Work and no play

Toy collector? Nut-uh, says Jack Baruth. You’re a box collector:

It’s the boxes that really matter because you want the toy to be new in the box and such a condition has the dual conditions of

  • new
  • in the box

which means that even the best-condition action figure or Shogun Warrior or Star Bird™ isn’t worth a whole lot unless you have the box. Note that children, for whom toys used to be made, don’t care about the boxes and throw them out immediately. The box is a sort of meta-item for adult collectors, the secondary market. As such, box collecting is a prime symptom of disconnection from the true purpose of the toy. The child plays with the toy; the adult collects the box. It should be immediately apparent to anyone with any soul left whatsoever that the child is the moral and intellectual superior of the adult in this case and that collecting boxes is a miserable, repugnant pursuit in which your humble author only engages pretty much, um, all the time.

This suggests two alternative methods of saving your soul: making your own, in which case there is no box, or buying fanwork — say, a custom pony — whose only box is an anonymous shipping container.


  1. backwoods conservative »

    8 March 2015 · 8:47 am

    I side with the kids on this. The box that arrived at my house a few days ago had a digital piano in it. I’m learning to play again after 30 years. I’m spending 3-4 hours a day on the piano. The box is still in the house somewhere, but I don’t pay it any attention.

  2. McGehee »

    8 March 2015 · 9:01 am

    Boxes are for cats.

  3. CGHill »

    8 March 2015 · 11:35 am

    Cats will agree with that latter assertion.

  4. fillyjonk »

    8 March 2015 · 1:16 pm

    If a person is looking to fund their retirement by selling all the toys they bought and left in the box….well, they have a fine career ahead of them as a greeter at Wal-Mart.

    Me? I say unbox the toy and enjoy its existence.

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