Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trouble in Trash Pack land

There is trouble in trash pack land.

A few months ago Alex had some spare pocket money and he decided to purchase a packet of toys known as The Trash Pack. If you’re not familiar with them, these tiny squishy characters resemble a motley crew of assorted rubbish. Dirty socks, old computers, there is even an ant holding a piece of what looks like poo. Their appeal to the six-to-seven-year-old demographic is obvious. Small, detailed, and disgusting. And actually somewhat adorable. You can get all sorts of accoutrements such as the garbage truck, street sweeper and affectionately named “scum drum.” There are endless trashies to collect and swap – a marketer’s dream. As a parent, I approve of the non-violent aspect – I’m quite happy to give the existential minefield of Star Wars a miss for now.

Alex had recognised these toys from a packet he had from Australia, most of which, admittedly, were now lost. His interest was renewed with a vengeance, however, and he became duly obsessed, as is his wont. It seemed his fervour was contagious, and quite quickly the trash pack became the latest craze in Grade One. Kids (including Alex) were hosting trash pack themed birthday parties left and right. All was well with the world.

Then, yesterday, it became clear that the honeymoon was over. Out of the blue, an email was sent to the entire school containing this picture.

That says it all really. Trashies are now persona non grata at the elementary school. Apparently they were causing too many arguments and distractions. 

My first thought was, uh oh, this is all because of the toy Alex introduced to the school. 

My second thought was, if this was all because of the toy Alex brought to the school, couldn’t they have just sent a note home to Grade One? I guess they wanted to make sure every one got the message, without singling any one out. 

My third thought was, oh well, I can understand their viewpoint. Maybe some kids haven’t got as many trashies and are feeling left out.

My fourth thought was, hang on, if they ban trashies, something else will just pop up to take its place. Last year it was Bey Blades and before that Pokemon cards. If they ban trashies then they really should issue a blanket ban on any and all toys being brought from home. That would be more consistent.

Alex took it pretty well. He had been worded up by the teacher at school. He did ask me, however, why the school would ban them when any kid could just buy a packed of 5 from the shop for $6 and then be included in the game. And he would have lent his trashies out to play with until the end of recess if some one didn’t have any.

I have since found out that Trashies were invented by an Aussie company (clearly intended for the American market since no self-respecting Australian would use the word “trash”). Typically, the Aussies are using an Aussie product to create trouble in Pleasantville.

My final thoughts are this. If something takes the place of the trashies and Alex wants in, and I have to either say no or go and buy more expensive toys, I’ll have to suggest to the principal that maybe it would be better to just ban all toys at school. Also, although I can see the school’s reasoning, the rule still seems a little fascist to me. Surely there are lots of ups and downs in school life, and negotiating being a part of a group, leaving your toys in your bag during class, etc, are part of the deal.

Have the trashies been made into scapegoats?


  1. I think the choice of name could possibly be because naming them after junk might have other connotations, and calling them rubbishies just doesn't roll off the tongue...

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  3. My son had trashies and I got rid of them. TOO. MANY. TOYS. Wasn't quite sure of the point of them.

    But we back into beyblades. We haven't had any trouble at school because my kids go to a catholic school in a 'comfortable' area where I suppose there isn't really a divide between the have and have nots.

    I'm not sure what the answer is. Yes, school is meant to be a trial run for the ups and downs of the real world but there is that element of protecting vulnerable ones while teaching others some consideration.

    Your Alex sounds lovely offering to share his.

    Love & stuff
    Mrs M

    1. Hmmm yes it's not an economic issue at our school either, but just because parents can afford to buy a certain toy doesn't mean they will I guess. And it seems like due to the size of the things they were too easy to fit into little pockets and be produced during class, causing distractions.

      I think maybe the in-class issue is what the teachers are looking at rather than anything that happens on the playground. I take the point, but it just seems such a shame when there are so many benefits to this toy IMO.

      Thanks for your comment Maria!