5 WTF Were They Thinking Toys No. 3 – Easy Bake Oven
Here we are, at the hump of the WTF Were They Thinking toy series. And who doesn’t love humps? I know I do, especially Fergie’s humps. If you didn’t get the chance to read up on the Cabbage Patch doll that thinks it’s at an allyou-can-eat hair buffet or the wonderful how-can-I-not confuse-this-for-a-weapon clacker toy, head over there now. I’ll wait. No, seriously. I’m waiting…
Let’s put on our mini-chef’s hats and mini-aprons on because we’re going to dive right into heart-and-soul of the legendary EASY BAKE OVEN.
It’s easy, it bakes and it’s an oven. Simple enough. What dummy can’t understand that? From the looks of it, it’s your basic oven that’s stripped of its red hot cooking elements and overcomplicated dials, which is then replaced with some plastic and a light bulb. And it’s mini, so it’s fun for the kids!
So let me recap for you. You have a flesh searing light bulb installed inside a plastic oven the size of a toaster that cooks anything. ANYTHING. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
3. The Not-So-Easy Bake Oven
There’s something so enchanting about the music in this commercial, it creates such a magical atmosphere.
And when everything goes according to plan, you’ll slave over a hot light bulb and bake a delicious cake as shown by this young girl.
To get an idea of how this ‘toy’ came about, we’ll have to go back in time to roughly 1963. The Easy Bake Oven (or EZ Bake Oven) was invented by a mad genius named Ronald Howes and was introduced under the evil corporation of by Kenner Products over in Ohio. In his spare time, Howes also whipped up a few other iconic toys you might have heard of such as the Spirograph and Give-a-Show Projector. This guy sweatsexcellence.
On how the product actually came to fruition, in the words of Howes, or something like it, he was wandering around New York thinking of ways to revolutionize toy making when suddenly, he was entranced by a mysterious aroma. He merrily skipped about to find where the scent was coming from and happened upon a lovely chestnut roasting stand. Bing! Light bulb! (See what I did there… because the oven uses… Ah, forget it). He put two and two together and came up with four… And then! He thought of the idea for a miniature oven just for kids! Awesome-sauce!!
The Easy Bake Oven was introduced at a King’s ransom of $15.95, that’s approximately over a million dollars today with inflation, give or take. It might be the ‘ridiculously’ high price for the toy or the fact that some savvy parents knew of the dangers in this toy that an unlucky (or shall I say lucky) portion of the kid population was never able to delight themselves with all the baking shenanigans that accompanied the Easy Bake Oven. Even with that said, Hasbro (the current owner of the Easy Bake brand) has sold about 20 MILLION units since its inception.
Let’s think for a moment. Would you give your child a blow torch to play with? If you answered yes, you probably had an Easy Bake Oven as a kid. But, the resounding answer should be NO. So, why would anybody in their right mind give their child, who loves sticking their fingers, forks, toys and other objects into places they’re not supposed to, a toy that is a breeding ground for this type of activity?
Some kids didn’t get this memo. One 5-year-old was unfortunate enough to be entrapped in the Easy-to-stick-your-hand-in Oven and was burned so bad that it required her finger to be amputated. She wasn’t the only one ‘lucky’ enough to be entangled with the Easy Bake Oven aka muerte del fuego(death by fire) as some obscure Spanish folklore describes it. There were around 249 reports of children being inferno’d by this variation of the Chinese finger trap, 16 of which were second and third degree burns.
Let me go off on a brief tangent and tell you how bad second and third burns are. It ranges from first to third with third being the worst. Second degree burns are described as extremely red blistered skin that looks ‘wet’ and, for larger area burns, can have the victim go into shock. Third degree burns are pretty much as bad as you think they might get. To put it simply, this level of a burn destroys nerve endings and will put a nice char-colored finish on the skin.
This whole fiasco happened in 2007 and prompted a recall of a million units. Hasbro tried to cover their butts by offering a pre-paid box for return and a $32 voucher for one of their own branded items. They then fitted the defunct ovens with a safety grill only to be thwarted, yet again, by the evil child geniuses who devised a way to jam their fingers in the oven. And guess what? ANOTHER recall! WTF?!
I can’t imagine how these kids will turn out. Think about it.
Imagine you’re given a ‘toy’ to ‘play’ with and all of a sudden you’re in the fight of your life with a fire breathing bear gnawing on your hand like it’s a chew toy (what I’d imagine having an Easy Bake Oven stuck to your hand would be like). You’d be paranoid of all small electrical appliances. Well, maybe this happened to them at a young enough age they won’t remember it as adults. Oh wait, that is until they look down at their stump of a finger!
That’s not the end of this riveting tale. They’re still selling the Easy Bake Ovens, presumably awaiting another recall because (I think) they’re hedging their bets in the “recall stock market” (if there is one) and making millions billions gajillions. Either that or they’re planningsomething a little bit more sinister…
There’s so much that happened in the last few paragraphs my mind just threw up.
I’m off to recuperate. My brain is burnt out.
Until Next Time!