When I was three, a motel housekeeper tossed out my beloved security blanket, Baba. It wasn't pretty. If only my parents had known about the Blankie Black Market!

While security blankets are kind of by definition irreplaceable, desperate parents are willing to get as close as they can to appease a bereft child. And, as is the way of the world, assholes are ready to cash in! Says the Washington Post,

Numerous eBay sellers, keen to the desperation of parents, are marking up prices on blankets and stuffed toys no longer stocked on store shelves. The sellers are snagging up discontinued "lovies," knowing that one day, some desperate parent may want them.

And what better market for price-gouging? Some sellers quoted in the article say they've had to overnight security items to distraught families. One little girl is particularly attached to a type of Chinese washcloth she used to cuddle in an orphanage before being adopted and brought to St. Louis; her parents thought nothing of sending for more from China when the supply ran out. Parents will do a lot to make a child happy, and it's not shocking that people would capitalize on it.


Of course, is a replacement the same? When one little girl was doubtful about a new, suspiciously clean replacement toy, her mother explained it thus: "'You know...it's like when Grandma and Grandpa go away on a cruise. They go looking kind of tired, kind of pale. When they get back, they have tans, Grandma has her nails done . . .'" and the little girl accepts this. When Baba was lost, it haunted me for months. It wasn't just not having something to cuddle; I had abandoned him! What if he was lost, cold, maltreated? The thought of his going to the dump or being destroyed was unbearable. To have seen him return again, refurbished? I believe a child knows the difference, but wants to believe. On the other hand, you can learn important, hard lessons about valuing things, loss, about caring for things, about the transitive nature of possessions. I was talking with a little girl the other day and asked where her doll familiar, Ketchup, was. "She died," replied the little girl matter-of-factly. "She's dead!" Clearly some parents take a different approach.

Putting The 'Cyber-' In Security Blanket [Washington Post]