Funko Pops & Magic the Gathering DUMPED in Landfill spells DISASTER for Comic Book Shops

by 03.05.2023

Over $30 Million Worth Of Funkos Are Headed To The Landfill. The company that makes Funko Pop! collectibles is in so much trouble it’s preparing to throw hundreds of thousands of its pop culture-inspired figurines into the garbage. Funko revealed the plans in a recent earnings call filled with so much bad news its stock price fell off a cliff the next day.

“Inventory at year-end totaled $246.4 million, an increase of 48% compared to a year ago,” the company wrote in a press release on Wednesday, (via ICv2). “This includes inventory that the Company intends to eliminate in the first half of 2023 to reduce fulfillment costs by managing inventory levels to align with the operating capacity of our distribution center. This is expected to result in a write down in the first half of 2023 of approximately $30 to $36 million.”

Translation: Funko’s warehouses are overflowing with five inch chibi replicas of Machine Gun Kelly, Spider-Man, Pikachu, and every other vaguely famous cultural icon, and throwing them out will be cheaper than trying to sell them. During a call with investors, CEO Brian Mariotti said a new distribution center in Arizona was so full that the company has been bleeding cash renting shipping containers to hold all of the excess inventory.

Part of what seems to be going on here is that supply chain shortages combined with extra income and time at home during the early pandemic years spurred a temporary run on Funko Pop! sales. Now that the initial rush has subsided, the company has a ton of extra stock at the same time sales are dropping. It’s also hard not to wonder if the entire bobblehead redux has hit peak saturation.

Somebody tossed at least $100K of Magic: The Gathering cards in a landfill

This past weekend a Reddit user going by LATIN0 posted an image of what they estimated to be six pallets of Magic: The Gathering card(opens in new tab)s that had been dumped at their local landfill. What would be a treasure trove to a dedicated player was taken as a curiosity by LATIN0, who only knew the game existed from a decade of Reddit use. So they snapped a picture, dumped their trash, and moved on with their life. Later, they posted the quirky picture to Reddit alongside a few more pictures(opens in new tab) of opened sealed packs.

All without knowing that the retail value of those pallets and boxes was, at a conservative bent, something to the order of $100,000. Depending on contents, however, that could easily have been more than $250,000 worth of MTG cards, containing as it did a mix of Secret Lair, Modern Horizons 2, and Unfinity cards spanning 2019 through the end of 2022. That higher figure is if more of the valuable cards like Modern Horizons, which retail for near twice the price of a regular MTG pack, or the nicer Secret Lair cards were present. Either way, it doesn’t matter now—you can’t take stuff from a landfill, so almost all of the cards got left there by LATIN0 and their coworkers.

There was of course rampant speculation about where, or why, this small fortune in retail product had been trashed. The most likely answer is that it was a product a shipping company held because they were unpaid that was eventually disposed of—which happens all the time. That or a warehouse product that had been rejected by a large buyer like Target after someone had an accident with a forklift and/or a raccoon broke into a warehouse and peed on it or what have you. Also happens all the time, with workers utterly unaware of whatever it is they’re throwing away.

For others this was a sign that the rampant rumors around Magic: The Gathering in the past year or so have been true, and that Wizards of the Coast truly is overprinting cards to boost profits. That came to a head late last year among controversy over the $1,000, 60-card Anniversary Set and a major bank devaluing Hasbro stock while assessing that it was “killing its golden goose”(opens in new tab) with how Magic was being treated.

Anyway, no, this probably isn’t a sign that retailers don’t see the value in carrying an overstock of MTG cards and would rather just write them off and toss them in a dumpster. Our society is just monumentally wasteful in this exact way.

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