – first at Meijer, now also in Kmart.) “Big Box Specials” is about the best I can come up with at the moment.
Speaking of the notion of “exclusives” I wonder how much the Burbank controversy affected the sales pitch on QVC. I know other collectors have been annoyed by the fact that QVC has advertised other items as “exclusives” that have turned up elsewhere, either as regular runs or store specials. In my admittedly limited exposure to QVC, they've generally been pretty good about parsing their words to cover that possibility, but not pushing it too hard, lest it affect their sales. It was interesting how they really went out of their way to point out the fact that “exclusive” really meant “on QVC first, at this special price.”
I believe that The Nutcracker Prince is technically a true QVC Exclusive; it's not the horse, but the ornament that's packaged with it that makes it so. It probably has its own issue number and all that, but that's something I haven't followed up on yet. (Most QVC items do, or used to, regardless of the model's status as a regular run or special run. Another one of those documentation quandries we have to deal with.)