Speaking of plastic parts that pose choking hazards for children, the other day I came happened across this somewhat disturbing product from the house of Playmobil:
Product Description from the manufacturer: “The woman traveler stops by the security checkpoint. After placing her luggage on the screening machine, the airport employee checks her baggage. The traveler hands her spare change and watch to the security guard and proceeds through the metal detector. With no time to spare, she picks up her luggage and hurries to board her flight!”
These tongue-in-cheek amazon.com customer reviews below say it all:
I was a little disappointed when I first bought this item, because the functionality is limited. My 5 year old son pointed out that the passenger’s shoes cannot be removed. Then, we placed a deadly fingernail file underneath the passenger’s scarf, and neither the detector doorway nor the security wand picked it up. My son said “that’s the worst security ever!”. But it turned out to be okay, because when the passenger got on the Playmobil B757 and tried to hijack it, she was mobbed by a couple of other heroic passengers, who only sustained minor injuries in the scuffle, which were treated at the Playmobil Hospital.
The best thing about this product is that it teaches kids about the realities of living in a high-surveillence society. My son said he wants the Playmobil Neighborhood Surveillence System set for Christmas. I’ve heard that the CC TV cameras on that thing are pretty worthless in terms of quality and motion detection, so I think I’ll get him the Playmobil Abu-Gharib Interogation Set instead (it comes with a cute little memo from George Bush).
My family was planning a vacation to Europe, so I purchased this item to teach my twins about what to expect at the airport and hopefully, alleviate some of their anxiety. We also downloaded the actual TSA security checklist from the American Airlines website and then proceeded with our demonstration. Well, first we had to round up a Barbie and a few Bratz dolls to play the other family members, so that cost us a few extra bucks at the Dollar General and it is aggravating that the manufacturer did not make this product “family-friendly.” Of course, since the playmobil Dad could not remove his shoes or other clothing items, unlike the Barbie, the playmobil security agent became suspicious and after waving her wand wildy a few dozen times, called her supervisor to wisk the Dad into a special body-cavity search room, (which incidentally led to quite an embarasing and interesting discussion with my twin daughters about personal hygiene and a slight adjustment to the rules we had them memorize about touching by strangers). But worst of all, since the suitcase did not actually open, the baggage inspector made a call to the FBI and ATF bomb squads which then segregated the family’s suitcase (which btw was the only suitcase they provided for our educational family experience) and according to the advanced TSA regulations, had to blow it up, (since they could not otherwise mutilate the luggage, break off the locks and put one of those nice little advisory stickers on it), which we had to simulate out in the backyard with a few M-80s and other fireworks. The girls started crying. They became so hysterical by the whole experience that we could not even get them in the car when the time came to actually take our trip, and so we had to cancel the whole thing at the last minute, losing over $7,000 in airfare and hotel charges that we could not recoup do to the last minute cancellations. We’ve now spent an additional $3,000 to pay for the girls therapy and medication over the past year since this incident occurred, and the psychologists have told us that this will affect them for life, so much for their college fund and our retirement. Then, to top it all off, when we tried to use to playmobil phone to call the company to ask for reimbursement, as you might expect, of course the damn thing didn’t even work; neither did our efforts to e-mail them using the computer screen on the baggage checkpoint; and our real-life efforts to contact them to obtain re-imbursement have also likewise been ignored. Worse yet, we had the product tested and found out that it was positive for both lead paint and toxic chemicals, having been manufactured in China by workers holding formerly American jobs, so now we all have cancer and have been given only another year or so to live. My advice – educating your kids about airport security with this toy may actually be more harmful to them than just packing them in the damn luggage with some bottled water & hoping they survive. :)
Seriously, kids have to grow up so fast nowadays… or else how do you explain to them that there are people out there that want to blow up the plane you (and themselves) are on because of differing religious viewpoints?
Who designs this stuff? It’s terrifying to consider that there is someone out there who genuinely invents these toys and then markets them for mass-consumption.
Then there are people like Eliyzabeth Yanne Strong-Anderson (sic) out in the wild that, in all probable sincerity, conceive words like BIRTH CONTROL IS SINFUL IN THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGES and also ROBBING GOD OF PRIESTHOOD CHILDREN!!! (sic), and there are companies who then print and publish those in paperback form, ALL IN UPPERCASE!
Hell, I’ve seen LOLcats with madder writing skillz!
And finally, there are those who sell that same book for the bargain price of a mere $135.00 (at the time of writing).
I shudder to think that trees were felled to print this book.
Now, if reading up on the fallacies of the Christian church is not exactly your cup of tea, perhaps you might want to consider joining the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (sic) or getting a nice cookbook instead? The main ingredient? Male ejaculate. Semen. Cum. It’s apparently quite nutritious, too (sick).
If it can be thought up or excreted, there’ll be a buyer for it.
Image and text credits: amazon.com and boners.com