Monday, 13 September 2010

The Honey Trap

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Not long ago I wrote about a place that seems to lure every little girl and possibly boy into a state of bliss.
Amber bought a bear with her savings, on an other occasion, with her mother which she saw made from scratch, to her own specifications.

About a month ago, I asked her to start to think about what she would like for her Birthday and she had no hesitation about asking for clothes for her rainbow bear.
As it was holiday time, I decided to take both the girls to this special place, which was in the middle of a large shopping mall.
I took them on the bus and as I was used to hopping on and off with my free bus pass, the price of the girls' return fare was a bit of a shock straight away.
However, we set off to have a fun day and that was what we intended to do.

The moment we entered this *plastic* place I noticed it was like a snare for small children. I was immediately pounced on by a young girl shop assistant who was hoping for a large sale.
"Just looking'" I said.
I really hate to have an over anxious assistant hot on my tail.

I must admit that I would have given my eye teeth as a child, to be let loose in this shop because there were rows and rows of outfits of every description for these bears.
Although as a child, I wasn't poor by local standards, there was nothing like this and the war years had certainly limited any chances of luxuries like these and finances wouldn't run to it even if they were available. So I was thinking of how deprived I had been as a child and wondering if children really appreciated all the choice and luxurious toys they have today. Somehow I really doubt it.

Amber had no problem at all, choosing what she wanted. I had told her the amount that I was willing to pay and we worked out the cost as we went along through the rows and rows of clothes that stretched from floor to ceiling and filled the whole shop.

"Is it your Birthday?" asked the persistent shop girl.
When she was told there was a month to go, the assistant beckoned to her colleague and they both sang Happy Birthday with plastic smiles and theatrical gestures.
The minute the song was over the smiles switched off and away they went to find some other candidate to pounce on.

To dress a bear well, there would be a need for party dresses (or smart suits for a boy bear) casual skirts, tops and dresses, for the girl bears, never ending choices of footwear and even roller skates, for both. Nightwear and dressing gowns and sleeping bags, carrying slings, not to mention hats and scarves and football outfits were all on offer. There were toys for the bears to play with. I have never seen anything like it.

The little heap we came away with didn't seem to be much to look at but it was agreed that they would be put away for the month until Amber's proper Birthday and she readily agreed with that. I was secretly hoping that she wouldn't grow out of the bear phase till after her Birthday at least, because this is what seems to happen..... children get fed up with something very quickly and new things take their place.

However it didn't stop there..... Millie the youngest, was goggle eyed as she saw all the delights of this shop. She had mentally noted the colour of the bear she was going to have made and which outfits and accessories she was going to get the bear when her Birthday arrived later on in the year.

As we left the shop, there were other little children entering this Aladdin's Cave and like wasps around a honey trap, they got sucked in. Their poor parents didn't stand a chance.
The assistants sprang into action and so the cycle went on........







31 comments:

Valleys Mam said...

they really know how to get money out of pockets.Its so hard to disappoint kids isn't it.Knowing you Maggie I bet you will get making some clothes as well with your girls

VioletSky said...

it has been awhile since I visited... am enjoying the tours with you - from trams and gardens to bear shops!

slommler said...

Ha! I would call this a scary place indeed! Fake smiles and tiny outfits that cost a fortune. Yikes!! You were very brave to walk through the place; especially with two young girls in tow!!
Glad you made it out safely.
Hugs
SueAnn

Debbie(single;complicated) said...

how fun!! I often marvel at what is available now!! I remember toys r us feeling like Disney world...now..its old hat!! :)

Twain12 said...

i feel for you but hope they have a lot of enjoyment out of their Bears

RNSANE said...

There is always something, isn't there? You can bet that everyone in your grandchild's circle of friends probably has one of these bears and collects clothes...it's like those Barbie dolls with the pronounced bosoms. I know some girls would have a dozen Barbie dolls with huge wardrobes of clothing.

Akelamalu said...

Oh yes, stores like that are indeed a honey trap. The clothes are cute though aren't they? ;)

Dimple said...

After my children were born, my father made a comment to the effect that "they" were using our children against us to make money. He was referring to a fast food establishment, but you encountered the same thing. It's too bad this happens, but it is the way of the world. I'm glad your granddaughters enjoyed themselves, and were willing to abide by your rules!

Expat mum said...

Very savvy of you to talk about the amount involved though. I find kids don't argue as much when they actually understand what the budget is and what things cost.

lakeviewer said...

