“Mass demand has been created almost entirely through the development of advertising.”
— Calvin Coolidge
With the exception of supply and demand, I don’t guess things have changed all that much from when I was in school when it comes to the need for a really cool lunchbox.
Back in the day, no one was cool unless they were toting Dukes of Hazzard, Star Wars or Indiana Jones. It had to be metal, and the thermos was a must.
In fact, my mom would buy the knock-off Coca-Cola – you know, the kind with much less fizz – and fill my thermos with it. That way, there was no carbonation to cause a mess.
She would also bake me a personal pizza for me to take to school until I was in at least third grade. Geez I sound like a spoiled brat…but I ate well at lunch.
My point is, back then it was all about the lunch box. There was no need to bring any plastic Garfield noise up in our lunchroom. No need to front like that.
As I grew older, the styles changed, but the materialism didn’t. In high school, only Jansport backpacks would do. Somewhere in between, there was a short-lived Trapper Keeper phase, but all this is another column for another day.
Alas, however, it seems the times have changed, but the materialism is apparently alive and well.
Take, for example, the ongoing quest for the Frozen-themed backpack in the Felkins home. Our soon-to-be first grader, Bryley, already owns the Frozen-themed lunchbox, but the store that carries said lunchbox and said backpack was all sold out of backpacks on Wednesday.
As I left to go to work Thursday, my wife was on the phone with the backpack store, persistently asking if a new shipment had arrived. It’s even come down to code talking between the store clerk who answered the phone and my wife.
“We don’t have any today, but try back tomorrow,” the clerk said, lowering her voice to just above a whisper. “Yes, make sure to call right at this time tomorrow.”
It’s as if she shot a wink right through the phone.
Apparently not since Tickle-Me Elmo or – I know I’m dating myself here – Cabbage Patch Kids have we had such high demand on a product marketed for children.
But come on. Have you seen Frozen? I mean, who hasn’t seen Frozen?
It certainly is captivating. And that song…I could listen to my 6-year-old daughter sing “Let It Go” until she completely lost her voice. Sure, it’s off tune and she butchers the high notes. It doesn’t make it any less precious in dad’s eyes.
And I certainly don’t remember any episode of the Dukes of Hazzard any better. Well maybe the one where everyone thinks Bo and Luke are dead, only they show up at their own wake and scare the devil out of ole Boss Hogg. That one was a classic.
Sure, we are going to extremes to find this backpack. But I don’t see it as any different than what my mom did with my own lunchbox, pizzas or flat Chek cola.
In any case, the quest continues for the Frozen backpack, and I doubt anyone around here’s going to let it go anytime soon. At least we do have in our possession one Frozen lunchbox. And in my day, my first grader would have been just fine.
Unfortunately just fine just isn’t going to cut it this time around.
Jared Felkins is The Democrat’s director of content. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins.