Friday, January 25, 2013

Crappy Little Gizmos

I hate plastic toys.  I hate that there are eons of little cheaply made things that people give to my kids (I get the birthday party gifts.  I have a $15 limit.) But the stupid pieces of plastic in the school pinatas, or that people wrap up in little baggies at Halloween, Valentines Day and Winter Break or as party gifts.  I hate them. (And because I'm a grinch I really do not see the need for all this random gift giving of cheap stupid things).

Now I know that some people will call me a snob.  And some will just say "you can afford to be a snob."  But I blame growing up in Europe.  As a kid in Europe I managed to pick up the affinity for "less is more" and an appreciation for things that last.  I mean.  Europe is old in ways that Americans cannot wrap out heads around.  And someone, despite the density of the population (739,165,030 in 2011 United States roughly 311,590,000), they don't produce nearly as much waste as we do.  How is that?  My guess, the culture as a rough stereotype are less about their "stuff" and "convenience."

So somewhere around the age of 10 my kids get a bit of a speech.  And then I show them this:

from Wikipedia
The above is the remains of an albatross chick which most likely starved to death with its stomach full of plastic.  You can find out more on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Adam Pasick has a photo of a baby bird with its stomach filled with plastic on his site as well.  It is said 1/3 of the birds die from bellies full of plastic.

It was actually good for me to go on this rant with my son today because I've gotten lazy and allowed way too many juice boxes and bottles of water into our life recently and this was a sharp reminder that bottle caps are not recyclable.  Every picture I've ever seen of dead bird stomachs has more bottle caps than Barbie shoes.  But I can't help it, I still see every Barbie shoe, every Polly Pocket item, every piece of play jewelry, every Happy Meal Toy, or Kid's Meal toy, or plastic soldier, every bouncy ball, as a future baby bird killer.

We all have our things.  I won't eat chocolate because the BBC reports that child slavery is employed to harvest the cocoa beans.  And I try to purchase things made in the United States because I believe that our environmental laws and labor laws, while flawed, are preferable to some in countries producing the goods bought and sold in this country.  And I'm a back on the wagon about using the least amount of plastic possible.  So please, don't expect a bag full of dump plastic toys when your kid leaves my kid's birthday party.  And no I won't be bringing cupcakes with toys or jewelry on them into school.  Because I know my kid will be okay without that - and we are water fowl friendly.

There is a line in my favorite holiday song by the Bare Naked Ladies "Elves Lament"

You look at yourself
You're an elf
And the shelf is just filled with disappointing memories
Trends come and go, and your friends wanna know why you aren't just happy making crappy little gizmos
Every kid knows they'll just throw this stuff away


Anonymous said...
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Jori said...

I agree! I hate the junky junk!

Love the BNL song. It's one of our fave Christmas albums! :)