Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Big Letdown

When I was a kid, I saw amazing commercials for a Star Trek Phaser, that could shoot out beams of light! It amazed me that this device could shoot out beams that looked just like the devices I'd seen in the television show.

I decided to convince my brother to go buy a couple with me. We gathered together what little cash we had, and went to the store with my father, picked up a couple of them, and went to the cashier to purchase them.

The cashier told us the amount they cost, and we were quite surprised - they'd apparently been mislabeled on the shelf, and really cost nearly twice as much as we'd expected (either that or my label-reading skills weren't very good). So we went home empty-handed.

Waiting only made us want them more, so a few weeks later, we decided to get them after all - the commercials had been very convincing. We brought home our new phasers, and excitedly put in the batteries.

(As an aside, this is why the story of Calvin and Hobbes and the propeller beanie that he waited for for months became one of my favorites: Calvin and Hobbes)

It quickly became clear that these toys we had bought were little more than glorified flashlights. We were quite disappointed that the beams of light depicted in the commercial were completely impossible to reproduce with the actual toy. This surprised me quite a bit. Up until this point, I'm not sure it had occurred to me that the basic features of an item could be so exaggerated in a commercial.

These toys remained at the bottom of the toy box, except when the power went out.

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