I recently added a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy to the Black Market Antiques inventory. My initial thought was that the photographers should probably be taking pictures of, well, better things. But in doing the listing it brought back memories from my childhood (shows my age, or the lack thereof).
The Happy Meal toy in question was a Tamagotchi style keychain. I remember seeing the McDonald’s commercial on TV advertising the toy. Caught up in my own naivity and blinded by the overacting of the children on the commercial playing gleefully with their Tamagotchi Happy Meal toys, I wrongly assumed that by my parents purchasing a $2.99 I would get a real live Tamagotchi virtual pet. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment before my father was even out of the McDonald’s drive-thru on our next trip to McDonald’s. What I got as my “prize” was a crappy “Tamagotchi style” licensed keychain.
Not a real Tamagotchi, but it looked like one in the commercial.
I expressed my extreme disappointment with what I viewed as an obviously dishonest marketing campaign and vowed to boycott McDonald’s forever, as long as my parents would stop taking us there… My rant was cut short by my dad telling me to shut up and eat my food.
I never did get a real Tamagotchi, but the next Christmas I did get a digital dog virtual pet – a less expensive knock-off toy that carried with it an anticipation equal to that day in the McDonald’s drive through. By that time I had heard my classmate’s tales of their “stupid Tamagotchis,” but I did not let their tales discourage my efforts, and I chalked their complaints up to them being bad Tamagotchi-parents.
Despite following the instructions and meticulously devoting every waking hour to my virtual puppy, I had killed him four times before New Year’s Day. The stupid thing kept begging for food and refusing to take naps. I’d push the buttons to make his bed appear, and he’d be inside it and appear to sleep for just long enough for me to start playing with other toys. Then he’d be beeping at me within moments begging for food, which you had to give him or he’d get unhappy and sick. After the fourth overeating death, I never played with the toy again.
ADMIN Note: Today Sarah has a healthy normal-weight 3 year old boy that she has yet to kill even once, despite his constant requests for food and refusal to take naps.