Saturday, September 16, 2006

My Day Out With Thomas the Strategically Marketed Money Making Engine

I'd like to begin this post with an apology to my two children for having cynical uncool parents who generally don't enjoy attending special kids' events other than for reasons of fueling our sarcasm and studying the media's influence on society from a distance. We know it simply makes you happy to ride on Thomas the Tank Engine, or probably any train for that matter. I would also like to say that I think the wooden Thomas railway toys are excellent toys. My son plays with his train set every day, in a very focused and imaginative way. I don't think it matters to him whether it is specifically Thomas the Tank Engine gear, but he does like having a set of characters he can get to know and collect.

We spent the morning at an outing called Day Out With Thomas. Bucketfulls of budding little engineers (most decked out in their finest Thomaswear) and their parents were bussed in to a train museum to meet Thomas the Tank Engine and friends, to ride the rails with that cheeky little blue engine, and presumably purchase Thomas merchandise to further fuel their media-hyped obsession with the Empire of Really Useful Marketing Engines. A lot of little boys and girls love trains. (They also love dirt, but I haven't yet seen the emergence of a kids' Festival of Filth, where they sell T-Shirts smeared with mud, and Junior can get his picture taken with the fun-loving Sir Sandbox Turd.) All sarcasm aside, Joshua did enjoy himself. I'm glad we went, because seeing all the train related stuff was interesting. We decided we would like to come back to the Railway Museum on another Day Without Thomas, and explore some more. And yes, we did contribute to the cause and buy Joshua a souvenir... a wooden train whistle. With Thomas on it. *Sigh*.

6 comments:

slaghammer said...

I first heard of Mr. Engine a few days ago and now he seems to be everywhere I look. I don’t know why I was previously spared his marketing blitz. Whatever the reason, clean living or good deeds in a previous life, my luck has clearly run out.
(((Geezer Alert!))) When I was that age, we hammered nails into boards and floated our homemade navies into battle with the enemy du jour. We were born just a little too early to benefit from the plastics manufacturing revolution and accompanying ruthless marketing techniques that shamed parents all over the nation into toy buying frenzies. I believe my disappointed generation is responsible for the success of adult toy stores like Harbor Freight, Home Depot and Best Buy.
Thanks for dropping by my blog.

ian said...

It was a fun morning, and the kids enjoyed themselves thoroughly. It was great to hang around with you and the rest of your family.

Ian

Jaelithe said...

Au contraire: we totally have a mud festival here in my hometown every year called Mighty Mud Mania, in one of the biggest local parks, where parents pay a small fee to let their kids roll around in the mud.

It is true.

This year a bunch of people got mysterious (but apparently not serious) rashes after attending. I suppose they may cancel it next year . . .

(Once we move to a bigger place where we actually have the space for a full-sized train table, I am thinking of finding a wooden coffee table at a thrift store and painting it to look like an island like the $200 Thomas tables. Then I will buy some generic wooden tracks I saw last week at Target-- I checked and it looked like they would fit the Thomas Trains. Bwa ha ha).

Maylynn said...

We may have you beat in the uncool department: our kids only have Ikea trains. I remember all too well what it was like to be the only girl without a Cabbage Patch Kid, the only kid who hadn't watched the Cosby Show last night. Yet I feel only small pangs about raising my own kids in the same kind of popular culture wasteland. Oh yeah, but my two year old knows the word ipod, and one of her brother's early chants was "email dot com."

Sunrunner said...

It could be worse, it could have been Barney or Teletubbies...

Slaghammer, Thomas has been around since 1945.

PhoenixHearse said...

As an engineer, I still get a chuckle when people talk about "train engineers". Because when I first started school and people would ask me what my major was, they were shocked that universities still had classes about how to drive trains. :)