It’s the end of Black Friday. From corporate America’s perspective, this means today was the biggest shopping day of the year, offering retailers a chance to jump from a deficit (red) to a profit (black). From a parent’s perspective, however, Black Friday means the opposite: bankrolling Santa’s shopping spree will send my VISA card into a one-month hemorrhage; I’ll still be taking care of the oozing debt when the $10 batteries die for the fifth time.
Let me get this Christmas shopping thing straight: I have to buy my kids a present from Santa for a staff Christmas party, another present from Santa for the actual day, stocking stuffers from Santa, and a present from their dad and me. My VISA and I are seeing red. As in red like Santa.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I could find quality toys that were affordable. But one look at this year’s list of Best Toys of 2009 reveals that Santa’s quality control experts were on a twelve month coffee break.
Here Are the Top 5 Toys of 2009 That Really Suck:
- Fisher Price Smart Cycle Extreme. Okay, instead of taking your kids for a run around the park, going sledding, or playing a game of soccer, you can sit them in front of a DVD on an exercise bike and count their calories while you drink a latte. Now I’m all for preoccupying my kids while I do something else (like write this post), but an exercise bike for kids is clearly a sign of the apocalypse. What next, the mini-Martini mixer? Rumour has it that before the corporate bigwigs named it the Smart Cycle Extreme, they contemplated calling it the Junior Couch Potato.
- Elmo Tickle Hands. There’s a reason why Elmo wasn’t on the original Sesame Street. He’s annoying, as androgynous-squealing-fur-balls tend to be. This year you get the opportunity to pay the same amount as a full-size Elmo and receive only the hands. Plus, one of the hands is made of cloth, meaning you actually have to make the sound effects yourself. And the price? Ouch, that tickles.
- Dora Links Doll. I actually like Dora. She’s decidedly anti-Barbie: she’s not blue-eyed or pasty-looking, nor is she Twiggy with boobs. But the Dora Links Doll looks like Dora’s befriended Jenny Craig, and that pisses me off. I can hear the explanations that parents will be forced to offer: “Yes, honey, the real Dora was too fat.” Add to that the fact you can change her eyes to blue and I’m definitely seeing red on Black Friday.
- Crocodile Dentist. This game has been around since 1991, but some best-toy-websites have listed it as a “classic” in recent years. Crocodile Dentist gives kids the chance to extract a tooth from a croc’s mouth; choose carefully, because if you select the wrong one the nasty reptile will bite you. It’s like the Hungry Hungry Hippos meet Operation. The reviews on amazon.com say it all: “a great drinking game,” “it bites pretty hard,” “contains choking parts,” and “we’re on our third one.” And those are the positive comments.
- Barbie Twilight (Bella and Edward dolls). Let’s face it, if I’m going to buy an Edward doll, it’s going to be life sized. Enough said.