Remember when your little one lost their precious teddy bear or blankie – oh how I hate that word – that day in the park and how there were tears at bedtime that seemed like they would never stop? You spent all the next day combing that park to no avail and there were tears the following bedtime too until eventually you managed to locate an exact replacement of said teddy/blankie and smear it in enough of your baby’s smell so they wouldn’t notice the difference. Oh the trauma.
Well, thanks to some bright spark such a scenario may just be a thing of the past. Introducing Return My Ted where for a one-off payment of £12.95 you can purchase a tag with an unique ID number that you then register on the website so if your child’s beloved toy/blankie does get lost somewhere, then whoever finds it can return it free of charge to Return My Ted, who will then send it back to you. Quite how you are meant to explain this concept to a wailing toddler in the meantime escapes me, but there you go.
You can imagine what I made of this service when I received an email about it. On the one hand, it is a genius idea that will have numerous anxious parents rushing to sign up. On the other hand, well, it could just be the most heavily disguised insurance scam ever.
First of all, most kids have a few favourite toys. Are we supposed to register them all? At £12.95, it cost me less to register my dog in the event of her getting lost, though admittedly that fee doesn’t include posting her back. She’s a Newfoundland and it would be a bit of a struggle. Also she humiliated the wife no end with her antics in our village the other day and were she to ever be mislaid, it would be more a cause of celebration.
Second of all, the service only works if a) someone actually finds the teddy/blankie and b) if that someone can have their heartstrings pulled enough to actually be bothered to go on the website, fill in their details so they can be sent a freepost mail bag in which to return it. But then you’ve got to remember to take it to a post box and, oh, if it was me, the poor child would be in college before they got their toy back.
Thirdly, kids have short attention spans. By the time the toy is found, sent to Return My Ted and sent back to you, your toddler will have moved onto another favourite plaything. You would have encouraged them to do so for your own sanity. Chances are they’ll see the returned toy and throw it to one side.
Or maybe, just maybe, I am being a tad too cynical here. Maybe I am forgetting just what it is like to be a parent of a toddler who is distraught at losing their cherished ted. Hang on a second, let me try and recall a time when surely this must have happened to one of my two… No, sorry, I can’t.
And if I could, well, isn’t it just a lesson in life that they have to learn, no matter how young they are. They lose something, they have to get over it and try and be more careful looking after something next time. Admittedly an equally difficult concept to convey to a toddler, but a considerably cheaper one.
I accept trends change and what I think of as a waste of money does actually appeal to a new generation of parents immensely. The other day someone put up a Facebook appeal asking if anyone had a Bumbo for sale. What’s a Bumbo, I thought. When I discovered that it’s a seat that you can plonk a baby in to help them sit up and see what’s going on around them, I just thought well surely, after the initial two minutes of joy at the novelty of it all, they’ll get bored and cry anyway. Thirty five quid wasted and more useless junk clogging up the house. Then again, what do I know?
So for those of you who think Return My Ted is a great idea, go to their website and buy up these specially-printed £12.95 tags to your heart’s content. But please, if you do happen to find a 65kg dog roaming about your street, don’t feel obliged to send her back.