When A Child’s Toy Is Not A Child’s Toy

Since about 2002 I’ve been a huge fan of the urban vinyl craze (see Kidrobot for examples) and all the figures, art and toys that it’s spawned. At times I’ve taken those items and gifted them to kids as birthdays and other occasions presented themselves. Lately I’ve noticed that one has to be more and more careful when purchasing vinyl and plush items as all-too-often what seems funny at the checkout seems entirely inappropriate at home as its being wrapped. I’ve collected a few examples below. Enjoy.

The Daily What recently featured this disturbing bambi plush figure.

I have this Gloomy Bear plush figure on my desk as I type this. I still find it hilarious, but the bloody lips and rather sharp plastic claws make it a risky purchase for kids.

The greatest uglydoll of them all, the octopus with chest hair apparently sheds that chest hair and so had to be taken away from the kid I sent it to. Unfortunate as it was a hilarious doll… but seems to have been discontinued as I don’t see it on the uglydoll site.

Anyway, you get the picture. With the trend toward innocent toys for adults its sometimes tempting to try and transfer them on to children which in some cases can be pretty risky. Not to mention the fact that many of these are made in China, and as a result the messaging regarding age groups is not always as clear as it might be. Case in point the mustached labbit I recently bought for a friend’s baby. It wasn’t clear whether it was to be kept away from children younger than 3, or whether that applied to the plastic bag it was purchased in.

Gloomy Bear Arm Pillows. Back On The Market, But Only In Korea?

A couple years back I was looking for a somewhat ‘unique’ gift to send to friends and acquaintances. I pride myself on being able to find interesting items online to send to others, and I considered this particular case a huge win. The item in question was a Gloomy Bear arm pillow. I bought 3, shortly after which both Vancouver stores that carried them sold out.

Gloomy Bear, for those of you not familiar is the product of a Japanese graphic designer named Mori Chack. I chose to overlook the fact that the claws have blood on them and rather expect that recipients would enjoy the uniqueness instead of dwell on the details :)

Who got them and what were their reactions?

My accountant
Reaction: Laughter to the point of tears.
Long term assessment: No idea. I will be following up to pay him for this years’ services and plan to inquire into both his daughter, and his wife’s reactions.

Former co-worker & children
Reaction: Surprise and mild concern which I attribute to the fact that he has several children at home and promises to lead to a significant amount of chasing and unintended destruction.
Long term assessment: Not applicable. Within 3 hours of the parcel being opened the aforementioned children proceeded to race through the house destroying everything in their path as predicted. Unfortunately I had not considered the added confusion / aggression / destructive power resulting from the addition of two rather large dogs added to the mix. As a result in this case the limited edition Gloomy Bear arm pillow lasted roughly 4 happy, joy-filled hours.

My takeaway? If I ever see these things available in a store again I’m buying as many as I can reasonably afford because kids LOVE them (and I don’t mind them either).