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I may sound like a miserable old grump in a post Christmas whinge, but honestly, I must voice my disappointment, and I'm sure others will agree. I am a 37 year old chap, so don't subscribe fully to the "Things were better in my day" mantra, I'm not old enough - am I?
Having spent many happy years enjoying childhood with really great toys, I was of course looking forward to the giving of presents to my children, and watching them play with the same enthusiasm. Of course, the expense of Christmas becomes a distant memory, as Mums and Dads abuse their bank accounts and are seen tumbling around in shopping centre car parks, unloading bags of toys into their bulging hatchbacks. And why not? Christmas is a magical, fantastical time for children, and that it should be.
I work in the field of engineering, nothing Brunel-esque or groundbreaking, but I have a decent understanding of how things are put together, how they work and whether or not the design functions as it should. I would say that as a rough estimate, fifty percent of the toys I bought for my children are nothing more than over-priced junk. I'm sure that the whole toy packaging issue has been covered before, and we would all recognise that particular joy, but that is not my gripe. It's what you actually get once you're into the box that bothers me.
For the most part, it's cheaply and poorly made, doesn't fit together properly, falls apart within minutes, and simply doesn't do what it should. Parents and Grandparents sit about on Christmas day, with a set of unfathomable instructions, a pile of brightly coloured bits of plastic and a disappointed child. Oh the joy!
Many of my old toys were kept by my parents and are now serving their purpose once again for my kids thirty years on. They were made properly, have withstood my ham fistedness and still they survive. Todays Chinese mass produced rubbish often doesnt make it past boxing day, when it displays all the structural integrity of a Cadbury's Flake and promptly disintegrates.
We are demanding consumers these days, and rightly so in my opinion. I firmly believe that the toy industry now is nothing more than a ruthless marketing strategy, where you pay high street money for car boot sale products. Will you still have the receipt? Maybe. Will you take the broken chunk of plastic back? Possibly, but how much of it goes straight in the bin? It's absolutely disgusting and such a waste of time, natural resources and money.
By: Chris Hazell