Friday, January 30, 2009

Stuffed toy entrepreneurship

This story on the NYT Motherlode blog reminded me of my earlier post on the subject of stuffed toys.

Had the parents of 10-year-old Soski, who lives in Glendale, Calif., had a spare Teddy locked away somewhere, they might not have found themselves in need of rescue by firefighters on Friday night.

In the middle of a temper tantrum, Soski threw his stuffed bear over a guard rail atop a steep incline near the family’s home. His mother climbed over to rescue the Teddy, but slipped. When Soski’s Dad tried to come to her aid, both parents became trapped 80-feet down on the rain-slicked slope, unable to climb back up. All this with Soski alone at the top of the hill.

The boy — who, let’s remember, started all this trouble in the first place — ran to a neighbors house and someone called 911. You can see video of the rescue here.
One solution to all this is, when your child becomes attached to some toy, to get a spare. That, of course, is easier said than done. We did that for our son's ET (yes, the same ET that later turned out to be so pivotal in the movie, In America) and we still have an ample supply of those. Sadly, he moved on to a $2 IKEA blue dog that got thrown his way during a visit there. Equally, sadly, we didn't stock up. Who knew?

Recently, he lost said toy. Someone may have mistaken it for a dirty rag. Suffice it to say, IKEA had moved on. I decided to see if eBay would help but the closest it got to was this anteater. That wouldn't cut. But I did notice how many stuffed toys selling at seemingly premium prices were on eBay. It occurred to me that a more comprehensive entrepreneurial activity of buying up stuffed toys and cataloging them could be a very lucrative business -- not to mention socially desirable as it could save lives or embarrassment, whichever you regard as worse.

A quick Google search indicated that this idea was not novel. Here is one service. No luck on the IKEA thing though. He will just have to deal. Nonetheless, I suspect that the problems associated with matching children with lost toys is going to get easier and easier.