Yeah! Candyland! What marketing can do!

Peter said...

Oh my goodness, I know exactly the shop and I avoid it at all costs.
Besides, I hate being jumped on by sales assistants as soon as I get in the door...especially in places like the Disney Store...not that I go in there often or anything like that...

Suldog said...

Amazing places, these. MY WIFE and I went to one - unaccompanied by child - while in Las Vegas, and we made a bear for our trip souvenir!

Working Mum said...

I've never, ever, ever taken my daughter to one of those bear factory places and you've made me glad I haven't! However, I'm sure Amber will love the outfits on her birthday.

Brian Miller said...

yeah we have been in those build a bear shops...and they sure are a suck for kids...guess they know their market...luckily where we are now there is not one...i think teaching them to make the clothes is a fun idea...

Teacher's Pet said...

I love going to those shops (I guess I'm in a minority here...sigh)....but I love the bear clothes....the delights in the eyes of the children (and adults) as the perfect outfits are chosen for the bears.
I absolutely LOVE the bear in your photo!! Love, love, LOVE the bear!
Hugs to you from Jackie

Celia said...

And a happy birthday to Amber when it comes. I visited one of those shops for a birthday gift too once. I had no idea what it was before I walked in, surprise. A cash cow for sure but my little one was so thrilled.

Marguerite said...

It seems to be all about money at these shops, but you're only a kid once, and the bears and the clothes are adorable. When and if I have a grand daughter, I'm sure I'll be buying her the latest, too!

Nick Thomas said...

Still have my childhood teddy. Also had a golly, but folks over here in the US give you some very strange looks when you try and describe a gollywog

Hilary said...

A perfect title for a place such as this. I can see where it would be a fascinating place for kidlets but I think I'd be shooing the swarming staff away pretty soon. I love Brian's idea of teaching the kids how to make the clothes. Then they'd be anxious to visit fabric stores and their imaginations would have no limits.

Retiredandcrazy said...

This falseness gets me. We sometimes go to a local chain restaurant and it seems that evey few minutes the "Happy Birthday" music blares out and the "servers" stand around the poor victim as though it was their best friend.

ladyfi said...

Shame about the honey trap. But those darling bears do bring smiles to children's faces.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Great fun for the children no doubt, Maggie. I have never been into one of those shops though I have seen them. My grand-daughter has a monkey which came from a similar place. George is much loved and very well dressed too. A x

Life with Kaishon said...

We have never been. I suppose since I have a boy. I think he would love it there though as he loves stuffed animals more than most children : )

I am glad the sales girl was friendly and kind. It is good she could do her job even though it was annoying to you, and of course you are right, they are all hoping for a large sale.

What a fun thing to do for your grandaughter! : ) I am wishing her a happy Birthday one month in advance.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Such a lovely bear!!! But I'm with you...I do not like over-attentive shop assistants...I'm reserved. And like to go my quiet way!! However, I think your grand-daughter must have had the BEST birthday ever!!! You are a wonderful grandmother!! Love, Janine XO

gaelikaa said...

Sounds like a lovely shop, but those assistants would freak me out!

Casdok said...

And not a cheap honey trap!

Jinksy said...

How soul destroying. I really hate the way the 'plastic' consumer age sucks in children. It's a good job I had my kids years ago, for I'd have been labelled a mean Mum otherwise, as there's no way I'd have let them have any of that kind of stuff at all! Meany me!

Rose said...

Both my granddaughters went through this "Build-a-Bear" phase; thank goodness they're both over it now. It reminds me of when my daughters were young and Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage. I knew the oldest would be so disappointed if Santa didn't bring her one for Christmas, but by November you couldn't buy one anywhere unless you were willing to pay triple the price to someone who had hoarded a whole bunch of them. In the end, I found someone who made very realistic copies and Santa brought her that. By the time her birthday rolled around, I was able to get the "real thing." A year later, the stores couldn't get rid of their stock of Cabbage Patches:)

Nessa said...

Oh, those kinds of places sure know how to get you.

secret agent woman said...

I can sure see why kids get sucked in!

Eddie Bluelights said...

Great treats for the kids but it is all way over commercialised. Pity.
When we were kids there was nothing like this but I doubt if we suffered for it. We had a lot of home made toys, plus of course the little blue pedal car for me and the red tricycle for you. Hugs ~ Eddie