Surprise, LOL! Ha. Barf.

She had a birthday party to get to. And I had about two hours’ notice. She knew just what she had hoped to get the little girl – which, after hearing and seeing online, I immediately began a full-court press to talk her out of, because it was weird and lame and a waste of money and plastic.

And while I’m grateful to Target for existing and luring me away from Wal-Mart this day, I am now hoping to unsee what is happening in the toy section. And, I can’t. I’ve tried for a few hours.

The Target toy section, once full of Barbies and Hot Wheels and Nerf guns and board games, is now an unending tsunami of surprises. It’s nauseating. And confusing. And alarming.

“I’m so worried for this generation of kids.”

I was half kidding because I think I was still in shock at what I had seen. Like, delirious “what is the world coming to” kind of shock. Me and the toy section don’t really mingle that much anymore, because we both know I will only eventually throw that crap away after it sits unused for far longer than it was ever used.

But, really. Why..why is this generation of kids so hypnotized by not knowing what they’re buying? That entire sentence is so crazy counterintuitive I almost can’t take it.

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Almost exclusively surprises. And this is just one aisle.

And I know…an “Ok, Boomer” is probably on deck by the elementary-aged set right about now, even though I’m not even close to a Boomer and they don’t even know what that insult means and they probably don’t read blogs because they’re busy watching YouTubers unwrap stuff. But I’m sure it’s coming, and when it does come, I’ll correct it to “Ok, GenXer.”

Fair. We’re different. And on this point, I’m so so glad. I’m just worried. What does it mean that these kids crave the stimulation that comes with being surprised? Do they equally crave the let down, when they open their Cutetitos and get the lame animal – not the animal they want?

*PS – That’s an actual thing. A Cutetito. An animal wrapped in a burrito. I can’t make this stuff up.

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Horrified.

Maybe, as children of the 80s, we can’t relate because we were specific. So specific. We would never in a million years say to our parents, “Just surprise me.”

No. We needed the preemie Cabbage Patch Kid, the bald one that smelled like baby powder. We needed a specific Care Bear, a certain tape (Slippery When Wet, not New Jersey), and a designated Strawberry Shortcake doll.

Never surprise us. Never. It would crush our souls.

But these kids crave it. They crave it so much there are multiple aisles at Target dedicated to surprises they have to unwrap – which I guess would save on wrapping paper? No. Probably not. They still want to be surprised that they’re being surprised.

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What in the actual hell?

There are surprises in oversized soda cans. Surprise unicorns and poopicorns (whatever that is). There are surprise babies in eggs – like, “Surprise, you got a baby!”

That’s terrifying.

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Just like birth, before sonograms screwed the surprise. Ya?

But more terrifying? It seems the surprise is the thing, instead of the actual thing. Like, how much do they actually play with the actual thing after experiencing the surprise? Not long, I bet. And less if it’s a shit Cutetito and not the cute Cutetito.

Cutetito. I can’t stop saying that. Or seeing the burrito. It’s too much.

I just fear that this bizarro fad is a tangible reflection of our instant-gratification culture, fueled by social media, Amazon and who the hell else knows – not me, because I’m a lame GenXer.

A lame GenXer who values a dollar (sounding Boomer-ish here, I know) and can’t imagine ever a circumstance where I’d want to use the money I earned for my time to pay for something when I didn’t know what I was getting.

That’s just nuts.