Tales from the Thrift

How the internet saved Tinker Bell

This is the story of how the internet saved Tinker Bell.

Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Goodwill, there was a beautiful box and in it was a sweet Disney fairy named Tinker Bell. She was balancing on a block on a bookshelf, laughing so hard the block was tipping over. But something was wrong. Tinker Bell’s fairy glow was missing.

A fair maiden (me) came along one day and was immediately drawn to the lovely box with the gold frame. It was like looking into a doll house window. If only there was a light inside so you could see better! The fair maiden (me), examined the underside of the heavy box and found there was a place for batteries but the on / off switch was missing. The plastic plate said on / off. There was a hole for an on / off switch but no switch.

Curious, she spun the box around and found a label that said The Art of Disney by Robert “Bob” Olszewski. She recognized that name. The fair maiden’s mate had a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine with the name markings. Surely, this was an amazing find. But how could such a talented artist make such a large mistake. Surely, the switch had come loose and was lost somewhere inside the fairy box.

The fair maiden took the Tinker Bell box to the merchant and asked, “how much are you asking for this piece?”

“$5.99” said the merchant, using that age old tactic of saying a penny less so it sounds more like a bargain.

“$6!” exclaimed the maiden.

“It’s Disney,” said the merchant.

“But there’s no on / off switch. Which means it might never work.”

“That’s why it’s only $5.99. I was asking $9.99 but another patron pointed out as you did, that the item is broken. She also turned up her nose at the price, but I believe it is a fair trade for such a lovely piece — even if the fairy light never shines again.”

The fair maiden’s mate nudged her to take it; whispering that he had the skills to fix the item. So it was agreed and the maiden paid the $5.99.  All the way home, she worried that she had made a poor deal. What good was a fairy without her light?

When the maiden and her mate returned home, he vowed to fix the fairy box. . . one day. . . then he went off to his collection of vintage sound machines. Determined to rescue Tinker Bell, the maiden got a sharp implement and proceeded to pry away the plastic frame around the battery case so she could locate the missing switch.

Snap! The plastic frame broke. Oh no! Careful now. The maiden pried away at the cold glue and then it happened — the battery case came loose and she was able to see inside the inner workings of the fairy box.

“Oh no!” She cried. There was no switch dangling loose inside. There were no loose wires at all. How can that be, she thought. All battery items must have a switch. Could the artist who created this piece have soldered it together without this vital component? And that was why the joyous fairy box had ended up rejected in the kingdom of gently used items?

Still determined, the maiden put out a call to the entire land using the YouTube. She described her problem and begged anyone with information to respond. Surely there was someone in the vast land of Internet who could make Tinker Bell glow.

Impatient, the maiden began searching the Internet using the magic of Google. She discovered that merchants all over the land were asking for more than $150 for identical fairy boxes — but all of those had their distinctive fairy glow. Oh, if only she could fix this box, it would be worth ten times what she’d paid for it.

Then it happened. One merchant had more to say about the piece than the others. His description included a single line that changed everything. “The switch is hidden in the leaves at the bottom corner of the frame so you don’t have to turn the box over to turn on the light.”

What kind of sorcery was that?!

The maiden examined the gold frame on the box, gently pressing each of the raised leaves in the frame pattern and there it was. One leaf was a button. She pressed harder and the box lit up with a glorious light. Tinker Bell’s smile grew even wider as she was bathed in a golden glow. The light even created a Tinker Bell shadow so the fairy would always have someone her size to play with.

Tinker Bell BoxThere never was an on / off switch on the underside. The frame with the markings was clearly there to mislead unworthy fiends who wanted to exploit the sweet fairy. Only the pure in heart and those with the power to use Google would ever know of the secret button in the frame.

The fair maiden was extremely proud of herself. But she also felt bad that the merchant and the other customer were mislead. She’d paid the price due a broken fairy box, but this one worked just fine. It was as fine as the $150 versions being sold in the communal marketplace of eBay.

Yes, indeed. It was a fine, fine piece – worth every bit of the $5.99 she’d paid for it and apparently, so much more.

The kingdom of Internet had saved them all. The maiden could stop feeling foolish for purchasing a broken item and Tinker Bell on a Block was made whole.

The moral of the story: anything is possible with a little bit of Google, trust and pixie dust.

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