Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Collecting -- and collecting information 24

Putting together information from first-hand sources can be challenging. But it can also be fun. And sometimes it's taken me in umexpected directions.

I have a couple of examples of this Haji-brand truck (see Expressing Change in the 0-Gauge Zen Garden). And I've been searching for other variations on this design that Haji offered -- I'll share the results of that search in a future post.

The problem with these inexpensive Japanese toys is that they were always meant to be disposable. Branding is minimal. I assume that was because the Japanese companies who made these toys back in the postwar era were supplying them to American importers, who placed their own brand on the packaging.

And because these were dime store toys, the packaging was seldom saved. So I was very interested to find this example of new-old stock. The truck -- as all Haji vehicles in this series -- is modestly branded "Haji" on the truck body. But the buyer would have thought this was a product of the  Toy Merchandising Corp., as it clearly states on the card.

I wasn't able to find out a lot about the Toy Merchandising Corp. of New York -- save that they ran afoul of the FCC in 1965. As you can see from the ad that they ran in various papers, one could make a fortune stocking "Toy Shop" displays in five-and-dime stores and drug stores. The Toy Merchandising Corp provided the products, and for a small initial investment of $298, you could be in business.



In the complaint, the representation of the business in the ads was brought into question, as well as the earning potential. According to the complaint, "it is impossible for a distributor to make a profit from the initial purchase of the respondent's products."

What I found most interesting was that there seemed to be a some bait and switch going on. Such as:
"Samples of products shown to prospective distributors were indicative of quality or value of the products which would appear on racks or available for placement." And most telling: "Respondents' products were of domestic manufacture."

As the complaint states, "In most instances respondents failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose to prospective purchasers that a substantial amount of their merchandise was of foreign origin."

Like the Haji truck. There's nothing on the packaging that indicates the toy was made in Japan.

So what happened to the Toy Merchandising Corp.? I'm not sure. An extensive Internet search only turned up their ads in various newspapers of the day -- none of them later than 1965.

Another mystery.

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