Guest Posting By My Wife - Do Kids Toys Really Need A Hecsher?
I completely see the need for shopping at Judaica stores for items that need to be purchased there and cannot be found elsewhere, like tzitzis, yarmulkes, Jewish educational toys, and seforim. However, let's smarten up and not let retailers convince us that regular toys need a manufactured Jewish stamp of approval. Especially, if this stamp comes at an extreme cost to the buyers.
On the other hand, you enter a name brand store like Toys R Us and you must sift through the millions of options for items that are deemed appropriate for your household. I would like to share two recent examples to explain my point:
Our 4 year old son has developed, like most boys his age, a liking for race cars. Often these cars are sold at local retailers for about one to two dollars a piece. Why, on the other hand, do the Mitzvah Match Cars need to be price almost 3 times higher at $15.00 for 5 cars? Does my son really need an ambulance from a Jewish set of cars, or can we just pretend that his regular old ambulance is a Hatzalah ambulance? Let's think about it.....
My next example involves finding clothing for our 6 year old daughter's Madame Alexander Just Like Me Doll. It is challenging to find dolls with tznius clothing at the store, so I checked online and found an expensive alternative labeled Gali Girls Dolls on this site, with doll clothing ranging up to $20.00 an outfit.
So, I decided to do some out of the box thinking. Do I have to buy doll clothing from a retailer obviously catering to the Jewish shopper with a site called Tznius Shopper? Or, can I try something different? So, I checked out Etsy.com a popular online site where crafts people sell their items. And, low and behold, I came upon many sites that sell doll clothing, some for as low as $5.00 an outfit.
These sites offered me exactly what I was looking for at less than half the price of the obviously Jewish retailer. So, I think we must be smart shoppers and not fall prey to over priced items that do not necessarily have to be Jewish stamp of approval (i.e. we need to compare Yossele’s Movingo [$24.95] with Zingo [$11.99]) in order to save our hard earned money for truly important things.