Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bye Bye Beanies

Beanie Babies. I like them. I think they're cute. I think they have a certain amount of character, and you know I love animals, even these cutely distorted ones. I don't like all distorted or overly cute animals, but Beanie Babies grew on me. I never paid them any attention in their heyday, recognizing immediately that they were an overpriced gimmick to make money for Ty, but once they began showing up in garage sales in quantities, Lee bought some for the store. I felt obligated to put them online, and then I grew to like them. They have endearing faces, and it's not their fault they come with bad poetry. We enjoyed finding more and more in garage sales, meeting friends and cousins of the Ty creations we already knew, and inventory blossomed. 

Occasionally they sold. The best times were when a parent or grandparent told me they were replacing a loved furry friend the kid had lost and would be inconsolable until the beady-eyed toy came home. I remember two little boys with two lost chipmunks, and we happened to have just the two needed for replacement; the boys - one might think a little old for Beanie Babies - had created a whole world of stories around these two chipmunks, now gone missing. With a mother's purchase, happy times returned for the lads and their chipmunk mascots and the store made about six dollars not counting processing time and customer service. (I'm not laughing. I remember the day my pet rat chewed the face off of the homely rag doll I had just finished sewing. I was in tears.) My mom fixed the doll. We supplied the missing chipmunks. How delightful it would be if all stories ended so well.

I meant this to be a short post. Long story short (LSS), it's hard to pay the rent when you put as much time into listing and selling one unique item as we've put into these Beanies. (Ty would not sell Beanie Babies to online-only retailers, so I had to make do with what I found in garages, and they rarely matched.) I am not a collector and I had more interesting things to do than researching the ones that might possibly sell for more. During the couple of years the store was open to the public, the kids enjoyed them - but the beanie corner became more of a babysitting venue than a profit center. So today the time finally came today to hug the little characters goodbye and send them all off to an orphanage a loving home.

I tried recently to sell these Beanie Buddy bears (bigger by far than the Babies) on eBay, but there were no takers. Kinda sad. They are in good condition and they're pretty adorable. I can understand, though, that nobody would want to pay the $12.00 shipping on five bears they had bought for $1.00 total. I wouldn't mind sending them to a place where real kids need real toys, a disaster relief or something, but they are heavy, and shipping could be expensive. Anyway, the U.S. seems glutted with products that have run their course and end up as cultural landfill (and all too often, physical landfill as well). I wonder what adventure lies ahead for Spangle the Bear and Jake the Drake. Today I'm listing them all on Freecycle Astoria. Bye bye Beanies. It's been a fun if not very profitable ride.

So what have we here? In front are the obvious beanies, and behind them my art portfolios. They hold my past and my future - another story for another day. Next to the art is a stack of empty mailbags, used daily to mail more profitable (if not necessarily more deserving) animal replicas from the store. Next to the bags are plastic storage cabinets containing supplies for future artwork and maybe a few things I can sell on eBay that people will actually buy. A new easy chair - actually the first I've had in many years. It's comfortable and attractive. It's one of the few pieces I've ever bought that goes so well with its setting, and it needs an uncluttered home under the window with the pleasant lighting. Bye bye, Beanies . . . I take one more step along my path to somewhere new.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

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