As a parent, commercial rip offs are an inevitable part of life. I bow down to any parent who’s child has got to the age of 3 and is not the proud owner of an array of Peppa Pig tat. By the age of 2, my eldest could spot a Thomas the Tank Engine branded product a mile off, despite never actually having seen Thomas on TV.
I do buy branded toys for my kids, but not whatever they want. I make judgments on various grounds:
- Perceived quality
- Likely annoyingness to me once home
- Likely cost of batteries
- How much the child in question seems to genuinely want it (this is not directly proportional to the volume of the crying).
- When the particular child last got a new toy, and what their behaviour has been like. Am I looking to reward them?
- A combination of how close it is to wine o’clock, and how low my emotional reserves are running.
I appreciate that I could buy own brand products more cheaply, and quite often I do. I also shop school fetes and charity shops. New toys are generally reserved for real rewards, or Christmas and Birthday presents.
It won’t have escaped your notice that it is half term. Today, I took 3 of my 4 out for a mooch and some lunch. Every morning this half term, Patch has made me a bowl of muesli with extra sultanas, just as I like it, as soon as he sees me in the kitchen. He has also done gardening work, worked well training the puppy, and cleaned out the chickens. I have really been immensely proud of him, and decided that I would treat him. The first thing he saw that he wanted was a Monsuno strike case. I had no idea what this was, but he seemed to be really keen. We read the packaging, which was busy with pictures, and words in lots of languages. We weren’t sure what was included. We read the packaging several times, while I tried to supervise the 3 and 2 year old. We concluded that the images and numbers seemed to indicate that he got 7 of whatever these fighting things were, and some cards.
He then saw the Monsuno Electronic Battle Case. At £25 (in a discount store), I wasn’t really sure. Again, we looked over the packaging. All of the pictures and the wording, indicated that this was a fighting ring for 4 of these fighters. Like most parents of more than 1 child, I had some other children with me. Kids a in a toy shop are not dis-similar to bulls in a china shop. I did my best to supervise, tidy and read, all at the same time. As Patch desperately wanted it, I said I would buy it. He wanted the strike case with the extra fighters, so said he would buy it with his pocket money.
On the way home, Patch opened his strike case. As parents of six years old everywhere know, your child will be totally
delighted distraught to find that he has spent his money on….no, you won’t guess because no-one would do something this shitty to a child….it really is too good….seriously, wait for it….an empty plastic box. That’s right, this piece of plastic crap is apparently a must have carry case for the Monsuno figures that aren’t included. Strictly speaking, when I got home and examined the cardboard with my husband, in very tiny print in multiple languages, it does state ‘not included’. To me, this is on the scale of requiring people to examine the bottle of coke they buy from the supermarket, in case it is in fact a coke carrier (coke not included ) for the coke you can buy in the next aisle. Or, wine perhaps? Or even chocolates? I mean, after all, when the chocolate manufacturers have gone to all the trouble of moulding cheap plastic into chocolate shapes, you can hardly expect them to go the whole hog and actually add the chocolates can you? Obviously, you should be expected to read the small print in 7 languages to determine that the chocolates are not actually included, pay a small fortune for the box, and an even bigger fortune for the chocolate itself.
Surely Monsuno will redeem themselves with the Electronic Battle case? I mean after all, £25 must buy you more than a plastic case with some sound effects. You are right! The game for 4 includes….1 player. Yes, you read that correctly., When your child, who has already endured the ‘pocket money for empty case’ scandal, gets home to play his new game for 4 with his 3 siblings, he will find that he cannot. For the grand price of £25, he has got a plastic platform with 4 ramps that makes some sounds, along with a single fighter. Once again, if you examine the small print, you will see it says ‘includes 1 electronic battle case, 1 Monsuno figure, 1 core & 1 card’.
Are the manufacturers/sellers to be absolved? I mean, after all they wrote it on the box, didn’t they! Back to the analogies, I think. You buy a house for £250,000 off plan (shows rooms etc). You move in, and its just an open space with ‘rooms to be purchased separately’. The point is that the price is so high that you make a reasonable assumption, also based on the packaging pictures (or sales pictures), that you are buying something complete.
I am now committed to buying 3 more of these fighting figures at a ridiculous price on the internet, having trawled local toy shops this afternoon. To quell the infant misery, I have also had to pay £10 for The Little Mermaid on Amazon, as they don’t have a toy to play with.
Monsuno, in 6 years of parenting, this really is the lowest of the low. Please give some thought to amending either your package contents, or your packaging. After all, your target market is children!