It’s my son’s birthday today, and while we tend to get good middle-class people’s presents (lego, books, etc) we’re not immune to the lure of cheap plastic/die-cast crap. So he’s currently playing with a battleship complete with ‘realistic’ jet aircraft (not that any of them could realistically land on a battleship, but he doesn’t seem concerned with that).
Whenever I see tat like this, particularly on those unhappy occasions when we buy happy meals with their uber-crap, I wonder about the people who make them. I’ve only worked for three manufacturing companies, and two of those were beer and steel, which are practically staples. But the third was clothing, where taste was involved, and I often speculated on exactly what taste was being exercised as a tacky shell-suit or size 24 skimpy nightie passed through my hands.
Imagine, then, how much more puzzling it must be for someone who is working slave-like hours for negligible pay to attach a flimsy plastic rotor to a badly cast toy helicopter that a child somewhere will play with for 11 seconds before losing it in the car on the way back from McDoughBoys. Imagine how much more disconcerting it must be when the worker is a child who can see the fun inherent in that toy, even as they lack the imagination or experience to see the crushing desperateness of their situation.
There is no conclusion to this little rant. Not buying these gee-gaws might take that child out of the factory, but it’s more likely they’ll end up combing trash piles than attending school, so trying to make a little difference may be worse than meaningless without making a big difference too. I guess you get to decide.