Apr 12, 2014

Inappropriate Toys

If you have a child between the ages of 5 and 20 you are probably familiar with the Rainbow Loom, and you have probably been dealing with one or all of these scenarios:

1. Your child has made you a rubber band bracelet and you are wearing it to work
2. The floors of your house are covered with tiny rubber bands
3. You are unable to procure any loom items at all as shops have sold out

Having already been through 1 and 2, we recently arrived at 3. 

M. got a Rainbow Loom kit for Christmas and little did I know we rode the crest of the "most popular toy in the world right now" wave as they have been sold out at toy and craft stores in Melbourne (and I'm guessing elsewhere) for the last few months.  I know this because M. needed more rubber bands and I assumed it would be easy to get more. Not so - all the toy stores I checked online had sold out, and even Spotlight had sold out of all Rainbow Loom items except single bags of blue bands and C-clips, so we bought one of those. 

Then yesterday we took a trip to the Caribbean Gardens market to stock up on cheap DVDs and scribbling paper and a new phone charger, and what did we see?

So we were able to replenish M's supply of bands and even get the RIGHT kind of clips ("S-clips, Mum, not C-clips").  

A. has no interest in Rainbow Loom and is a bit grumpy that all her school friends have been hijacked by this craze, but she was allowed to choose something from the market for the equivalent value we'd spent on M, which was five dollars. 

Which brings us to the actual topic of this post: the dangerous, weird and inappropriate toys on sale in markets and "two-dollar shops".

A. chose this, and I have to say it's been fantastic:

Unlike the regulated toys sold in toy stores, this one could easily put out an eye, as the arrows fly very fast and even with the kids just waving them around they are a bit of a menace. But it's lots of fun. Surprisingly, it hasn't broken yet, one full day later. The kids and I have had good times doing archery competitions down the hallway. A. loves her toy even though she was given it with a bunch of caveats like "never aim it at anyone", "don't throw the arrows", don't pull back the bow right next to your face", "don't shoot at a wall you're facing close to" and "it probably won't last very long".

The Caribbean Gardens whetted my enthusiasm for cheap stuff so today we did the rounds of two dollar shops looking for a couple of other things I needed that I no longer felt like paying $10 for at the supermarket or Kmart.  And in the course of doing that, probably with toy arrows and guns and counterfeit Rainbow Loom bands still in my mind from the market yesterday, I noticed these things in the toy aisles:

"Beatnick" Cigarette Holder - with toy cigarettes:

Cap gun:

Oh, how I wish I'd taken a photo of the table of toy AK47s and assault rifles at the Caribbean Gardens. 


Actually, these ones are kind of cool: foam puzzles of brain and body innards:
"System Muscle"

"The Encephalon"  
(I'm guessing this was an attempt to translate to "The Brain"):

If you're not sure about those toys, there's always the classic:

Or how about this sweet little bib for your darling baby?:

Moving away from human toys now, but this is weird:
Chew toy for a dog in shape of a purse.
At least I assume it's a chew toy, and not an actual purse?

Truly, we live in a consumer's paradise.

Seen any weird and unregulated consumer goods lately?


  1. I don't look at the toy sections anymore now that even my grandchildren have grown past them.
    The youngest is almost ten but already has "all" the toys....more than she needs anyway.

    1. Most kids have way too many toys now. It's because, opposite to when we were younger, toys are cheap whole outings and activities are expensive.

  2. Grumpy old man says, 'there was a time when imported toys were checked as to whether they were safe'. I expect that was when imported goods arrived in bales, rather than containers.

    I've not been to the Carribean Market for fifteen years. It was so disappointing and so shabby, and not as I remembered it from my childhood.

    1. I am always amazed at what gets sold in these places, which doesn't pass any regulation. Not sure how they manage to import all this stuff but I guess these days governments don't put their energy into deep-drill tests and checking; regulations are basically self-policing, and let the buyer beware!
      The Caribbean Gardens are indeed a bit shabby and we've only been a couple of times, but it's a good cheap outing as there's lots for the kids to do and see, and the market is good for fruit and veg, bread, nuts etc and cheap basic stuff. And very obviously illegal copies of DVDs and electronic games.

  3. The dollar stores are booming here....dozens of them in the city.

    1. Same here. Probably the most successful kind of retail, these days.



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