Every online retailer who did a bang-up job getting presents to their destinations by Christmas, raise your hands.
Not so fast, Best Buy.
The folks with the “Game On, Santa” ad campaign proved last week that they can’t hold a candle to the original toy delivery service. Best Buy canceled an unspecified number of online orders just a few days before Christmas — orders placed on Cyber Monday, nearly four weeks ago.
Seems like the company went a little nuts trying to match its rivals’ prices, and forgot to match their inventory too.
The result? Tons of orders placed on the biggest online shopping day of the year — I’m guessing tens of thousands of them — were “backordered” for weeks, and then canceled on Thursday. Between Twitter and the Best Buy online customer service forum, there are hundreds of truly Grinchy horror stories.
Thankfully, when Santa Claus brought my two young daughters a new XBOX Kinect, he ordered it from somewhere else. Saint Nick even took the time to hook up the game console and create avatars for both girls, plus a few for my wife and me.
Digital 3D avatars are a pretty cool consolation prize for the lack of those flying cars we were all promised 40 years ago. You can dress them up, give them glasses, style and color their hair, add freckles and even tack on some jewelry — tweaking detail after detail until your TV-screen doppelganger really looks like you.
Unless you’re a girl under 13.
Imagine Santa’s dismay two nights ago when he realized that his elves — or maybe Bill Gates — didn’t create any female avatars without boobs. Father Christmas paged through 20 screens’ worth of choices, and every female had a figure, however slight.
No one has ever accused me of being a feminist agitator. But at this moment in time, when I would very much like my 7-year-old (and her even younger sister) to remain little girls for as long as possible, it’s more than a little disturbing to go to a virtual tennis court with my daughter and see her on-screen looking like a teenager.
The XBOX Kinect is a marvel of computer engineering, instantly intuitive and already the source of valuable family bonding. My three-year-old learned to ski yesterday. Can she please do it while looking like a preschooler?
Australian parents unboxing the latest LEGO toys are having a similar crisis of early puberty this week. Instead of sticking with Star Wars- or pirate-themed toys, the company is selling its first line of girl-oriented play sets.
Which is fantastic as far as I’m concerned, even if most of the “ladyfigs” — the plastic characters — are modeled after brainless stereotypes like party girls, doggie-daycare layabouts, and beauty-shop loiterers. (There is, mercifully, one combination scientist–mechanic.)
So what’s the problem? Here come the boobs again.
WIRED noted a few weeks ago that “ladyfigs” are “slightly taller than regular minifigs, and a lot skinnier and curvier.”
That’s one way to put it.
I always thought one of the best things about LEGO was its relative androgyny. The little people were as boxy as 1980-era Volvos, and the blocks’ primary colors actually made it hard for toy stores to decide whether to sell them alongside footballs or ballet costumes.
So why break the mold now and sexualize LEGO? What’s next? A LEGO General Grievous or Jack Sparrow sporting a suspicious bulge?
Personally, I think most girls will be just fine building things with the original blank-slate LEGO blocks, but many parents will rush to buy the new stuff. The girls probably won’t care. The boys, of course, will secretly whisper, “She’s got booooobs.”
Honorable mention for the week goes to the two knuckleheads, soon to be inmates 552436 and 552437, who started a scuffle outside the Staten Island Mall Thursday night over — wait for it — a place in line to buy the latest Air Jordan sneakers.
At least 1,000 people showed up to buy the shoes when they first hit store shelves. Most of them walked away empty-handed. Another 2,000 tried to buy the $180 sneakers at a suburban Seattle mall. After a hockey game broke out, cops reached for their pepper spray.
With all these people prepared to shell out that kind of money to buy sneakers, it’s getting harder to buy class-warfare arguments about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
And besides, those shoes are going to be available on Zappos and NikeStore by the time you read this.
Let’s hope they haven’t been studying at the feet of Best Buy’s inventory gurus.
David is The Daily Caller’s executive editor. Follow him on Twitter