20 JUNE 2014
Something momentous is going to happen this Monday and Tuesday and it's the Mattel pre-sale. If you want to participate, you'll need to understand their rules.
I mentioned before the hot mess that was the Mattel exclusives line on Preview Night last year. The pre-sale is intended to let you skip all that by pre-ordering now and picking your stuff up later. Items are still limited, so you might not get what you want - but at least you won't be getting barked at by a fake security guard while you're coming to terms with your loss.
What's being sold: a lot of desirable exclusives, including the Darth Vader Hot Wheels, Monster High dolls and the very cool Arkham Knight Batmobile. You can see them all here.
When: Subscribers get early access on Monday, 23 June starting 8 am PST. Everyone else, your access starts 9 am PST on Tuesday, 24 June. If something sells out during early access, you're out of luck.
How it works: You pay now via credit card and get a voucher emailed to you. You take that voucher with you to the Torrey Pines room at the Marriott on Thursday, Friday or Saturday from 8-11 am or 3-7 pm. You'll need to show a photo ID and your badge and the credit card used. If you don't pick up your toy, it goes up for resale on Sunday at the booth.
Who loses out: anyone who only has a Sunday badge. Mattel blithely disqualified this entire contingent from participating in the pre-sale without even a cursory apology. But if you do have a Sunday badge, you can visit the booth and see if anything is for sale that didn't get claimed in time.
Much as I hate the line madness of Comic-Con, I have to admit I feel a surge of victory in laying hands on an exclusive right there at the booth. This method is the sane way of handling things, but it also feels just a little anticlimactic.