Okay, let’s see if I can date myself. I’m so old… “How old are you?” you ask and I thank you for playing along. Well, I’m not so old that I remember when comedians would do that “I’m so whatever” bit unironically. So I’ve got that going for me but I am old enough to remember a time when Hello Kitty used to really mean something.
Let me educate you millennials. There was a time where you couldn’t just go to Target and find Hello Kitty everything. In fact, there was a time when you couldn’t even find a Target in some parts of the country. Those were very dark times, indeed. You couldn’t even find Hello Kitty at Venture.
“Regina, what’s a Venture?”
Shut up! I’m trying to teach you something. Now where was I? Oh, so Hello Kitty, or more accurately, San Rio used to be a prestige brand. Where I live there was only one store fully devoted to San Rio products. It wasn’t just Hello Kitty either. All her friends were there. There was Chococat, Keroppi the frog, Spotty Dottie. So many, you couldn’t believe it. It was a heaven in earth. There were also a few toy stores in town that carried some San Rio items but the store, Tiny Treasures was the place to be. It was my most favorite place on earth and it was right across the way from the food court, my second favorite place on earth.
Anyway, the things that Tiny Treasures sold were very expensive. I remember this one year, maybe the third grade, there was this scissors that I wanted there. It came in its own little, completely unnecessary case and I had to have it. They were like $20 bucks, which in the 80’s was a ridiculous price for a pair of small children’s scissors. So ridiculous, in fact, that my grandma told me, “no.”
After she explained to me what that word meant, I was very upset.
Don’t worry. I did get them eventually but my situation was rare. This was before parents handed over control of their lives to their children. Most parents would not pay the money for these vanity school supplies and toys. So the fact that I had them made me just a little bit better than everyone else. It felt right.
Another thing about Tiny Treasures was that they had grab bags. Still to this day I will buy pretty much any grab bag I see. Yes, I know that grab bags are just a collection of shit that wouldn’t sell on its own that no one really wants. But, oh the excitement of opening a present that you bought for yourself and have no idea what’s inside! It makes feel so alive! I hope no one ever gives me a dyybuk box because I’d be as good as dead.
One year for my tenth or eleventh birthday, my grandma got me the largest grab bag Tiny Treasures had. It was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life and probably the happiest I ever will be. I don’t remember what was in it, probably just a bunch of crap but what a fucking thrill.
I say all this to say, Hello Kitty used to be a rarity. It was not something shoved down your throat in literally every aisle of Target. It breaks my heart to see her, lying on a clearance shelve, marked down to $1.74 on a 75% off clearance endcap. A little piece of me dies to see her displayed next to Barbies and Bratz dolls like some sort of peasant. In my day, Hello Kitty was Queen Bitch. Yasss, God! A symbol of overindulged children everywhere. No matter what, to me she will always be a unique and magical gift to humanity. She keeps her secrets so well, bitch doesn’t even have a mouth.
Here’s the thing though, I’m in my 30’s. I’m (mostly) over it. She will always hold a special place in my heart but just like that old high school boyfriend you still think about, I miss her but she’s just too immature for me. Now, will someone please tell everyone in my life that? Thank you.
I have a Hello Kitty toaster that’s supposed to burn her face onto your toast but doesn’t, a Hello Kitty notebook, several Hello Kitty shirts and dolls. On my desk at work I have a Hello Kitty calendar and in the drawer, a travel brush with Hello Kitty on it. I have purchased none of these things. I repeat, I am in my thirties, people! Deep in my thirties. I could be president of the United States if I wanted to but I’m sure if I was, someone would make sure I was sworn in with a Hello Kitty Bible. Even though I would never buy these things myself, I could never throw them away. I just couldn’t do that to her.
Guys, I’m really sad now. I have bummed myself out completely. Do any of you remember Hello Kitty before she sold herself out to the man? Do you have special Hello Kitty memories that I just sparked? Are you sad too?