PEZ Monkey Traveling Circus sums up my travels worldwide buying PEZ perfectly. Actually it sums up my entire 10+ year adventure in Pez. If you are someone who buys this story for a book or a movie I think it might actually be a better title than Pez Outlaw Diary. As it turns out I was a PEZ Monkey, dance monkey dance for Pez Corporation. In what ended up being a 10+ year long Big Top Circus.
Not meant to be harsh to all the wonderful people I met, but on reflection. Pez Monkey Traveling Circus also perfectly describes my role within the Pez Community. At toy shows Pez Conventions etc. I was the first place most collectors wanted to visit. The elite dealers always sent News Crews to interview me. Show runners always wanted, well just wanted says it. Yet never considered me in the CLUB.
Dance monkey dance. It was a fair trade which I accepted then & now. Had the Circus had a happy ending it would not even bare mentioning. That it ended badly it does.
We all want to feel good about ourselves. We all want to feel successful. After my negative life changing experience with Pez Corporation. Pez Outlaw Diary is where I go to find peace and a sense of accomplishment. Pez Corporation Destroyed my company & took every penny I had or could borrow. After 12 years I'm left with the one thing they could not steal, my mind. Pez Outlaw Diary may only be a virtual life where I can do things without money, but my hope is it can become more.
For ten years I had the unexpected pleasure of traveling to Europe & other areas of the world searching for Pez. A more noble journey would have been in search of wisdom or truth. My journey was in search of Plastic. My routine allowed me to travel roughly 10 times per year for most of 10 years. Each trip lasted 4 to 8 days. Some of the trips were more of a whirlwind affair involving many countries on the same trip. I don't miss it, especially with flying being what it is today. Though for ten years it was my life & beyond what I ever thought possible.
|Pez Haas factory in Traun Austria. picture courtesy of Rudi|
I left the US and arrived in Budapest on Malev Airlines on Sunday morning. Picked up my car ($900.00 for a Chevy Corsica) & left town. Setting out to meet my contact. As usual, half of the Pez dispensers I was promised was there. Had to come back on Monday to for the rest. I now had the last of the Monkey Pez dispensers & Dog Melody Maker Pez dispensers. It appears that the last of existing inventory of Pez dispensers from Austria was gathered together in Hungary to be used in the old eastern block countries. Most of it having been produced in 1991 & 1992. The second infusion of older Pez dispensers for Russia came 2 or 3 years later when all production of pez was halted in Slovenia & existing Pez dispensers were shipped to Hungary.
|more pics from Pez Haas factory in Traun Austria.|
I smuggled approximately 700,000 Pez Dispensers into the USA from Europe. Get yours signed and authenticated as a Pez Outlaw Pez Dispenser.
When I had finished in Hungary I left for Austria. As I passed through Vienna I stopped by to visit The King of Austria. This visit covered in another area. After visiting The King, I drove to Linz. Arrived in Linz, well actually Traun. The main headquarters & worldwide headquarters for Pez corporation is located in Linz/Traun. On the few times I stayed in Traun it always made everyone very nervous, especially since I missed Scotts visit to the same area only by a day or two.
I stayed at the Hotel Traunerhof (phone 07229/3323) at $45.00 a night. While there as it was summer I visited a large flea market in downtown Linz hunting for Pez dispensers. Saturday & Sunday between 8:00 am. & 1:00 pm. For directions ask for the Flo Market in Zentrum Linz. I found a gray pez space gun for $2.50. You can also visit a shopping center near Traun called Uno. On sundays between 6:00 am. & 12:00 pm. there is a flea market there also.
I had heard that the company distributing Pez dispensers in Australia had some older inventory. So I planned a trip. Kathy who had never shown much interest in my travels, decided she wanted to go. You see my trips consisted of long flights, lots of driving & hotels. If you could see it from the road, that was what sight seeing was. Except Gyor where I relaxed & got away from it all, but even there it was mostly the Raba & centrum. Downtown in Europe is referred to as centrum or zentrum in most countries I visited. Candy is zukor in Hungary, show a pez dispenser & say zukor in a store & you are directed to where Pez dispensers are.
