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The Great Escape - A Personal Experience Of Unwrapping Toys

Jun 28, 2008
Have you ever tried to extract a modern toy from its packaging? I remember when you were lucky enough to be given a paper bag to carry your toy home in, but nowadays it seems like the manufacturers have made every possible effort to ensure that the toys remain as surely locked into their cardboard prisons as possible, and you need a good level of skill in DIY or lock picking to get to the things.

Coupled with the incessant screaming of an anxious child who doesn't understand why you won't let him have the toy you just gave him, it becomes a desperate race to free the plasticized creature that's looking at you with a faint hint of a jeer in its eyes. Your reputation as a parent is on the line; everything you've ever done, all that you have achieved and every word ever spoken softly as you laid them gently in their bed, safe again at the end of the day, is nothing. This is the moment. Can you remove the toy from its packaging, and your time... starts now!

To begin with, you confidently flip open the flaps at each side, and all seems well. Then you realize that the flaps don't actually achieve any further level of access, and they stick out like absurd wings, achieving nothing more in their open state than that they seemed to when tucked in. You wonder why the manufacturers bother, and a quiet murmur escapes your lips as you comment on the point of them. Then you notice the tape strapped across the main flap, and a hurried search through the kitchen drawer reveals a pair of scissors, and you begin hacking away at the tape, almost sensing the relief as you are about to achieve the ultimate escape. The main flap pops open, and like a magic trick of origami in reverse, the packaging falls open. The child cheers, the victory is yours.

Except that, despite the packaging being open, there seems to be a distinct lack of toy falling gently into your lap. Metal wires are twisted around the toy's legs. No problem - you start twisting away, smiling cheerily at your child as you wonder if their hopeful eyes could get any bigger. You start twisting the wire the correct way, actually undoing it rather than tightening it. You free its leg, then the other leg, then its arm, its other arm, its waist, its neck. You wonder just exactly what the manufacturers of the packaging did for a career before they entered the toy industry, and images of dark damp dungeons and thumbscrews spring eerily to your mind.

As the last length of wire drops happily out of the box, you reach for the toy, grasp it firmly, and pull it from the box. Yet you suspect something is wrong. It seems to be magically refusing to leave the home it has known for so long, and which looks likely to be for a good deal longer. You look - the wires have all gone, there seems to be no more tape - what is wrong with it?

Your caveman instinct starts to kick in, and you begin tearing away at the cardboard, forgetting all thoughts of keeping the packaging intact in case it needs to be returned. In a frenzy of desperation you tear bigger and bigger chunks of cardboard from the creature's cage as though in fear of it suffocating you shouldn't hurry. Your child begins bouncing in a curiously worrying way. You don't even notice the cut on your hand as the plastic window of the box springs free and slices across your first two fingers.

The thing's feet are actually screwed to the base! Can you believe it? Two screw heads, embedded firmly into the cavity of its insoles are welding it to the remainder of the box. In blind panic you stagger through to the kitchen and rustle through the drawer again, inflicting more cuts and scratches on your hand as you casually brush aside the potato slicer and paring knife to find a screwdriver - but it's a flathead, and the wrong size. You collapse back down on the floor, all eyes in the room following your every move, the child now dancing from foot to foot whining about wanting his toy, as though this is all somehow your fault. You wedge the corner of the screwdriver into the screw head, and force it to turn, extracting further chunks of flesh from your hand as it slips and slides its way round in small stages.

Eventually, somehow, the creature plops casually out of its packaging, and is gleefully lifted high by the victorious child. You collapse back, near sobbing, blood pouring from your hands, sweat dripping from your brow as you survey the devastation around you. Your child seems to be displeased though - and is holding the toy towards you. What now?

Of course, it needs batteries. It didn't come with batteries. You're up again.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant in kids toys, dolls, and video games. You will find the best marketplace for kids toys, dolls, and used video games at these sites for kids toys, interactive toys, batteries, packaging, dolls, and used video games.
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