Wednesday, July 6, 2011

OTT - Picnic style

The US is a country where companies make products to cater for every whim, fancy, and paranoia. Something for everyone.

Whether it's advertised on TV, something I see in a store, or witness in use - I realised today that I've been mentally taking note whenever I see something that seems - to me - over the top, excessive, or just plain silly.

I'm sure it's not just Americans who are easily sold on useless items. There are products which I know are also bought by Brits and fellow Australians - but there are definitely times when I see something, shake my head, and think to myself "Only in America..." Quite often these products are baby/child related - because I guess that's my life at the moment, and where my focus is much of the time.

Anyhow, I thought it might be fun to introduce a semi-regular "OTT" segment here, sharing what I consider to be Over. The. Top.

* * *

Today's feature, itself, is not silly. I'm sure it'd be a brilliant thing to include on a camping trip if you have a baby - or even used for a long day outdoors.

It's more the context that I saw this being used in today.

LA is in the midst of some very hot weather, so the park that I took the Faery and Miss Pie to this morning is a favourite, due to the shade provided by large maple and willow trees. The Faery enjoys chasing butterflies here.

When we arrived, I noticed a mothers group setting up a picnic under a sprawling maple tree. It was a beautifully shady spot. Next to their rugs, was this (with a small baby asleep inside):

(photo source)
The photo doesn't really do justice. Basically, it was a small, zipped up room for the baby. A mini tent.

The baby inside would have been no more than a month or two old - immobile.

Under a large shady tree.

In a suburban Californian park, without snakes or deadly spiders (compared to Australian critters).

Maybe it's just me... but I always found a picnic rug, or pram, perfectly fine for newborn naps. My brain hurt just imagining trying to set this thing up - just for a morning nap at the park. I'm lazy like that.

But then, I've always gone for the minimum of trappings where baby products are concerned. No sterilizers, no bath thermometers, no bath seats, no air purifiers - just common sense.

Listen to me - don't I know I sound like one of those judgemental know-it-alls? I'm not actually having a go at what parents choose to buy. Each to their own. Everyone wants to feel that their child is safe, and that's a good thing.

I just get annoyed at corporations which churn out so much unnecessary crap, and passive-aggressively market their products to prey on new parents' fears. I choose not to give my money to any company that implies I'm a negligent, uncaring parent if I don't buy their product. I have a low tolerance for that sort of thing.

Anyhow. I'll step down off my soap box. My future OTT posts will be much shorter affairs, I promise.


  1. Baby products - a black hole for cash. And so many of them unnecessary, expensive and preying on anxieties that people have (and some they didn't know they had until they saw the ad for whatever it was).

    Thank God I'm past all that. Now to flog off some of this junk on eBay ...

  2. Ha! Yes, a black hole for cash is a great description - love it.

  3. I had to laugh! Like you said, not like they're out in an area with dangerous creepy crawlies, or under the bright hot sun!

  4. I know, Kate! It seemed like such a safe place for a bub to nap anyway... unless hawks are known to swoop down, mistaking babies for small furry mammals?