What's up with kids toy packaging
March 21, 2005 6:15 AM   Subscribe

Lately, if you open a packaged kids toy, you're faced with the daunting task of unwrapping and untangling the toy from its own packaging. This is a daunting real task when faced with a kid who simply wants to play. Why all the wires?

Is this a shoplifting prevention measure? A safety issue? When did this start and, better yet, do people or super evil robots spend all day twisting the toys into their boxes?
posted by dhacker to Shopping (10 answers total)
Best answer: Because if you wire it up, you can have the package front be light clear plastic or even open, the better to display the toy and capture the little tykes' attention and desire.

It's a marketing device, to sell the toys.
posted by orthogonality at 6:24 AM on March 21, 2005

Isn't that a perennial headache with just about any consumer item bought these days though? Every time I do grocery (food AND household) shopping I swear I end up with just as much rubbish as I do merchandise.
I think it's a combo of all the things you've stated plus conspiracy theory side of packaging people in cahoots with manufacturer.......I hate it and wish they had an UNwrapping section in stores so they can keep the add-ons.
posted by peacay at 6:35 AM on March 21, 2005

Maybe it also makes it harder to shoplift. If the wires weren't there, you could more easily take it out of the box and slip it into your pocket.
posted by agropyron at 6:50 AM on March 21, 2005

If you have kids, invest in a set of diagonal cutters, a utility knife, and a screwdriver with a small tip. Makes opening kids toys much easier.
posted by quibx at 7:06 AM on March 21, 2005

Best answer: I second orthogonality; it's all about presentation. The more appealing the toys look in the box, the better they will sell.

In terms of the extensive nature of the ties; that is due to the long journey the toys must make from China to the US. They're going to be on a boat, they're going to be shaken, inverted, etc.

Marketing wants to make sure that the toys will still look presentable when they make it to the shelf.
posted by extrabox at 8:04 AM on March 21, 2005

I'd wager that SOMEONE was just watching Sarah Vowell attempt to disentangle her action figure from the packaging on The Incredibles DVD.
posted by kindall at 9:21 AM on March 21, 2005

nothing to add except ARGH it's a pain in the ass to spend four hours opening barbie stuff.
posted by jacobsee at 9:21 AM on March 21, 2005

kindall, that's what I immediately thought of too. It was cute how they left enough shots in to show what a pain in the ass it was, but not so long that it actually got boring to watch.
posted by soyjoy at 9:59 AM on March 21, 2005

Response by poster: Nope, didn't see it on the Incredibles. Still, this isn't entirely a marketing thing. Plenty of toys show up with no see through window that have twisty after twisty after twisty. I guess I'm looking for a link to the goverment form that tells all toy manufacturers exactly how many twist ties must be installed per square inch of toy space - its probably out there.
posted by dhacker at 10:53 AM on March 21, 2005

Best answer: Dhacker, it's 90% marketing - even in a closed box marketing is concerned about the degree to which toy will be banged around from factory to store shelf. They still want product to look excellent when it is being opened. Most consumers are unaware of how much product gets handled and mishandled throughout this process. If product chips or cracks this would upset parent and child (in addition to presenting a potential safety hazard). If box opens in shipping parts could also fall out/get lost if not tied down.
If box is not sealed (i.e. open window), there are security reasons for all the ties.
The toy industry of america (TIA) has a website - maybe you could email them to get more info.
posted by extrabox at 1:10 PM on March 21, 2005

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