Thursday, December 17, 2009

Good Toys for Children

Readers, the hot toy this Christmas as you know is the Zhu Zhu Pet.

The Zhu Zhu Pet ($15-$41 on Amazon) is a motorized wheeled hamster (guinea pig size). It runs on 2 AAA batteries. It makes different noises when you touch it in 3 different areas. It can run around on the floor.

The Zhu Zhu Pet is not much fun, however, without its Habitrail-like home, which comes in various sections, all sold separately and all made of injection-molded plastic. There's the "funhouse" ($43), the ramp and slide ($32), the hamster wheel ($40), the garage ($25), starter set ($34), bed ($13), surfboard and sleep dome ($30), skateboard and U-turn ($25), the carrier, bed & 2 blankets set ($28), hamster wheels & tunnels set ($63), or deluxe playset ($197). If you buy all of the components listed above it will cost you $530. That's not counting buying the actual toy.

The sections without the toy, or the toy without its 2 AAA batteries, cannot be used for other purposes. You cannot paint a picture with them. Nor could you build a tower, working windmill, or working drawbridge. You could not use one to scoot down to the Dairy Queen, or build a castle on a rainy day. Nor could you use one to round up some pals and play a game of football, badminton, or croquet. You could not use one to plot your next chess move, or haul your baby brother. Nor could you sew a usable object to keep or give as a gift.

Nor would you own a durable object made of leather, wood, cloth, or metal, like a baseball glove or a cloth doll, to eventually end up, battered and worn, in the trunk in the attic. Only to be taken back out 50 years later by a now-wrinkled hand, for a moment of bittersweet nostalgia.


Dusty D said...

Ad is from November 26, 1943 Ypsilanti Daily Press.

Shaefer's was a hardware store on Huron just north of Dalat. Now gone, its building was* located where the municipal parking lot now is, behind Dalat. Shaefer's was next to a little cigar shop run by Mathias Stein and a barber shop, back in the day.

*as close as I can tell...street numbers changed at least once in Ypsi's history and sometimes it''s a tad tricky to pin things exactly down.

Lisele said...

"We also have padlocks" -- guess that was to lock up the goods and keep 'em safe from thieves!