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Build-A-Bear: Expensive Barbies for boys

Submitted by on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 2 Comments

build_a_bear_policeIt’s fitting that Build-A-Bears entered our home the same time Barbie left.

Forced by our coming move – less than two weeks now! – to streamline, I callously hauled a crate of two dozen mint-condition Barbies to Goodwill last week.

I needed to anyway. They’d been exiled to the garage since Boots moved in, and I’d lost all inclination to ever display them again. I like my Christmas tree Barbies and a few vintage dolls much better, so they got to stay.

I did search eBay before I did the deed – most weren’t selling for as much as I’d paid for them, so it was no great loss. I’d always felt guilty about their mint conditions anyway. Toys are for play, not for permanent imprisonment in cardboard and plastic.

But just as nature abhors a vacuum, my house detests anything resembling uncluttered space. No sooner than the Barbies left did the Build-A-Bears move in.

Beyond the price of the habits – nearly twice as much for Build-A-Bear – there are certain similarities between the two toys. There are outfits galore and accessories out the wazoo for both. There are strollers and cars and even medical equipment such as tiny bear slings. Big Guy passed on this – he won’t wear his own sling, so why should Teddy want one?

The gear and the clothes get scattered all over the house, and bears with more clothes than Imelda Marcos has shoes wind up passed out naked on the floor. Kind of like Sorority Girl Barbie after a bad weekend.

But bears are manly – grrrrrrrrrrrr! Which means they’re acceptable for the guys to play with. Which means I’d heard clamoring for months to adopt one. Or two. Or three.

Finally, I gave in. Big fat mistake.

The trip to Build-A-Bear last weekend was supposed to have been Big Guy’s present for his real birthday – as opposed to his fake birthday we’d celebrated a week early, so Dad could be here for the party.

Dad pulled a surprise visit last weekend, though, and we wound up at the mall while we waited on a car repair. The quickest way to send an automotive bill soaring: Let your kids spy Build-A-Bear workshop.

They’d never so much as seen the store before – I can stand malls only in tiny doses, which is why we hadn’t been to one since Big Guy was a baby – but nonstop television commericals had the guys worked into a lather.

Big Guy’s frenzy was further whipped up because a girl at school kept bringing in Build-A-Bears on every occasion possible. Coincidence that a parent works at Build-A-Bear? I think not. Way to pimp out your kid, Mom.

So when we finally made it to the promised land Saturday, a riot ensued.

“One animal and one outfit each,” I warned.build_a_bear_soldier


Big Guy quickly picked a soldier outfit – green, not tan camouflage, much to Dad’s dismay – and Boots surprised us by choosing a police officer. We figured he’d imitate his brother.

Then the begging began.

“One more outfit, please!” they asked me.

“Can we get the tent, pleeeeeeeesae!” they asked Dad.

Unbeknownst to each other, we both caved like unsupported coal mines. We left the shop with two bears, four outfits and one tent. And a considerably lower checking account. I guarantee you my folks had never spent that much on a single Barbie shopping trip.

But wait! There’s more, because we still had Big Guy’s real and actual birthday to address. I did need a new bedspread. And they were on sale at the mall … OK, Big Guy, you can get one more outfit.

On the way home, he decided to be disappointed. “Why did I get SpiderMan instead of Batman. Batman’s better. Why, why, why?”

See? In mere days, this has climbed to a level it took my Barbie addiction years to reach. At least the Build-A-Bear shoes are bigger and harder to lose.

I think I’m happy we’re soon going to be two hours away from the nearest Build-A-Bear, though.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Jen@HappilyEverAfterLand said:

    Ohmygosh, we spent 60 bucks on a dog with outfit and rollerskates for the two year old’s birthday. Oh yes we did! But we used her birthday money for it, so it wasn’t as bad. Who needs a college fund, right?

  • Debra said:

    We weren’t too far behind you, Jen. We came in at $57 per kid for the first trip – it was partly their birthday money, too. But, still, $57 bucks for a toy? My only consolation is that they play with them a LOT.

    I take that back: I’m also consoled that they’re happy to simply get new clothes for the same bears. They have a cousin who won’t settle for that. She has seven critters. That’s right – SEVEN.