Toy Review: Growing Pet

Those of us on a budget, who do not buy Hatchimals, attempt to save the $99 by buying the $2 shop Growing Pet. Sometimes we say things like:

Look, Tarquin. You can get five or six of these for only $10. Think how many pets you can hatch!

We say it enthusiastically enough that even the children know we are lying, but still, since delayed gratification isn’t a child’s strong point, they buy into the bullshit line and, after the Saturday afternoon trip to Countdown to buy the evening dinner and twelve dozen beers, they traipse after you into the 1 2 3 Dollar Store, eyes filled with wonder.

They’re over here!

you yell out, a little louder than you had intended. You look at the packaging, nothing more than a small box printed with some of the most misleading information, ever.

There is no marble in this toy, anywhere.

According to this box, you will hatch a real live dinosaur, one that will grow to love Tarquin so much, one that will never leave his side. Not only that, one that (as soon as he tires of its ways) can be replaced for a mere $2. What could possibly go wrong?

This little fella LOVES a bath and can be taken to school etc

He grips it in his little hope-filled hands and you leave the store, the bottles of booze rattling temptingly in the trolley as Tarquin turns the box over and over, trying to fathom (and rightly so) how such a massive T-Rex could live inside this chicken-sized egg, made of plastic, on a shelf, in Meadowbank, Auckland.

Once home, you and he excitedly fill a drinking glass with water, rip the box open and drop the egg in, all the while you explain that at some point according to the instructions, you’ll need to fill a bathtub for the creature to live in so it can continue to grow.

Even though your child insists that dinosaurs really don’t live in water, you refuse to listen.

The very next morning little Tarquin is up early, to see the results. He rushes in to where you are sleeping, or trying to complete your morning sex rituals, and shouts

Guys! Look! It’s hatched!

He thrusts the glass into your face, and indeed, through the gel-like murk something bright green seems to have emerged from the shell, much of which has either dissolved or cracked.

Sleepily, you promise to buy a huge enclosure for the pet, reassuring Tarquin that it’s best to put the dinosaur back in the water and let it thrive even more, within the primordial sludge of the gelatinous mass in the tumbler.

Later that day a disappointed Tarquin fronts. He holds it up to you, with a small object for context. Indeed, the dinosaur is around 3cm in length and looks like nothing more than a crudely modified rhinosauros. If that.

You realise that no longer can you draw out this pathetic farce and drag your pummeled credit card out, to buy a Hatchimal, a toy that lasts one day and costs $99.

You slug back another beer, knowing that Tarquin is now happily entrenched in rampant consumerism, and it’s all your fault.

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