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December 22nd

Visiting the Toy Aisle – French Edition

Posted by // December 22, 2013 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

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Here we are, two days from Christmas.  Time to break out that wallet and go buy some cheap junk that your family neither wants nor needs!  And even if Christmas isn’t your thing, there are all the sales to think about, right?  If you’re going to buy things you don’t need, you might as well get them at a reduced price.

But, oh, what’s this?  Hmm.  Something is fishy here.  It looks like home.  Huge floorspace.  Big crowds.

Industrial-sized bottles of ketchup.

Aha!  There’s a clue.

 

A forty-foot display of Champagne is always a good tip-off that you are in a French territory.
So, what will the discerning French buyer pick up in the toy section this year?  Let’s take a look.

Poker.  Well, sure, I guess that is a still a thing.

Home bingo/lotto?  Maybe I’ve missed the finer points of this gambling trend, but I don’t see the Papillon crew sitting around in the evening with our bingo dabbers while the captain calls out: “B-28!”  I like the lotto idea, though.  Do you think it comes with its own prizes?

Roulette?  Really?  And, come on, the graphic design on that package is terrible.  If I am going to buy my own roulette wheel, you need to attract me with bright colors.  Make an effort, people!

Bam!  Exactly.

Aside from Champagne, there is nothing more French than bread.  And, sure enough, the young bakers among us will have something special to open on Christmas.  You can make baguette, pain au chocolat, boule de campagne, and various other breads that I suspect will turn out better than anything I can make myself.  Bonus points to the marketing team for naming it “the Bread Laboratory,” but refusing to gussy it up with “scientific” trappings like safety goggles or blue dye.

It may be cliché, but you don’t mess with the bread and pastries around here.  Even the fast food joints have a dessert menu:

Items may not be as delicious as shown.

But back to the toys.  Here is a pretty normal-looking item.  Steal the dragon’s treasure, don’t get eaten – pretty standard stuff.  Nothing like encouraging thievery to make a holiday special.

What I couldn’t resist about this game was the kid in the middle.  The boy on the left and the girl on the right are really giving it.  Fear!  Drama!  Oh no, the draaaaaagooooon!!!  But the pirate isn’t so sure.  He has an expression I can’t quite place.  Is he determined to get that treasure while others around him are losing their heads?  Has he suddenly noticed something suspicious about that orange game marker?  Is he thinking about the ice cream his mom promised him after the photo shoot?  What is going through that young man’s mind?

And then we come to Carlo Crado, the yuckiest game I have seen in many a long year.  The front of the box pretty much sums it up.  You have to pull snot-like yuckles out of Carlo’s nose.  If you pull the wrong one, his brain explodes out of his head.

I assume that whomever collects the most boogers wins.  Blech.  Rest assured, no one will be opening this under the Papillon tree on Wednesday.  (Jasper Fforde fans should note that this game was made by Goliath. It was only a matter of time.)

“But, Amy,” you ask, “don’t you have a more sophisticated game for us?  Something family friendly?”
Well!  I do!  And it combines all of the delights of pseudo-science and an utterly creepy design!

I have to pause here for a public service announcement to the ESL countries of the world.  Before you decide to market a product with an English title, please ask a native English speaker to look it over.  They might notice something you wouldn’t.  For example, the title “Finger Tree” is unpleasant, and makes my flesh creep.  That is not the reaction you are looking for.  (Sidenote: my #1 favorite car name here is the “Great Wall Wingle.”  No word of a lie.)  But, let’s face it: even the best title wasn’t going to induce me to play fingerprint phrenology with my family.  Tinfoil hats on, people.

Well, it looks like we struck out on our gift list.  I guess I’ll have to go with the old stand-by instead.

Happy holidays!

This article was syndicated from Sailing Papillon

One Response to “Visiting the Toy Aisle – French Edition”

  1. Mike says:

    Merry Christmas to you and yours Amy.

    Btw, congrats on your forthcoming Sail columns. Looking forward to seeing you in “real” print.

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