Installment #27

In December 2007 I attended my very first Tonner Doll Company factory sale. It was held at the John A Coleman Catholic High School across the street from Tonner‘s offices on Hurley Avenue in Kingston, New York. I was informed that I should arrive early as people start camping out the night before. I found this so hard to believe but nonetheless I arrived bright and early that cold winter morning with three close friends; we were each willing to invest a few hundred dollars in whatever goodies we could grab and afterwards I would do all the work listing the items for sale on eBay and take a percentage. It felt like a great win-win for everyone involved; they had no knowledge or experience with dolls whatsoever, just very good friends who were willing to go along with my hair-brained plan to keep a steady income streaming in while I searched for a “real” job. The night before we all congregated in the living room of one friend as I schooled them on what kinds of dolls and doll items to keep their eyes out for, even though I had NO idea what would be offered or what I would even be looking for. I showed them photos from the Tonner website and they diligently took notes to prepare themselves for the early morning insanity. As we waited in line, in the chilly high school hallway outside of the gymnasium doors, we sized up our competition and listened in on conversations about previous year’s factory sales. When the doors finally opened we moved swiftly into the gymnasium with the rest of the bargain shoppers, single-file, one by one; luckily we weren’t too far back in line and got a decent opportunity at some top-notch items. Let me tell you, that factory sale was crazy; I’d never seen anything like it! When I was told that it was comparable to a wedding dress sample sale, with people grabbing and kicking…they weren’t kidding. There was no time to think, you just had to get in there and you had to grab whatever you could get your hands on and stuff it all into the giant, lawn & leaf garbage bag that the Tonner staff provided you while you were waiting in line for the doors to open. If you got out alive and without injury you were considered lucky; ok, I just made that up for affect but it certainly does paint a very vivid picture of what a madhouse that factory sale truly was. Most people rushed in like they were on a mission to snag that last loaf of bread on the shelf before a winter storm hits. They filled their giant black bags with everything the could get their hands on, then they would go over into a corner and sort through everything, setting aside the items that they really wanted into one pile and those they decided against into another. This eventually led to Tonner having to change the rules about how their factory sales would run and operate. My three friends and I came home with lots of goodies and over the next few months I filtered them into my eBay store and we all made a decent profit. To heck with old records, model cars, and humungous artwork…more dolls is what I needed to find!


Here's a picture of CEO Henry hard at work because, well...

I don't have any pictures of a Tonner factory sale.


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