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The Beanie Baby Phenomenon:
Past and Present
When Beanie Babies were all the rage, we hated the goddamn retarded little animals. Not only were they horribly overpriced, but the incredible excitement surrounding them was completely...nauseating. Yup, those were the days...when every teenage girl, every young woman, every middle-aged mom, and every grandmother wanted nothing more than to hoard and covet the dreaded Beanie Babies...stacking and storing them anywhere they possibly could. Stores couldn't keep them on shelves and lines of hypnotized customers waited eagerly outside to buy them. But times change and so do people...and nowadays Beanie Babies are discarded reminders of how everyone jumps on...and off...the bandwagon at the exact same time. Question: What is now thrown all over the place at yard sales that absolutely no one wants...? Answer: Beanie Babies.
A couple of months ago we were chatting with two nice ladies in Chattanooga, Tennessee who had tried all day long to sell their Beanie Babies at their yard sale...and no one would buy them. At that moment, we were suddenly struck with an idea. Now that no one wants them, this is the BEST TIME in the WORLD to start collecting them. Those nice ladies sold their entire Beanie Baby collection to us...for about four dollars. This is so cool, we thought...when you don't have to pay anything for 'em they actually are kinda cute. Adding to this the fact that it can be awful disappointing at times always searching for rare and unusual stuff, we decided that whenever we found absolutely perfect Beanie Babies complete with their tags that we would buy them...as long as we could get them for no more than a quarter.
Over the next couple of weeks we weren't so surprised to find that most folks were ready and willing to sell last decade's treasures for a quarter. So we happily scooped up even more Beanie Babies to add to our collection. But along the way we discovered something peculiar and startling. Some folks are still living in the clouded confusion of the media frenzy...and apparently they aren't about to sell their cherished treasures for next to nothing.
Possibly the most extreme example of this hostile type of yard sale coordinator was a middle-aged lady in Chattanooga. She and her friends were having a garage sale to make money to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. She had three Beanie Babies on a table that weren't priced. When we inquired about them, she turned around flashing her most genuine, friendly smile and said, "I was asking $5.00 each for them but just give me whatever you want." Not thinking much about it, we responded by saying "Well, we usually pay a quarter each." You would have thought that we had pulled up the woman's skirt and rammed a red hot ice pick into her vagina. That seemingly nice, calm lady suddenly turned RED with RAGE. "A quarter?!? A QUARTER?!?" she said as she began to tremble slightly. Her voice got louder and then she began yelling, "I'm not selling these to you for a QUARTER! I'll donate them to a CHARITY before I sell them for a QUARTER!" We almost couldn't believe what we were seeing and hearing. After all, the idiotic woman had just told us that whatever we wanted to pay would be acceptable. We looked at her calmly and said, "Okay then, bye!" And then we left.
What on earth would cause one person to give away their treasures for virtually nothing...while others would be horribly OFFENDED by the very idea...? Stupidity is probably the answer. Folks with any brains realize that you aren't going to get much for Beanie Babies these days. Other less informed individuals who are still living in the media-induced frenzy apparently still think there are millions of people dying to get their hands on the little creatures.
We had a Beanie Baby climax of sorts this past weekend. We found ten of them at a yard sale in Decatur, Georgia. When we walked over to ask about the price, the lady said that they were $2.00 each. Immediately deciding to pass, we looked down and found...160 perfectly clean Beanie Babies laying in plastic crates...all of them looking terribly forgotten and lost. We felt a wave of hot lust rush through our veins. After chatting with the woman for a moment, she finally agreed to sell her entire collection for $40 (which comes out to about a quarter each). The nice teenagers at the yard sale were very helpful...giving us a large trash bag (how appropriate!) to carry them away and looking around the yard for any Babies that had gotten separated from the pack. It was such a beautiful day...we were truly in Beanie Baby heaven.
But as we drove away, we couldn't help but remember the Chattanooga woman's hostile rage..."I'm not selling these to you for a QUARTER! I'll donate them to a CHARITY before I sell them for a QUARTER!"
If only she knew how many people will.
These days Beanie Babies bring out the best...and the worst...in people.
©November 2005 LMNOP®