Character Introductions: Granny Hopbobbin
Welcome to Character Introductions, a series where I interview newly introduced characters to the site and hear what they and others have to say about them. This time I'm interviewing the host of the Y16 Month of Giving's toy donation event, Charity Corner: Granny Hopbobbin.
Granny Hopbobbin is an elderly and kind-hearted Acara who opened the Charity Corner to help those in need during the Month of Giving. She asked well off Neopians to help the less fortunate in three ways: donating toys to the Toy Drive, participate in "Adopt A Neopian" by getting the items asked by a poor Neopian, and donating NC items through the Gift Basket Centre. However her kindness doesn't stop there as she rewards those who help in special ways depending on how you donated. With the Month of Giving over Charity Corner has come to a close and I was able to get an interview with Ms. Hopbobbin as everyone cleans and packs up.
"What good timing, I just made a tray of chocolate chip cookies!"
Welcome, Ms. Hopbobbin! I'd like to thank you for the interview even though you're in the middle of cleaning things up.
"Please dearie, no need to be so formal. You can just call me Granny Hopbobbin. That's what everyone calls me. It started with the grandkids and their friends but soon it spread and now everyone calls me that. I don't mind, of course; it helps those receiving donations feel more comfortable accepting them. As for the cleanup, we're almost done thanks to everyone working together."
Good to hear! So Granny Hopbobbin, would you please tell us about yourself? How did you get started with the Charity Corner?
"My, what kind manners. I can tell your parents raised you right. I am sad to say there's not much to say about myself, at least of recent years. I'm just an elderly woman trying to spread holiday cheer to everyone. I could tell you about my younger days like my experience as a waitress at the Golden Dubloon or how I was part of an expedition team mapping out Mystery Island's jungles. However, I'll just keep it short and tell how I started Charity Corner. The past few years any spare time I wasn't spending with my family I spent down at the Money Tree or Soup Kitchen helping those looking for some charity. You'd be surprised how many families rely on them for food and other items they need. But one thing I noticed was that many of the children weren't happy. Their parents were already struggling to get them food and clothes that they couldn't get them much toys. I just couldn't bear seeing any child sad, so I decided to open the Charity Corner to give them something to look forward to this Month of Giving!"
That's very kind of you! But of course children aren't the only Neopians you help, right?
"Very right. Though my main goal was to give toys to the children, I still wanted to help everyone I could. I came up with "Adopt A Neopian" so anyone who needed or wanted something could ask a kind Neopian to get it for them. But it's not only the poor I help, even an average Neopian may not be able to buy something from the NC Mall so I ask those who could to donate any NC items they aren't using or are willing to give away to share the experience."
The Toy Drive and NC Donations are self-explanatory, but I have some questions about the "Adopt A Neopian". How does one sign up or qualify for it? How do you decide who to pick? Were there many or any that weren't selected?
"Sign-up for being an "Adopt A Neopian" was done at places where those who would need its services were most likely to see or hear about it like at the Soup Kitchen or Money Tree. Aside from knowing about it, there were no qualifications to sign up; however, if you were well off, you were less likely to be picked. The selection process was done a week before the Month of Giving and there were many entries, so many in fact that I and the other Charity Corner organizers sadly were unable to get through all of them before we ran out of time. We randomly selected 17 of the entries we were able to approve and got to work producing rewards for them. I deeply apologize to those who weren't selected or whose entries we never got to. If we do a Charity Corner next year we'll start the selection process a month before so we have plenty of time to look through all the entries and pick the ones who are most needy."
Don't worry Granny Hopbobbin, this is Charity Corner's first year and you can't improve if you don't make mistakes. But you did bring up a topic I want to talk about. The rewards you give for us donating, where do they come from?
"Oh thank you for the kind words. The rewards came from all places. For the Toy Drive I went around to all the shops and asked if they had any extra stock they wouldn't mind donating to be used as rewards. Many were happy to, only asking for their shop's name to be listed on the list of donators. Some say they were doing it for free publicity, but I say even if they did it was still done with a bit kindness mixed in. The Gift Basket Centre was heavily monitored by the NC Mall. They were happy to supply the rewards but requested there be a way for participants to spend NC. We talked for many hours and came to the agreement of participants paying for the gift basket wrapper. It's not the way I wanted to do things, for needing to spend NC I only asked them to donate three items instead of five, but it worked out in the end and that's all that matters. Finally every entry for the "Adopt A Neopian" was asked to come up with an idea for a reward and we did our best to create and mass produce their idea. We were tight on time and we had to make some compromises with the initial idea, but we managed to make all the rewards on time!"
