Friday, October 12, 2012

Part III: Really? You think people need that?

It took me a full year to post this entry, mostly because I felt bad for the folks at #9 because they had their kids at their booth, and they had spent so much money advertising their business at ABC.  You see, I don't have a heart of stone after all.

Aaaaand I'm back. As I knew it would be, this year's trip to the ABC Kids Expo in Loisville, Kentucky was over in the blink of an eye. Louisville itself was a big fat bore, if the city is considering a new slogan, I would suggest "Lousville: boredom on steroids", or as an alternative, "Louisville: it ain't Paris." However, venue aside, three days and three nights without my children (and husband) was absolute bliss. It was a little lonely eating dinner by myself, but for the first time in years I would wake up in the morning, stretch lazily, and debate the merits of sleeping in or getting up. I'm not going to lie, that felt good awesome.

As per usual, my days at the expo followed the same pattern as they do every year:

Day one: Damn, this place is big. There are so many vendors. I can't read this map, where the hell am I? Didn't I just walk by this booth? Damn, this place is big.

Day two: Money is no object, my credit card knows no bounds! What's that, I can save 2% if I spend $2,000? Sold! You have to spend money to make money!

Day three: Holy shit. I have spent so much money. How am I going to pay for this all? Oh my God, what have I done, WHAT HAVE I DONE!?!?!?!

I placed a lot of reorders with existing suppliers, and picked up some new suppliers along the way. Walking the floor at the expo can be a daunting task, I generally draw up a list of vendors I really want to see, but sometimes the best way to discover things is by chance, and that means doing my best to see every square inch of the expo, which can bring me to some good things, and it can bring me to some bad things. Some very bad things.

I will preface the remainder of this blog entry with a disclaimer that this list is strictly based on my personal opinion, which sometimes may not count for much. As an example, I have a deep and abiding love for Jersey Shore. And the New Kids on the Block. See what I mean? Furthermore, I have written certain products off, only to be proven totally and completely wrong. That being said, here is my list of this year's whackier offerings at the ABC Expo. Enjoy!
  1. I'm all for dual-purpose products, who doesn't want to buy less? While prefolds that can be used as diapers, then as cleaning rags might be awesome, a baby headband that is meant to be kept and reused as a bridal garter belt is just plain creepy. It's like the slutty version of the Hanky Bonnet.
  2. I had no idea holding babies was so darn tricky. Enter the "Poche Suit", an infant sleeper with pockets all over it that essentially turn the infant sleeper into a giant glove. Between that and the 'world's first and only infant lap seat', we can all rest-assured that babies all over the world will not succumb to being dropped.
  3. You know what makes money? Fear. There are lots of products that tap into every parents' fear about the danger lurking all around us. How about a monitor that alerts caregivers after 20 seconds of inacitivity? Forget waking twice a night, how about being woken 200 times a night (as with any monitor, there will be false alarms)? If the threat of 20 seconds of inactivity isn't enough, the monitor's manufacturer is careful to point out the inherent hazards associated with competing monitors -- strangulation, choking, and fire!!!! It is a scary, scary world out there.
  4. Having four kids, I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have asked myself at restaurants "My gosh, you know what would make this situation easier? A purse-sized pizza cutter!" Oh wait a second, now that I think about it, I can tell you how many times I have asked myself that question: exactly zero. Most (read: all) restaurants have utensils to cut up food, and if they didn't, I would probably do something wild and crazy like tear food up using my bare hands. I know, right? I'm a freaking warrior.
  5. God forbid any of us have to pick up crayons ever again. Parenting is hard work, and sometimes you have to pick shit up.
  6. It would seem the assumption behind juvenile product development is that parents are bumbling idiots. As bumbling idiots, we need help with even the most basic of parenting tasks. Like remembering you have a child in the car. This clever gadget plays music *every time* your car stops to remind you that you have a child in the car.
  7. The carseat monitor deserves a second mention because of it's ability to notify parents when a child leaves their carseat. Presented under the pretense that Momma Bear is driving along, completely oblivious to the shenanigans of Baby Bear who has undone his carseat, in reality, this kind of app might encourage a scenario where Momma Bear leaves Baby Bear unattended in his carseat -- I don't care how 'smart' your phone is, no App can replace proper parental supervision and common sense.
  8. Um, does anyone else see the startling resemblence between last year's Sniffle Buddies and this year's Baby Ankees? I can't recall ever losing my baby's feet inside a sleeper, but perhaps I was just one of the lucky ones.
  9. You will have to take my word for it, but this company had designed the worst cloth diaper ever (ever!).  Although I admire their desire to set themselves apart from every other diaper manufacturer out there, the idea of turning a cloth diaper into a bulletin board of sorts was just plain bizarre.  The outer layer of the diaper was fuzzy, and various velcro sticky badges could be affixed to the diaper to A) stimulate conversation ("Hey, your baby has a raccoon tail stuck to her butt!") or B) educate your baby (if you can consider sticking letter-shaped badges to your baby's butt a form of education). 
And there you have it.  I'm sure there were many more products that deserved a spot on a list like this, but it's hard (impossible!) to note them all.  ABC is a never-ending sea of product pitches, some good, some bad.  

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