I've got a holiday shopping gripe, but it has nothing to do with Fran Yates or her store, Rim Country Kids, the premiere Payson place to shop for toys.
Yes, Yates stocks NEARLY every gift item one could possibly imagine handing over to a pre-pubescent on Christmas morning.
And yes, Rim Country Kids is the place to pick up what's shaping up as the hottest specialty toy of the season: a back-to-the-'60s line of dolls called The Groovy Girls and a huge, ever-growing assortment of accessories that include clothes, furniture, pets, scooters, luggage, you name it.
And yes, Yates maintains a healthy stock of boy-grabbers, too, starting with another retro item: The original, old-fashioned Erector sets, which have slipped back in vogue, as well as their modern-day counterpart, Robotix kits, which allow kids to build their own operational robots.
All of that is well and good. But here's what's bugging me. There are dozens of fun and PRACTICAL kiddie gifts I keep waiting in vain for somebody to invent. And believe me, they'll be BIG sellers.
For example, let me point out a few items from "Incredibly Big Mike's Catalog of Christmas Gifts for Children and Parents That Don't Exist But Really, Really Should" ...
MUSICAL DIAPER ALARM. Is baby wet? Messy? Eliminate the guesswork with this computerized, fully electric time-saver. Child's status is signaled automatically by the tunes "Sea of Love," "Big Muddy" and "River Deep, Mountain High." Includes AC/DC and automobile adapters.
BABY DENTURES. After nine long months in the womb and the trauma of birth, your newest family member has rally worked up an appetite! So don't say "Welcome to my world" with a bottle of bland, lukewarm baby formula. A pair of these sturdy, skid-proof choppers will allow your ravenous infant to chow down on everything from saltwater taffy and JuJuBes to corn on the cob and T-bone steaks! Includes Velcro attachments.
TASTEE BLANKEE. It's 2 a.m. Your baby is screaming for a middle-of-the-night snack. What do you do? Well, you can roll over and return to dreamland if you're among the millions of well-rested parents who've discovered this machine-woven, vitamin-fortified taste treat! It's warm, comfy and simply scrumptious! Flavors: Jumbo Jack, Spaghetti-Oh's and Rainbow Slurpee.
KIDDIE FEEDBAG. Busy moms and dads can now take the mess and frustration out of mealtime. Hold a full three courses and, after dinner, canvas bag may be worn over the youngster's head until you get around to hosing the lasagna off his face. Performs triple-duty for bulimic children. Washable.
BABY BOTTLE GUM BLACKENER. Everyone loves a good practical joke. Why shouldn't Baby get in on the fun as well? At feeding time, slip this one-of-a-kind novelty item to your unsuspecting cherub ... and get ready for gut-busting hilarity! Mildly toxic.
SCOOPER-DOOPER BABY SCOOPER. The choice is yours. You can spend a mint on disposable diapers; you can waste precious hours of life washing, boiling and ironing cloth diapers; or you can let your toddlers run buck nekkid and use this patented, veterinarian-approved shovel to clean up their booboos in seconds ... when you darned well feel like it! Three scoop sizes: Small, medium and ill.
RAT RUG. Fed up with insensitive louts who refer to your hairless newborn as Cueball, Chrome Dome or Mayor Schum? Slap one of these thick, stylish toupees on Li'l Skinhead and the wise guys will shut up but fast! Guaranteed to stay put and look good during hurricanes, flash floods, earthquakes and tantrums. Colors: Black, blond, brunette, redhead and Silver Fox (recommended for extra-wrinkly babies). Machine-washable, stain-resistant, edible.
PREGNANCY TRAINING POUCH. Designed especially for women who want to know in advance if they'd enjoy the late stages of pregnancy, this bulky, strap-on cement pouch affords valuable practice. Wearer can experience lifelike fetal movement when a small, angry monkey (optional) is placed in the handy zip top. Also useful for expectant fathers and the criminally insane.
THREE "LAZY" GOLDFISH. Kids love goldfish. But the sight of their once-lively pets floating at the top of the aquarium can be an emotionally scarring experience. That's why our Three "Lazy" Goldfish Sleepy, Snoozey and Dozey are so popular. They're dead when we ship them to you! Of course, your child doesn't know that. As far as he or she is concerned, these are three very lazy (and unusually tidy) goldfish! Colors: gold, off-gold, greenish gold, greenish-black, black.
ELECTRIC HAIR MOLD. Hey teens! Tired of wasting valuable telephone time
by teasing, cementing and buttressing your lifeless locks into those super sassy styles beloved by adolescent girls and French poodle owners? Well, just stick your head into this high-voltage, high-tech wonder (it works like a waffle iron) and Pizzazz! Your unruly mop will be melted and permanently molded into one of these no-muss, no-stress, virtually unbreakable coiffures: Tidal Wave, Triple-Loop Roller Coaster, Dancing Waters or Belgian Waffle.
ODORIFFIC AIR DEFRESHENER. Oh, no! Mom has cleaned your room! Gone is the warm, familiar stench of dirty gym socks, mildewed bath towels, old hair spray, cheap perfume and the half-eaten Hawaiian pizza you shoved under your bed last August. Disaster? Nah. This non-aerosol spray is the same type used by slaughterhouse owners when business is off and they don't want the competition to know. One spritz and Mom will never invade your personal space again! Available in three sinus-clearing scents: "Something's Ill," "Something's Dyin'" and "Oh, No, Something's Dead and in the Advanced Stages of Decay!"