Once upon a time in a faraway land, in a rat-infested apartment in Illinois, lived a young, quirkily eccentric girl with a butt that would double as a drink tray. We shall call her Jennivere. Although Jennivere had all of her basic needs met, enough time to lurk on e-bay at work for up to 10 hours a day and enough expendable money to buy Chinese takeout in bulk, she was left with a longing, an emptiness that she thought only more material items could fill.
From the greenest regions of Southern Illinois to the smoggiest neighborhoods of Chicago, Jennivere was known for her extensive Peanuts collection. It began innocently enough when her father purchased a little Hot Wheels-sized covered wagon with Woodstock at the reins. Over the years, she began to collect different items from her favorite comic strip, mostly focusing on Snoopy. Throughout Jennivere’s college career, she would receive gifts and trinkets such as figurines, jelly jars, toothbrush holders, and sippy cups for babies. By the time she got her first “real” job (that included LARGE commissions), she was on the path to a vast collection which she eventually insured for $25,000.
As she sat at her desk in the empty cell phone store, having already well-exceeded her quota for the month in the first four days, Jennivere began to look on ebay for things to buy. She looked at a Wurlitzer juke box and then for several months considered buying an operational full-size replica of the General Lee. Then she turned her attention to her first love: Snoopy. She bid $125.00 for a Hallmark Peanuts nativity (didn’t win), $85.00 for a Snoopy leather jacket (thank God she didn’t win) and won a 1969 Snoopy Astronaut figurine for $10.00 that she had previously seen in an antique shop for $90.00.
Still it wasn’t enough.
One fateful day, her mother called her and said,
“I saw an ad in the Parade magazine that you might want to see. I’ll save it for you.”
And that she did, my friend….that she did.
The girl got the ad:
Christmas 2002: a Danbury Mint exclusive! A Snoopy collectible figurine forever calendar (you know the ones, the little tiles that you can change to fit every month) Introductory offer: $19.95 for the first figurine! Also included: a doghouse shaped display board with shelves for each figurine! Each month the Danbury Mint will send you a new figurine and at the end of your 12 months you will receive the bonus doghouse. a must have for any Snoopy enthusiast!
Jennivere took the bait. Having too much money for her own good, and falling for the exclusivity of this rare item, she knew she had to have it. She sent the check.
The first figurine came. Her Discover card was billed for $19.95 + $5.00 shipping and handling. Each month like clock-work, the charge showed up on her credit card bill. And each month she received a small box containing a Snoopy figurine.
At first the little boxes coming in the mail were a welcome sight. But by about June, the thrill had worn off and been replaced with bitterness and irritation. Jennivere did the math and knew what this calendar was actually costing her. Each month brought a new figure and a little more fuel to the fire of “What the heck was I thinking? If I had seen this crap in a store for three hundred dollars, would I have purchased it?”
From the deepest regions of her inner self came the answer:
“HEAVENS TO BETSY, NO!”
Jennivere was stuck. She couldn’t cancel the order because then she would have half a year of a calendar and that would really be worthless. Doubly as worthless as a full year of the calendar. Finally, relief- the doghouse arrived and she hung up the calendar in her bedroom. Each day passing the calendar was like a little jab in her money-bag.
One might be saying at this point “Yes, indeed that is a sad story and from it I can learn that one should never buy items that are marketed like the Fruit of the Month Club.”
But that wasn’t the end. Five years later Jennivere made the best investment of her life, a seven week old shih-tzu who would eventually go on to poop a cigarette butt, destroy a decorative rug, look Jennivere in the eye and squat and pee on the floor and drag socks, underwear, bras and towels from the laundry. A few months after getting the puppy she got an envelope from none other than the Danbury Mint. This was a common occurrence as they had been periodically sending her every Snoopy related item that they were selling. For the record, Jennivere nearly fell for it twice, but she didn’t succumb.
She opened the envelope a little excited at what she might find. Would it be a Snoopy snowglobe? A Snoopy Halloween scene? An animated Snoopy smoking crack with Woodstock? Alas, no.
Inside the package was an offer for a collector plate….of a shih-tzu. How? She had never sent any kind of notice that said “Hey, Danbury Mint, I just got a shih-tzu puppy! Could you please start doubling up your sales pitches and send me crap for Snoopy and shih-tzus”?
Two days ago the reign of terror reappeared in the form of a Danbury Mint Claddagh collectible Christmas ornament. How? As many of her friends and acquaintances know she always wears an Irish Claddagh ring. Jennivere never registered the ring with the Danbury Mint.
Jennivere now lives in constant fear of being stalked by the Danbury Mint. They are worse than Big Brother. They are tracking her every move, watching her every purchase, waiting to pounce on a chance to send her junk mail full of enticing, over-priced crap. But they will not win.
So to you, Danbury Mint, I say, DO YOUR WORST! YOU WILL NOT WIN! I AM ON TO YOU AND I WILL NOT GIVE IN!
Seriously, though, I’m screwed when I get a job because I know me. And I will give in.
And I will end up with a gold-plated Snoopy toothbrush holder.
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