Michael has a cool hobby that I had never heard of until today: collecting new Blu-Ray disc releases, especially limited editions and interesting slipcovers. Studios issue exclusive slipcovers to certain retailers: a great marketing opportunity and plenty of fun for collectors, right? Sure. If the employees at Michael’s local Target hadn’t been ordered to slip off those neat slipcovers and toss ‘em before putting new movies in plastic security cases before they go on the shelves.
The past month I’ve been having the absolute worst experience with Target and the comments employees have stated to me not only has me livid, it defies courtesy and common sense.
I’ll start off by stating I’m a very avid Blu-ray (BD for short) fan, to a point I buy most new releases every week. I I own a large amount of Blu-rays to date and am very attentive to my collection, particularly limited editions, SteelBooks, unique slipcovers, etc. I am also an active member of Blu-ray.com, wherein which a thread titled Blu-ray Slipcover Discussion Thread is one of the most active threads on the entire forum, and even has an offshoot at www.slipcovercollector.com as well. To me and many others, the slipcovers are art, most of which are one time production runs and can be valuable, some even selling on auction sites for $100 just for the slipcover alone.
Last year a target in [redacted] instituted a new ‘security protocol’ where all new BDs are to be locked in individual cases and placed on the shelves. The downside is these cases only fit a slim BD case. If a new release such as all Disney movies, or a major film has a slipcover, even an exclusive slipcover for target like the new Water for Elephants, the unique slipcovers are thrown out as they do not fit into the cases.
Another store in [redacted] has now instituted this policy as well just one month ago, except they do keep the slipcovers on the movies, though they get shoved into the plastic case, destroying the slipcover in the process.
Target has a policy to hold an item for 24 hours, so on 10/31/11 I asked a target rep to please hold two new movies for me that release on 11/1/11 so I can get them mint and undamaged by the security cases. I was told that isn’t possible, which I knew was untrue. I’m told the only thing I can do is call the store right at 8am opening and have them held for me before the slipcovers are thrown out and the BD is put into the security cases, and I do exactly this.
Yesterday morning I called the target store right at opening as I was told to do so they can put BDs on hold for me before they’re put into security cases. A rep answers the phone and I tell them what movies I want then also to make sure they have slipcovers since they were made for and exclusively sold only at target. I swear I can hear a smile in her voice and she says “too late”. I was angered at this point and told her it’s minutes past 8am, the slips have to be there as they just opened. She reiterated she threw them out and it’s “TOO LATE”. I firmly stated “you do realize the Water for Elephants target exclusive IS the slipcover.”
(which is a custom made cover made by Fox specifically for target stores, it resembles a book, shown and detailed here.) Her reply? “Nothing I can do, it’s policy. Call corporate.”
Movie studios spend money that drives a huge collector’s market on slipcovers (O-cards being the industry term). Target, and it seems to the enjoyment of their employees, takes what is part of the movie package, and often times limited edition covers, and throws them in the garbage in the sake of security due to ‘policy’. When I have visited these stores in the past, I asked the reps in electronics in a direct question: “How can I buy a complete product, a limited edition only sold at Target, that is whole and doesn’t have the unique part of it thrown away?”, which I was told “I really don’t have answer for you”.
I truly hope you publish this as there are numerous collectors angered by these practices, in which I feel are not only highly unethical, to sell damaged/incomplete products as new. Here’s just one quote from Blu-ray.com’s Slipcover Thread last night: “Literally had to go to 3 different Targets to get a good Water For Elephants. Every single slipcover was either gone, completely bent up in the back, or the tops in the bottoms were bent into depression.”
Also, do you possibly have a list of people at the movie studios that I can send this to, to let them know as well? They take the time and make exclusive contracts and custom packages for target, yet a large amount of stores just ruin them anyway. I have a feeling Disney, Fox, Universal, and all of the other major companies won’t be too happy when they know about this. Even my own friends and family are angered that a store is doing this and they are FAR from being collectors.
I also have several photos I took specifically because of this with links and descriptions below:
I visited the target 25mi from me, the store who states tossing slips every Tuesday morning is policy. They are also not allowed to save slips even by request, by calling the day before or even being there at 8am opening.
My Water for Elephants copy I had purchased from another target, shown in front of the incomplete BDs of Water for Elephants in [redacted]. Note the DVD with slip only $5 less on the left untouched.
My local target cramming all BDs into cases. Any 3D combo will be ruined as you can see on the right. And the kicker here is ‘all Blu-rays go in cases’ yet you can see the Cars 2 DVD + BD in the middle.
We don’t have any insider contacts at movie studios, but can post this to see whether any film fans have noticed similar happenings at their Target stores, or other Blu-Ray-selling establishments.