Trick-or-Treat: The Truth About Vandebart Biggsby
Many Neopians know the familiar shape of Vandebart Biggsby. He’s a bit hard to miss with his bowler hat, gypsy gear, fingerless gloves, and that quintessential showman’s smile. Mr. Biggsby, for those who don’t know, ran the Apple Bobbing stand at the Haunted Faire in October. Now he has relocated his business to Neovia, a small, quaint town on the fringes of the Haunted Woods. Like many owners, I was thrilled when he decided to give up his wandering ways and open shop in Neovia. What’s more, he opened up his apple bobbing stand year-round, giving all takers a chance to win an item, once a day, every day! It’s been up and running for a few days now. And as the newness and excitement wear off, just as the shine goes from an apple, it may be time to consider this spooky set-up. It may be time to give Mr. Biggsby the scrutiny he avoided by presenting us with treats this Halloween season.
Early in October, a Haunted Faire was set up in the Haunted Woods, right next to the long-lived, much feared Haunted Carnival. From day one, I decided to investigate this smaller, seemingly safer version of the carnival. There was a Wheel of Misfortune set up, a wheel-barrow tipping Halloween NC Mall items to the ground, and a striped dilapidated tent with the sign “Apple Bobbing” staked out front. Out of all of these, this “Apple Bobbing” intrigued me the most. Goodies to be had for free? Sign me up! But, for a long time, the stand remained closed. Little did I know that was the best thing for Neopia, especially for the good owners struggling to make ends meet.
The stand eventually opened, revealing Mr. Biggsby, a Gnorbu with a wicked grin. He encouraged us, with a well-timed wink, to bob our heads into the tank to try to get an apple. During Halloween, Mr. Biggsby courteously warned owners that they might get a trick in place of a treat. But that didn’t dissuade any of us from trying to get that prize bobbing gently in the tank. I worked as hard to get my prize as the rest of Neopia. After all, who could resist the trick-or-treat quests during the build-up to Halloween? Or any reward, really. C’mon, it was free! During this time, closing in on Halloween, the worst thing that happened to a bobber is that they walked away without an apple. Yet, they knew that the next day, that apple, or something even better, would be theirs. So much for tricks in place of treats. Mr. Biggsby's much-needed warning went unheeded.
Now that Halloween has ended, Mr. Biggsby has decided to remain, giving bobbers the chance to receive a daily prize all year long. While the notion is generous, it may not be to all Neopians' liking. My experience with Mr. Biggsby’s new activity has not been fruitful in any sense of the word. Twice in a row, his hat disturbed me so much that I could not bring myself to actually bob for an apple. In fact, he frightened me so much those days that I lost valuable sleep and my day deteriorated after that. But the real kicker came today: when I had finally mustered up the courage to stick my head in that cold, dank tank, thieves “relieved” me of over 600 neopoints while Mr. Biggsby stood back and laughed! The indignity of it was bad enough, but to not even win an apple was downright insulting! Mr. Biggsby did even more than add an insult to injury: he had the gall to encourage me to try again tomorrow! After I had fumed over my treatment, something occurred to me. While I might be able to suffer the loss of 600 neopoints without too much fuss, other Neopians may not have that luxury. Those owners, whether they are new, down on their luck, or not-so-great with neopoint management, needed to be warned about this trick in treat’s clothing. Especially because Mr. Biggsby was no longer warning bobbers that tricks were a key ingredient of apple bobbing.
Now, fellow Neopians, I in no way want to discourage you from giving up your daily apple-bob. Some, I know, are in great need of dailies, no matter how sketchy the activity is. But, those same owners are the ones most in danger of being taken in and fleeced of their few precious neopoints. So, take some precautions before visiting Mr. Biggsby’s stand:
1. Put those hard-earned neopoints in the Bank before you visit the Apple Bobbing stand. Learn from my example- if thieves can’t find the neopoints or valuables on you, they may very well leave you alone.
2. Put any valuables (or ANY item you’d rather not lose) in your Safety Deposit Box before you visit Mr. Biggsby. Every Neopian who has a Bank Account is entitled to a box, so please make use of it.
3. Approach Mr. Biggsby with caution. We aren’t sure of what he is capable of. It may be wise to visit him before visiting the Healing Springs; the Springs will be able to soothe your flagging spirits after a failed bobbing attempt. Or, if any Neopets suffer harm after bobbing- perhaps from those thieves? -the Springs will be able to help them regain their strength.
In short, Mr. Biggsby is a dangerous character; he is not an evil one, but he is definitely not as benevolent as he seems. When you visit, it is important that you see Mr. Biggsby for what he is: a charlatan, offering treats that often turn out to be tricks. So, Neopians, be prepared. While all of Neopia has its dangers, the Haunted Woods in particular can be a dangerous place. Being prepared can help you navigate through it... and manage your dealings with those questionable inhabitants. Take precautions before visiting and brace yourself for an unexpected outcome. And, most importantly of all: Good luck. Trust me, in this case, you’ll need it.
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