IFFBoston 2022

The Pez Outlaw

Description

The 1990s was the golden era of collectables. For Pez dealers, it was a time of easy money and high sales, if you knew what you were doing. And if you were lucky enough, or cunning enough to get your hands on some rare or discontinued Pez dispensers, they were gram for gram more valuable than gold or even cocaine. A single Pez dispenser could sell for as much as $1200! But what was the risk involved in acquiring such valuable merchandise? Well for most people, just endless hours scouring flea markets or estate sales. But the self-proclaimed Pez Outlaw (aka Steve Glew) took it to the next level.

Steve never had money. He lived a simple life on a farm in the middle of small-town Michigan. He worked in the local factory for 25 years, barely making ends meet, dreaming of a different life. Then one day, he was tipped off to an opportunity that he couldn’t resist. Suddenly, his life shifted from monotonous and repetitive to a life of adventure and excitement. He was now traveling regularly to Eastern Europe on top-secret missions with his college-aged son Josh. During these adventures, he would bring back large amounts of (potentially stolen/shadily acquired) Pez dispensers and sell them to collectors, sometimes raking in $20-30k in a weekend. Collectors are obsessive, wanting to have every pez design available, and the stuff Steve was bringing back from Europe was not available in the U.S. so it would sell to the highest bidders. Soon he was making hundreds of thousands—and then millions of dollars.

Steve tried hard to keep up with this adventurous, fast-paced life. There were plenty of clandestine meetups in dark alleys, and comedic run-ins with prostitutes and even machinegun-toting guards, but Steve was living his dream. It all went very well…until it didn’t. It was only a matter of time before someone was going to notice that Pez products were mysteriously disappearing out of factories and off the back of company trucks. Unbeknownst to Steve, he had gotten on the radar of a very powerful man in the candy world… The Pezident.