The confusion of Cats vs Pickles and the Versus World

If you asked me the main reason that I’ve been debating stopping at Gold Wave for collecting the “Versus World” (Which essentially includes all Cepia’s versus lines– Cats vs. Pickles, Dogs vs Squirls, Kittens vs Gherkins, the upcoming Bears vs Donuts, and recently teased Cows vs Aliens), it’d be hard to summarize it into just one as it’s a set of issues that combine into the one big frustration I’ll be talking about today: It’s too much to keep track of.

Compared to Blue Wave which initially had 48 Open Box or 2-packs of Beans alongside some Jumbos and Huggers to Gold Wave with 96 alone in just the Gold Wave Bean Mystery Bags. This doesn’t include any possible Open Box, the 36 Blue Stripe Bag ones, or other sizes, but essentially this number increasing to such an extent is across nearly every size. The only exception seems to be Huggers right now.

We already know another Wave is coming and that it’ll be even bigger and honestly, that’s kind of frustrating. On one hand, I get it– you need to figure stuff out ahead of time, but when things are only just getting started and are broken up in so many ways and releases feel almost random (which obviously, stores have some control over that but), the last thing I want to think of is a whole new Wave when there’s Beans on some of the very first checklists and early showcases and commercials that are still MIA.

This isn’t even all of them… These are just some of my favorites.

Some, obviously, are likely for Holidays and while they have been delayed quite a bit (There’s a handful that are clearly for Valentine’s Day, Easter, or Halloween), hopefully we may finally see them soon… But some don’t seem tied to anything.

What really gets me though, ignoring the near universal change to blind bags despite it only happening initially due to Five Below’s request, is that there’s not really a good way to even know what you’re getting. You look at the Gold Wave checklist. You know there are no Chasers. You just picked up one randomly. Decided you liked it and would like more after looking over the full sheet. 1/96 is a lot, but you like enough to try.

Except it’s not 1/96. It’s 1/12. Or even that could be wrong, depending on how the shops have stocked them. Each batch consists of 12 different ones. If your store only got Set A, even if they have four boxes and you buy 24, you’ll at most get only 12 different designs because all 96 aren’t out yet. Half aren’t going to be out until sometime next year.

This is an example of a sheet that has been put together illustrating each “set”. Set E, while not supposed to be out until next year, still has had designs already gotten due to issues with Amazon, prizes from contest winners, or given to Influencers. Some have also found them in the UK. At the moment, based off information from the UK and what people have gotten here, it likely includes Cat-mouflage, Yin-yang, Saylor, Cole, Carrot Head, Juke, El Macho, Dawn, Madeline, Lily, Fish n Chips, and Dr. Gherkin. As an aside, in the UK it seems Wolfgang Cat is showing up over Carrot Head if things weren’t already confusing enough.

And maybe it’s just me, but I hate this. Not only does it just become exhausting having to constantly keep up with information, I also can’t help but think of it from a standpoint of people who DON’T do that. Who aren’t going on Facebook, which is where most information is shared, or other social media and/or are just checking stores from time to time or even spending all this money trying to get some that may not be out yet or even in the batch on shelves because, well, they’re on the sheet… and it has no indication, nor do the bags, on what part of the sheet they could be from. Your best option becomes buying a set off Amazon which comes with its own challenges, whether you do not like to use Amazon, just don’t want a full set, and/or the fact that it’s not always guaranteed that you WILL get the full set with your order. You could get a couple of duplicates and possibly miss out on the one you wanted most.

Purple Wave had its own messes (such as a general lack of order), even if you could keep track of batch codes for some idea. Gold Wave more or less shares the same things, despite how it’s divided up, so unless you manage to see through the bags, you’re pulling blind from generally either 1/12 or 1/24 and expecting a bigger variety than that. Either way, that’s not really the main issue here. The main problem is that the bags show a Checklist of Gold Wave having 96 Beans to pull from and besides about half not being out yet, it’s not even that likely you’ll even get the 1/48 shot– most places had Set A and B (for up to 24) and eventually got a third set. While some stores may have just one of each (So if a store just stocked, there’s a good chance it’s a full set), there’s also a chance the store just got 6 boxes of the exact same 12.

