Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Collect Calls

I'm no anthropologist, but there's got to be something primal about collecting stuff.

Whether intended or not, we all have collections-- it might be shoes, cars, jeans, art, tea cups, snowglobes or tsotchkes. Some people pursue their collections (picking up a magnet in each city they visit, say), others have collections thrust upon them (I saw this frog and thought of you since you have so many frog things...).

My weakness is toys. Toy makers are no dummies. They know that the real money is to be made not from the one-time toy purchase but from the repeat customer, the collector. So Snoopy gets a wardrobe. And Matchbox manufactures every make and model. And Hello Kitty-- is there anything you can't get these days with Hello Kitty on it? I wish I could go back in time with a trunk of today's Hello Kitty loot and make my seven-year-old-self's day.

Back when my son was into Thomas the Tank Engine, he played with the wooden trains all the time. And we collected them. I say we because I think I was just as into adding new trains as he was. What collection would be complete without Daisy? Or Spencer? Or Diesel 10? But, man, there was always another overpriced train being released. When I realized that they were using the TV show to introduce this endless parade of new trains my cynicism (finally) took over. Fortunately, at around that time, my son's interests moved on. (Baseball and football cards have yet to draw me in)

My daughter has about 20 active collections. Littlest Pet Shops. Boos. Webkinz. Pandas.

For her birthday last year we gave her one of those Charm-It charm bracelets. I figured it would appeal to her on many levels: jewelry, adorable miniatures, collecting things.... But I think I was just projecting. The other day I was at the toy store and was checking out the spindle of charms. (They always have new ones and some are ridiculously awesome.) And, lo and behold, there it was! Finally! A panda charm. I think I actually squealed. The intersection of two collections? Priceless. Right? Right?

I called my daughter over, figuring she'd go nuts. Eh. Not so much. She used her store credit on (yet another) stuffed animal.

No comments:

Post a Comment