Monday, October 01, 2007

A little rant about toys...

THIS is the toy that Little Boy has had his eye on for the entire summer. A pricy little thing - including the re-chargable battery and 14% Canadian tax it was somewhere around $113 - don't quote me though because I am just terrible at exact numbers, but it was in that range.

So, I told my son - he had to help save the recyclables, could ask other people to save their recyclables for him, he had to bring the recyclables to the dump with DH and at the end of summer he could get the toy. Everytime we would go to the store he would run over to this box and admire it - and I would have to tell him that he didn't have quite enough money saved up for it yet. But finally, the end of the summer did come and true to my word, off we went to get said toy. I am almost positive that he did not have that much money saved yet, but since he happens to think a piggy bank full of pennies is worth much more than 1 piece of paper money... well, the point is that he had been working and saving for this toy all summer.


Anyway, I charged the battery. I read the directions. In itty bitty tiny small print - it said that the average battery would last ummmm 5 to 8 minutes. And that it might die suddenly - like as in poof. HUH??? The battery alone cost over $20. It takes HOURS to charge the battery. This IS a hoover craft type boat - what am I supposed to do - go swim out to the middle of some yucky bog to retrieve said boat when the battery all of a sudden dies??? Gently, ever so gently, Momma had to break the news that we could not keep this toy. Much crying and big tears (all of about 5 minutes) ensued, but Momma would not change her mind. I had to explain that this toy simply was not a good value, it would get out into the middle of the water and die and then how would we get it back? We could get something different and I would even help him find something suitable.

After some looking and thought, it was decided that he could get a remote controlled dragonfly - it looked pretty good on the internet. And it was even 1/2 of the price. Ummm, that went back too - I think it had a battery life of about 5 minutes too - what's with this 5 minute battery life? Are battery companies in ca-hoots with toy companies???n And fragile - did I mention how flimsy and fragile this dragonfly thing seemed? Except this time, I prepared my son ahead of time, telling him that the store had told me that we could bring it back within 30 days, if we had to, like - as in - if it didn't work. We had to. Sorry, no 2 ways around it. But hey! We could exchange the dragonfly for a Backyardigans video -which he loves (at a fraction of the cost of the dragonfly and he has already gotten his moneys worth out of it. He loves the Backyardigans!).


What can I say? DO NOT be fooled by slick advertising and nice packaging (you have to admit - that hoover craft LOOKS pretty nifty!). Toys should be fun and should last more than 5 minutes a whack - I mean really, can you imagine having to charge your sewing machine for hours after using it for a mere 5 minutes? How fun is that? I think it is OK to teach your kids what a good value means and bring back a crummy toy. Exchange it. Get something different. And yes, this is just as hard for Momma as your teary eyed angel. "We" worked at getting this toy all summer and it should have been a happy purchase. Yes, in the end, he was happier with a video, but it would have been much better if we had just skipped the 1st 2 toys altogether.

I'm thinking I am going to do his Christmas shopping from the kitchen supply store, maybe he really does need his very own cake pans, cookie cutters, measuring cups - or maybe just the household isle at the hardware store - mopping certainly takes him more than 5 minutes, and he loves to "help"!!! An extra bonus - I get a "semi" clean floor in the process, and the exercise has to be good for him too?


Laurie said...

oh the joys and heartaches of motherhood. you handle them beautifully evelyn!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Indeed, you are such a wonderful Mom! I'll be reading fine print on toys if and when I have grandchildren. 5 minutes? No excuse!

Elaine Adair said...

We all have to learn to be careful shoppers - he is learning early that the consumer can be easily fooled! Ya dun good, Mom!

Judy S. said...

My gosh, this sounds like things have only gotten worse since remote controlled car and airplane days! That's pitiful! I'm glad he did find something he wanted and enjoyed, eventually.

Susan said...

Sorry! The judy s comments are mine. I forgot to sign out after helping her with her blog!

Hanne said...

Reading your post I am glad my girls are teenagers now.

A toy should last more than 5 minutes indeed.

cher said...

what a very smart and good momma you are! and in the long run, a much happier little boy for learning this lesson. I agree-his own kitchen stuff may prove to be much more fun in the long run!

Jeanne said...

Someone had to be the meanie! :-0 With all of the recalls we've had lately in the U.S., I'm almost afraid to buy any toy. The five minute battery life is ridiculous! Parents aren't made of money or batteries.

ForestJane said...

Don't they make those mopping slippers you can get your kids to wear and let them slide around so they dust mop as they skid?

And glad he learned a mini lesson about quality versus hype... good for you!