“Bad” news

Let’s talk about action figures (aka “dolls”).

I collect a few things: old advertising, books from my favorite authors, old cookbooks, maybe once in a while another random collectible of some kind I might see. I might get back into PEZ dispensers at some point. I don’t collect action figures. I think I have a few figurines from the Rankin-Bass Christmas specials like Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town and Rudolph, maybe a couple of MST3K figures that came with the DVD sets, but that’s about it. Action figures really don’t interest me that much, and I don’t want to have boxes of unopened action figures (no, don’t open them or the value goes down!) stored in my apartment. But I know a lot of adults who collect them.

And that’s the point I want to make about this Toys ‘R Us (not sure how to make that damn backwards R) controversy. A mom in Florida launched a campaign to get the toy store to pull the Breaking Bad action figures from their shelves (the figures come with fake money and a fake bag of meth). She succeeded. The company pulled the action figures this week.

Question: how many 9 year-olds watch Breaking Bad? Do they really want Breaking Bad action figures to play with? I really doubt young kids are clamoring to pose Walter White in various ways and make him run along their living room floors. These action figures are made for adults to purchase, and while the stores probably shouldn’t sell them alongside Barney dolls or Chutes & Ladders (are the kids still into those? I am so out of the loop.), did they really have to pull them completely? Couldn’t they have just moved them to a different part of the store (if they weren’t already) or come up with another solution? The figures are labeled for teens and older.

What about the action figures that have guns and swords? How about water guns? And I’m going to assume Toys ‘R Us is still selling videogames where the main objective is to shoot, maim, blow up, murder or run over people with their cars?

The next Letter is coming next week. I decided to make it the October issue instead of September so things got pushed back a little bit. Thanks for your patience! New Saturday Evening Post column today. Have a great weekend.

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