Oxford life. Thirtysomething challenges. Music leanings. Anything really.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Little Plastic Trees, and other things

How many little plastic things do you see around you every day? And if you worked in a toy shop, how many crazy little toys, one piece plastic moulded objects do you see? And in crackers, how many times has your gift been the flat plastic car, or a small dinosaur?

This Christmas just gone, my cracker had the weirdest thing in it. It was a little blow pipe with a tiny basket and ball. You blew through the pipe, the ball would lift out of the pipe, and stay suspended in the air(gotta love the laws of physics). In itself, not so weird, but the pipe itself was brown, and etched with a scaled pattern. And on the front of the pipe were a huge pair of fat lips and white teeth. It was an acid trip toy.

How many millions of strange little plastic toys are there in the world?

And most intriguingly, WHO designs them? Somewhere, someone runs a company that makes these things. And there’s got to be a whole host of people involved in this useless panoply of plastic production.

Someone has a meeting to design and sketch the toy. Then someone formalises the sketches. The plastic moulding gets designed. And then some poor sod has to sell the stuff? How do any of these people have any self esteem? Hmm. That’s probably easy to answer. This kind of stuff sells.

Maybe that’s the most intriguing part. No matter how crap, how useless, how lazy, we lap it up. One minute of consumer interest seems to be enough to fund this hidden, crazy industry.

I want to visit one of these factories, and sit in on their meetings.

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