Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Toys 'R Us, Breaking Bad and an Parent's Ignorance

Most of my posts here are review related, sharing my thoughts and opinions on toys, comics, video games, etc. I rarely use this outlet to share my opinion on current events, but I had to say something here.

A Florida mom has recently taken to and launched a petition after seeing Breaking Bad action figures for sale at her local Toys 'R Us. She claims the toys are unfit for children and thinks they have no place in the store.

Toys 'R Us told NBC News that "the product packaging clearly notes that the items are intended for ages 15 and up" and "are located in the adult action figure area of our stores."

Now as an avid shopper of TRU I can say that I've seen these Breaking Bad figures. I thought nothing of them as they are usually displayed alongside of horror movie, video game and other collectibles that are aimed at adults. Being a parent myself of course I'd never buy these for my children. If my daughters are with me shopping at TRU, this is usually the one aisle that I skip. Even if I'm shopping alone I usually skip this aisle as most of these types of figures I don't collect.

What really gets me is (some) parents as well as the media in general just can't accept that some adults actually collect action figures and such. They don't understand that adults without kids shop at TRU just as much (if not more) than parents with kids.

The Today Show recently had a short discussion on this topic and as much as I love Matt, Al and the rest of the cast, they too seem blind to the fact that these aren't marketed towards kids! Hoda's comment about seeing the figures, excuse me dolls, alongside "Thomas the truck" just shows her ignorance.

I know parents are trying to safeguard their children from certain things in this world, and I applaud those parents. There are just as many parents on the opposite end of the spectrum that don't seem to give a rip about what their children partake. However the ignorance I'm referring to is the thought that just because something is called or labeled a toy or an action figure then its meant for kids.

I see this same parental ignorance movies, television, music, books (manga, comics) and especially video games. Just because it's animated or looks cartoon-ish doesn't mean its for kids or marketed for kids people!

So what is TRU supposed to do now? Pull everything that a certain segment of the parental population disagrees with? What about all of the Mature rated video games TRU sells? Why isn't this Florida mom up in arms that her children saw a M rated video game alongside the newest Mario Bros. game?

Walmart stores also carry these Breaking Bad figures. Is Walmart going to follow suit and remove them? Or is Walmart too big to worry about a few thousand signatures?

TRU is already hurting thanks to kids not having that traditional play pattern that you or I may have had growing up. Toy companies are having to compete with technology and gadgets now. It also seems that kids just don't have the same level of imagination as kids once did. I believe this is one of the reasons why toy companies are started marketing certain items towards adults. These companies understand there is a whole market of adult collectors and they are more than willing to open up their wallets and spend money on collectibles such as Breaking Bad figures.

I'm not making an argument for these Breaking Bad figures. I'm not saying that a figure with a bag of Crystal Meth is cool. I'm just saying these figures along with plenty of others have every right to be on retail shelves as do Transformers and Barbies. Parents, if you don't like it or think it's appropriate for your children, then keep on walking.

So to counter balance this petition to have TRU stores remove these adult collectibles, here is a petition to keep them on shelves...or at least bring them back as it appears some stores have already started to remove them.

As a toy collecting, video game playing, comic book reading parent I try to be as level headed as possible. While the majority of my interests aren't controversial, I do make sure that my children aren't reading (or watching) The Walking Dead or that I'm playing a shooter like Halo when they are around. I try to practice something called Common Sense. More parents ought to try it.


  1. Common sense goes a long way. That's one of the first things I tell my students each and every school year.

  2. People like this strain my patience. Everyone is offended by something nowadays. I remember back in the '90's when McFarlane Toys was going to release the Marv in Electric Chair figure and a group formed to have it cancelled. The only reason that I knew about it was that a woman I worked with was part of the group. Her boyfriend was on death row and she and her group believed that a toy showing someone getting electrocuted was insensitive to those on death row. When I mentioned how it was insensitive of her boyfriend to murder a dude, she didn't seem to understand where I was coming from. As far as this being an adult collectible - it really shouldn't matter. If you're being a parent, you should be able to decide what's right and wrong for your child. It's called being a parent.

  3. Its been refreshing talking to others and to see that (at least in my family and circle of friends) that this Florida mom is in the minority and not the majority. As Fuji well summed it up, some common sense goes a long way.