Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Masters of the Marketing Universe

Those folks at Fisher Price know how to market their wares.

Over the years, we have acquired a hefty load of Fisher Price toys. At one time we owned the plane, the school bus, the ark, the nativity scene, and three - yes, three! - barns.

Today I trash picked the castle.

Sometimes I amaze even myself. I have described myself as a minimalist. Truthfully, I would now count myself among the minimalist-wannabes. While I continue to fight the good fight against all things plastic, I’ve lost a lot of ground of late. My last major purge was three years ago. Oh, what a glorious day it was! If you could have witnessed the glee with which I unloaded a plethora of little used toys at the local Goodwill! Truly I felt lighter as I drove away. We got rid of an entire truckload of bikes, games, and toys, including a slew of Fisher Price items.

All of this makes my actions earlier today all the more perplexing.

The plot only thickens when I examine precisely why I ditched most of the Fisher Price collection. While I am a devotee of the "less is more" mentality, I don’t get rid of stuff we actually use. See, there’s been one consistent problem with these Fisher Price toys – my kids do not play with them.

The airplane saw more mileage than the other items. One of the boys showed a fleeting interest in the school bus. The nativity was difficult to hold together – unlike its counterparts, it’s made of cardboard and flimsy at best. The ark was so cool – so cool that it made the cut and is still safely ensconced in our attic – but in reality it sat in dry dock.

As to the story of the three farms – well, that’s a little complicated. I bought barn #1 at a yard sale. Who came up with this design, I don’t know. You could move the animals in, but you really couldn’t get them out short of picking up the whole edifice and shaking hard. So barn #1 sat. Barn # 2- different yard sale, different design. It opened! It was nifty! No one played with it! Barn #3 – a gift from a generous relative unaware of barns 1 and 2. It, too, saw very little action.

My experience with Fisher Price toys is that I spend all my time snagging stray sheep out from under the couch or pilots and passengers from under beds. Lots of picking up – little playing time. A bad ratio.

I was over at a friend’s house the other day. There I spied the Fisher Price castle. Two words for this vintage baby: Cool Ness! Oh my goodness, I wanted that castle. As for John – well, he was flat mesmerized.

This afternoon I was cruising through the neighborhood late for a very important date, and there it was on the side of the road – a Fisher Price castle! I screeched to a halt and snatched it up.

Later I got a good, hard look at it. Gently used it was not - cracked, sagging, the tower bordering on moldy, badly in need of an Extreme Makeover, Castle Edition. Alas, I pondered a little too long, and John spied the object of my affection .

“My castle,” he cried.>It is now sitting on my couch housing a brace of Lego guys.

The castle came with no figures, so the next logical step was to check Ebay for knights and dragons and horses. They have a gracious plenty, and they go for a pretty penny. The king and queen alone will set you back ten bucks plus shipping. They had a few complete sets available, and I found myself torn. Me, the minimalist!

The cheapest set went for $50.00 plus a whopping $15.00 for shipping. This for something I will be delighted to unload at Goodwill in the not too distant future?

Nothing short of a battle ensued.

Remember Madame Blueberry, I remind myself. Happiness does not wait at the Stuffmart! You really don’t need more stuff!

So cool, so very cool!

They’ll never play with it!

This time will be different!

You’re nuts!

Am not!

Are too!

Hope is triumphing over experience which is a long-winded and cliched-ridden way of saying I am a sucker! If Fisher Price can sell a zillion piece set to someone who has owned - and not enjoyed! - most of their zillion piece sets, then, truly, they could sell ice cubes to an Eskimo.

Fisher Price – Masters of the Marketing Universe.


Karen said...

I have to say that the castle is pretty awesome. I had a Fisher Price castle just like that when I was a kid and I loved it. I think my parents still have it. I fondly remember the dragon Little People figure that came with it.

Kelly said...

Karen -

It is awesome. You can buy it all (dragon included!) on Ebay.

I have a hankering to prime the castle walls and repaint the whole thing.

Thanks for visiting!