I’m not sure if there is a more accurate or all-encompassing benchmark to measure the quantity and and quality of all I did not have than a visit to the Disney Store. We went to West Edmonton Mall on Monday. This place is massive, sporting a water park, amusement park, mini-golf, just about every chain restaurant known to man, and, of course, a Disney Store.
It seemed to have everything from tiny, intricately detailed figures from the movie Frozen, to pyjamas from Cars, to R2D2 waste paper baskets, to full-on Spider Man costumes complete with muscles and everything. I knew the store would have a plethora of items but I was astonished at the quality, imagination, and ingenuity that have gone into the manufacturing of all these toys and paraphernalia solely dedicated to the child.
When examined through the Mickey-Mouse-coloured goggles, my childhood was a barren wasteland. I don’t begrudge kids anything that they might get from this store; I’m much more inclined to astonishment at seeing so many items that I had never concieved of, or knew were possible. The gulf between what was available and what was affordable 30-40 years ago and what is actually available, and somewhat affordable, today is stupifying.
My brother and I had a dart board when I was 10 and he was 7. We played some darts for sure, but mostly we threw the darts at each other. Not the face (we weren’t animals), but the lower body was completely in bounds. In fact whatever we had we weaponized because a paddle with rubber ball attached by an elastic is lame. But a ball and a paddle used as weapons was kind of fun.
Maybe Disney is onto something. Peace among siblings through a higher quality of toy. Who knows how different my life would have been if I was able to play with a Mickey Mouse fireman set? And where is the ceiling? That’s what I really want to know. How sophisticated will marketing get? How much industry will be supported by the child consumer dollar, and how specialized will it become?
I know I should, on some level, be concerned about all this blatant marketing and consumerism that sort of goes against the Christmas spirit. But, honestly, all I wanted to do was turn myself 10 again and spend some serious money buying, and then playing with, just about everything in that small spot of magic in the mall.