Travis and I wrapped up our weekend of semi-debauchery by attending our second Astros game of the weekend, the second game of a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners. Saturday's giveaway was a Brad Ausmus surfer bobblehead doll (pictured) to the first 10,000 attendants. We got to the game about 30 minutes ahead of time, but unfortunately, all of the bobbleheads were gone. We were unhappy as each of us really wanted one.
So, after the Astros took care of the Mariners 9-4, Travis and I finished our time in Minute Maid Park by seeking one out. After quickly determining that no one in their right mind would leave one behind at their seat as they left, we proceeded to make our way out to the main concourse to try and buy one from someone.
As we walked up the aisle from our seats toward the concourse, Travis began asking people he spotted with more than one in their hand if they would sell him one for the reasonable price of $10. Several said no. Then he approached a family of seven or eight, and offered $15 to any member of the family who would sell him one. All of them denied him. "Good Lord, what family needs eight bobblehead dolls?" I remarked.
Semi-desperation set in on Travis (I never really got too stressed about it even though I also wanted one badly). He pulled out a $20 bill and started waving it around in the middle of the crowded concourse yelling to anyone who would listen that he was willing to buy a bobblehead for $20. It was admittedly hilarious to watch. A Minute Maid Park employee came up to him after about a minute of his random open bidding. She politely told him he had to stop for a reason on which we weren't quite clear. However, it made sense to me. Minute Maid Park wants you spending money with Minute Maid Park inside Minute Maid Park, and not giving it to anyone else. They have that right to deny anyone to sell anything inside the walls of the stadium that they choose. Well, before we had to resort to street haggling and acts of coercion, Travis found a taker in a reasonable old cowboy who realized the thing would probably end up collecting dust on a shelf in his closet. It was really quite surprising that it took him as long as he did to find a taker.
As Travis paraded around happily with his $20 Ausmus bobblehead, I scoped the crowd out a little more to see if anyone looked willing to part with theirs. I tried in vain, asking a mother with four in her hands if I could purchase one. Then, I spotted an Asian family, a husband, wife and small child. I thought quickly, A) they're likely Mariners/Ichiro fans, B) They know their kid is probably the only one who actually wants one, and, C) Asian cultures are far more efficient and nowhere near as wasteful as American culture and probably don't even want an extra one.
So, I sent my brother over (he's a far less imposing presence than me) to ask them if they would sell him one for $10. The wife consulted in Japanese to her husband, and they agreed. As my brother handed her the money, she asked him if he was sure, like she may well have just given it to him if he had asked. That's when I truly realized, instead of selling an extra doll for well over its market price, almost all of these people would rather take it home just to hoard it away, probably in a closet or in a box somewhere in their attic.
I can see bringing and extra one home to give away to a friend, but if I am at the ballpark with a wife and three kids, and we have five bobblehead dolls, two or three of them are getting sold if someone asks. Hell, I'd probably stand outside the stadium and ask someone with empty hands if they wanted to buy one.
It's really a simple question. Do you want $40, or do you want to take up space in your closet? I'm taking the cash.