Author: Chian Kee | Date: 12 September 2014 | Please Comment!

One of the things I love about certain brands of dog food is that they’re manufactured with food colouring reminiscent of meat and vegetables when dogs are mostly colour blind. The reason for this is obvious – dogs don’t choose dog food, parents choose dog food.  So because people are trained to think that certain colours relate to “healthy” or “fresh” food, they like their dogs eating those colours.  I call this the Supermarket Dog Food effect (all rights reserved). Incidentally,  the opposite is true for children’s cereal, which is coloured all sorts of colours that aren’t naturally occurring in cereals – because parents don’t choose cereals, kids nag until parents buy the cereal they want.

That said, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the two anyway.

As babies haven’t yet learnt the Art of Nag yet, parents remain in control of purchasing decisions, guided only by the top related result on Google and parental guilt over the sparseness of the nursery.  Because of this, you see the Supermarket Dog Food effect everywhere when shopping for baby products.  Sometimes this is justified – for example, babies couldn’t care less whether or not their onesie has cute ears or a clever, edgy slogan.  Those things are purely for the amusement of proximate adults – and that’s fine as long as it’s just things like ears and slogans that don’t detract from the basic functionality of the onesie.   If you’re buying onesies with things that somehow do compromise their functionality, just for the LOLs, I suggest you hand in your parenting licence right now.

However, there are times when the Supermarket Dog Food effect completely undermines the entire purpose of the product.  Nowhere has this been more evident to me than baby mobiles.

Before you get too excited, I don’t mean a “babymobile” in the sense of the batmobile or the popemobile, although that would be awesome, I mean those things that you hang over a cot so your kid has something more interesting to look at than a blank plaster ceiling.  Not wanting to settle for the usual stars and teddies fare, I swiftly found myself trawling those strange parts of eBay and Etsy that harbour gems like the felted Star Wars mobile.  That’s great, I thought, because you’re never too young to be initiated into geekdom.


However, just before I whipped out my credit card to pay the $500 required to secure this investment into my son’s future wedgies, I stopped myself and realised that only an adult standing next to the cot would actually be able to enjoy this rendition of an unshaven Yoda in a fur coat.  From the baby’s point of view, this would merely be an ambitious felt reimagining of Yoda’s feet (coupled with the likely indistinguishable undersides of iconic space craft from a galaxy far, far away).  In other words, from a baby’s-eye-view, there would be no difference between this finely crafted specimen and random balls of misshapen felt. Supermarket Dog Food.

I spent the next little while searching for a mobile that might actually look interesting from below, but most of them didn’t even bother to show what the undersides of the mobiles looked like.  Some even included two dimensional cutouts that would have been next to invisible from the bottom.

So alas, little Winston is still mobile-less, which is probably just as well because now that he knows how to roll he prefers to sleep on his tummy anyway.

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