Kale was given a sweet little gee-tar for his birthday from his great-grandma. It goes with the awesome drum that his Nana gave him. These two items are some of the more popular items from Kale’s birthday gifts – and get heavy play with regularity. The little song that comes with the guitar, especially, is incredibly catchy and Ross and I both find ourselves humming along and singing the little tune. I often think about the woman who was hired to sing the little jingle, and I think about how many takes she must have had to do to make it suitably cheery for kids but still reasonably authentic, without veering off into Too-Husky-Land.
In any event, my friend Sharon popped by the other day with a gift for Kale, as she hadn’t been able to make it to Kale’s party, and she had also bought the Leapfrog Learn N Groove Guitar, and so last Wednesday, Kale and I headed over to Toys R Us to exchange it.
The third item in the set is a pair of maracas. One of them is empty, and is nothing more than a plastic maraca filled with something rattly, which is awesome in it’s own right. The other one is electronically controlled, and responds to motion to either count, say colours, or play random noises. Kale is pretty happy with the maracas – he likes shaking them and banging them.
I also bought Kale a little present I wasn’t planning on – a present from me to him. I saw it and I remembered this toy from my childhood – maybe it wasn’t my toy, but it was a toy I saw while young and a toy I remember fondly. I’m talking about the Chatter Telephone.
But this isn’t a post about what toys Kale likes. This is a post about packaging: how much and how annoying.
We got home from Toys R Us – and admittedly I don’t often shop there, but it was an exchange so there we were – and Kale was grousing from having been strapped in the car for as long as he had been, and he was careening around the house like he does, anxious to be a part of whatever fun thing I was obviously doing on the table. So it was relatively important that I reward him for being a happy go lucky monkey, and quick-like.
Chatter Telephone: 30 seconds. Slice through one piece of transparent tape. Open box, remove tissue paper. Hand toy to child.
Leapfrog Learn N Groove Maracas: 5 minutes. Slice through five separate pieces of transparent tape. Open box. Slide out cardboard insert. Undo four separate twist ties. Remove plastic wrapped advertising booklet. Remove plastic grommet / brackets from twist ties. Unthread twist ties from maracas. Remove small plastic tab from battery cover of toy. Turn on. Hand toy to child.
Jesus H Christ on a cracker. What is with the packaging? Why was all that necessary? I realize that part of it is for display, so that it doesn’t move and can handle childrens’ fingers poking and prodding. And I realize that some of it is for shipping – China is a long way away by boat and god knows there is a lot of wave turbulence the maracas have to undergo while crossing the Pacific. But seriously… is that much non-recyclable packaging and worse yet, advertising required in my box when I have already given them my money and don’t need to be convinced to buy more? Having been given three separate toys in the last few months made by Leapfrog I can safely say that they are all packaged that way. I’ve only ever purchased the one Fisher Price toy, so I can’t say with certainty that they are all as simply packaged. But I can also safely say that I’m definitely going to make my next toy purchase Fisher Price simply based on the past experience we’ve just gone through.
And Kale, well, he loves them both.
But I’m disgusted.