So Kathy decided she was going & I never saw anybody get a passport so fast. We flew to California, then took I believe it was Quantis airlines to Australia. The flight from California to Sydney was over 20 hours. Arriving in Sydney we picked up our car & drove to the hotel. This was the first country I had been in where they drove on the wrong side of the road. The drive to the hotel was insane. Once at the hotel we parked the car & did not drive it again until we drove back to the airport to leave. For the entire week we were there we took cabs. Kathy who had come to sight see used public transport quite a bit, she was off in one direction or another most every day. She had agreed not to rope me into her travels as she understood I had no interest. Though she did con me into some zoo or something & some hole in the ground called the Two Sisters.
Point of interest, this trip took place the week Princess Diana died. I remember this because on the way home that is all that was on the airport TVs.
The first company I visited JNH Toys had Pez dispenser inventory but had recently lost the distribution rights for Pez in Australia. I often wonder if they sold all those Pez dispensers. What I remember that they had were Melody Makers Pez dispensers & Duck Tales Pez dispensers. They told me Millers distributing now had the pez distribution rights. At Millers I found 4 cases of older pez dispensers, but the rest was fairly current for the time. The good new was the guy who ran the place would ship pallets anywhere for cash. We set up a purchase of just under $10,000.00 & my business was done. My business had taken about 3 days & I was hoping to just relax & walk around the city. Which I did but I also ended up on a couple of Kathy's adventures. Customs on the trip home in California was surprisingly no problem & the pallets arrived just fine. Though I did have to use my broker in Grand Rapids to clear customs. I really liked Australia & would visit again, Though next time I would lay over midway in Hawaii for 4 or 5 days.
The name of the company where I bought the pez was Millers Distributing Co. from John E. This company also handled all the arrangements to ship the majority of what I bought via freight.
The trip to Sweden was one of the neetest trips I went on buying pez. Gary Doss informed me that the Pez Pal Mariner had been released & was available only in Sweden. Gary sent me a photo image of the back of the Pez Playworld card. From that information I planned the trip.
|Pez Pal Mariner picture courtesy of Rudi|
I arrived in Sweden, Booked my car & Found a hotel. My stay was in Stockholm, a very interesting & nice place. Next morning I went to Toysrus. Here's something you may not know, most of the bigger cities in Western Europe, Australia & Sweden have Toysrus. Even Linz/Traun had one. Toysrus is a good place to find Pez dispensers & ask about who the distributor is. In worst case scenarios it is printed on the back of the cards & you can hire a taxi, point at the address & follow him.
After gaining/confirming the distributor address, also realizing the Pez Pal Mariner was not available at Toysrus. I set off for the distributor, he informed me this Pez dispensers was only available on the Ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki. As this trip was only about the Pez Pal Mariner I didn't buy anything from the distributor. Besides they really didn't have much, it was a pretty small operation.
Photos of the Ferry Boat I booked passage on with Silja Ferry Lines in Sweden.
I arrived at Silja Ferry lines & was allowed to board the ferry & go to the gift shop on board the ship. There I met this really wonderful lady who ran things named Tuula. She said we have about 60 or so Pez Pal Mariner available but you have to be on board as a passenger & at sea before I can sell you any. I told her I really needed a lot of them so she checked & said she had 2 pallets of pez pal mariner at the other port. Off I went to buy a ticket. I booked a round trip, in a Tax deductible high end room. It was a room with an exterior window, so a view of the whole trip. This room even had a shower & a TV. Until this trip the idea of being on a large boat out in the middle of a big body of water left me a little uneasy. After this trip I realized it was more like being in a small city that happened to be a boat.
We left port & the first group of Pez dispensers was delivered to the room, where I began tearing them down to just pez dispensers & pez body parts. So they could be bagged for my luggage. I planned to carry half the pez in my luggage & airfreight the rest. Once we arrived in Helsinki, I met with Tuula & used my credit card to pay for the pallets of Pez Pal Mariners that were being loaded. She & I had to call the US credit card company to clear the purchase as it was about $10,000.00. Once all the paperwork was done she had ships personnel, dolly cart it all up to my room. I got a lot of puzzled looks because even though this was one of the good rooms/cabins, the 2 pallets of pez pretty much filled the room. I spent the entire night in the cabin tearing down half of the Pez dispensers into my luggage & down packing the other pez cases. If you down pack pez playworlds correctly 3 cases become 2 cases easy. After down packing, pez cases had to be taped together into 8 cases per for airfreight. When completed I had 3 duffel bags full of loose Pez dispensers & 6 or 8 large packs of pez for airfreight. In the morning we arrived back at Stockholm & I had not even left the boat. Aside from meals, a shower, looking out the window & packing Pez dispensers. I had no time left, including no time for sleep. I left a really good tip for the destroyed cabin & left with the small army of guys with dollies.