I don’t know any other blindbag product that has a checklist where some products from the Wave just… aren’t available yet. Like… that would be its own Wave. There should be Gold Wave Part 1, Part 2, etc. Something to properly break things up. 24 Beans every few months, if they need to keep the blindbags, or even 48 Beans once or twice a year, if some (or all) were open box would be so much easier to just… keep track of, especially as more and more continue to be added. You could say it’s because of the number of designs, but there are absolutely Blind Bags/Boxes with a lot of designs that… do not list things on their sheet that aren’t out. Pop-it Pets, one thing I’ve collected favorites for, had all of the 100+ designs on their website available right away. I was able to get all the ones I really liked within a few weeks.

Another issue is the “Limited Blue Stripe” bags– despite what most places selling them tell you, they’re not limited stock-wise. The “Limited” is just in terms of what STORES will carry them– they won’t be in most big box stores (Like Target or Walmart) in the USA. That’s it. It’s Limited STORE availability, but they are part of Gold Wave and will retire the same time the rest of Gold Wave does. There aren’t less of them, just not as many stores will carry them.

These same Beans, however, also hit the same problem as the rest of the Gold Wave– despite showing 36 different designs, they are once again broken up into sets of 12. Most stores seem to only get one set at a time furthering the issue of possibly buying duplicates because, well, you’d expect all the options on the checklist to be possible. While all 36 are released at least, it was staggered to some extent and Set C for the Blue Stripe Wave is still the most sought after right now due to not finding as many stores with it (or maybe they got mixed in with the other blue stripe bags, who knows).

There’s also slowly been some two-packs added as well for the Blue Stripe wave. The Chonks have also had a similar issue with their releases alongside 18 not on the checklist that are open box as singles or 6-packs online.

Despite my frustrations here, I don’t feel that any of this is done maliciously— I think it’s just a huge oversight. Unfortunately, as the waves keep getting bigger and more and more focus on blindbags (versus, it’s bigger now, maybe… give us back some more open box options? Please? The UK sells singles and Snowball has done well, I’d like to think it’s possible.), I just don’t see how it can get better. I don’t see how it can get less crazy to keep track of things. All it does is give Scalpers more. The amount of “limited” and “rare” in listings when it’s not true is crazy and price gouging gets worse and worse. Even while Snowball was still for sale, there were ones selling for $20-$40+. And yes, while there may be 12-packs (or 6-packs for Chonks) available from some places, ignoring that there’s a lot of Collectors who don’t want to collect them all nor deal with selling any after, there isn’t always any guarantee you’ll get one of each design. You could get duplicates regardless.

That’s where my issue is. Things keep getting bigger when I think it really needs a pause and some organization. It’s also just… kind of bad to have things on the checklist if people can’t actually pull them? If there’s absolutely no way from that specific batch certain designs can be pulled, then they should not be on the checklist yet or there should at least be some indication on the checklist itself for when they will be or that they can’t currently. The site doesn’t give any indication to this as well. Variations are also a thing, which are usually designs that vary by batch… Sometimes it’s Sample versions that went out to PR/Influencers, other times it’s a mistaken design that got out early (IE: Teddy’s Darker color, as the lighter color will eventually become more common or Kiwi’s lack of little hairs on the back), maybe even just two different factories working on the same design and having different embroidery options/instructions, or even just spelling mistakes on the tag. You’ll occasionally notice some designs don’t match the checklist either.

As it is, too much is hidden away in a private Facebook group and while communication may be okay, it’d be much better if… there was just a global Q&A topic solely for asking questions versus individuals asking and getting different answers and causing even more information to get locked away. Despite their website, it’s not that informative and in some cases, like Dogs vs Squirls, is especially behind with updating the checklists on the website. I miss when Websites had more news on when to expect things or what stores may have started carrying them and everything wasn’t some constant short social media post with maybe some witty comment attached.