And you did a fantastic job on them! I've already taken much of your time so let me end this on a question which I'm sure everyone is curious about. The Charity Drive caused quite a stir on the market. Prices for high rarity toys jumped, many items asked for by the "Adopt A Neopian" skyrocketed to above the shop's price limit, and some of the Toy Drive rewards were very rare items whose prices have dropped a bit since many were given out. There are a lot of mixed opinions and emotions about the yoyoing of prices. How do you feel about that?
*The sweet smile that Granny Hopbobbin had throughout the whole interview changed to a sad frown for a few seconds before returning. However, the new smile had a sense of half-heartedness to it*
"I didn't mean to cause such a panic, please forgive me. For the Toy Drive I was asking for any kind of toy sold in shops so I did not think it would have any effect on prices. For "Adopt A Neopian" I could not deny a request of someone in need. And for the rewards I was just giving out what the other shopkeepers gave me based on their rarity, I didn't know how much they cost. I do not pay much attention to the market business; I'm able to buy what I need and that's good enough for me. Once again, I'm sorry I caused such a mess. Please, do not blame Charity Corner for this; it was my mistake and I promise if we're allowed to come back next year we'll be more market conscious."
I tell Granny Hopbobbin it's alright and that looking back, despite all the chaos, Charity Corner was a big success. The sweet smile Granny Hopbobbin had before fully came back as she thanked me for the kind words. Eating my last chocolate chip cookie, I decided I caused her enough stress today and ended the interview there. I once again thanked her for her time and left for Neopia Central where all the characters I wanted to talk to for my next segment were: other's opinions on Granny Hopbobbin.
Toy Shop Shopkeeper (Owner of one of the shops whose items were the focus of the Toy Drive)
"Never had I seen so many customers in my shop before! I could barely keep anything on the shelf; sometimes it would be grabbed as soon as I stocked it! At some point I had to request the service of some guards to keep customers from fighting one another! If I hadn't made it clear, it was a bit of a crazy time. Of course I wasn't the only one experiencing this customer boom, I talked with the shopkeepers of Plushie Palace, Usukiland, and Darigan Toys and they told me the exact same thing happened to them. But it was all for a good cause, and far be it from me to complain about making a mighty fine profit this Month of Giving. In a way I'm kind of sad Charity Corner is gone, but on the other hand it's nice to be able to walk through my store again without needing to push and shove. I wouldn't mind if Charity Corner came back next year, Granny Hopbobbin is one of the kindest Neopians I've ever heard of and I want to support her. I was just caught a bit off guard, that's all."
Soup Faerie (Host of the Soup Kitchen)
"I'm so glad that Granny Hopbobbin went ahead with her Toy Drive idea, I knew it would be a success! She's one of the kindest Neopians that I know, every year she comes down to the Soup Kitchen and helps me make meals for those who can't afford to buy much. She uses her own homemade recipes and all of them are delicious, I'm a bit jealous that I didn't come up with some of them myself. Of course she doesn't only help me but also helps the Money Tree hand out donations; I've heard she has a knack of knowing who's deserving though she never judges. It was a year ago when she told me about her idea for a Toy Drive and I told her she should go ahead and do it though she doubted anyone would give to such a small cause. I reminded her that it's the season of giving and that no cause was too insignificant as long as the heart behind it is of good intentions. Looking back I probably should have warned her that some Neopians are rather crafty when it comes to using current events to make NP, but live and learn."
Shop Wizard (Runs a shop searching service)
"Ugh, this past Month of Giving was by far my most chaotic yet. Now the Month of Giving has always been a busy time for me, everyone searching shops to buy gifts for friends and family. I worked long hours but never had I need to stay up through the night. However then comes along Charity Corner and suddenly I need to be awake at the turn of the new day as everyone tries to complete the newest "Adopt A Neopian" before the requested items inflate in price. It was like that event with The Coincidence all over again! It was just as chaotic for Jhuidah; many forget she oversees the Trading Post and almost every day she'd watch an item worth just a handful of NP suddenly be worth hundreds of thousands in minutes! I'm sure this Granny Hopbobbin is a kind and sweet elderly woman, but she obviously knows nothing about the market side of things or the consequences thereof. If Charity Corner does return hopefully it'll hire some market savvy Neopians among its organizers."
And that'll end this edition of Character Introductions! Much has been said about Granny Hopbobbin, but the prevailing thought seems to be that she's a kind elderly woman. She may have accidentally caused a little bit of havoc with the market; however, it was only temporary as prices settle back to what they once were. In the end the most important thing is that Charity Corner was able to bring some joy and excitement during this Month of Giving! We wish good luck to Granny Hopbobbin and wait to see if Charity Corner returns next Month of Giving. In that same vain I wish everyone good luck as I wait for the next Character Introductions and hope you're there to read it, too!