What Ever Happened To: Beanie Babies

Students confronted administrators on a variety of concerns regarding the food service provider and new library hours at the Chancellor's Roundtable Monday in Davies Center.

Concerns raised included the quality of produce and nutrition of the food made by Sodexho.

Students confronted administrators on a variety of concerns regarding the food service provider and new library hours at the Chancellor’s Roundtable Monday in Davies Center. Concerns raised included the quality of produce and nutrition of the food made by Sodexho.

Story by Cal McNeil

Two large boxes now sit in the corner of my parents’ storage room.  They hold some of my most prized possessions from childhood. The lids are labeled with the two words that would come screaming out of my mouth from the back of the minivan every time we would drive past the toy stores: “Beanie Babies.”

These pellet-stuffed animals were my pride and joy growing up.  Calling these toys a fad is an understatement — they were a way of life. I would start planning my Christmas and birthday lists months ahead of time and Beanie Babies would fill them up.

Beanie Babies were introduced in 1993 and mass-produced until 1999.  From 2000 on, the craze slowly died down and was replaced by some other toy that I’m sure took millions of dollars out of parents’ pockets. Some notable Beanie Babies that I can recall gasping for air after receiving for holidays included the Princess Diana bear and Erin the St. Patrick’s Day bear, both that I had in protective plastic cases, obviously.

Seeing the red heart-shaped “Ty” tag and reading the cheesy poems inside brings me right back to the days where I would spend hours in my room, discussing life with my stuffed animal friends as my older siblings quietly chuckled around the corner at my conversations.  Those were the good days.

When everyone thought that Beanie Babies could not get any better, McDonald’s began to release the miniature-sized Teenie Beanies with the Happy Meals.  We would frantically check which bear we got and like the crazy mom-and-son duo that we were, would go in and attempt to trade in for a new one so we could collect all of them.

Looking back, they were definitely a waste of money, just like all the other toys I had.  I also wasted my parents and my time waiting in line for new ones and searching the house for a tag that probably made me spiral into an emotional breakdown when lost.

Ty Inc. is attempting to bring the Beanie Babies craze back by selling new versions on their website and you can still find overpriced “rare” ones on eBay.  For now, my Beanie Babies will sit in the darkness of my parent’s basement, waiting for the day when I unpack them for a nice heart to heart conversation again.