I've done my time stuffing various toys and small parts of toys down toilet paper tubes. By the way, if you can fit any part of any toy through the circumference of an ordinary toilet paper tube, that means that you are a parent. The folks over at Mattel sure took their sweet time figuring this out, as they decided to recall 2.4 million Polly Pocket doll play sets after three children suffered serious injuries from swallowing small magnetic parts. They don't recall toys because they are incredibly lame (like Polly Pocket), those toys just end up on the Clearance shelf at your local Toys R Us. As if to prove my point, Mattel is suing competitor MGA Entertainment for allegedly stealing the concept for the popular Bratz doll by recruiting former Mattel employees and convincing them to surrender valuable trade secrets.
An urban encephalitic version of Barbie? Why aren't they recalling those? Bratz probably won't kill anybody, but they're not exactly adding to anybody's quality of life. Not like the TMX Elmo, which is already fetching one and a half times its retail price on Ebay. Supply and demand, baby, that's the name of the game. Every year some toy manufacturer wins the lottery because of labor shortages and hype and gets picked as the must-have item on every child's list.
I lived through the 1984 Cabbage Patch Kid Onslaught when I was working at Target. Happily, my contact with the rabid buying public was limited, as I was only unloading trucks at the time. Harried teenagers in red vests would come to us on the dock with a desperate look in their eyes, pleading with us to unload "those damn dolls" as quickly as possible. Sensing the fear in these poor souls, we pulled as many of the big headed (sensing a trend here?) creatures from the trailer as we could and piled them on a rolling cart. The red-vested victim would then wheel the cart slowly to the swinging doors, and out onto the killing floor. They were lucky to come back with all their limbs and eyes intact. It was capitalism at its most frenzied. Six months later, a thin layer of dust began to appear on the display as consumers walked past with vague indifference. It was during this lull that my room mate "adopted" his very own, Giff Eddy. He sat in a corner, mint in box (for the most part) until he moved away to New Jersey.
Here's what I noticed: Nobody every died from playing with a Cabbage Patch kid, but I don't know if the same can be said for those who were sent to their local toy retailer to purchase same. In this way, it would seem that the safer the toy is for kids, the more dangerous they are for adults.