Still toying with us

I thought we were far enough into the winter that this wouldn’t be a problem, but sadly, it appears that the Christmas toys found under several trees across the province are as defective as their poorly-built predecessors.
So I have the unenviable duty of listing the recall notices for the following children’s products, beginning with:

Build-Your-Own Work-To-Rule Schoolhouse
Advantages: Children in Nova Scotia got to experience all the little joys of the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union’s recent job action, including the challenge of re-arranging bus schedules, insuring that enough student-supervision dolls were on-site during recess and lunch periods, and reorganizing (or even cancelling) extra-curricular activities.
Reasons for recall: Play-set’s “Government Mode” kept shutting down the schoolhouse a day early, forcing children to wait 24 hours before they could use it; box of Extracurricular Activity Cards had several missing items; some of unit’s Teacher Figurines (sold separately) did not arrive in time for Christmas as they were sent to “professional development” conferences in Hawaii and Florida.

Kellyanne Conway Action Figure
Advantages: Future leaders seeking a positive role model (with a killer fashion sense, no less) could find their political heroine in this plastic replica of the only-slightly-less-plastic Donald Trump advisor/apologist/truth-bender.
Reasons for recall: Doll’s “Inauguration Day” outfit was inexplicably mixed up with that of Nutcracker Figurine line; children using “Count Along With Kelly” voice function were confused when doll repeatedly claimed that two plus two did indeed equal five and then branded it as an “alternative fact.”

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Richmond County Tourism Monopoly
Advantages: Game-players were introduced to locally-based spins on the traditional real estate game, with hotels and motels supplemented by tourist bureaus, information kiosks, interpretive signage and other fun game pieces designed to attract visitors to the county.
Reasons for recall: Game’s stash of play money did not include $2.2 million promised by the provincial government; actual prices of several tourism-infrastructure pieces were higher than those printed on the game’s property cards; game’s “New Council Mode” brought play to a halt before players could actually set up the tourism-infrastructure pieces.

L’il Conservative Leadership Candidates
Advantages: Impressionable youngsters learned about federal politics by assuming the personas of their favourite contenders for Canada’s new opposition leader. And with 14 candidates in the race, everybody – from Grandma to the family dog to the kids next door – got to join the fun!
Reasons for recall: Box of Tory leadership figures did not include L’il Kevin O’Leary Doll, which mysteriously failed to arrive on store shelves until after January’s French-language debate in Quebec; L’il Kellie Leitch Doll’s stalled voice function kept lecturing the other dolls about “traditional Canadian values,” making the veins on L’il Deepak Obhrai Doll’s forehead swell and throb.

Hilary Clinton Easy-Bake Oven
Advantages: Young women with the dream of leading their own country (particularly those disillusioned with the Kellyanne Conway Action Figure) got the chance to cook up their own election victory with such “fun” ingredients as Half-Baked Promises, Overheated Rhetoric and Bloated Self-Esteem (all sold separately).
Reasons for recall: Oven’s companion feature, Easy-Send E-Mail Server (also sold separately), caused the entire oven to explode, dashing hopes and dreams of children, Democrats and anybody hoping for stability in America and around the world over the next four years.

Dutch Runner Model Boat
Advantages: Budding seafarers enjoyed the chance to build their own cargo ship, sail it to the Make-Your-Own Port Hawkesbury Pier (sold separately), and leave it there for several months. Also, since the vessel never actually went anywhere, it was a great ego-booster for novice sailors afraid of losing their cookies if they ever got on a boat that ventured five meters from shore.
Reasons for recall: Model boat frequently arrived without crew members required to sail it; model boats that did contain crew members were missing other minor features such as heat, water and food; siblings, parents and neighbours frequently screamed at children who were unable to move their vessel from the pier, ignoring children’s pleas that it was “made that way.”

“Tiny-Hands Trump” Presidential Play-Set
Advantages: Designed for children with self-esteem issues and bullying tendencies, this whimsical recreation of the Oval Office showed that even kids with a tendency to shout down their classmates and judge others based on their ethnicity, gender and disabilities can reach America’s highest office.
Reasons for recall: Tiny-Hands Trump Doll kept shredding all achievements by last year’s model, Bi-Partisan Barack Obama Doll; the head of play-set’s Press Secretary Doll exploded when placed near White House Press Gallery Dolls; price of Tiny-Hands Trump Mexican Border Wall Play-Set (sold separately) kept spiraling out of control.

Better luck next Christmas, kiddies…

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Adam Cooke has been a staff writer and columnist for The Reporter since 1999. A native of L’Ardoise, Adam lives in Port Hawkesbury with his wife Cathy.