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‘Bankrupt by Beanies’: How This Dad Lost $100,000 on Worthless Plush Toys

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on July 26, 2013

Beanie Babies took home the #1 slot in our “8 Failed Investments From Your Spoiled Childhood” piece from July 2012. Greg Seals noted that he “planned on buying my first home on my Princess Di bear.” But “now it’s just something for my dog to hump when he’s lonely.”

Hopefully the Robinson family has a whole bunch of lonely dogs, because they’re sitting on a mountain full of worthless Beanie Babies.

Chris Robinson directed this captivating story about his father, who sunk $100,000 of his family’s money into the toys. “This is like admitting to a drug addiction,” he says in the haunting opening scene.

The short doc was posted to YouTube in May 2009, so it’s obviously quite old. But it’s getting a second life on the web after Dazed Digital interviewed Chris about his father’s terrible investment, and it provides great context to this amazing short film. An excerpt:

DD: Are you still in the process of trying to sell the Beanies?
Chris Robinson: We actually never really tried selling them. We just collected them for a few years, finally saw the error in our ways, and then packed them away in hopes that maybe someday they’d rebound and we could get some money back. The plan going in was for them to pay for our college tuition, but it became pretty clear that wasn’t going to happen for us. Maybe by the time our kids graduate high school they’ll have made a comeback. Or we can just burn them for warmth in the event of the Apocalypse.
DD: What are your feelings towards beanie babies now?
Chris Robinson: I’m mostly just apathetic to them at this point. I see the whole time period as one of bonding with my family, despite it being an extraordinary waste of money that would have been better spent on pretty much anything else. It was fun while it lasted, but then it was over and we got on with our lives.

Read the rest of this terrific interview here. It’s a terrific look at the true human condition, the strength of family and how one minor decision can start a tragic downfall.

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