You really can find everyone on MySpace

MySpace I feel incredibly old. I feel that my age is just a number… that should be closer to 99 than 30.

See that logo up there? The one that declares MySpace to be “a place for friends” and sounds so lovely? I think that is because “a place for blaring music, seizure-causing backgrounds, and many blinking graphics” was deemed a bit too verbose.

But the kids today, they’re all into MySpace. Or so I hear. (One of them said something about it, while I was hollering for them to get off my lawn.) And people of all ages are using MySpace to stay in touch or reconnect with long-lost pals.

I finally braved MySpace for a while because I discovered that many of the hot licensed characters available at Ty’s Toy Box have their own MySpace pages. Some are created by enthusiastic fans, some are backed by the productions themselves; all of them are another avenue to explore the shows you and your kids love.

Here’s a sampling of the pages I came across:

  • Lazy Town has 801 friends at last check. For some reason I find it hilarious that Mighty Mouse is amongst them.
  • Together Forever is associated with a popular Doodlebops fan site, and boasts 1005 friends. This is one of the more complete pages; there’s tons of information about the Doodlebops, pictures, videos, etc.
  • Avatar, the last Airbender has plenty of Avatar artwork and lists most of the show’s characters amongst its 714 friends. (That’s a rabbit hole of links to fall down, but what a fun way to pass some time.)
  • Strawberry Shortcake‘s page says she’d like to meet: “Any berry happy, berry fun, berry special, berry sweet, berry sporty, berry artistic, berry musical, & just plain berry berry friends.” I am berry, berry scared. (But my daughter loved it.) One of her 465 friends is Rainbow Brite, of course.
  • Backyardigans is a newer page, with only 22 friends so far, but who knows how it will evolve. Or if they’ll decide against the neon hearts background (hope springs eternal).

So, you know, this new-fangled MySpace thing… I guess it’s alright. Even though back in my day we had to just draw pictures of important things on the cave walls.

Wiggles news and Doodlebops sweepstakes

Regular readers know that I am all about The Funny, and indeed, that’s certainly my preference, as matters go. Just about anything will yield some humor if you poke at it long enough. But I’m going to break from my usual schtick for just a moment, today.

If you’ve been to a Wiggles concert recently, or if you’ve been following the scuttlebutt, you probably already know that Greg Page (the yellow Wiggle) has been mysteriously absent from the stage lately. There has been wild speculation about his whereabouts and the circumstances surrounding his “disappearance,” but this week an official announcement was made. Page is suffering from an as yet undiagnosed ailment which causes fatigue and bouts of fainting.

I know I speak for everyone here at Ty’s Toy Box when I extend best wishes for Greg’s speedy recovery and continued good health. (And I’m not alone; it looks like Wiggles fans are already on the case.) Get well soon, Greg!

And in more cheerful news, Cookie Jar Entertainment is so excited about the new Mattel line of Doodlebops toys here at Ty’s Toy Box, they decided to celebrate in style. Visit the official Doodlebops site every day between now and December 15th for your chance to win a trip to California to see the Doodlebops perform live!

You can enter the sweepstakes once per day, and a prize pack winner will be randomly selected each day to receive cool Doodlebops toys. The Grand Prize trip winner will be selected at the close of the contest period (see official rules here). That’s forty-five daily prizes in all, plus the big trip for four to California. That’s a lot of happy Doodlebops fans, I’d wager.

In the meantime, be sure to check out all the new toys in the Doodlebops Store, particularly the great new backpack with removable lunchbag that comes with your choice of bonus watch in either blue or pink.

The holidays are coming, and we all know ’tis the season for brightly-colored children’s entertainers. Or so our kids would have us believe.

Industry tested, mother approved

True story: Once upon a time, I bought a new television from a large electronics chain, and what should’ve been a simple purchase turned into a protracted comedy of errors spanning multiple weeks. It was, bar none, the absolute worst customer service experience I have ever had—primarily because the company in question didn’t care how inconvenient or idiotic they were being, or, indeed, how unpleasant my dealings with them had become.

In the aforementioned example, I not only told everyone I knew, but I blogged about it (several times). I work hard for my money; I want to give it to companies who appreciate my business. Bottom line: I haven’t shopped there since, and still actively campaign against others patronizing that establishment.

Another true story: Once upon a time, a great little company in Kentucky was diligently preparing for the upcoming Halloween season with all the costumes kids might want. They ordered everything they would need to be ready, and then catastrophe struck.

(Here is where we segue from “once upon a time” into “this week.”)

Ty’s took a large number of pre-orders on the extremely popular Deedee Doodlebops costume in size 3T/4T, and for the first time their supplier was unable to come through with the promised merchandise. (The actual letter can be read here in PDF format.)

Now. What’s a company to do in such a case? Well, I’d say that most retailers in this situation would just point a finger at the supplier, refund your money, and say “Sorry, not our fault.” And, sadly, as long as they remembered to say “sorry” you probably wouldn’t expect much more than that, such is the atrocious state of customer service these days.

The customers who are affected by this shortage are all receiving individual contact from Ty’s customer service representatives, but I thought it was worth noting—for all Ty’s customers—that this snafu is turning out to be a textbook example of “making the best of a bad situation.”

