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Christmas now... and then.

Sherman, set the wayback machine to 1971... 35 years ago, when we were just youngsters drooling over the Sears Wishbook. And the things that were offered for sale that you can't find nowadays.

Like page 194... the Crosman BB Pump Repeater Rifle. Or the Daisy BB Guns offered on page 195. Nowadays? Good luck finding them in sporting goods stores. Can't let Tommy shoot his eye out, you know.

Or how about chemistry sets on page 169? Just what every boy needs, to learn how to make his own gunpowder! (Materials for sale on the local drug store shelves back then.)

Oh here's some good ones... Hoppity Hop, the inflatable ride-a-balls. Or pogo sticks and stilts, all on page 174. Those along with swing sets and slides could hurt kids, you know...

Or your own home workshop, complete with real tools on page 96? Just what we need, Brian to cut his hand off while pretending to be a carpenter

And here's some good things to play with... lawn darts! It's on page 201, along with horseshoes and croquet sets. (Who even remembers the rules for croquet? Other than whacking folks with the balls that got in the way?) Not to mention bow and arrows on the previous page, weapons for use in the back yard on your annoying little brother.

But remember, we've got to protect the kids today. So we can't let them have toys like the Fort Apache set, with the cowboys and indians (page 178), or anything that might instill racial or sexual prejudices, so out go the play Doctor and Nurse kits (page 65). And lets not forget Suzie Homemaker stuff on pages 47 through 53, like the mock-up kitchen, the easy-bake ovens, and the hair styling salon...

Someone shoot me, please. When the hell did we stop letting kids be kids?


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 16th, 2006 02:49 am (UTC)
It's pretty easy...

...Most children grow up in urban areas, with no open spaces near them. There is no space for BB guns to be played with. They can still be found, however, and are still manufactured. As a store product, though, they have a high shrinkage (theft) to sales. Also, major chains tend to duplicated their inventory in all areas, so if it has been removed from one area, it will be removed from all.

...Stilts and pogo sticks lead to lots of injuries. These stopped being mass produced because or two things; high price of local steel and high price of potential insurance due to injuries from payouts of actual lawsuits. 'Moon shoes' and pogo sticks are still made and sold, but are specialty toy items.

...Croquet, horse shoes - these also require large, flat open spaces, by which very few of America's children live. The croquet club in Santa Cruz closed because there just weren't enough people interested in the game. Games like these come and go as fads, but are still in the specialty toy market or seasonal toy market.

Makeup kits and dress up kits are big this year. Indians and Cowboys or Doctors and Nurses are standards, but swords, princesses, brand-names, still sell while monsters and robots are the fad this decade.

Mockup kitchen? These come and go. The the Easy-Bake oven is a big seller at Wal-Mart and Toys R Us. Each will have an entire aisle (known as the 'pink aisle', an uniquely American trait - no toy stores anywhere else in the world did or do this.) devoted to homemaker and dolls in pretty pink boxes (hence the name).

Hoppity Hops are just less popular right now, it's a toy like the sit-n-spin that comes and goes some years. Chemistry sets suffered from being expensive to produce, easily damaged, and have a poor shelf-life due ot having chemicals in them. They just aren't generally good sellers. Popular chemistry sets are found in Specialty toy stores (again) but the best sellers involve gimmick electronics, bubbles, or slime.

It's not a big conspiracy - it's market economics. People don't buy the same toys every year, and stores don't make money if their stock doesn't change. Millions of dollars is spent trying to get people to buy toys.

...But why buy toys when you can plop them down in front of the television?
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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