The L.O.L. Surprise!

Must be the worst holiday gift ever : TreeHugger

The toy, using its 50 layers of plastic, was made to replicate the YouTube unboxing video adventure — because that’s exactly what every young kid needs, right?

If you thought Hatchimals were a waste of cash Christmas, wait till you hear this vacation season’s top-selling toy. The “L.O.L. Surprise! Large Surprise” (yes, it has two ‘openings’ on its own name because we’re talking about the ‘mega limited edition’ version) is a chunk which measures 32 cm (12.5 in) across and contains 50 smaller chunks inside, full of tiny plastic dolls and their clothes, sneakers, and accessories. Some of the chunks are plastic, although others are bath bombs which discharge their toys in the tub.

“After all is said and done, it is just like a bunch of Polly Pockets communes exploded in your living room… [and] also to your living room being coated with enough plastic to block a landfill your tub is going to be trashed too. Merry f***ing Christmas.”

Apparently the 70 L.O.L. Surprise! (I am just going to call it that) is about many a kid’s Christmas wishlist, along with its maker, MGA, states it is currently the top-selling toy in the United Kingdom. There can be a few disappointed kids, though, since Walmart, Target, Kmart, and Toys R Us are all sold out everywhere, but Scary Mommy says you can nab you for $700 on Amazon (phew!)) .

MGA, however, might have run into a snag using a the latest UK mother’s Facebook post, shared more than 7,000 times. Ciara Umar purchased a L.O.L. Surprise! For her daughter was unimpressed: “I’d definately [sic] not suggest it if you do not wish to waste your cash the pic on the right is all you get just pre warning yas.” Umar went to further detail using the Manchester Evening News:

“I was mortified when I saw the stuff. Don’t get me wrong, she was on the moon starting them and had five bathrooms together with the bath bombs, but just went back into her iPad. The novelty wore off within 15 minutes. . .It’s not even a complete ball either, it is just half a ball as the back is flat.”

Some parents have been criticizing Umar, saying they would spend the money just to place a smile on their kid’s face. Comments like that make me groan inside. A grin is a fantastic item, yes, but should it come in any price tag? In the the price of wasted dollars on a crappy toy which generates absurd amounts of non-recyclable plastic? No. There comes a point where parents are fully eligible to draw the line and say, “Sorry, kid, but also your desire for instant gratification must be overridden by ecological considerations.”

Then there is the troubling inspiration for the L.O.L. Surprise! MGA made it because of the growing popularity of YouTube unboxing movies and wished to recreate that addictive experience for kids. What a victory for culture! Except that some kids are seeing unboxing videos of this L.O.L. Surprise! And discovering their own experience less exciting since they already understand what’s inside. Who would have guessed?

Issac Larian, founder and leader of MGA, informed Mercury News, “Seriously, we were seeing these videos anyplace and thought, why not just bring an unboxing toy to these kids?”

Thus, the whole intent of this toy is to recreate the thrill of the chase, the excitement which comes with opening something new. The toy itself isn’t the end goal here in reality, the plastic dolls and chunks sound impressively awful. This ‘toy’ is all about educating our kids to be model consumers from a young age, to search for the interest of shopping, to get them hooked on the delight of new things.

I can think of a couple things I’d prefer for my kids this Christmas — you understand, meaningful gifts, gifts with respect and lasting attractiveness, gifts which don’t spell ecological destruction with each coating that comes off. And I don’t think I am a lousy parent for those criteria.

There’s not anything wrong or unloving about utilizing gift-giving as a chance to speak with kids about what’s acceptable and what’s not from a consumption standpoint. The parents who abandon the L.O.L. Surprise! On the shelf this festival period, the more inclined we — the folks who do not want to be defined as consumers — will have the last laugh.

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The L.O.L. Surprise!

Must be the worst holiday gift ever : TreeHugger

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