In CHICKEN SHACK, the book I am on the verge of finishing at any second, my protagonist, Wyatt Salem, is a bit of a vigilante, enacting revenge on members of the public for petty crimes like parking in a handicapped zone and minor annoyances like poorly placed trees on golf courses. He spends his life ever watchful for opportunities to put his spiteful, clever powers to use, and he does so behind the curtain of anonymity.
The whole book is a bit of wishful thinking on my part. While I won’t say that I haven’t committed any of the vigilante acts described in the book, many are ideas that circulate around in my mind but tragically remain there, locked away, deemed too risky or too cruel to attempt.
Then something like this comes along. My Cleaning Trolley, the toy version of the trolley that a janitor or hotel maid use to transport their mops, brooms, buckets and cleaning supplies.
Why anyone child would ever desire this item, and why any toy designer would think that a child would want this item is beyond me. But most enraging of all is the purple circle in the top left-hand corner of the box that reads: Girls Only.
When I first saw this picture, I assumed that the items was Photoshopped. This toy couldn’t possibly exist. But no, it’s actually available on Amazon.com for $49.99.
It’s also well reviewed, with an average rating of 4 stars and more than 20 reviews . Most parents reviewing the toy indicate that their children love it, but this is hardly reason to purchase an item like this for your child. Your kid would probably love a monkey, too, but most people will refrain from that purchase, regardless of how often little Sally insists that chimpanzees make great pets when they are not throwing feces.
So now I find myself in the position of my protagonist, desperately wanting to enact revenge upon a company (PlayGo) that is sending a message to my daughter that cleaning supplies and janitorial ambitions are restricted to females.
What is a father to do?
My protagonist tends to deal in embarrassment and shame, and occasionally he’ll take action that others would take themselves if they were more daring, but PlayGo is a large toy company located in Hong Kong. I’m not sure what I can do.
If only Wyatt were here.