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26 Oct 2011
Am I getting bigger, or are things getting smaller?
2 different size of sticky hands|sophie-world.com

The other day I got my big shipment of Halloween toys and treats. This is one of those fun deliveries that I look forward to every year. Halloween is such a big time for us, with lots of parties and lots of fun little goodies to hand out.

The prep for this day reminds me of when I was a little kid. I would pore over the Sears Christmas catalogue, drooling over all the new toys that were coming out that year. It was a daily ritual of dogearing pages (this was in the days before Post-Its, folks!), then unfolding them the next day in favor of a newly desired object: the Barbie camper, the Dusty Doll’s horse Nugget, the Easy Bake oven... Sigh... It was heaven!

Going through my goodie catalogues now for my party business is the same thing, as I add and subtract little ghost ring pops, skeleton keychains, pumpkins with gooey pop-eyes... Crossing out this item, replacing it with that item, making sure I’m within my budget (although truth be told, I can never stay within my budget -- there’s just too much good stuff!).

But I have to admit that this year when I opened my boxes and began sorting through all the made-in-China wonders, my “oohs” and “ahhs” were actually more “ewws” and “huhs?” Items that I’ve ordered year after year were downsized -- literally! A stuffed kitty that I’d purchased before was at least half the size it had been last year: same look, same style, same fabrics, everything. But it was as if Victor from “Despicable Me” had used his shrink ray on the poor puddy-tat. And mind you, it cost 20% more than it did last year!

And it didn’t stop with just the stuffed animals. It was almost everything we had ordered! The most ridiculous were the “gummy flinger frogs” which used to be the size of my thumb, but now measure less than the size of a fingernail. The one that caused me to break into hysterics were these little koosh-ball critters. These little guys are meant to be figurines that a child could play with. Instead, they arrived with heads the size of microchips. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do with them... except maybe get them stuck in a nostril. (So yeah, not a great idea for little kids!)

The frog fingers as shown in the catalogue
The frog flingers in the catalogue...

The actual size of the frog finger|sophie-world.com
... and in real life!

The catalogue images of the Koosh figures|sophie-world.com
The koosh figures in the catalogue...

The actual size of the koosh figures|sophie-world.com
... and in their actual, microscopic form!

Oh, and then...! Did I mention the whoopie cushions? Whoopie cushions need to be made out of rubber to get the appropriate melodic sound we all know and love. What arrived in the box was a cheap, plastic bag type of imitation. Besides being difficult to blow up, the insipid cushion produced only a hiss and a pop, instead of the might, raucous, flapping of air that should have erupted. In a word, it was pathetic.

Old vs new whoopie cushion|sophie-world.com
A real rubber whoopee cushion and what they're trying to pass off as one. This is just sad...



I wish that I had samples of last year’s products to compare to this year’s, just so you could get as big a laugh out of it as I am...

The problem is that the items are photographed for the catalogues without any reference point, so you have no idea how large something really is. Oh sure, you can read that it’s “two inches long” in the description, but does that really get across the full picture? That really cute backpack that I thought would make a fun American Girl doll-sized goodie bag turns out to be a keychain size that would only fit a Spiderman action figure... Sigh...

I suppose my advice to you, dear consumer, is to get out that ruler and really figure out what you are ordering before you plunk down your hard-earned cash. You might just be disappointed at what arrives via UPS if you don’t.

For me, the size/quality issue isn’t a huge one this time, because these items are mostly for “trick or treat” givaways, and I can make them work. However, I will certainly say this about my Halloween box opening experience this year... it was much more of a “trick” than a “treat!”