Looking to Consume

Everyone’s selling, it’s understood
That a profit margin is deemed good
A desirable product at reasonable cost
Flood the market and all is lost
We create demand by choking supply
Advertise it so people will buy
They line up to purchase the few in stock
When they run out the doors they’ll lock
A hew and a cry and a riot or two
For a must have item I’ll eschew
Wait until supply exceeds demand
Then buy on sale or an off brand

For me it was the Cabbage Patch Kids that were the hot item that caused people to lose their minds. That was the first product that entered my vision as a strange fad and dangerous consumer anarchy. I was married that year and fortunately had no interest in that doll. People were trampled. People would camp out so that they could be the first inside when the doors were finally unlocked. The consumer became unhinged. Several years later it was Tickle Me Elmo, then the Furby and then Beanie Babies. I was at the Goodwill and happened to stroll down the toy aisle. They had a big bin filled with former must have Barbie® dolls. Their hair was a mess and most had lost their clothes. These were toys that had been played with and had been out grown and were now waiting for a new child.
    Spied at Goodwill
This brings me back to Cabbage Patch Kids. I remember a woman at the clinic I worked at, who clawed her way to one of the dolls, managed to purchase it, and get to the safety of her car. She ended up with a black eye. But she was so happy to have scored one of those dolls. She didn’t have any kids. She wanted it for herself – as a “collectable” and as an investment. Every once in awhile I see one at a garage sale. Some are filthy and look like they’ve been dragged to hell and back. Others are pristine, still in the original box. I just shake my head and think – nah, not worth it.

37 thoughts on “Looking to Consume

  1. Indeed, and poetically well said.
    I remember learning, years ago, how DeBeers (or similar) discovered the African beaches covered in diamonds, and took control of all of that, to create value. Gr.r.r.r.r.r……

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  2. My sister in law wanted a red head cabbage patch. I don’t remember how she got but it now sits on the back of my couch. If I could find someone that wanted it now I’d give it to them. I was gifted a black one years ago and it ended up in my sister’s collection of dolls. Don’t know where those went when sis died.

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    1. Those cabbage patch dolls were really the hot item for awhile. I have a friend who collects Barbie dolls. She knows lots of collectors and some still collect the cabbage patch and are willing to shell out big money for ones in pristine condition… We’re redoing the will to take into account how to distribute household items and collections. Funny what kids attach memories to and what they value for sentimental reasons!

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    1. Hehe! I have no control over the ads that appear – and I think they are selected based on the reader’s interests!! When I look at pages I see ads for cat brushes (all because I had a conversation with my mother on the best kind of brush for her cat)!

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  3. The nice thing about having friends who collect things is you are never at a loss for what to get them for their birthday. The only thing I collect is books,,,beyond all reason, according to my husband. Love the poem!

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    1. Thanks for the poem love. I started with a single wicker duck. The next thing I knew I was gifted with a multitude of wicker animals – elephant, goose, reindeer, giraffe, camel, swans, ducks galore… I finally had to get rid of them as they had taken over the house. I only bought 2 for myself and the others were friends and family deciding that 2 needed company!! Now I collect hammered aluminum and even use it daily! (and books – which we have run out of bookcases to hold)!

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  4. I have never stood in a line for one. But my one experience black Friday shopping was similar. We just were in Wal-Mart for groceries in late afternoon and people were acting crazy. We abandoned an empty cart and leaving. We go to the farm supply store bkack Friday but people know how to act civilized.

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          1. We have very few choices being rural. Walmart is our main choice and I am not a huge fan of it. We give them enough of our money because we have no choice for groceries. So things not covered by small business (clothing, speciality items, and trucking items) are done online.

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  5. Absolutely! Not worth it; not even a penny. I never got those ugly cabbage patch for my daughter or the Beanie Babies, or any of the different fad items. She never had Barbie dolls, even though I would ask if she wanted one, and she would smirk and say, “Naah, I don’t like playing with dolls. get me books instead!” This is what my three year old used to say, because she started reading when she was two and half, (could have been earlier), and her two sons did the same. Just like someone I have known for eighty years!
    But I did get Elmo for Noah, because he loved Elmo. I mean he adored him. I think Saadi still has a couple of the Elmos in her attic.

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    1. I loved books too. My mother’s cousin (sort of a sister since she was an only child and we called her Aunt) would always give me books as gifts. She was an English teacher so I got some wonderful books!!

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  6. That kind of behavior — consuming, or getting the thing everyone else wants — seems to mean something important to the people who do it. I have no idea what. Sometimes I feel a thrill when I buy something — like the antique Chinese cabinets — and I will always treasure them, but the thrill doesn’t last very long. I tend to buy things I need or that are personally meaningful, and if you notice a note of “superiority” in that statement, I guess it’s there. I’ve never had a lot to live on and I guess I’m proud of managing it without feeling any pain. Or mostly no pain… 😉

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    1. I admit to enjoying the hunt and to buying what I want. However I’m also so tight with my cash that I hardly ever buy new… In fact tomorrow I’m planning to go to the Dollar store to get my free bottle of hand sanitizer. I haven’t purchased any during the whole pandemic since I’ve been able to get it free!! You should feel good about managing your money so well!!

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    1. Oh my! I forgot all about Teddy Ruxpin! We were gifted one for my oldest son – it kind of freaked him out at first. We had a deaf friend who really hated Teddy because he would blink and creeped her out!

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  7. A friend of mine bought an Elmo for my daughter during craze time. I don’t know what he had to do to get it, and I didn’t ask.
    I think it’s a lot more important that our kids don’t get their every whim. I suppose I’m finally glad that my parents wouldn’t let me get those Jordache jeans I wanted so badly in high school.

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    1. Thanks for the comment and visit! I was never one to collect the Hallmark ornaments or any of the others. Yes, I do recall there being a rush for certain ones – Star Trek, Disney anniversary, the moon landing, Star Wars anything… But I think people were much more genteel for the ornaments than for some of the other things!

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  8. Yes, there were GI Joe, Barbies (and Kens) of all shapes, sizes and hues, Cabbage Patch (and Garbage Patch) critters, Pet Rocks, Mood Rings, Elmos, Furbys, Beanie Babies -aaaand Baby Yodas! Guess how many I have bought, over the years. Yes, to the Goose Egg!

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      1. Black Friday, by definition, is one big riot. It was even worse, with the pre-COVID Thanksgiving Day travesties, which some of my friends angrily defended as “the New American Tradition”-to which I said “Thank you, but no”.

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