The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Sunday, November 27, 2005  

Parents . . . And Their Kids’ Toys

It isn’t just holiday shoppers who are wound too tightly, it’s the gifts themselves as well, especially toys, reports Jeff Gammage in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer (“Toys’ Packaging can be a Real Pain”):

These days, children’s playthings don’t come nestled inside their containers -- they come grafted to them, immobilized by a torturer’s rack of wire, tape, thread and plastic lashing. […]

Today, dolls and action figures come bound like miniature Gullivers. It can take a parent 15 minutes or more to free them, and 15 minutes for every toy that follows.

Take Mattel’s My Scene Goes Hollywood Chelsea, a redhead dressed for a movie premiere. The doll and her two dozen accessories are held down by 20 pieces of tape, five wires, two lengths of stitching, three drops of glue, a couple of rubber clasps, a waist harness, assorted cardboard spacers and, not least, a plastic cord threaded through the back of Chelsea’s skull. (Which you know has got to hurt). [Hyperlink added.] […]

If a living, breathing child can be safely transported in a five-point restraint car seat, say peeved moms and dads, why does a doll need 20?

Answers: Long-distance shipping, shoplifting, and, naturally, marketing.

Here’s the real kicker from Grammage’s piece, surprising, and yet not:

[T]rying to open a toy is not just maddening but dangerous: More Americans are injured by packaging than are hurt in skateboard accidents -- 220,000 a year, according to government figures. People slice their hands on jagged plastic, pierce their fingers on wires, accidentally run themselves through with knives and screwdrivers.

Careful out there, people!

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