The Checklist issue is a problem across the Versus World, with Dogs vs Squirls definitely on the most confusing end of it. At least with Dogs vs Squirls, when the soft launch hit, the checklist initially only had the first 24… Which was mostly accurate, except just 12 were actually in Blindbags and the other 12 were Open Box. Everything was right with the Chonks though.

The confusion came when DvS updated their checklist, adding 25-48 and 50-61 to the initial 24. You’ll notice I skipped 49. We’ll get to that.

Some Stores may still just have the Soft Launch batch, but all the bags look the same so once again, it’s back to trying to look through the bags and see what you can see or just hoping maybe it’s from a newer set. Set C released in the UK first alongside #49 and 62-96 which I guess are Open Box? I haven’t seen them actually stocked in any stores besides as 12-packs and 2-packs on Amazon.

Set C has finally been in more stores in the USA and Set D is supposedly slowly rolling out as well (I’ve been keeping an eye out for a few of them, but haven’t seen them yet :( ). There’s also some mystery Chonks over in Canada with a checklist for #97-144… which becomes even more confusing because those who I’ve seen get them have only gotten 97, 98, 99, 101, 102, and 151. Yes, the sheet goes up to 144. #151 isn’t on it. Are you confused? Because I sure am! What happened to 145-150? How many may even be after 151?? (Going by the usual pattern, probably at least 5 as batches of 12 but) When will these even be available in other places? Are more than six even available right now? I don’t know! And the official website sure doesn’t help.

Despite my constant confusion with Dogs vs Squirls, I will at least give it credit for being in order for the general blindbag assortments so far. 1-12 = Set A. 13-24 = Set B. 25-36 = Set C. 37-48 = Set D. That should mean 50-61 should be Set E, the only real confusion being 49 not being part of the blind bag ones but joining the ones from 62-96. Despite that, they still, thankfully, stay in the same relative order: Assortment 1 has 49 plus 62-72, Assortment 2 has 73-84, and Assortment 3 has 85-96.

Kittens vs Gherkins has been a little more straight forward as it slowly finds its way into more stores, despite having the same checklist issue (showing more than what’s available at the moment). The Singles were intiially only Set A, but recently seem to have Set B and C. That said, you’ll likely have better luck with Double Packs if you want more than one. The double packs are generally always the same pair– some people have gotten differences (or even two of the same design), but it’s very rare. While Sets A and B were a bit more mixed, Set C was much more straight forward and thankfully, Set D seems to be following suit.

Set D has only started showing up in some stores, but I’m REALLY hoping it’ll be up on Amazon too… and maybe also Set E of Gold Wave because some keep releasing somehow, and I don’t know if I can wait until Spring for Shoujo Anime Protagonist Cat Saylor. I also just feel kind of disappointed they did end up going with exclusives for their Kickstarter, despite generally trying to be more inclusive for everyone, as Exclusives are not required for Kickstarters at all and they would’ve likely blown passed their goal regardless.

Bears vs Donuts are supposed to be releasing early next year (which is less than a week away now and some have already been found in Stores) and while it seems like they are having a smaller launch of 24 like DvS did, there’s still the chance of these same issues and patterns continuing to happen, especially when Cows vs Aliens is coming as well.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d much prefer smaller waves that have exactly what’s in them better represented, even if there’s the same amount of time in-between, than whatever craziness we have now where it feels like I need to double-check spreadsheets to keep track. The fact that even more Cats were briefly added to the Gold Wave Bean and Chonk checklists before being removed just added more questions. They had been shown as part of Gold Wave in previews before– were they pushed back? Will they be open box maybe? Were they just test designs? Who knows. I just want things to make sense without giving myself a headache trying to keep track of it all and if what I want is even out in the first place.