Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Breaking Bad Manners in social media

What is it about social media that makes people think it is okay to be rude?  Just disagreeing with someone’s opinion does not automatically make them “ignorant” or “an idiot” as I was accused of being today. 

I shared my opinion that a ‘Breaking Bad’ Action Figure is not an appropriate children’s toy and that I felt Toys R Us should not be selling that item.  Immediately I was blasted with insults from random strangers who were so busy being angry with me (and people like me) that I doubt that they even considered what I was saying. 

Despite my best attempt to clarify my point of view, I was told I should be riding a ‘little yellow bus’ because I was obviously too stupid to understand. 

At the risk of once again incurring the wrath of the angry social media gods, I stand by my opinion, I do not think Toys R Us should be selling this item and here is why;

First – while it is absolutely true that it is a parent’s responsibility to choose whether or not a toy is appropriate, the inclusion of this particular toy, and the name ‘action figure’ can be misleading.  I see 'action figures' as actual toys that kids play with. Had this item been called a figurine or collectable it would have sounded more like a product for an adult toy collector.

Second – Toys R Us is specifically geared to children.  There are many shops that cater to adult collectors of toys but my first impression of Toys R Us is that it is a children's toy store, so a character carrying a gun and a bag of meth doesn't really sound like something for kids. According to the Toys R Us Company visions and values "At Toys“R”Us®, we love kids! Since the company’s founding more than 65 years ago, kids have been central to who we are and what we do. We approach our business operations with responsibility and integrity, understanding the trust parents place in us to do the right thing and act as a reliable partner as they navigate the various stages of parenthood. " Toys R Us has marketed itself as a company dedicated to kids and in their own words,  "keeping kids safe". I don't see how a company with these clearly stated values would choose to sell a product like that.  As a consumer I have a right to buy or not buy the product, and ultimately that is the best way to express my opinion, but I question the hypocrisy of a company going against their own stated values.  

I personally applaud CVS for their decision to no longer sell cigarettes, even though this would lead to a short-term drop in revenues.  According to CVS “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is simply the right thing to do for the good of our customers and our company. The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose – helping people on their path to better health.”

I get my prescriptions filled at Walgreens and I can’t help but question their choice to continue selling cigarettes when their company motto is ‘at the corner of happy and healthy’ and I simply don’t see where cigarettes fit in to that motto.  I am fairly sure the same folks who hurled insults about my opinion of the Breaking Bad toy would also be angry at me for even suggesting that Walgreens is being hypocritical to their stated mission “To be the first choice in health and daily living... owning the strategic territory of "well" by choosing to sell cigarettes. 

I know that Breaking Bad is a great show, with loads of devoted fans who are sad to see it end, but I still firmly believe it is NOT appropriate for a children's toy store.  I might be asking for way too much here, but I think companies should show some integrity and actually be true to their stated mission and values.  Of course I would also like that from elected political leaders too, so I guess I am incredibly naive.  

1 comment:

  1. to read the Toy R Us company values for yourself- here is a link http://www.toysrusinc.com/about-us/vision-values/