The Epic Of The Babies Of Beanie

, , , , , , , | Right | January 24, 2020

(This is during the Beanie Baby craze of the mid-90s. The one store in our small town that sells these fuzzy toys is getting a new shipment which is said to contain a few special releases — one of which turns out to be the new Princess Bear released in honor of the late Princess Diana — and the usual group of customers line up before the shop opens that morning to be sure of getting one. The store only allows each customer to get two of a new release, as supplies are limited. I have a dental appointment scheduled for later in the morning, so Mom agrees to just let me skip school and come with her. While we wait, we chat with the other customers and everyone is generally friendly and excited. But there’s one woman who keeps inching her way up the line. She’ll talk to someone for a few minutes and then turn to talk to the person in front of them and step forward. A couple of minutes later, she’ll start talking to the person in front of them and step forward again. Everyone has noticed and is annoyed by it, but no one wants to call her out and risk an altercation.)

Mom: *leans down to whisper to me* “They’re going to open any minute now, and I’m going to deal with her. Go get our Beanies and wait for me by the postcard racks.”

(Mere seconds later, the door is unlocked, and as we’re the first in line, Mom opens the door… and then steps aside to hold it open for the rest of the line, effectively blocking this woman from going inside. She stands there holding the door until the last little old lady has hobbled in, and only then steps aside and gestures the line cutter to enter. By this point, everyone else has gotten their toys and gone to check out. There’s only one of the Princess Bears left, and none of the other new release. The woman is furious, but the staff are polite yet unsympathetic; they saw her cutting the line, too.) 

Mom: *joins me in browsing the antiques while we wait for the line to fade* “And that’s how you handle line cutters. Did you get the bears?”

Me: “Yup. And they let me have yours, too, so we can each buy two of them.” 

Mom: “Good. Pick yourself out a couple of postcards for your collection, and then we’ll check out.”

(While I’m dithering over the postcard selection, the final customer is helped and leaves, and one of the employees comes over with a small box in her hands.) 

Employee: “I saw what you did there, ma’am, and it made my day. I wasn’t sure you’d be able to get your Beanies, though, so I set some aside for you.”

Mom: “Oh! Thank you, but my daughter already picked up my share. I know we’re only allowed two each for new releases, and I don’t want to be greedy.”

Employee: “Ma’am, I’ve seen you come in here time and again, and greedy is the last word I’d ever use. Besides, don’t you have more kids at home?”

Mom: “Yes, actually. I have five in total.”

Employee: “Well, then, I think we can waive that rule just for today. Here you go! That should make six of each design: one for each of the kids, and one for you!”

(We thanked her profusely, purchased our toys and postcards, and went on our way. It was only later that my mom actually looked at her receipt and saw that she was given the employee discount, too. We brought chocolate for that sweet employee the next time we came in and became quite good friends until we moved away the following year.)

1 Thumbs
782