Sunday, November 1, 2009

Now I don't want to get off on a rant....BUT!

I saw this in the store the other day and almost fell over:

Cash is so "20th century." Use your card! This 21st-century version of Monopoly eschews the cash in favor of a debit system that keeps track of your money for you. It's a whole new twist on the age-old property trading game. Travel around the board, collect money, and punish your opponents financially as you have some good clean fun. Tokens include the Toyota Prius, New Balance Shoe, McDonald's French Fries, Labradoodle, Motorola RAZR Mobile Headset, and a Laptop Computer. As far as properties go, you've got Boston's Fenway Park, Las Vegas Blvd., Houston's Johnson Space Center, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, and Minneapolis' Mall of America. It's the same great Monopoly fun in a more modern format!

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't one of the great things about Monopoly that it teaches math skills and money handling? We play Monopoly - the original edition, sans french fry token - and the kids love it! Frogurt learned some incredible math skills from playing this. He knows how to make change, for example.

I think that we as a society have a tendency to change things that don't need to be changed. The toy industry has become more about seizing another opportunity to sell a licensed character or indirectly advertise to children when it should be about skill-building. Children learn through play - they learn how to win gracefully, lose gracefully, problem-solve, take turns, math skills (even rolling dice teaches them how to add in their head) and so much more. They don't need Dora splashed on the box to do it!

The saying is "Don't judge a book by it's cover" but packaging - not just toys but everything - is a huge industry. Packaging and image can make or break a product. How sad. What happened to what was inside the package? Isn't that what counts? Why do we always need to reinvent? Salad dressing is salad dressing, whether the bottle is round or a more trendy shape.

I guess what I am suggesting is to look past the glitz and glimmer this year. We are being more cautious with our spending so all the more reason to dig beyond the logo. Our children will follow our lead. So find a classic board game, pull it out & see if they notice that there's no debit machine. I think they will be thrilled just to spend time as a family. And they just might learn something while they're at it!


Cheri said...

If you want to dig deeper into this theme, watch The Corporation. It's a great documentary. You can probably find it at your local video rental place. And it looks like most or all of it is available on their site here: (Click on Film and then Watch Video.)

Geosomin said...

A calculator to Monopoly? A debit system? What? I thought the whole point was you learned to count and handle money. I know it's why Dad made us play it...And corporate icons replacing my favourite metal shoe? Nonononononononono.
Just no.
It's bad enough I get students in teh lab who need a calculator to do simple math. I'm with you on this rant. Not that I like Monopoly that much anymore (OK unless it's Star Wars Monopoly) but this is jsut silly.

Geosomin said...

Oh - I and agree with Cheri- the Corporation is a great film. You should check it out...