When Wonderboy was 3 years old I bought him the above disgusting toy…it was either that or he would be pulling the legs off things (usually ladybirds, but he wasn’t fussy) for the rest of his life and that could have had serious consequences in the area of his love life.
No amount of pulling would dismantle Stretch Armstrong….that was the advertising slogan…
Soon after Wonderboy’s birthday, his half brother (yes it’s all very complicated) visited us and between them both they decided to grab an arm and a leg each and see if they could stretch one half of Mr Armstrong’s body all the way into another room…a span of about 8 feet from where they currently sat… they succeeded, but when I examined the toy a little later I noticed a yellow tinged oil seeping from an opening on Mr Armstrong’s arm.
I interrogated my son.
“Have you eaten any of this ‘stuff’?”, I shreiked.
“Gross, Mum, course not!”, was the reply.
“Are you sure!”, I demanded.
“Yes, mum, your freaking me out!”, he said in that tearful little voice routine that has me worrying that I’m a complete FREAK of a mother at times of tragedy and impending doom.
“Ok”….I mumbled, “Well, so much for Mr Stretchy here….If a 3 year old and an, um, er, 14 year old can cause this kind of external damage, then I want my money back!”
I wrote to Hasbro or whoever it was or is, who manufactures MR. Armstrong. I subsequently informed them that I was horrified (yes, I think I bolded that particular word) that my son had been exposed to this possibly hazardous seeping liquid. I wanted a breakdown of the contents of Mr A’s body forthwith and sharpish at that!
I got a reply after a couple of weeks (they know how to make a person sweat, don’t they?). The manufacturer advised me to toddle along to the toy store from which it was purchased and demand a refund (well, I wasn’t planning on keeping it was I ?). They also assured me that my son could well have eaten the substance in Mr A’s body and had no harm done to him due to it being a ‘harmless form of corn oil’.
Like I gave a crap what they thought would or would not harm my 3 year old son.
Anyway, the fact of the matter is that I got my money back, decided that all commercial toy advertising was a big lie and henceforth told the children my version of the truth about each of the toys that would appear on the telly on the long run up to Christmas (that’s another rant – 5 months of toy advertising really is sickening!).
My version would go something like this;
“Yeah, it looks good but that is made with really cheap plastic, the minute you start kissing and hugging that dolly it’s face will melt from your body heat and you are going to have such a nightmare if you wake up with it stuck to you in the middle of the night”
and the response usually went something like this;
“But Mum, I don’t care, I still want one!”
Well, that didn’t work and nothing has since, other than brutal honesty. I’m not ashamed to say “I can’t afford to buy you that”.
So now, if I see a really nasty, tacky, fragile looking toy that looks like it was made to coax young children into pestering their fraught mothers into buying the overpriced, hyped up piece of garbage…I just tell them it cost’s more than I can afford to pay, even if it’s a fraction of the price that I am prepared to spend.
Well, Stretch Armstrong started it…