Sunday, November 14, 2010

8 Buck Hucks

Good gravy Reeves, just when I thought you were starting to "get" it, you pull this kind of nonsense on us again. Here you had us - and me - convinced that this wasn’t going to be anything more special than recently discontinued merchandise, old XMAS stock, and maybe a little of the WEG stuff. You made a big fuss about there not being many "highly limited" SRs.

You might want to review your dictionaries, too. I don’t think the term "highly limited" means what you think it means. Color Crazy Hucks and Fun Foals qualify as "highly limited" SRs to a lot of folks.

Marking stuff up to 80% off was not an endearing move, either. It’s not an incentive, it’s an irritant: $30 Dances with Wolves or $8 CC Hucks do not magically make a 12 hour commute any more plausible.

Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing against the concept of a warehouse sale. It’s the execution that leaves so much to be desired.

Onto other things. I think I’ll clear up a couple of issues that came up in the comments section recently.

First, about Shrinkies: yes, I am aware of the existence of more recent Shrinkies. Unlike the late 1980s Shrinkies, the more modern ones occur more randomly - a batch here, a batch there. That suggests to me that the problem is more a result of faulty plastic, than faulty molding. (Bad molding certainly wouldn’t help, though.)

All Cellulose Acetate models will shrink eventually, it’s just a matter of when. If your models manage to make it through the first decade or so of their lives without exhibiting any unpleasant behaviors, I think they’re safe for the long haul, however long that may actual be.

Now, a few more words about shipper boxes.

We call the early, corrugated cardboard boxes shipper boxes because they were designed to be shipped as is. One side typically had the spaces marked out for the shipping and return addresses:

The other side would have the shipping details and instructions:

If you can’t read it, it says:

Contents: Merchandise - 4th Class Mail
Postmaster: This parcel may be opened for postage
inspection if necessary. Return and forwarding
postage guaranteed.

The example illustrated above (from a #22 Brown Pinto Shetland Pony) was obviously never mailed, but some were. I once owned an old Family Arabian Stallion with a used shipper box. (The best part was the return address: Mission Supply House!)

The shipper box was the standard packaging for virtually all Breyers prior to 1973. There were some exceptions - Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, the Horse and Rider sets all came in fancy shelf boxes - but most models didn’t merit that kind of treatment. It was cheap, and practical, especially for mail-order businesses like Mission Supply House. Address it, stamp it, and it’s ready to go!

Shipper boxes worked for retail businesses, too. In the 1950s, 1960s, and into part of the 1970s, most toy stores would have a display of horses on a shelf or a case. You’d make your selection, and the store would then go to the stock room and get you a still-boxed one. A fancy box wasn’t necessary to make the sale.

I imagine that the shipper box might have even been a bit of a selling point, especially to grandparents with distant grandkids. Straight from the toy store to the post office - no muss, no fuss!

I’m guessing that my bull was either old store stock, or a gift that was purchased, and never given. Doesn’t matter either way, he has a happy home on my shelves now.


Sara said...

I've never actually seen a filled-out shipper box with postage on it and everything. I think that would be a cool thing to have. I guess people were more likely to throw out used ones.

Laura Dotson-Thomson said...

Wait! $30 Dances with Wolves??? I wanted one of those so bad at BF but didn't have enough tickets (and had to leave before Sunday's offerings). NO FAIR! Anyone know how to get one? I have family in NJ, but 1) they are like 85 y/o and don't drive and 2) they are on a Senior Bus Tour to Missouri - where I live. Go figure.

GWR said...

I love your articles, AMG!

I once saw a bay Grazing Foal complete with an addressed and stamped mailer box, receipt, and box catalog at an antique store in southern MO. I think he had a blue ribbon sticker, too. I would have loved to grab him but the vendor wanted $80 for the set. This was in the mid-to-late 1990s.