I needed a gallon of mixed paint, and we were running low on diapers, so after I dropped the kid off at pre-school, K2 and I did a combined Home Depot/Target run to the Virginia suburbs. Holy smokes, nothing knocks the wind out of your capitalist sails quite like a visit to the soul-deadening, baby-toting zombie asylum that is an empty big box store at 9AM on a weekday.
With no employees to ask, the few customers were left to wander the aisles in a daze, hoping to find whatever it was that drew them there. [And if anyone else in town needed size 4 Pampers that day? Sorry, I got the only box.] Meanwhile, here's what else I saw, in rapidly descending order of karmic outrage:
Who was I talking to last week about whether they still make Big Wheels anymore? Oh yeah, someone else who avoids going to Target if at all possible.
The only reason I even ventured off the beaten diaper path was to see the much-blogged Yo Gabba Gabba! toys. The quality is so-so [fine, considering the venue, I suppose]. When I saw this, I was laugh-out-loud stoked that like the third licensed product the Yo Gabba Gabbans put out is a Mister Brobee Microphone ["Hey, goodlooking green beans! We'll be back to pick you up later!"] But it faded quickly when the implications hit me; they are staking out a massive merchandising territory. By 2010, we'll be up to our eyeballs in stuff. Or eyeball, as the case may be. [No offense, Muno.]
If I'd only stopped browsing then, I might have been fine, if depressed at the sheer plasticness of it all. Then I saw the Little Mommy™ doll. "Girls will love playing mommy with this sweet baby doll--she's perfect for your child's first doll."
I have two words for you, Fisher-Price: Bull. Shit. You know damn well that especially at the "first doll" stage, every single kid--boy or girl--will roleplay being a parent--dad or mom. The only plausible--which is not to say excusable--reason for this Little Mommy™ crap is because you sell these things in stores populated largely by sleep-deprived women. The Little Daddy™ angle is too obviously annoying to discuss. But wouldn't targeting both girls and boys with "first dolls" theoretically double your potential customer base? Damn.