PEZ tries to eat up one of its biggest supporters

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On Tuesday, Pez, the Austria-based master of plastic candy dispensers, announced that it is suing the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia. The California-based Pez mecca, which has been in operation for 14 years, is also a major distributor of Pez toys, candy, and promotional items.

The museum's owner, Gary Doss, first fell in love with the little candy dispensers because they were, in his words, "silly and unique. There is nothing else like Pez." He and his wife, Nancy, have been collectors for 16 years, and currently have at least one item from each of the 550 versions of the famed toy.
The Dosses used to run a computer store. As Doss reminisces, about 15 years ago, "We brought our collection to the store. Before long, people were coming to see the Pez, not the computers. It wasn't long before we decided that the computers were out and the Pez were in." In the subsequent years, he and his wife have continued to enlarge their collection, entrance their visitors, and promote all things Pez. In the process, they have also integrated their original company into their endeavor: the Pez museum website, and accompanying online store, is one of the largest Pez fan sites on the internet.


One of the couple's most unique pieces of Pez-themed art is a gargantuan sculpture of a snowman-shaped dispenser. Dubbed "the world's largest dispenser of Pez," the eight-foot masterpiece delivers plastic capsules that contain either 6,480 candies or a standard-sized Pez toy. The sculpture has even been honored by the Guinness Book of World Records, which has given it the distinction of being the world's largest candy dispenser.

Pez is demanding that the Dosses destroy the sculpture. In addition, the Austrian company has determined that the California couple owes them all of the profits that they have generated from their Pez-based endeavors over the past fourteen years.

It remains to be seen if a court will force the Dosses to surrender their income and destroy their favorite piece of art. In the meantime, however, it seems worthwhile to ask if Pez produces an Ebeneezer Scrooge-shaped dispenser.
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