The Kewpies range in size – from 1 to 24 inches – and materials such as bisque, celluloid and vinyl. They come in several different characters, such as a bride and groom, police officer, prisoner, Lil’ Bo Peep, Sleeping Beauty, a soldier and an Olympian. Their distinctive look includes star fingers, a round head with a topknot of hair, and large eyes that look to the side. But the time has come for the Merriams to share their collection with others. “I liked them because they are happy,” Debbie Merriam said. “They smile, have big eyes and a little, chubby tummy.” The Merriams’ appreciation for the Kewpies started when their daughter had to go to the hospital for surgery. The couple bought her a small vinyl Kewpie doll and she carried it with her to the operating room. After that, Debbie Merriam saw a composite Kewpie she liked and bought it for herself. They soon found themselves “eyeballing every store for the pleasant doll,” Bill Merriam said. The Merriams realized that – like the rest of the world – they, too, were hooked by the charming icon. The Merriams’ entire collection of Kewpie dolls and toys is up for sale, but there is one item Bill Merriam said he will not part with – a large doll with a cloth body and plastic head. Bill Merriam said he has been talking to people in Tokyo, where the doll is also popular, and a local antiques dealer. But he wanted to allow anyone interested in the vintage doll to have a chance at buying one. “There are some things that just stay in the collection,” Bill Merriam said. The Merriams can be reached by calling (909) 985-4748. Staff Writer Lori Consalvo can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at (909) 483-9391. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! UPLAND The sight of a hundred Kewpie dolls could trigger a range of emotions in people – from a sense of nostalgia to fear. But the image is a mixture of business and pleasure for Bill and Debbie Merriam. “If a guy’s got to play with dolls, I would rather play with a Kewpie than anything else on the market,” Bill Merriam, 75, said of the dolls designed by Rose O’Neill that date back to 1913. The Merriams have made a living for years as antiques dealers. And after more than 20 years of collecting Kewpies, they’re finally ready to part with the dolls. “I’ve got so many of them and my children are not real interested in them,” said Debbie Merriam, 70. “We have had them for so many years. We need to paint (the front room) and recarpet and get a new sofa.” Their asking prices range from $25 for a reproduction of a small doll to $900 for their most valuable figure, a black Kewpie, also known as a “Hot and Tot.” The Merriams have acquired a large collection of the Kewpies as well as other merchandise fashioned after the doll. The merchandise includes board games, books, clocks, dishes, lamps, puzzles, telephones and quilts. “They have a certain amount of innocence,” Bill Merriam said. “They wrote songs and books about the dolls. Kewpie was in the comics.”
(NOTE: A quick correction – the report this post was based upon had a reversed sentence which contradicted a finding. The report was just corrected online here in the comments. I didn’t catch it when posting, which perhaps led to you scratching your head. Hawk-eyed reader Willy noticed. The bolded text below is now correct. Thanks.)I think pricing psychology is fascinating, and it’s worth experimenting with it in our sector.I’ve blogged here before about one idea — that of anchors. For example, if you see $50 vs. $5 is a common gift on a list, then $30 either looks like a small gift or a big one. Or a $25 wine seems expensive if it appears halfway down a list that begins with a house wine priced at $10 yet cheap if the options on the list are reversed and start with a $50 wine first. The first number we hear frames how we react to other numbers. Now, Inside Influence Report adds another dimension to these ideas. This week, they summarized research on how we react to packages of several items.It’s really useful in thinking about products you sell, services you offer, grants you seek and donations you request.Here’s the idea, as the Inside team explains: A movie theater might offer customers the option to watch 15 movies for $99 or a lawyer may offer 10 hours of consulting time for $2500. A pair of researchers — Rajesh Bagchi and Derick Davis from the Pamplin School of Business at Virginia Tech University — wondered if the order of the price and number of items matters in how people react. In other words, is it different if you offer $99 for 15 movies? What if the lawyer proposes 10 hours of consultancy time for $2500 or a smaller package of 2 hours for $500? And what if the offer is hard to figure out? For example a contract for $1700 results in service to 1,000 people vs. $1695 for 1,100 people.The researchers presented these types of variations and asked the study participants how good a deal they thought they had been offered, the value for money it represented and, most importantly, how likely they were to make a purchase.The results?1. When the offer was easy to calculate, people rated that offer as better value with price first, item second, regardless of the size of the package2. But when an offer was more difficult to calculate AND the package offered was large, then the reverse was true. People preferred item first, price second. People were more likely to prefer and trial the ‘58 hours for $289.50’ offer over ‘$289.50 for 58 hours.’As Inside Influence notes:When offered a choice people will typically anchor on the first piece of information presented to them and adjust (sometimes insufficiently) for the second piece of information that follows. Furthermore this effect is amplified the more difficult it becomes to calculate the offer, leading to different evaluations and preferences for what are essentially the same things… To think that clients and customers judge larger packages and offers as a better deal irrespective of how the price order is presented is a misconception.The bottom line? If you have a complicated proposal of different prices that are hard to calculate, put the item first. If it’s easy with a smaller number of units? Put the price first.