Toy Assembly Gone Wrong

The warnings have already started weeks ago: begin your holiday shopping now. Shipping delays and supply chain issues have moved holiday shopping up, yet again. 

This anxiety induced feeling has me reliving this season seven years ago. At the time, I was doing PR for educational companies or organizations, many of whom manufactured toys, games and puzzles that fostered learning for children.

The Toy Insider Mom —Laurie Schacht — who always has the scoop on the best toys gave me a call. She was doing an upcoming segment on NBC4 Washington and wanted to feature my client. There’s nothing like live TV to make my stomach flip. 

NBC in all it’s glory on a beautiful morning in October 2014.

A few days before the tapping, my boss put together one awesome toy design with our client’s bright-colored magnetic toys that would have even made Kevin McAllister in “Home Alone” proud. However, when I attempted to recreate the design, I struggled. We took photos of the original design. Still struggled. I could not get the metallic ball to successfully go through the maze and shoot out in all it’s glory. Playing with toys at work was turning out more stressful than I’d expected.

Thankfully and cursedly the tapping was on a Monday, so I’d have the entire weekend to practice recreating the design quickly. So I practiced. Then practiced some more. I got quicker at the assembly, but that pesky ball wouldn’t consistently go through the maze. Around this time, NBC4’s network received 953K+ viewers. That’s a lot of people to see a ball get stuck and an unwelcome distraction. Did I mention it would be live? Yeah, ok, I’m harping, so moving on.

So I did what any typical gal in her twenties without kids and a lawn to mow did. I went day drinking for the Raven’s game on Sunday. Who are we kidding? I had an early wake up call and white knuckle drive from Annapolis to D.C. the following morning. I was the designated driver. 

Upon getting home late that night, and after a Raven’s win for anyone wondering, I did a few more practice runs. Freaking out, I made my husband, Scott, who oversees construction for a living, help. He had the great idea to create a new design that I could easily assemble. Genius. This was a toy for kids one and older anyhow. Why overcomplicate it? More importantly, why hadn’t I thought of that solution days ago? Anyhow, his new design was manageable for me to do quickly and would allow a ball to impressively — and more importantly successfully — go down a slide. Thus, making parents around the nation reach for their wallets. Or, so I hoped. 

The next morning, I survived the rush hour drive to the studio and by the grace of god didn’t get lost. I arrived early. After some time in the green room (the green room guys, how cool?!), I was brought out on stage (which was even cooler!) to prepare the design.

Geeking out on NBC’s stage!

My stress about the time allotment had been completely unnecessary. I could have recreated it 25 times because I was there so early. Test runs went smoothly too. The only thing left to pray on was that my boss and client would like the rogue design. 

The live tapping went beyond smoothly. Technically, it was a toy assembly gone wrong because of the altered design. However, my client and boss were happy with the segment and pleased that I’d made the call to change it for a better display of the product. All those stomach flips were for nothing. 

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