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A defense blind-bags and collectible toys


Graphic by Andrew Mazariegos-Ovalle


Like every toy on the market, it’s certainly true that the popularization of blind bags within the last decade can be traced back to the vices of materialism and mass consumerism. Now occupying entire aisles in toy sections, some Debbie Downers have developed convincing arguments that criticize the production and consumption of blind bags: they are a waste of resources, they are incredibly overpriced, and they tap into the same psychological mechanisms associated with gambling. I, however, remain unconvinced that the cons of blind bags and collectibles outweigh the pros. 


When I was in fourth grade, I spent my weekly lawn-mowing profits on Shopkins season three blind bags, and I don’t regret it one bit. Nothing can beat the feeling of opening a Shopkins blind bag and catching a glimpse of a figurine covered in glitter — an indication of an ultra-rare — sparkling as the lights hit it. Each Shopkins basket was about three dollars. It came with two blind bags inside and a shopping list showing every possible collectible and its corresponding specialness: common, rare, ultra rare, or limited edition. 


For me, opening blind bags was an innocent little game that kept me occupied in place of ding-dong-ditching my neighbors or picking my nose. The feeling of excitement that rushed through my young body as I opened a blind bag was sometimes quickly suppressed by a collector’s most dreaded atrocity: a duplicate. Some of my school friends — who were also avid collectors — exchanged duplicates at recess, but I refrained from trading after I observed that this supposedly innocent exchange often provoked playground fights that ended friendships, and also because it felt like cheating. 


Having my own authentic collection gave me a sense of pride that would be damaged if I settled for someone else’s grubby duplicate. As of today, my collection of Shopkins sits idle in my childhood toy box divided into two sandwich bags. Although they don’t serve much of a purpose anymore, collecting Shopkins was a fun childhood activity that made me look forward to mowing the lawn. 

Addie Johnson is from Stevens Point, Wisc.

Her major is undeclared.