Hey guys, it’s Ryan from Games with Coffee.
If you can’t tell from the title, today, I’m addressing this post to the people responsible for all things Sonic the Hedgehog. I’m also cc’ing Sonic’s social media team (@sonic_hedgehog) and whatever merchandising team from SEGA is in charge. I doubt any of them will read this, but after the last year or so, especially the last few months, I have words for these guys and it’s not about the games, or the lack of announcements regarding them. While I understand that they probably have no control over when a new game will be released, if even announced, I do believe they have some control over one specific thing:
I hope SEGA reads this. I hope that they come back with some answers. I doubt it on both accounts, but hey, can’t hurt to try, right?
To the folks at SEGA, Sonic Team, Sonic’s Social Media Team and SEGA’s Merchandising Department,
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I’m writing to you all because I want to bring to your attention the glaring merchandise inequities that exists between American and Canadian Sonic fans.
If you dive through social media, or even do a search for Sonic merchandise, you’ll find that those in the United States have greater opportunities to purchase licensed Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise than those in Canada, where I live. And even if one such as myself wanted to purchase some sweet Sonic loot for themselves, they face many barriers in order to do so. The first of several examples being the official Sonic store on the Sega Store website.
Now, I know your store holds a lot of great Sonic merchandise; much of which I would love to get my hands on. My only problem is that, after incorporating shipping costs AND converting it all into USD, getting a hold of said stuff as a Canadian means I would have to probably sell an arm, a leg and possibly my left kidney in order to afford it. I understand that there’s exchange rates, tariffs and shipping logistics that all have to be accounted for, but still, it’s very prohibitive for me to buy these things.
Not only is it difficult to procure your stuff from the official site, it’s also extremely difficult to find any sort of Sonic merchandise in stores here in Canada! Granted, we are in the middle of a pandemic, so, there’s that to consider. Even still, I never see places like Wal-Mart or any other big box stores here in Canada have anything Sonic related in store or online(other than the games). Meanwhile, Target (a big-box store operating within the United States) has these giant Sonic Head plushies on sale. To add insult to injury, even the EB Games store – headed by parent company, GameStop – barely has any Sonic related items for sale, making it that much harder for a fan to celebrate all things Sonic. The sad thing is, if you look up anything Legend of Zelda-related on the EB Games website, you’ll find a plethora of Zelda-related items to purchase.
At the same time, I’ve been pestering my local hobby shop to ask if they have received any new Sonic merch. The owner (who’s also a big Sonic fan himself) has repeatedly informed me that no, no new merch has arrived yet and I feel terrible for bothering him so much about it. However, whenever I’m able to visit his store (despite pandemic restrictions), his place has tons of Zelda stuff! It’s crazy, y’know?
As a huge Sonic fan living up in the Great North, it really hurts that I can’t find anything to show off my adoration for the Blue Blur. It also hurts that it’s easier to be a Zelda fan than it is to be a Sonic fan. (Full disclosure, I am a pretty big Zelda and Final Fantasy fan, but Sonic’s my #1).
So, what would make things better? I’m not sure, but honestly, I’d like to see more merchandising opportunities up here. Make it easier for Canadian retailers to stock up on merch, perhaps? The fact that stores are stocking up on the anniversary books, like the Encyclo-Speedia and the IDW Comics Collection Vol.1, is a huge plus for me, but I’d like opportunities to see more clothing merch be available as well. You guys had a great campaign with Old Navy back in 2019/2020, and though I only bought one shirt (since I lost my job around that time), it’s a great shirt. I love that shirt. I stream wearing that shirt on my Sonic Sunday streams. I know that you have some t-shirts available at Hot Topic, but purchasing it online is tough because, again, purchasing is only available in USD. Beyond that, there’s nowhere else that sells official Sonic merch to my knowledge (and readers of this letter can point me in the right direction, if they so please!)
I barely see any Sonic toys available as well! My son is starting to become a fan of the series (his favourite game so far is Sonic CD) and so I want to buy stuff for him to play with, but alas… nothing. No action figures, no plush toys, nothing at all. If toy stores worked with Jakks-Pacific to distribute more product up north, maybe that would be less of a problem… but I can’t control how these stores stock up on merchandise unfortunately. I can only highlight the problem.
Other than that, maybe expand partnerships with local hobby shops or something? Or make it easier for suppliers to push product onto these local stores? I’m not sure, but I know for a fact that there are a lot of Canadian Sonic Fans, both young and old. We, as Canadian Sonic fans, all want Sonic to thrive and be the best he can be. We, as Canadian Sonic Fans, all want to show the rest of the country and the world why we’re such huge fans. And we, as Canadian Sonic Fans, deserve the same opportunities to obtain merchandise as those in the United States. Even though the United States has approximately 10 times the population as us – and thus approximately 10 times as many Sonic fans – doesn’t mean we’re no less important.
I’m not looking for compensation or attention on this, I just want to see some change happen so we as Canadian Sonic Fans can let our fan flags fly happily. Heck, I would love to open a Sonic store catered to the Canadian crowd and be the sole provider of all things Sonic the Hedgehog for the whole country. Problem is, I have no idea where to start and I have doubts that there’d even be demand for it. But hey, it’s a fever dream, right?
(BTW, if you guys want to help me start up a storefront for the sole purpose of supplying Sonic merch for Canadian fans, I am willing to sit down and talk about this in detail.)
Anyways, I hope you read this, consider my propositions (or lack of) and provide equal merchandising opportunities for Canadians to celebrate all things Sonic the Hedgehog. I will conclude this letter this with the words I always say, day in and day out: Live with No Regrets, Believe in Yourself and Chase After the Impossible. I look forward to a reply.
Best regards, Sonic’s #1 Canadian Fan, Ryan.