Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why we love some dolls and not others, Part III: Okay, maybe not by guest blogger Milady Blue

Special guest blogger Milady Blue continues her saga on what happens when you've received a doll and it leaves something to be desired. When you've decided customization isn't for you, what's next?

Why We Love Some Dolls and Not Others
Part III: Okay, Maybe Not
by Milady Blue
Special Guest Writer

Earlier, we discussed ambivalence. That is, a collector has jumped through all the hoops to get the wanted doll in hand, opened the box, and now is unsure it was worth all the fuss. Something or other does not click between the collector and the doll. Face paint, costume, hair, or something even harder to define, the doll just does not make him- or herself welcome into their new owner’s affections.

Now what?

There are several options open to collectors with dolls they are less than thrilled with, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Returns – This can be a tricky one, depending on the source. A good many doll stores are willing to take a doll back, but then the doll collector is out the postage – not just the postage it took to send the doll to them, but the return postage. Depending on the shipping method, this can be pretty expensive for a disappointing doll. If you’re as big a miser as me, tolerating a less than adequate doll is better than being out however much in shipping.

Some sellers on eBay clearly state “no returns.” Others might accept returns, but only if the doll is not as described, or arrives damaged. Most eBay sellers these days tend to be scrupulous documenting the condition of their wares. However, I have known people who have sold a doll on eBay, which apparently did not impress their new owners, and the buyer either deliberately damaged the doll, or did a quick Frankendolly to a stained or otherwise damaged body. This kind of person deserves to be stripped naked, rolled in catnip, and tossed into a lion’s den, but I digress.

Selling – thanks to the internet, as well as doll clubs, there are a load of options for a doll collector with a less than beloved doll to consider.

There are a few selling sites, the biggest and best known being eBay. However, with these sites comes annoyances such as fees, dealing with unscrupulous buyers, or even technical problems, such as a virus or the website crashing.

Then, of course, there are the doll boards, online discussion groups or forums. This is a potential gold mine of opportunity for selling an unwanted doll, and I have lost count of how many for sale posts I have
seen on the groups I belong to, where the doll owner admitted he or she was less than enchanted with the doll they bought, but still hope they can find a good home for it.

This can have its drawbacks, unless you know the person selling the doll, or the person buying the doll. There have been a number of scams perpetrated upon doll collectors on Prego, to the point where the
buyer and the seller will openly post a message, asking for references. I have been lucky so far with Prego and with MEF Forum, which is much smaller, in that the people I have done business with
have all been on the level, and the dolls or outfits I have purchased have been exactly what the seller said they would be. I will happily provide positive references for my “business partners” and they have
all provided positive references for me.

Another option might be to wait until your next doll club meeting, and hope that one of the other members really, really wants the doll you have that you are less than enthused about. This is the riskiest, because most of your club friends, whom you see on a face to face basis at the meetings might either already have the doll in question, or they, too, are less than thrilled with the doll, the same as you are.

Trade - An option I have just tried has been a straight across trade. My dear friend Jane from Cheery About Agnes Dreary has been having a rough year. She, like me, has a miles long wish list, - never mind the length of her Grails list! – and due to various financial woes, is not likely to get many of the dolls she wants. She is even willing to sell off older dolls in her collection in order to raise the cash for the latest and greatest. I was interested in a couple of her dolls, but I didn’t have the immediate cash on hand, and she was bracing herself to deal with eBay. However, at last week’s doll show, I came across one of the dolls on her much wanted list nude, and bought it. Okay, so I put it on layaway, and have some time to pay it off. When I got home that night, I emailed her, asking if she would like to trade one of the dolls she was selling for the doll I got at the doll show. The prices were compatible, so I did not mind trading a brand new doll for one of her older ones. Plus, I know Jane keeps her dolls in very good
condition. When the trade is completed, I will report on the results.

Gift – The collector has a friend or relative who also collects the same type of dolls, and decides to give in to a generous impulse, and give the doll to this friend. This is definitely a generous impulse, that can lead to squeals of glee, and lots of hugs.

Collector’s item – This is an option which can take many, many years to see satisfaction. The doll owner does not want the doll, the hassle and expense of returning it, or the problems that can crop up with selling the doll through a venue such as eBay. Instead, the doll is left in his or her box, after being opened only for a peek. The thinking behind this is due to years of watching the goings on among action figure and comic book collectors. Someone bought an action figure twenty some odd years ago for $1.50, and recently sold it at an auction house like Christie’s for $10.000. Apparently, it was one of
only ten that were made with some “mistake” or other and it is highly coveted by really hard core collectors.

This is a huge gamble, however, as I have found out the hard way over the years. The latest trends for action figures, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, or other action figures is to keep them “Mint on Card,” or
“Mint in Box,” meaning that the figure has never been opened. Some manufacturers even number each figure, so you might find you have figure number 3944 out of 10,000 or whatever the edition size was, and the lower the number, the higher the value, or so it would seem. But unfortunately, many, many other collectors had dollar signs in their eyes, and did the same thing – keeping the action figures mint on their cards, and stashed somewhere to await appreciation of their value, and possibly even selling for enough for the owner to retire early. At the moment, I have a pretty large box of mint on card action
figures that are not even worth the price I paid for them in the first place. I have a few other friends in the same situation.

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