In the early 1990s, we found some musty boxes of Jabba the Hutts on the third floor of an open air parking garage in downtown Chicago. The guy offering them for sale also had all of the ex-Shah of Iran's stained glass collection, but we weren't big enough customers that he would even let us see that. He had just been released from the Illinois State Prison where he had been held for burning down a warehouse full of unsellable merchandise for the insurance money. When asked about it, he would reply with a more than a hint of pride in his voice, "Guilty as charged!"
We haggled him down to ten cents each for the Jabba heads and slightly more for the whole Jabbas. We had greedy visions of rabid Star Wars fans beating down our door for this rarity. Once we offered them up for sale, the whole Jabbas sold quickly, but the pieces didn't move at all. What were we supposed to do with thousands of Jabba heads and arms?
This is when the pure Capitalist impulse took over. We decided to match them with plastic fruit slices that didn't sell and turn them into jam! This was back in the days when anyone with Print Shop considered themselves a graphic designer, so it took no time at all to print out the labels and bottle Jabba.
Of course, we never sold a single one. Like Boba Fett in the belly of the almighty Sarlacc, they sat on the store shelves and in our warehouse gathering dust for years. No one is entirely sure what happened to them. Some think they went in Super Awesome Boxes, others think they were sold to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame at vastly inflated prices. The only thing we know for sure is that we wish they were in that warehouse fire and we had never seen them at all.
After this blog post was originally posted, we found that someone in Japan actually has one!
An avid Star Wars collector points us toward a Japanese blog with a picture of the worst selling item in Archie McPhee history, Jabba Jam! The legend was that none of it ever sold, but obviously someone bought one and somehow it ended up in Japan. The text below doesn't translate well, but it is quoted below for your enjoyment. We are, of course, complimented at being included among those "of strange design in society."
There are strange design things in the world.
This is "JABBA JAM", inside is not oko. There is a Jabazahat in the container that comes to the Star Wars.
I have several other plastic oranges. Most people think that I do not need this.
Certainly I do not understand it even if I explain like this, what is it? I want to say.
Why do you have it? Why are you buying it out with money as it can not be helped to sell it? I want to ask myself. There are things like things like that.