This is a reprint of an article I wrote way back in 2008 for a newsletter we previously published. I stumbled across the article looking for something else, but decided to share it here for it's continuing relevance.
Even though it was written nearly five years ago, many of us are still faced with the same economic struggles as 2008. But my remedy is also still the same...buy good toys instead of "disposable toys". Give it a read and give it some thought!
It was just about a year ago (2007) that I sat down to write an article for this space and focused on the serious issue of the day that was affecting children, parents, and the toy industry - toy recalls from lead-based paint. A year later, toy recalls seem to have subsided, but a new series of tumultuous events once again threatens to impact our children in ways that we didn't expect, namely, the economy.
So how exactly does a struggling economy affect toys? By most accounts, consumer buying habits haven't changed...yet. However, several factors in the toy industry may impact what products you see available in the marketplace this holiday season. In recent weeks, several Chinese toy factories have gone into bankruptcy including the world's single largest toy manufacturer. Closer to home, the so-called "credit crunch" will put unprecedented strains on independent toy stores and potentially limit their ability to acquire inventory.
Bottom line, while you may have no intention of cutting back spending on your children's education or entertainment, broader economic forces may seriously limit your options.
So with all that doom and gloom, what can be done about it? It's simple. BUY GOOD TOYS.
The aisles of most discount retailers are choked with cheaply made toys that have few redeeming qualities to them. Don't be fooled by a cheap price tag. In difficult economic times, is it more cost effective to buy cheaply made toys that quickly make their way into the trash, or are you better served by paying a bit more for an heirloom-quality toy that can literally be passed down from generation to generation? When you think about it in those terms, the answer is obvious.
I feel the same way about licensed and character-based products. The colorful, animated character that your child sees on TV is often little more than a passing fad. Toys that try to leverage that popularity become the hot sellers one season but are doomed to quickly find their way into the bottom of the toy box as soon as that fad has subsided.
A year ago, Fat Brain Toys was your "alternative" toy store because we carried over a thousand American and European-made toys. Today, we stand ready to serve you once again in that same capacity - but for different reasons. We're fully stocked with over 5,000 (now 7,000!) quality toys, games, and gifts that will not disappoint. So if you're looking for ways to beat this economic crisis, buy toys that will outlast this economic crisis!