I imagine that you heard about the crowdfunding campaign a couple months ago for life-size Cookie Monster replicas:
Theoretically, I would love a life-size Cookie Monster replica in my home. Of course I would: I’m human, I have a pulse, and I love Muppets. Nevertheless, the campaign made me very uncomfortable right from the start for a number of reasons:
- I resented the implication that all Muppet fans have an extra $300 lying around to spend on a glorified plush toy when I am still struggling to pay the bills on a month-to-month basis.
- I don’t understand the point of crowdfunding for a multibillion-dollar corporation like Hasbro. Seems to me that they’re trying to take advantage of a current fad for the purposes of manipulating potential customers. They kept saying things like, “We can’t manufacture these things without your help!” That is nonsense; Hasbro is a conglomerate that buys up other companies like Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers, and Kenner. It brings in more than $5 billion in revenue. If they really wanted to manufacture life-sized Cookie Monster replicas, they could do so. They just didn’t want to until they were sure that people would buy them.
- Eventually, I did the math and figured out that, in attempting to convince at least 3,000 people to contribute approximately $300, their funding goal was nearly $900,000.
Almost a million dollars for a glorified plush toy that most people would probably have fun posing for about five minutes, then place in a corner to collect dust. And yes, Sesame Workshop would see a portion of that (I was unable to determine a specific percentage despite my research efforts), but wouldn’t it be so much better for Sesame Workshop to receive the full $900,000 in direct donations?
At a time when refugee children are dying in what are essentially concentration camps on American soil, when hurricanes are battering our coastlines and tornadoes are ripping through our communities (MY community in particular), when ICE raids are tearing families apart, spending $300 on a plush toy, even one as awesome as a life-sized Cookie Monster, not only seems frivolous, it seems downright irresponsible.
For better or worse, however, the campaign failed to receive the necessary number of backers, which is sad in that it means that Sesame Workshop won’t get its cut.
Presumably, however, it also means that everyone who pledged now has an extra $300 burning a hole in their pockets. May I suggest some worthy causes to which you can now put that money and do some good in the world?
- Sesame Workshop/Yellow Feather Fund
- American Red Cross
- Hispanic Federation
American Civil Liberties Union*
- Save the Children
There are many more worthy causes out there, and I’m sure they would be happy to receive your donation of $300, or more (or less, if needs be), regardless of whether or not you pledged to the Hasbro campaign.
And I’m sure the Monster himself would agree, that’s something to give up Cookie for.