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In a recent column I lamented the fact that educational and scientific toys seem to be hard to find these days.
I recall that when I was a kid, our town's biggest toy store had an entire section filled with chemistry sets, electronic kits and other offerings that were so attractive to a primary-school-aged geek.
This week I thought I'd go to The Warehouse here in Tokoroa to see just what type of toys parents and relatives could buy for their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Surely there would be something there that wasn't just the result of some marketer's clever use of TV characters or some other branding.
Boy, was I disappointed!
Despite having a pretty decent area of the store allocated to carrying children's toys, there was absolutely nothing that could be considered educational or likely to pique a child's interest in the world around them.
As far as the eye could see there was little more than cheap plastic tat, Spongebob merch, Transformers (not the electrical kind), Star Wars characters and other rather basic toys.
No sign of any flying model kits, HO or N scale train sets and accessories, slot-cars or any of the toys that we lusted after as kids. Perhaps I'm just old.
So I figured that The Warehouse was just chasing the biggest profit and didn't care about kids futures.
But then I went online to The Warehouse website and found a decent array of really good educational/scientific toys. Here are some examples:
What a trove of really great, affordable gift ideas for the young person you know who is just looking for a chance to expand their knowledge of things science and tech!
So why are these things not in store?
Is The Warehouse really saying that they think the kids of Tokoroa are too stupid to be interested in this stuff?
Shame on you Warehouse!
Perhaps they don't carry these products in any of their smaller stores -- so I guess I was right... it's profit first, last and always eh?
I wonder what Mr Tindall would have to say about this, given his carefully crafted image as a philanthropist who gives the best interests of people and their kids a high priority.
How sad that The Warehouse isn't taking an opportunity to perhaps expand the minds of our kids by making these products readily available to grandparents -- you know, the older generation who might not even think to go online and search for such things at The Warehouse. These are people who prefer to simply browse the shelves -- "old school".
If asked, I suspect that TWL would say "we don't sell many of these so we don't stock them in our stores" -- which is a cop-out because they are mistaking cause and effect. Perhaps if you *did* give them prominence and promote them heavily, people would buy them and maybe, just maybe, a few new Kiwi scientists would be catalysed into existence.
What do readers think?
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