Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hustled by Mickey

So there I was in Times Square last Thursday, dodging tourists, when my way was blocked by Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

I figured they were shills for the tour buses, so I stopped and said hello. They gestured for my wife to take my photo with them. Then I heard Minnie say, “Hay que pagar algo.”

“No thanks,” I said. “I don’t need the tour. I live in New York.”

They stood in front of me and held out long velvet bags. Were they handing out lollipops? I looked into the bag and saw a few wadded up dollar bills.

“Dinero,” Mickey insisted in a low, gruff voice. “Necessitamos dinero.”
All of a sudden, Spongebob and Goofy came out of nowhere and started closing in on me.

What’s the deal? Mickey was dressed as Uncle Sam. Was he supposed to be a weird caricature of a taxman? Or were they all photo hustlers, like the water sellers of Marrakech?

Or is this the new re-branding thing? You probably heard that Disney wants to get rid of the old “Mr. Nice Guy” Mickey. Maybe I had met Edgy Mickey or Extreme Mickey or Epic Mickey or Squeegeeman Mickey or whatever he’s called.

Someone in corporate better look into this.


Kessie said...

Okay, that is just too creepy. Too bad you weren't one of those little kids who screams and kicks them in the knees. That'd have showed them.

jeff jordan said...

I have a vinyl toy Clash Mickey, replicating the cover of London Calling. Maybe that's an indication of the possible new direction, but somehow it seems anti-corporate. Macchiavelli Mickey?

Anna R. Williams said...

Why in the world would Disney want to get rid of such a good character? The world needs more nice guys!

Oh least your experience makes for an amusing story.

sdfjskjdfhowiefj209fjlksdfsdf said...

There was a great documentary about the notorious characters in front of the Chinese theater in Los Angeles. It was called "Confessions of a Superhero." Some of the guys got arrested for manhandling tourists who wouldn't tip them.

On the other hand, I knew someone who worked as a character at Disney and loved it more than any other job they ever had. (Although... if they threw up in their costume from the heat of southern california, they had to keep their character head on until they got back to the dressing room).

Roberto said...

This is another excellent example of “pareidoliac apophenia.”
It seems that you have mistaken a rat for a mouse!
(No need getting corporate involved, they have a hard time telling the difference too; besides I’ve notified Sam over at < > about it.) -RQ

Tyler J said...

Those two are off-model, definitely not official. You should have told them you were El Gato and to vamonos if they knew what was good for them!

Doug Gordon said...

I work in Times sq., & see these guys up close every day. They have nothing to do with Disney or any tour company. They simply buy popular character costumes, and wear them for tourist photos, hoping to make a living off of tips.

Mickey, Minnie, Elmo & Cookie Monster are there day in & day out - regardless of weather - though Iron Man, Goofy, Spongebob, & the Statue of Liberty also show up at busy times (plus occasionally Hello Kitty, & a few more that I'm sure I'm forgetting). Often there are 2-3 Elmos on the very same street corner competing for business.

Seems like a tough way to make a living.

David Glenn said...

Usually you only see Mickey at Disneyland. They did make Mickey a little more like his original self in the game Epic Mickey.