Well, TheWife had a change of heart yesterday and decided to use the time we had to get some Holiday shopping done, which I was loathe to do, and it was a dreadful experience. But not for the reasons I expected.
We hit in our travels two of the three “Big Box” retailers in our area. Wal-Mart (not my choice) and K-Mart. (Sorry Target we will get to you soon) What hit me hardest was how empty these stores were. I fully expected hideous crowds and long register lines. Well the register lines were a little long but that was because neither store had more than 4 registers open. This is the holiday shopping season isn’t it? So that made the shopping much easier to take.
What did wind up scaring me was what I saw while shopping. Now I am no prude, and am more than happy to poke fun at people that consider this nonsense “appropriate” clothing, but people come on now. Some of this stuff looked more like it belonged in the back of a magazine that comes in a brown paper wrapper than something that any reasonable human being would put on their child. Now that set me back a bit, but not all that much, because there is always some level of tastelessness in clothing, and it really is a matter of opinion. The same way I view these clothes, I would assume is the same way that people who would actually buy something from the Wholesome Swim wear company would view what I allow my daughter to wear.
But then we went over to the toy department. Now I am not going to talk about the “Worst Toys” such as those on the W.A.T.C.H. list, you can find that here. There are plenty of toys of questionable quality and safety, and I personally consider it the job of the parent to take those things into consideration.
Can I ask a question here? Is there anybody that doesn’t think Bratz dolls are the most hideous dolls in the world? I mean, I know plenty of women that for years have railed against the “horrors” of Barbie with her thin waist and unrealistic proportions, but when you compare poor Barbie to these micro waisted, frighteningly big eyed, dressed like street walker dolls, Barbie is a dream by comparison. At Barbie has some clothes that don’t make her look like a hooker. And I am not buying any doll for my daughter where I will wind up explaining (and I heard this already from another child), “Why does this doll have a “earring” in her belly button?” Of course not to be outdone, Mattel has added a similar line of junk called “My Scene” which are equally ugly but (from what I saw anyway) a little less trashy in the clothing area. I guess I should feel thankful that Hasbro (under much pressure from parenting groups) pulled their planned “Pussycat Dolls” which was due out now.
While I am on this, lets talk a moment about fashion heads, shall we? Do we really need our daughters “learning to apply makeup” to an over sized head? And again, what are they “learning” with all the “bling-bling” and out of style (I hope) horribly bright colored eyeshadow.
I used to think that Polly Pockets was the bane of parents everywhere with their tiny parts and little plastic clothes. “How much worse could it get?” I wondered. Well it seems I got my answer in the “Littlest Pet Shop” series of toys. How much worse…uh… never mind… I don’t want to know.
Specialty TV sets now seem to be all the rage, and I see people buying them, for prices far more than a standard 13″ set (since they are for “kids” they are all 13″ sets). Disney of course started this with the Princess TV and DVD player a few years back, but now we have Dora, and Sponge Bob (a bright yellow colored set which is scary enough in its own right), Winnie the Pooh, Superman and more. Do any of these parents understand that these sets will live long past the time that their children will be willing to allow such childish things to remain in their bedroom? What do you do with it then? Oh, and just for the record (before somebody says it), I will not allow my daughter to have a TV in her room at least until she hits her teen years.
Now let me preface this last one by pointing out that I actually do like a lot of LeapFrog products. But now let me ask… Do they need to make them ALL so darn noisy? Every one? And if they do, could they at least start adding a volume button (not a switch to “high” and “low”)? I swear some of them are just bought by people to passively get back at a child’s parents for something.
And, no I am NOT being Grichy. I am not Grouchy (which is surprising after shopping last night), but I just think sometimes a modicum if common sense could be applied. Is that too much to ask?