My ‘just turned 3’ year old is obsessed with buying comics. Every time we go to ANY shop, he asks if he can buy one, even if we are visiting a clothes shop. We have started to give him pocket money to teach him that if he wants to buy himself a comic then that’s great, but his money will only stretch to so many (meaning one) comic(s) a week. Our house has become over run with them. I have to have a ‘throw out’ on a fortnightly basis and they have sometimes been known to fill up a quarter of the recycling bin if I leave it longer. It’s not us that buys all these bloody things. We have always limited to one a week. But grandparents are a different kettle of fish. It is practically assumed that an outing with the grandparents will result in a comic purchase.
Last week, when he turned three, and we decided to start giving him pocket money, we had a word about the comic buying. We no longer want three or four per week littering our house. And below are my top five reasons why:
- The crappy plastic tat – you know the stuff. Also known as the ‘free gift’. Free?! Our child buys a comic 97% for the plastic tat and 3% for the stickers. His whole decision making process is based purely on the following criterion; is there a good toy on the front? Are there stickers in it? If the answer to both these questions is yes then it’s a resounding winner.
Most recent ‘free gift’. 2 plastic trains and 6 foam oil drums for just £3.99!
However, the fact that he is purchasing it solely for the acquisition of the plastic crap does not then render it a ‘free gift’. If anything, it means I’ve been ripped off for something which, at a push, I could get 20p for at a car boot sale. Which leads on nicely to my next issue….
- The chuffing price! £3.99?! Sometimes, if we’re really lucky, he will be tempted by some rubbish on the front of six pages of paper which only sets us back £2.99, but this is something which happens once in a blue moon. Maybe even less often than that.
- The repetition. Basically each week/fortnight/month it’s the same shit, different page. Finding opposites, practising some letters (which, as a teacher, drives me to distraction: if you are intending to teach my child how to read Peppa Pig magazine, please pick something beginning with p that is easy to sound out. You know, like PIG. Not f*cking PAINTBRUSH). There’s always a million colouring pages and a game that, just to clarify magazine makers, WE WILL NEVER PLAY, because we’ve actually got to cut stuff out and back it onto card and find a die before we even begin (and finding a die means basically raiding the monopoly box and we don’t have time for bloody monopoly now that we’ve got children so we have no sodding idea where it is. Probably under the bed somewhere. Behind boxes of old rattles, teething toys and newborn vests). Sometimes they even repeat THE FREE GIFTS! Cheeky sods. I spent £5 buying a shoddy doctor’s kit from you once Ben and Holly. I wont be doing it again.
- The adverts. Not content with the nonsense sellotaped to the front of the comic, my child then flicks through (searching for the stickers) and sees pages of toys. In his own words “I don’t have enough toys”. Which is a lie. See photo for evidence (and bewildered dog):
So, not only do we already have a shed load of toys, but now he has seen a ton more. “Maybe I could have these toys too Mummy. When we go to the shop next time?” Maybe not kid.
- The way I still keep buying them! You see, despite all these things, I still let him stand for ten minutes (it’s gone beyond this once because I think I slipped into ‘standing-up sleep’ having been up half the night with the baby) in WHSmith perusing the many comics, picking the chosen one and carrying it home. Why? Because for ten minutes when we arrive home, I get to sit and have a cup of tea whilst pointing to places where stickers can go and explaining that, even though circus sounds like it starts with sssss, it actually starts with c (FFS Peppa).
And we all know, we do anything for a hot cup of tea 🙂