Dear Makers of “As Seen on TV” Toys,
I remember when I was a kid that my Mom hated letting us watch cartoons, not because of the cartoons, but because of the commercials. At the time, I didn’t see what the big deal was. I don’t particularly remember going nuts over a ton of things, but I know that there were definitely things I thought I would die without. And I would’ve never known they existed without the magic of television commercials.
(Anybody remember the Pogo Ball? Yep. Had to have it. Saved my money for ages to get that thing. It wasn’t nearly as cool as the commercials made it out to be. And it was hard, y’all. Also? I probably had an unhealthy attachment to my Caboodle.)
Now that I have my own child, I hate letting him watch cartoons on TV because of the commercials. Yet another way I am turning into my mother. I blame you, sold-on-TV-junk-nobody-needs. As if the commercials about regular toys weren’t bad enough, the order-online-or-on-the-phone toys are worse. Because you know what nobody in my house needs?
A slushy maker – that you have to physically shake. (“But Momma! When you turn the blender on it makes a mess out of the top. When you shake this, it doesn’t make a mess!”)
A neon-colored cookie and frosting-squeezing apparatus. (“Look, Momma. I want to make my own cookies by myself!” Like that’s going to happen.)
A glow laser. Or a make-your-own-stuffed-animal. Or a stuffed animal that also doubles as a pillow – or a mini-pillow.
Each time I hear him ask for one of those cheesy items, I die a little inside. And I certainly don’t need a second one for just the cost of shipping and handling. What makes it even worse is not just that my 4 year-old is now a high-pressure salesman, but when he asks, “Momma, do you have to be 18 to buy that?”
But it does make me appreciate the classic toys. Blocks. Hot Wheels. Dolls. (Just plain dolls – not the ones that talk and do all kinds of junk.) Balls. Sticks. They’re not glamorous. And there are way fewer commercials for the plain ol’ toys. But those are the ones that actually get played with for hours on end. Ones that I consider to be worth the money because they can be and do anything.
And that’s really what childhood toys should really be about; Inspiring you to create and imagine, using them for something different every day. Toys that allow you to be a kid.
So keep your stuff that you must be of legal voting age to order. My kids are getting real toys for Christmas this year.