If you’re one of the customers missing a pre-ordered Deedee costume, Ty’s Toy Box is sorry. They are also offering three different options in an effort to help assuage the difficulty this may have created:

  • Option 1: Were you ordering large, and think perhaps your child can fit into a 2T? If so, there are still 2Ts available, and Ty’s would be happy to ship one out to you.
  • Option 2: In addition to a complete refund, Ty’s will send you a Deedee Doodle wig completely free of charge.
  • Option 3: In addition to a complete refund, you may opt to receive a Deluxe Stephanie costume absolutely free (a $39.99 value). This is an unbeatable deal if your child is a Lazytown fan!

All three options also come with an official Doodlebops photo and a coupon good for $5 off your next Ty’s Toy Box purchase of $25 or more.

It’s really unfortunate that this problem arose, but as a parent I am impressed with the care and thought Ty’s Toy Box has put into handling it. And with all due respect to the Ty’s guys (I do adore them, you know), they’re not paying me enough money to buy fake praise. I praise because they’ve earned it, because they’re the kind of company I admire. The industry has tested them and they get a big thumbs-up from this mom for their classy response.

Now. If you’re one of the affected customers and your child opts for either the Deedee wig or the Stephanie costume, feel free to send me a picture if you’d like her to appear here on the blog! After all that, I think we can use a little pink hair around here to lighten things up.

They’re bigger outside of the television

They’re the Doodlebops, they’re the Doodlebops, they’re the Doodlebops, oooohhhh yeaaaahhhhh….

And they’re on their first-ever tour in the United States. Live. Large and in charge, and bringing your toddler the kind of ecstasy that only a trio of neon-clad, hyper musicians can create. It’s the Doodlebops, but bigger! And brighter!

Of course, you know all about the Doodlebops, because you’re hip. But just in case someone out there is wondering, the Associated Press’ Samantha Critchell was kind enough to answer the most basic of questions: What’s a Doodlebop?

The Doodlebops are singing siblings ââ¬â or at least they play them on TV.

Stars of a Playhouse Disney cable TV show since spring 2005, the Canadian trio has become a favorite of the preschool set throughout the United States. The group, whose show follows them on crazy adventures and on to the concert stage, has just kicked off a national U.S. tour.

You’d think they might want to start out small, but you’d be wrong. The Doodlebops will be hitting 75 cities across the United States this tour season—a grueling schedule even for performers whose fans don’t wear diapers.

Ty’s Toy Box isn’t just bringing you hot new Doodlebops merchandise, they’re committed to going the extra mile for their customers. Which is why Ty Simpson himself went to Madison Square Garden to hang out with the colorful trio and help kick off the tour. Research, you understand.

Ty schmoozes the Doodlebops.

(I dunno… I think Ty looks a little washed out in the picture. Maybe we can get him a nice chartreuse blush….)

And here we see a shot of the actual performance:

The Doodlebops perform at Madison Square Garden,

(From that distance, they actually don’t scare me so much. Except the guy with the big head there… he still scares me. Yes, the average toddler is braver than me. Hush.)

And just in case you’re wondering if anyone else was there with Ty:

The show was sold out.

(Hey, those Doodlebops are kinda popular!)

With 75 tour stops, there’s bound to be one near you. You can check their tour schedule and start planning for your own close encounter of the Doodlebops kind.

(By the way, whether you’ll be attending the tour or not… have a Doodlebops fan at your house? A little birdie told me we might be giving away a Doodlebops prize pack here on the blog. Stay tuned for your chance to win!)

Never underestimate the power of the backpack

Your kids have been nattering on about backpacks for the new school year for weeks, most likely. I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know that The New York Daily News shares their concerns about which pack is the hippest.

Naturally, the Daily News turned to the experts; and that included one of Ty’s Toy Box‘s very own:

“Kids care about who or what is on their backpacks,” says George Stolpe, vice president of marketing for Ty’s Toy Box. “It’s a statement of who they are, what they’re interested in. It’s very personal.”

Hey, I can dig it. I certainly don’t want to carry a purse that someone else picked out for me; I can understand that my kids want to pick their own bags. They’re going to be toting them around for a minimum of 180 days, so it just stands to reason that they’re going to want something they love.

The Daily News goes on to quote Poshmom.com for some tips on how to choose the right bag, and I was okay with their suggestions right up until the last bullet:

Make sure there’s a place for everything: The backpack should have ample pockets and compartments to store everything your kid might need to carry (crayons, pencils, Game Boy, cell phone, etc.). The more places to store things, the better organized your child will be.

I’m sorry… if your kid is small enough to be carrying crayons, why in the world would he be carrying a Gameboy and a cell phone? Why, when I was a child, I had to walk uphill both ways four miles through snow— Oh. Sorry. Bit of a curmudgeon moment, there. I apologize. Ahem.

Back to the bags: The Daily News highlights the demand for character gear, deeming that Hi-5, Lazytown, and Doodlebops backpacks all warrant the “Totally Tubular” moniker. (My favorite bag at Ty’s right now is this adorable Miss Spider “Best Bug Buddies” one, but as the article points out, I don’t really get to pick anymore. I suppose my kids are a bit too old for it, but darnitall, it’s cute.)

Whichever bags your tots end up toting, make sure they can manage them comfortably. And if the kids are being particularly mouthy, might I just suggest removing the Gameboy and the cell phone and replacing them with a few rocks?

[image courtesy of Kids Care Clubs]