Once we arrived at my car, I gave the guys there tip & off they went. I found a cab driver & we discussed the airport & what I needed to accomplish. He decided Cathe (I think it was) was the freight airline I needed. He also decided we needed a total of 2 cabs plus my car to carry all the pez to the airport. Once the 3 cars were loaded he led the way to the airport, where he helped arrange everything with the freight company. He had been very helpful & got a really good tip. After they left & the freight was completed I was left with my pez luggage & one night remaining before my flight.
I booked a room in a hotel near the airport & got a well deserved nights sleep. The trip home was easy peasy. The freight arrived no problem, thanks to my broker in Grand Rapids. The trip was a big success. Then a year later the Pez Pal Mariners showed up in Hungary for liquidation into Russia. Oh well it had been a pretty cool adventure. Bragging rights, great scenery & a boat ride.
This was one of 2 very disappointing Pez trips. I flew from the US to Switzerland & from there to Johannesburg/Joburg South Africa. The flight was on Swiss Air a terrific airline though if I remember correct from Switzerland to Joburg took 18 hours, a very long flight. The plan was to spend 3 days each in Jogurg searching for pez & then fly down to Cape Town for a 3 day pez search.
Things went South immediately upon arrival in Joburg. The atmosphere at the airport was troubling, jittery is the only way I can describe it. Apartheid had ended but what I sensed at the airport, was made obvious to me later. After getting my bags I was approached by a driver, he said where are you staying? I told him I hadn't actually made a reservation but figured on staying in Joburg. He immediately began shaking his head & saying no no no, you don't want to stay in Joburg & recommended a Hilton on the outskirts of Joburg. So he drove me over to the brand new Hilton in Sandy. On that drive & a few others I got the picture. White communities with 5 foot brick walls topped by razor wire & broken glass. Trucks with workers in the back driven by white people.
Even at the hotel it was apparent. The cleaning lady applied for a job, with no idea who I was or what I did. She pressed for a job based only on the fact that I was American. In the mid 90s Apartheid had ended but things were still pretty bleak.
My driver helped me accomplish everything I wanted to check on within a day & 1/2, he was amazing. The answer was nobody who had any involvement with pez would even take a meeting. No pez was bought. Even though that Hilton was the best hotel I ever stayed in & I was scheduled to fly to Capetown in a day. I got the h... out of South Africa. I had the concierge book me on the soonest flight to Hungary. Where I surprised my contact by just appearing at his home out of nowhere. He quickly put together a load of pez for me. That done, I spent the next 4 days at the Raba, just decompressing from the experience of South Africa.
Open letter to anyone in Spain who wants to earn money.
Last night I had a large number of Views from Spain, which got me thinking about that old Pez Factory in Pamplona called DULCES UNZUE.
For a period of time there was a Pez Factory in Pamplona called DULCES UNZUE. This Pez Factory made Pez dispensers & other Pez Toys, Pez planes for sure. Not stenciled planes but planes with the word PEZ molded in the toy. I mention this to anyone in Spain who might want to get out & make some money.
Spain your unemployment rate is 25% & your economy is teetering on the brink of potential collapse. Here is where that old Pamplona called DULCES UNZUE comes in. Go to Pamplona Find the factory. Find the people who owned it. Find the workers who worked there. Find the people who did home assembly of Pez Dispensers. Among this group of people are some who have old Pez dispensers from when the worked there.
You want everything they have, complete Pez Dispensers & components. It is all worth money here in America. Do not spend a lot of money get the Pez items as cheap as possible.
Carta abierta a cualquier persona en España que quiere ganar dinero.
Anoche tuve un gran número de puntos de vista de España, que me hizo pensar en que la antigua fábrica de Pez en Pamplona llama DULCES UNZUE.
