Attention Span

Feb 2, 2000 at 12:00 am


At first the Home Depot Storage Rack Kit at Toys ‘R’ Us looked pretty simple. According to the package, it is intended for kids age 8 and older and only requires a hammer for assembly. However, I am more than 8 years old and I had a hell of a time putting the storage kit together. Because the nails kept bending and the wood split, I broke the rules and used a drill and some screws, but the damn thing is still lopsided. For $9.99, kids can learn that this kind of project is never as easy as it looks.


You would think that something called a Canned Fun Room Kit would guarantee a good time, especially if it claimed to "make you the envy of all your friends." Unfortunately, Canned Fun is a bit of a disappointment since it doesn’t contain any beer, snakes made of springs or nude photos. Instead, for $14.99 at Kay-Bee Toy Stores, you get: A frosted night light, a scented candle tin, three door knob signs, a light switch plate, a phone book, an inflatable "photo cube" and an inflatable pillow. Supposedly, Canned Fun allows you to become the "next decorator" and make your room look really cool. In reality, all this chintzy stuff is decorated with stars – to be gender-neutral? – and hasn’t done much to improve my room or life.


A disturbing trend is occurring in the children’s section of the bookstore: Be on guard for advertisements that look and feel like books. Those creative folks at Pepperidge Farms have produced the Goldfish™ Fun Book ($5.99); an "interactive" hunk of shiny cardboard that allows Junior to fill in the vaguely fish-shaped cut-outs with Goldfish snack crackers. There are only 82 words in the whole thing, but 26 holes for the crackers. Because I am too smart to fall for the Man’s tricks, I didn’t buy any Goldfish snack crackers to see if they really fit or not.