News & Politics

And You Thought Your Investments Had Tanked: Studies in Crap Rages Against The Beanie Baby Handbook

by

Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in
forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift
stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason:
Knowledge is power.


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The Beanie Baby Handbook

Author: Les & Sue Fox

Publisher: Scholastic

Date: 1998

Discovered at: Thrift store

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.

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!


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Stripes currently fetches 99 cents on Ebay — just one one-thousandth of the
Foxes’ estimate.

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


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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 cents.)

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. 


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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.)


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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:


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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

The Crap Archivist lives in Kansas City, where he originates his on-line Studies for the Voice‘s sister paper, The Pitch.