Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Friday, April 18, 2008:
Mego Price Stickers - JC Penney!
This week is all about vintage 1970s Mego price stickers, so today we keep on rockin’ memories of retail toys in the good ol’ days.
Courtesy of extraordinary Mego-head Don Cassetori, we have this vintage JC Penney price sticker, which is affixed to a “4-Panel” 1st Issue/3rd Version Batman box (for more information about this Mego packaging variation, please see page 61 of World’s Greatest Toys!):
The sticker reads:
- JC Penney
- 655 2B
- 3630 144
I don’t know much about Penney’s internal item code nomenclature, but I noticed the price sticker illuminates one interesting fact about catalog sales during the 1970s:
Retailers felt compelled to offer products at reduced prices in their Christmas catalogs.
In other words, in the ’70s, it was actually cheaper to purchase a product through a retailer’s Christmas catalog than from their actual ‘brick-and-mortar’ stores.
I find this selling paradigm eerily consistent with today’s internet sales. Jeez, I desperately miss those big, fat printed Christmas catalogs, arriving in my mailbox every winter. But I suppose the internet is the new Christmas catalog.
It’s just not the same thing. At all. Anyway, I digress. I discuss this issue on page 52 of World’s Greatest Toys!, in an interview with Linda McNett, who was Mego vice president Neal Kublan’s Personal Assistant during the 1970s:
Working directly for Kublan, McNett had plenty of experience working to appease each store. “Everyone hated doing catalog items,” she declared in a 2006 interview with the author. “Retailer demands would often force Mego to minimize regular items, in order to sell them at a price in the catalog that allowed retailers to maintain their margin. Sometimes a plain brown package could be enough to make the difference. More often, pieces or equipment from the original retail items were subtracted until the cost came out to what the buyer expected.”
“So how, exactly, does this price sticker illuminate that little factoid?!” you might ask.
Simple: Mego issued this particular box variation around Fall of 1973, and the price sticker reads, “$2.99.” However, JC Penney didn’t offer any Mego WGSH toys in their catalog until the following year’s Christmas catalog (distributed in late 1974):
The price of a Mego Batman in the 1974 JC Penney catalog shown above?
$2.77 ea. figure, any 2 for $5.00
If anything, Mego prices should have gone UP between the Fall 1973 release of this packaging style and the Christmas 1974 JC Penney catalogâ€¦ but, in fact, JC Penney reduced the price by $0.22!
Incidentally, JC Penney was actually pretty expensive at the time! Future blogs will demonstrate that several of Penney’s competitors offered Mego Super-Heroes in the same “4-Panel” box for much less money: West-coast department store chain Mervyn’s offered Tarzan for $1.88 and Canadian retailer Simpson’s offered Spider-Man for $2.49.
Big thanks to Don Cassetori (AKA “DCSting” on the Mego Museum message boards)! More great “DCSting” price sticker blogs are coming soon.
I am actively seeking more contributions to my Price Sticker Library, so if you have access to vintage price stickers affixed to Mego toys, I want to hear from you! Please post in the comments below, or send me an Email.