Tag archive: Charity Shops
Every so often, on charity shop hunts, one comes across a…thing that makes it hard to resist reaching for the acronym “WTF”. Today was one such occasion. Bought, for 50 cents, in the St. Vincent de Paul outlet on Thomas St., Limerick was…this.
Here’s a close-up…
Goggle-eyed, orange mouth askew, blonde locks shooting off at wild angles – it was obviously hand-made, by someone moved by a strange need to create this. My first thought was that it was some sort of crude/offensive take on a Golliwogg. Or some sort of crude/offensive spin on a Rastafarian/Jamaican stereotype. But the more I look, the more boggled my mind becomes.
Its colourful/ragged hot pants cling upsettlingly tightly to its woollen bum cheeks.
And, um, they’re removable…
As is the mega-crude, falling-to-bits, “Aran Jumper” thing it’s wearing. Throw in a little (non-removable) beanie hat and we’re left with a knitted melange that is hurting my brain.
If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from my numerous trips to charity shops (on both sides of the Irish sea) it is (alas) to expect the expected. For while such places hold out the slight promise of rare oddities and wonders, the stark reality is that there’s a tedious consistency to what people choose to donate.
Of course if you’re a James Last enthusiast, a collector of ornamental Flamenco dancers, or a devotee of the work of Jeffrey Archer, then this consistency is no bad thing. You’ll be spoiled for choice and skipping merrily out the door with three bags full. However if, like me, you live in hope of finding an inexpensive monkey’s paw (or a mint-condition Necronomicon) then you’re probably better off with eBay.
What keeps me doing the rounds is that every not-so-very-often I stumble across an object that makes me stop, stare and push prospective old lady buyers out of the way. Today’s donation to The Museum of Cultural Waste (snapped up in The Irish Cancer Society Shop, William St.) may not quite be worth abusing the elderly, but it does exude an undeniable strangeness. More importantly, it cost 50 cent.
Yes, it’s a manky Native American “Action Man” – standing proudly before an atmospheric backdrop of pasta, lentils and couscous. The woman who sold him to me confidently declared him an “Apache”, before pointing out (quite despondently) that his leg was hanging off. She was spot on about the damage to the leg (it got me a discount), but I’m not so sure about her swift assessment of his tribal affiliations. More research is required.
After getting him home and getting him nekkid I discovered the mark of “Kid Kore 1994″ stamped indistinctly on his arse. Though the name was new to me I hazarded an educated guess that “Kid Kore” was a) Chinese & b) unlikely to be one of Mattel and Hasbro’s main global competitors. As with almost all Manky Toy makers, “Kid Kore” don’t appear to have invested any of their profits in a company web site – leaving precise details hard to come by.
I can, however, confirm that they don’t just limit themselves to plastic “Apaches”. They also produce the “Little Ones” range of dolls – notable for being cute, colourful and (according to EU consumer affairs) stuffed to the gills with phenol.
The product poses a chemical risk because the shoes of the doll contain phenol at level of 980 mg/kg whereas the limit is 150 mg/kg. Phenol can cause various poisoning symptoms.
Yikes! From the look of the “Apache’s” head our cats may have spent most of this afternoon happily gnawing his hair…little realising it may have been dripping in life-threatening toxins. The EU rather vaguely refers to “various poisoning symptoms”. What are these exactly?
Listlessness? Ennui? Gassiness? Death?
For anyone who wants to try out their own chemical experiments the below “Kid Kore” doll is on sale at ioffer.com for a mere 50 cents (US).
The seller’s sales pitch seems aimed at a rather disturbed niche market:
This cute little red head measures approximately 5 inches tall.
She has no clothes and is looking for a good home.
One presumes that her (phenol-soaked) clothes were seized by EU agents and destroyed.
Before we finish, let’s briefly return to our Native American friend. There’s something both unsettling and enigmatic about his face.
A touch of the “John Cusack wearing a Michael Myers mask” perhaps? Certainly an intense melancholia. Could the (surprisingly sensitive) “Kid Kore” designers have deliberately set out to capture the ineffable sadness of a people’s loss and displacement?
P. S: By the time you read this I may have succumbed to phenol vapours and slipped into a coma.