Babes in Toyland
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog’s guide to the best dollar-store toy shopping in Harlem: a detailed narrative. By Alex Weinberg, with help from Hillary Busis.
A walk through Harlem will most likely lead you by a few dollar stores. Go into them. You can stock up on red Solo cups, sure, but moreover, you can find the most flamboyantly packaged, lead tainted, and generally dangerous Chinese toys possible. Although the warnings on these toys will never be too alarming, be assured that these are the kinds of gifts you should buy your children if they were mistakes and you want them to die. Even the toys that aren’t potentially lethal are just embarrassing. Here are some unexaggerated highlights of the things I’ve found:
- A faux Barbie doll with the title “Benign Girl.”
- A package of blank cylinders labeled “Perfume Liquid&Stick Glue.”
“SPNRT ZONE: PRACTISE BALLS” on a bag of nondescript plastic spheres.
- “Super Airplane” on a plastic bag that clearly contained a helicopter.
- A toy soldier set featuring six different battalions: two from Uruguay, and one each from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile. What war were these five South American nations fighting? According to the package: the Gulf War. I’d love to find this toy company’s interpretations of other historical skirmishes, like that famous battle in World War II when Hitler and his 300 Spartans braved the onslaught of Hannibal’s elephants in a race to conquer the Moon.
- Sets of jokishly large pencil sharpeners. Large enough to sharpen a baby’s whole fist.
A jet fighter plane covered in military camouflage in a packaged labeled “WARLIKE TRUMP: TRUMP AIRPLANE.” The cardboard backing also exclaimed “SUPERAIRPLANE” and “TRANSCENDENCE.”
- A lot of toys that were labeled in an incredibly vague or confusing fashion. One flying disc read “Children Like Toys” while a bowling set was simply labeled “FUN.” A ripoff Barbie doll was named “Amusing.” The most cryptic, though, was a set of indiscernible plastic shapes entitled “MASTER COPY STAGE XDP-2.”
- An office supply kit labeled “STAPLE + REMVOE + STAPLES.” Note that there was no manual with this package, so I assume that the title doubles as the operating instructions.
- Lots and lots of World Trade Center notebooks, keychains, and other tchotchkes. If they only wrote “NEVER FORGET” on the top and then stenciled in a crying bald eagle, they could make a fortune selling them to people who need can never remember that birds have tear ducts and love skyscrapers.
- Many unlabeled and frighteningly realistic bladed weapons.
All of these things have been reprinted as is, with no effort to correct for spelling or general failure to communicate. My theory is that the Chinese have secretly started World War III against the US. Although in that crafty way of theirs, they skipped the conventional weaponry and are instead trying to flay our children with “toy” shuriken and decapitate them with salad shooters. Prove me wrong.