Child ate my Argos catalogue

21 Sep

Thank goodness for the power of advertising on children. No, really. If it weren’t for television I would have no idea what to buy my soon-to-be-4-year-old for her birthday. Sitting her down in front of the adverts had her list of must-haves written in the blink of a gnat’s eye (or the length of the ad break). I bow down especially to Cartoonito. A channel that truly has the knack of advertising cheap tat in a way that sends children into a paroxysm of consumerism. All whilst I visualise my bank balance slowly diminishing.

Such is the power of this constant stream that the phrase ‘brought to you by Argos’ now echoes around our house where once there would have been nursery rhymes. The repetition of ‘London 2012’ (delivered in the style of an X-Factor voiceover) was acceptable – it showed my daughter’s excitement at the Olympics and I’m only happy to have the power of physical activity sold to her. Who knows, those few weeks of sport may stop her from becoming an obesity statistic. But to be told that dinner has been ‘brought to you by Argos’ is a step too far. She has been sucked into the TV and spat out a sponge-like consumer. Her little brain looks at ordinary household objects and sees pink plastic, glitter, princesses and things that you shake with sand in them that make a bloody awful mess.

My husband thought we’d better double-check what was on my daughter’s final birthday wish list, lest we get it wrong. The fear of unleashing her wrath and disappointment if we did get it even moderately incorrect was too great. (So not only does the advertising exert power over the child, it gives Chinese burns to the hearts of parents.) I smiled smugly at my husband’s naive suggestion. What he didn’t realise was that the adverts that generated the original birthday list had already been replaced by a whole new suite of products and therefore, you’ve guessed it, a whole new list of items that a 4-year-old couldn’t possibly be without. Whatever we buy her is destined to be wrong, or at best inadequate.

There are no doubt people reading this thinking we should sod the telly and that our daughter should be grateful for whatever she gets. Yes, I once too subscribed to the Right On Theory of Parenting. Oh, we were going to keep the TV rationed and only buy wooden toys. This lasted until a fanfare sounded on the day of my daughter’s first birthday and an army of plastic started to march its way uninvited through the front door being whipped from behind by princesses and Barbie dolls. As uncomfortable as I may feel about it, I’m the first to admit I’ve let this happen. But do you know what? When I see my daughter’s face light up next week I’ll think that, well, she may unwittingly be the retailers’ dream but what the hell, she’s happy.

10 Responses to “Child ate my Argos catalogue”

  1. simonsometimessays September 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    You should have said. I guess my children could have parted with some retro-barbie stuff. But I guess that doesn’t meet the immediate need. Four may be a bit young to appreciate the value of vintage.

  2. EmmaK September 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    My kids don’t watch TV….no hold on a minute I mean they do watch a lot of streaming crap like Netflix, hulu etc but we don’t actually have any cable telly. As for presents my kids are 9 and 11 and now just want cool fashion and accessories so I do cave sometimes as long as I can borrow their red hair spray now and again!

    • Crumbs & Pegs September 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

      Red hair spray?! Sounds like a good deal!

  3. Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh September 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    I used to live and die by the Argos catalogue at Christmas time when I was a child. Out it would come every advent – religiously (fnar) – and so my Christmas list would grow!! We all do our best as parents, so sod it, if every now and then we go off piste in the name of doing something to make our child grin like a Cheshire Cat!

    • Crumbs & Pegs September 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

      Absolutely agree! Anything for a quiet time is my mantra. 😉

  4. suzanne whitton September 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    Agree, Agree, Agree! Birthdays are for celebrating after all! I love the visual image of the army of plastic toys being whipped into shape by Barbie lol! I think we all dream of a world with only wooden, education toys in it, but the reality is far from that. Great post 🙂

    • Crumbs & Pegs September 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

      Thanks for comment. Only 3 sleeps to go and the anticipation is building!

  5. Heather September 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    Going through the same with my daughter who’s about to turn four too. When watching the adverts she pretty much says she wants everything! So confused as to what to get her now as we want to get her something she really wants.

    • Crumbs & Pegs September 24, 2012 at 2:47 am #

      I would go with whatever she’s asking for. Children aren’t so complex that you can think of something that they didn’t know they wanted. Go the easy and safe route!

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