Durante un período de tiempo no había una fábrica de Pez en Pamplona llama DULCES UNZUE. Esta fábrica se dispensadores de Pez Pez y otros juguetes, aviones Pez Pez con seguridad. No estarcidos planos de aviones, pero con la palabra PEZ moldeados en el juguete. Menciono esto para que nadie en España que quieran salir y hacer algo de dinero.
España la tasa de desempleo es del 25% y su economía se tambalea al borde del colapso potencial. Aquí es donde, Pamplona viejo llamado DULCES UNZUE entra en juego ir a Pamplona Encontrar la fábrica. Encuentra las personas que lo poseen. Encontrar a los trabajadores que trabajaban allí. Encuentra las personas que hicieron la asamblea casera de dispensadores de caramelos Pez. Entre este grupo de personas son algunos de los que tienen viejos dispensadores de Pez desde que el trabajaba allí.
Usted quiere que todo lo que han, complete dispensadores de caramelos Pez y componentes. Es todo el dinero que vale la pena aquí en Estados Unidos. No gaste mucho dinero obtener los artículos Pez lo más barato posible.
Now for my trip to Spain.
The trip to Spain held a lot of promise. Not since the Mariner did I have so much information ahead of time. A pez plastic molding facility had been operated outside Pamplona called Dulce Unzuay (this is from memory as I don't seem to have any written records on this trip.). I knew this from some mint in cello molded Pez planes & a package from a pez dispenser. Josh hadn't been traveling with me since the early days but he had some Spanish speaking ability so we planned this trip together.
After arriving in Barcelona we picked up our car & drove to Pamplona. We found a hotel & got a little more local info. The next day we drove over to the local Pez distributor. This info can usually be found on the back of carded pez at the bottom. As always if you are confused about directions in a foreign country, hire a cab & point to the address. When we got to the distributor we found that like most countries product was now imported complete. Used to be say like the case in Spain & Slovenia. They had there own injection molding facility & a confectionery facility that created the candy & package the final product. Now though the old confectionery facility just imported carded Pez dispensers ready for distribution.
Realizing they only imported now & all the unpackaged old pez dispensers were gone we asked about Dulce Unzuay. We were told they no longer made pez dispensers at the plastic molding facility. Well can we call & go over anyway. The call was made. We were told no we could not visit & all old pez inventory was gone. Heartbroken we left & left Spain returning home the next day. Josh had to get back to school & I had other fish to fry.
Mistakes were made on the pez trip to Spain. We never should have asked to visit the pez plastics plant, we should have just shown up. I learned early on with toys & Mickey Ds, never ask the question over the phone. Any company worth its salt is to busy to want to fool with some idiot on the phone. So being busy a fast no is always given so they can get back to what they were doing. Better to just show up and force companies to be people. On the phone a person can be a company. In person they can't. People always feel some need to be hospitable no matter who they are, if you have traveled several thousand miles to see them. Never ask an important question over the phone.
Mistake #2, I did not follow up. Knowing that home assembly was used to assemble the Pez dispensers made at Dulce Unzuay. It always has bothered me that I never planned a second trip focused on canvasing the community surrounding the pez injection molding plant for components in garages. There is no doubt in my mind that the homes or garages of the people who did the home assembly have parts for Pez dispensers still. My guess judging from the time period this would have been done in, is that no feet dispensers is what was being assembled.
The way to do this is. Locate yourself at a hotel in the immediate community surrounding Dulce Unzuay. Have the people at the hotel direct you to a local print shop that speaks English. Have that print shop create a flier in Spanish stating you are at that hotel & that you want to buy components of pez dispensers from when they did the home assembly. Walk around the neighborhood where the plastic plant was or is handing out your fliers. Put them in mail boxes & on car windshields. Let the hotel know what you are doing so people who respond can be directed to you. Plan on spending 7 to 10 days at the hotel. Have about $9,000.00 in Euros in the hotel safe to draw on as opportunities arise. Pay as little as possible for Pez dispensers that shows up.
Germany, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic & Switzerland.
I actually traveled extensively through most of these countries. Even though I never really stayed in them. Land in Germany drive the Autobahn to Austria. Czech & Slovak were both parts of big searches for Pez in the early days. Most trips involved a lot of driving from somewhere to somewhere else to get stuff.
Switzerland was a hub in some of my travels. The layovers were so long sometimes that I count them as a visit.