What would you do if your 6-year-old daughter's favorite toy,
a talking doll, started trying to convince her that she needed a new friend
-- the next doll in the company's line?
I didn't think this question would be difficult, but I changed my answer a bunch of times. To answer honestly was hard. I had my 'public' answer ready ... one that was filled with idealism - taking the opportunity for a teachable moment to explain the power of advertising to my off spring - guiding her away from that kind of influence - writing letters to the toy manufacturer expressing my outrage at that kind of manipulation. You know, all the 'right' answers.
But truthfully? I would do none of that.
- If she was really young I would encourage her to put it on her birthday or Christmas list. She would have to wait. In my experience, waiting or delaying the impulse can stop the need for the item or other things may take the focus away from the desired doll. If she waited and still wanted it, in the end, I would get it. After all, if I really wanted an item myself - I would get it. So it would be hypocritical for me to expound on doing the 'right' thing if I wasn't doing it.
- If she was older, I would have her earn the money for the doll. Again, that may result in a delay and the delay may reduce the impulse.
- I would be annoyed at the manufacturer, sure, but I doubt I would start a petition or even write a letter of complaint. Life is too short. There are too many really serious issues to get worked up over in our world today then to waste time on a toy manufacturer who would probably file my complaint in their circular file (trash.)
I am curious about your response to this question. I am betting the responses will be very different based on each person's individual value system.