Snoopy the Bear

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This season, the Mercantile is offering many Smokey Bear items for our customers’ souvenir pleasure. We have 1,000 piece Smokey Bear jigsaw puzzles. We have decks of Smokey Bear playing cards. We have Smokey Bear magnets, Smokey Bear wooden postcards, and Smokey Bear wooden gift tags. We have Smokey Bear metal signs and some made out of wood. We have Smokey Bear sanctioned survival kits, whistles, binoculars, and compasses. We have Smokey Bear t-shirts, Smokey Bear coasters, and Smokey Bear plush toys. We have representations of Smokey Bear all over the store, but most are concentrated on the top shelf of a unit directly across from the beverage cooler.

One Sunday morning a large group of people came into the Mercantile. They seemed to be a family group, and English did not seem to be their first language. One little boy was immediately drawn to the main display of Smokey Bear items, but he was a bit confused.

Snoopy the Bear! Snoopy the Bear! he shouted with glee.

His mother was right behind him. I thought she’d explain to him that Snoopy is a dog, and Smokey is a bear, but no. That’s not what happened. Instead of correcting him, the mother agreed with him. Snoopy the Bear! she said in a voice of excitement similar to her son’s. Snoopy the Bear!

Marketing fail—for both the estate of Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip, of which Snoopy is a character, and for the USDA Forest Service, which owns the rights to the image of Smokey Bear.

Unfortunately for the Mercantile’s bottom line, the woman did not buy her son a souvenir by any name.

I took the photos in this post.

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist. Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it. I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk. This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

2 Responses »

  1. I thought Smokey the Bear was in disrepute, since his total fire ban has exacerbated the out of control fires of today. Love to all, Auntie M

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