Binky Betsy (cookie77) wrote in binky_betsy,
Binky Betsy

Retail frenzy

Okay, we all know about the Wal-Mart worker who was crushed to death on Black Friday. After I'd digested that, and read the lengthy discussions about what can/should be done about shopping frenzies, I was reminded of this Foob sequence from the '80s,

1. Liz (who is in first grade): "Know what I'm gettin' from Santa, Chris? A Space Babe!! They're all diff'rent! Some gots green eyes or yellow or purple -- an' there's real aerials that come outa their heads! I don't care what he brings me -- as long as he brings me a Space Babe!"

Elly: "I've just called every store in town -- there isn't a Space Babe left in the entire province of Ontario!"

2. Radio: "It's your CQRK shopper's alert! (Startled Elly nearly drops laundry basket) Philpott's has a limited number of Space Babe dolls! Hurry, don't miss... (Elly looks at clock) They're going on sale at exactly 1:45, first come, first served!"

Elly, running out door, "Aagh!! I've got nineteen minutes to make it to Philpott's! (In car) If I'm stopped for speeding, I'll tell them I'm going to have a baby!"

3. Elly, thinking: "Look at the line! This is ridiculous. What if they run out? Oh well, I refuse to degrade myself by fighting over a dumb doll!"

Clerk: "All right, who's first, please?"

Everyone: "Me! ME!" STAMPEDE!! (I mean, it actually says "STAMPEDE!" on a cloud of dust stirred up by people's feet.)

So Elly gets the danged Space Babe, says she'll never do this again, finds herself "bonding" with the doll.

At home, "It was a madhouse, John -- you wouldn't have believed the place."

John: "This is it? You risked your life and your dignity to get Lizzie a doll...and this is it?" Then he compares it to the back end of a horse and gets his newspaper smashed on his head. Anyway, Lizzie adores the Space Babe when she gets it, and the punchline is, she thinks "being a mom" is so easy because she's been caring for the doll all day. I was glad at the time that it didn't end with her tossing it away, having lost interest.

I'm not sure when this sequence appeared, but it was clearly a reference to Cabbage Patch Kids. Funny thing, a lot of people said the CPKs were butt-ugly. I didn't think so then, and I don't now. They had chubby cheeks, but so do a lot of real kids. Not sure they were worth all the hysteria, but there have been worse fads. At any rate, that's the first instance in my lifetime of must-have-Christmas-gift hysteria, and I remember it well. One store was charging $400, but giving free VCRs they couldn't otherwise unload with each doll. Another said "Screw it; we're giving ours to the children's hospital."

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