In 1986 my mother brought home two boxes: one full of envelopes, the other full of papers. She had a job for me, I was to stuff the envelopes with the papers/brochures (I can’t remember which), and lick them shut. I would be paid a penny for each, and there were literally thousands of them. I toiled away over many days that summer, eventually finishing the job. Weeks later, my mom brought home my pay, $20.00. A princely sum for an 8-year-old in 1986.
I was far from a tastemaker or influencer when I was eight. I always seemed to be behind the curve on whatever was coming down the pipe for kids my age, whether it was Airwolf or trading cards. I was even blindsided by Nintendo, not realizing that was a thing until way too late.
A friend’s brother had this t-shirt, and it was easily the coolest thing ever for a kid in the third grade.
While I wasn’t on the cutting edge of pop-culture at the time, I did have an appreciation for quality when I saw it, and Garbage Pail Kids was an instant must-have for me. Cabbage Patch Kids was a huge thing in 1986, and Topps created this parody of the dolls in response to the doll’s too-expensive licensing fees.
I begged my mother for some, but she steadfastly refused to spend money on such rubbish. “They’re disgusting,” she admonished me.
The only place you could get them was at a shady, dirty, arcade/candy store. In hindsight, it should have been a second home for me, but a lack of disposable income held me back. But not so, when I had all of that envelope money in my hand.
I quickly made my way to the store, money in hand, and Garbage Pail Kids stickers in mind. My disappointment that they were sold out was short-lived. As was the $20. I wasted no time in changing it in for a soda, some candy, and about 72 quarters. 20 Minutes later I walked out, worried what my mother would say about my squandered fortune (she was not impressed).
But 34 years later, I get the last laugh. For just $28.95, I get to own all of them. All things come to he who waits.
Now I just need to keep my kids away from this trash.