Thursday, May 14, 2009

And you thought your investments had tanked: Studies in Crap rages against The Beanie Baby Handbook

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2009 at 6:00 AM

Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in

forgotten and bewildering crap culled from area basements, thrift

stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason:

Knowledge is power.

click to enlarge beanie01d.jpg

The Beanie Baby Handbook

Author: Les & Sue Fox

Publisher: Scholastic

Date: 1998

Discovered at: Maj-R Thrift, W. 47th Street

The Cover Promises: Your toys

are commodities.

Representative Quotes:

"Basically, if you can afford to do

this, simply putting away five or ten of each and every new Beanie

Baby in super mint condition isn't a bad idea." (page 27).

"As seasoned McDonald's collectors,

we had little doubt that $2 would be less than the future value of

any Teenie Beanie. Unfortunately, we were only able to accumulate 500

or so Beanies during the mad rush." (page 190)


A heartless, mercenary endeavor that

strips whatever innocence remains in childish hording, Les & Sue

Fox's The Beanie Baby Handbook teaches kids that fun, imagination, and all of the other qualities we love in toys get in the way of profitability.

Instead, the Foxes encourage kids to become stuffed-animal

speculators.


beaniescollectiond.jpg

The Foxes dedicate a page of their handbook to each

of the Ty Beanie Babies the children of America believed might pay for college. They chart each Beanie's cost at issue date, its worth in 1998 and then

forecast how much it might be worth ten years out -- provided you

don't hug or play with it, or anything stupid like that.

This typical entry also shows how Beanies get made!


beanehowbeaniesgetmaded.jpg

Stripes currently fetches $.99 on eBay -- just one one-thousandth of the

Foxes' estimate.

The Foxes took all their own photos and wrote heaps of cutesy filler text.

beanienutschestd.jpg

The last line

reads "NOTE: Otters can break open nuts on their chests." Remember that the next time someone asks you "What do otters have in

common with sorority girls?" (Current eBay

price of a mint-condition Seaweed, with tags: $.99.)

Nastiest of all, the Foxes offer a purchase recommendation at the end of each entry. Some Beanies come "Highly

Recommended." Others are merely "Recommended." And others --

oh, wait. The Foxes limit themselves to those two choices, tacitly promising that every last damn Beanie Baby would appreciate in

value. 

beaneteddie5kd.jpg

I'm not calling the Foxes a pair of

Beanie Madoffs. Still, I'm unsettled by any speculators who establish

inflated prices on commodities in which they themselves are heavily

invested. (For further examples, Google "Enron" and

"California.")

This might be a good time to revisit the mission and credo of their publisher.

"Scholastic has created quality

products and services that educate, entertain and motivate children

and are designed to help enlarge their understanding of the world

around them."

I guess kids have to enlarge their understanding of getting

screwed sometime.

Shocking Detail:

The Handbook informs us that the

rarest Beanies are worth more because of their errors. (By this logic, the Foxes should be only slightly less valuable than the last president.)


beanieserrorsd.jpg

Really, is Righty

the Elephant's upside-down flag an mistake? Maybe he's warning us that the republic is in peril. 

Either

way, I bet Righty just

hates this:


beaniesclintond.jpg

Highlight:

In addition to encouraging thousands of children to waste money on

toy bears they should under no circumstances actually enjoy, the

Foxes have also:

  • Repurposed

    their Beanie photos into a set of Beanie

    Baby Trading Cards

  • Published

    1980's

    Silver Dollar Fortune Telling,

    the back cover of which promises "Fight Inflation With SILVER

    DOLLARS!"

  • Written unproduced films, including (in the Foxes' own words) "a

    gory werewolf story" and "a hilarious screenplay titled 'No

    Brainer!' starring Woody Allen and Arnold Schwarzenegger."

  • Manufactured "a neat little calorie counter" for the infomercial

    market.

  • Invented a cola

  • Launched Logopogo, "a world class shopping web-site," now

    defunct.

  • Published

    the novel Return

    to Sender: The Secret Son of Elvis Presley.

  • Posted

    five-star reviews of their own books on Amazon.

    Of Return to

    Sender, Les

    writes "we think it could be the most incisive book ever written

    about Elvis, and who he really was. If you can read this book

    without being moved, we'd be surprised."

Pop Quiz, Hot Shot!

Which of the following are band names ... and which are the Foxes' proposals for new Beanies?

Biscuit the Dog

Pedro the Lion

Blush the Cardinal

Choke the Boa

Dizzy the Possum

Muscles the Boxer

Donna the Buffalo

Pain the Wasp

Stretch the Ferret

Trek the Starfish

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