Monday, May 29, 2006


Memo to Toymakers

From: Dean Dad

To: The Toymakers of the World

Re: Those *(#$)@&$ Wires on the Back of Cardboard Boxes Holding Toys In

I understand that security is an issue in these uncertain times. But honestly, is it really necessary to use coated piano wire to secure a cabbage patch doll to the back of a cardboard box? And then to use packaging tape to secure the wire? Have cabbage patch dolls been breaking loose recently? Are there sleeper cells of cabbage patch dolls lurking among us, plotting nefariously?

Have you ever attempted to free a cabbage patch doll from this wire? The only way to do it is with sharp metal, such as scissors. If you have ever observed young children, ever, in any context at all, you know they’re eager to get at their toys. Introducing scissors to that situation is not a good idea. Seriously.

While we’re on the subject, I’d personally like to do nefarious things to whomever decided that battery compartments on toys shall heretofore be accessible only with Phillips-head screwdrivers. Again, have you ever seen a child with a new toy? Is a screwdriver really a good idea? Back in my childhood, as I recall, battery compartments opened with a little latch. It worked fine. If you want to experiment with velcro or tape, more power to you. But honestly, anything requiring wielding sharp metal around jumpy young children is flat-out stupid.

At the rate toy security is moving, in a few years the only way to free a toy from its box will be to get all Dick Cheney on its ass, and shoot it open. Nothing can possibly go wrong with that plan.

I have one word for you people: string.

That is all.


I don't think that your kids are yet of an age where they get toys with fifteen or twenty parts, and each one of those parts is attached to the box with piano wire, with several pieces for each of the bigger parts. Try removing that from the box while an antsy six-year-old waits.

But, wait, what about the things encased in those plastic packages that even scissors can barely cut? They make you want to start looking for hacksaws, forget screwdrivers.

God, you are so not kidding. I actually make toy-purchasing decisions sometimes based on what *won't* be packed like that.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for venting that so much better than I ever could!
They still make cabbage patch dolls?
Amen, brother!

And how exactly does wiring everything to the cardboard reduce theft anyway? I mean, if I wanted to steal it, I'd just stick the whole box under my coat, I wouldn't stop to disengage it from the packaging first. We've actually had toys where you had unscrew that Phillips screw just to liberate the toy from the packaging.

And those battery compartments! Just this weekend, we actually had to return a Percy the Green Engine to Walmart because I couldn't get the friggin' battery compartment opened. I turned the little screw on the bottom and the entire thing fell apart - apparently that was a structural screw and you open the battery compartment by squeezing the sides of the toy, but neither Beloved nor I could get the right psi to open the damn thing, even using pliers.

/ rant

(phew, thanks!)
I couldn't agree more. I'm surprised my 6-yr-old hasn't required stitches from wielding the scissors on toy packages because sometimes I just don't do it fast enough for him. It's totally ridiculous.
Shouldn't that be "to whoever decided"? The "who" goes with "decided" and the total sub-structure is the object of "do nefarious things to", isn't it?

We've started opening the kid's toys and extricating them from their wirey, shrink-wrapped prisons secretly, in the dead of night, _before_ wrapping them, and then tossing them back into the box loose just to avoid the Christmas morning/Birthday party "does anybody have a pocket knife", wire bits and razor sharp plastic shards littering the floor obstacle course of death hijinks.

The kids don't care a bit. But if anyone wants to start up a class action suit against Fisher Price over it, count me in!
The worst part about all of this is that I suspect anti-theft isn't the motivation for this type of packaging.

I think it's so the doll/train/whatever looks good and doesn't slip in the packaging.
Yeah, sounds familiar... How about plastic packages for most small electronics? You need very, very sharp scissors to open those.
Teehee. My thoughts exactly. I had finally figured out how to take off the plastic strips (by using nail clippers), but the damn plastic-coated wire defeats me every time.

I let my little guy play with one toy in its box for a couple weeks because the toy was fully accessible and operational in the box. Is that a sign of bad parenting, or can we call it practical?
Shouldn't that be "to whoever decided"? The "who" goes with "decided" and the total sub-structure is the object of "do nefarious things to", isn't it?

no; whomever the object of the prepositional phrase beginning "to."
While on the subject of &&%^% battery compartments accessible only by a Phillips head screwdriver, why must it be the teeny, tiny Phillips head screwdriver? And why must the probability of finding that teeny, tiny phillips head screwdriver be inversely proportional to how eager one of my children wants to play with their new noisy plastic monstrosity?

Congrats to The Boy for joining the ranks of Big Boys Who Attend The Big School.
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