They plant the seeds, water them with ideas, tend the young seedlings from their first moments on the earth, and harvest a crop of new followers. Cults have been with us for many years, manifested themselves in many ways, and served a wide variety of beliefs.
Most are borne of religious convictions, but others are documented which serve a higher being, such as Amway or even Macintosh. Everyone is familiar with such cults as the Moonies, Eckankar, and Heaven's Gate. They all supposedly suck you in with mind control, glorified promises, get inside your head, and brainwash you.
There are thousands of fringe religious movements known today, but more terrifying, more dangerous, more alarming, more perilous is the cult that exists most strongly today in our world. It reaches from youth to seniors, and knows no bounds. It is out of control and shows no signs of stopping. It is perpetuated by all forms of the media, word of mouth, and the inborn human desire to believe in something and amass the appropriate possessions.
It causes fights and riots and financial ruin. Seniors willingly give of their meager social security checks, children of their allowances. They stand in lines, push and shove, bid, finagle, weasel, and worship, all for the good of their greater God. They want so badly to be a part of it, to have and to hold, to gain those all elusive symbols of a true worshipper.
The TY BEANIE BABY cult!
Anti-cultists would list the following as defining factors to determine if you or your loved ones are involved in a cult:
* Subject's subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family, friends, goals and interests... "NO NO I can't go with you today, I've got to be at the Hallmark store for the newest Beanie!"
* Subjects are encouraged or required to socialize with only other group subjects..."I'm spending the night online at EBay to bid on Princess."
* The groups insist that they and they alone are right and have all the answers..."This one is DEFINITELY going to be retired early, I'm buying a dozen".
* The group inculcates the belief or fear or phobia that to leave the group would cause self-destruction, insanity, disease, suicide, death, or eternal damnation for themselves..."If I don't get that blue elephant I'm just gonna DIE!"
* The group levels bizarre accusations against parents or other significant figures ..."Mom, the dog chewed up IGGY!"
I rest my case...
The popularity of these toys has exploded and they are one of the most sought after collectibles consuming hours of effort in attainment, not normally by the children for whom they were created, but by professional adults compelled to complete and keep up their own collections.
The children sit huddled en masse in schoolyards bartering and trading and comparing. Stores sell 'under the table' at exhorbitant prices to bypass Ty's strict rule about fleecing. Auctions are held on the internet, fingers flying on the keyboard upping the prices in increments that hopefully will garner 'Princess', 'Mystic', 'Seaweed' and other much sought after beanies. The auctions are not held by dealers. They are held by doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, computer programmers, and engineers in the evenings after the kids go to sleep.
Retired used to bring to mind what you work hard for all your life, now it's the speculation that far exceeds that normally reserved for stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. To purchase a beanie baby for its selling price of $5, and hope that it's retired early before a big production is a coup beyond anything ever wrought on Wall Street. In the year 2007, it'll be worth a whopping $2500, what an investment!
They have to limit quantities and police the lines at McDonalds when they release each new one on the weekends. Stores that sell them are besieged with calls for dates of shipments, lines form at the doors awaiting the opening. It has reached epic proportions far exceeding the Cabbage Patch melee.
What of the children who want them to PLAY WITH? What of the children who would like to sleep with them without fear of bending the tags and rendering them less valuable? What of the children who only have $5 to spend and want the lizard because he's a lizard, not caring a whit that he's retired? It should be a toy, not a collector's cult.
Does anyone stop and think about these multi-thousand dollar pieces of material actually understuffed and not even with real beans? In the year 2007, if a financial depression comes our way, can you eat these? Can you warm your house with these? Can you wear them?
I attend a doll show most years, and see the old dolls that I used to have sitting there with unimaginable prices attached to them. Do I sigh and wish and kick myself in the butt for not having mine? No, because year after year after year, these same dirty old doll babies sit on the same shelves...unsold.
For an item to be worth something you must have a willing seller AND a willing buyer.
'Chilly' is worth about $2300 now, because they made a limited number. He sold for $5 two years ago. $2300 would heat my house for two years so it won't be chilly. Is this a parallel or the toy from hell?
I recently did a small computer service job for a friend and in payment he gave me a kitty beanie baby from McDonalds. This has now apparently become acceptable currency. I wouldn't have charged him anything, but now he's given me my first...
Oh no... what will come of me now?