Woolworths' Marvel Super Discs are making parents hulk-angry and eBay sellers healthy profit

Parents Australia-wide are being left feeling frustrated and angry at the perceived rarity of the latest Woolworths giveaway promotion.

‘Woolworths Marvel Super Discs’. The exclusive, superhero-branded, notched plastic discs, shaped not unlike Tazos are the latest in a series of promotional items the supermarket giant has given out to loyal shoppers.

In a short blurb on their website, Woolworths describes them as such:

Woolworths Marvel Super Discs are a connectable 12 prong plastic ‘disc’, with a total of 42 to collect.  Each disc features an action shot of a Marvel character and also details their levels of strength - which will be used in the game play. There are seven teams of characters to collect; each group has its own colour with six different characters. Marvel Super Discs can also be used to build fun shapes and structures.

Much like the Pixar-branded dominoes in 2015, the demand for the collectable plastic discs has reached a fever pitch, and the rarity of some discs has essentially created an online ‘Marvel Disc economy’ and left many parents angry and frustrated and kids feeling disappointed.

Scalpers rejoice

You can almost guarantee that when there’s a hot new item to be had, there will be re-sellers on ebay to take advantage of desperate parents looking for that one elusive item to complete their collection.

Marvel Super Discs are no different, a search for ‘woolworths marvel disc’ on ebay reveals over 5,000 items for sale or auction with some particularly ‘rare’ discs being listed for up to $800. While it’s dubious anyone would be willing to pay that much for a ‘#10 Giant-Man’ collectable disc, it hasn’t stopped optimistic sellers from trying, however some complete sets are being bid on for over $100, so there is indeed hot demand.

Angry parents

The perceived rarity of some discs in particular, along with Woolworths’ message of ‘collect them all’ has left many parents fuming at the idea that something that is supposed to be fun for their kids being turned into an exhausting and potentially expensive search for the missing pieces to a set.

Woolworths’ official Facebook page has been inundated with posts from parents angry and frustrated at the lengths they’re expected to go to find rare discs.

While there has been no official word on the discs rarity, many posts online seem to suggest that numbers, 6, 12, 18, 24, 36 and 42 of the set are the hardest to come by, with many suggesting that discs were manufactured with this artificial scarcity in mind.

Trish Medlin in one post wrote, 

‘I am done with you Woolies and I know so many parents in the same position.

We have collected your tokens for our children, YES CHILDREN.

We have begrudgingly encouraged it because the last time was so much fun.

But we are done with your promotions.

Coincidence my a$@e that the majority of people on all the swap pages are after No.s 6, 12, 18, 24, 36 and 42.

Kris Waight‎ in another post likened the discussions children were having on the playground to the same ones that would occur in a betting agency.

Some are even claiming that they’ve received packets of discs only to find them empty.

Desperate times

Woolworths did hold a ‘swap day’ at many of its stores on May 20, for collectors to meet, share and trade with each other to hopefully help complete their sets, but it appears this wasn’t enough to satiate demand.

Pages and groups are popping up all over Facebook solely dedicated to swapping and finding Marvel discs. While pages like this cropped up during the Pixar domino era and other similar promotions, the posts on some of these pages are becoming more desperate as the window for collecting a full set seems to be closing.

A search for Marvel Discs on Facebook returns over 60 separate groups, not to mention endless posts to local ‘buy, swap and sell’ pages.

The largest of the public groups, with over 1,700 members to date is full of collectors looking for discs to complete their collections with the same few numbers appearing in many of the posts.

In a response to a customer's complaint on Facebook, Woolworths dispelled the idea that some discs are “rarer” than others.

"We've been overwhelmed by the popularity of our Marvel Heroes promotion to date. The discs that have been reported as being 'rare' are actually more plentiful than you think - each has over 1 million in circulation! We encourage you to keep collecting while stocks last and swapping with family, friends and even other Facebook swap groups, of which there are many. We do take the selling of these discs and merchandise on eBay very seriously and we are making every effort to investigate this, however we are not able to stop the selling of these at this stage. We'll be sharing your comments with our team to take into consideration in future promotions."