Thursday, April 25, 2013

Air Rangers: An Epic Fail

Both Henry and Georgia got flying sharks for Christmas.  Yes, I am well aware that it is now April and I am still writing about Christmas presents.  While most of the other presents have been played with, used up or worn down, the Air Rangers remained neatly in their boxes, unused and unloved.  

And that is because when we first opened the boxes and read the first instruction, we hastily assembled the whole kit and caboodle back into the box and shut the lid quickly.  The Air Ranger was obviously for another day.

What was that dreaded first instruction?  I'm paraphrasing, but it went something like "Step One:  go to a nearby party-store and pay to have the sharks inflated with helium.  Carefully and without letting go of the string, put the two huge sharks into your car and drive home with them exploding in the trunk."

Who has the time to go to a local party store and fill up balloons?  Not us, certainly.

And so the remote-controlled, flying sharks lay sadly in their boxes until April vacation when I gave into the Georgia's incessant nagging and brought the balloons to IParty to be inflated.  It was a much bigger deal than even I expected.

Those sharks (although it's hard to tell from the photo) are HUGE.  HUGE!  Each was 4 feet long and hard to manage once the helium was inside.  And because of their size, each shark cost $12 to inflate.  $24!!  

And then we got home and took out the instructions and...

Good gracious - it was like trying to read ancient runes.  I've got a college degree and I could barely understand one word.  From what I could tell, we were supposed to use thin, double-sided stickers to hold heavy plastic pieces to the body of the balloon.

... thin, double-sided stickers that barely stuck to my finger when I pulled them off the sheet.

What's more, the helium and the large, awkward shape of the shark made holding it still long enough for the stickers to adher was next to impossible.  How could these manufacturors claim that the stickers would hold heavy plastic pieces, upside down, from the bottom of a balloon?!?

I read and re-read the instructions hundreds of times.  There had to be something I was missing.

And actually, there were lots of things missing.  Georgia's kit was missing the U-shaped stickers and Henry's kit was missing the rectangular stickers.  Both kits came with instructions for a clownfish, but we had sharks.  

We all wanted to get to the remote-control flying shark part and it was taking hours to get past step 2.

What the heck?

We all read the instructions multiple times, we tried multiple different configurations but there was no way those stickers were going to hold up the control mechanism needed to steer the shark.

We gave up.  I told the children that maybe Gordy would be able to figure the instructions out when he got home but if not, at least we had some pretty fun shark ballooons with which to play.

This thought was not a comfort.  Twelve and ten year olds are not as enthused by mylar balloons as they were when they were three.

Gordy spent about 5 minutes reading the instructions that night before he threw them down with disgust.  "There's no way that's going to work,"  he said.

And so now we have shark balloons floating around our house.

It's like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in my kitchen.

Only smaller.

1 comment:

Angie said...

How disappointing. I'd be writing a strongly worded letter to that company!

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