We ordered circle batteries for our scale from Amazon Basics. The packaging warns you to keep these batteries out of the reach of children due to the batteries’ choking hazard size. The front of the packaging, however, takes keeping away a step further and depicts an adult silhouette figure holding something just out of reach of a child silhouette figure. The child silhouette figure appears to be swiping at the package, whiffing as it grasps only air.
Beyond their label, then, Amazon Basics wants you to leave the realm of basic physical products and enter the world of basic taunting.
Here’s a scene from a role-playing workshop that Amazon Basics marketing and safety personnel put on while developing this packaging.
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Amazon Parent 1: To ensure I can keep track of my weight, I’ve purchased circle batteries for my bathroom scale from Amazon Basics.
Amazon Child 1: Those look like SweetTarts. Can I eat them?
Amazon Parent 1: I won’t say no. I’ll instead analyze your height (hmm, about 50”), consider my height (about 6’), and then calculate how high above you I need to hold these so you can’t reach them.
Amazon Child 1: Those silver, metallic discs look delicious, but if I can’t ever reach them, wouldn’t it make more sense to place an outright prohibition on my touching them, so as not to confuse me should, I don’t know, you grow tired of holding them above your head?
Amazon Parent 1: Actually, I think holding the batteries just out of reach serves as a motivator?
Amazon Child 1: How so?
Amazon Parent 1: As you age, you’ll grow in both knowledge and height. The highly-held batteries will serve as a constant reminder of what you can have someday if you are patient. Once you reach a height sufficient to grab the batteries, you’ll have your desires fulfilled and you’ll have the knowledge of how to properly use the batteries.
Amazon Child 1: Wouldn’t my acquisition of knowledge of how to properly use batteries happen anyway, without having them in my field of vision, and without constant taunting?
Amazon Parent 1: That is dangerous brand disloyalty talking. [Off-script: We need to get this guy out of here. He’s not Amazon committed.]
Amazon Child 1: [Off-script: I’m just following the flow of the conversation. What do you want from me? To blindly circle back to an answer that sets up Amazon Basics products as the solution to all my problems?]
All Other Production Staff: [Off-script: YES!]
* * *
Amazon Parent 2: Do you want good things out of life?
Amazon Child 2: Yes.
Amazon Parent 2: Are you willing to wait for them?
Amazon Child 2: Define “wait.”
Amazon Parent 2: I’m asking questions and I expect answers, not commands.
Amazon Child 2: This seems to be a philosophical discussion of sorts. I need to know the rules of the game so I can engineer the best result. If you hold all the power, of what use is my continued participation?
Amazon Parent 2: [Off-script: This guy isn’t following the script. I thought all conversational roads led to the child agreeing that Amazon Basics products were the best and that parental taunting in support of Amazon Basics products was accepted. How can we get to that ideal if this guy keeps going off script?]
Amazon Child 2: [Off-script: Dude, chill. I am an actual child of an Amazon employee. Not an actor. I was just looking for the craft service table and a place to plug in my iPhone.]
* * *
Despite the abject failures of the role-playing scenes, Amazon Basics managers elected to press forward with the adult-taunting-child imagery on product packaging. Thank God for that. A few unsuccessful conversational trials won’t dissuade me from exercising object holding that could shift the balance of power in my household. I always take my unfettered authority from packaging design.
If you’re a parent who was ever the victim of a Keep Away game, you get me. I wouldn’t have thought that the key to child-parent deference would come in the form of a simple silhouette.
There are advantages to being a blank, dark outline of the real thing.
Parents get the first deal at this Blackjack table.