Have any of you noticed the evil that surrounds you in the baby shops? No, I’m not talking about the creepy assistant that follows you around, or the multitude of toddlers going apoplectic over exclusive squeaking rights to the squeaky thing in the play area (remember, cut them some slack, they will be our problem in 2 years time). I’m talking about the guilt trip, anxiety driven maketing.
I got thinking about this after chatting to another nerdy father-to-be blogger The Jedi Dad. Good name by the way…. damn you! <Quietly seethes at just being merely Nerdy when some have the confidence to be Jedi>. He has a series of ridiculous baby products on his blog and we had a quick chat about how things are sold to us.
A superb example is this advert for springless trampolines currently on TV in NZ.
“Parents who care about safety chose ….. our product” implying parents who don’t …. don’t care do they? Evil non safety-trampoline buyers! I’m not saying they aren’t safer or that it isn’t money well spent, it’s just a bit… well … evil.
They aren’t idiots, these shops know we are scared, they can see the fear as us expectant newbies walk in past the rows of “baby genius” elephants, imploringly looking at us from the shelves, “Buy me, your baby will be stupid with out my help!”. Our clueless wide eyed looks as we peruse the thirty six different incarnatioins of teething ring, with packaging all extolling the virtues of their specific patented non-toxic composite materials, and you wonder to yourself, “Which one is best,? Which one is safest?” and sometimes even forget to ask “Do I actually need it?”.
Previously I bought things because they were shiny. I am a hopeless magpie when it comes to gadgets and I like shiny things. Extra gigabytes, fifty six fonts, a range of six million miles, small incremental benefit over the standard models, ultimately….. all just shininess upon shininess. When I bought something stupid and it was an abject failure, ah well, I felt a bit stupid, if I hurt myself with whatever daft purchase I had made I swore and felt a bit stupid. Now it all has to work. My precious little guy is coming and everything needs to be ready, and most importantly, safe. Buying for The Boy is different. I have RESPONSIBILITY now.
Am I the only one that feels this sinister undercurrent when in the baby shops? Is it my inbuilt nerdy fat bloke fear of any shop I can’t buy music, a book or a computer game in or is the smiling cutesy advertising actually quite evil?
Those helpful leaflets provided by the stores with the forty six “essential items” listed, are they truly helpful or are they propaganda leaflets written to scare us into parting with cash?
I expect (given my vast experience of raising exactly 0 children) in reality, regardless of whatever brand of rattle we buy, our Little One will still wave it around for a while then try and eat it and will have a great time doing it irrespective of cost. But how do we resist the marketing? How do you tell the essentials from the garbage? Common sense I guess, something sorely lacking between my chair and keyboard, “Thank goodness for The Wife; who has it in abundance!” I cry!