My sister had a baby last week. A male human baby called Harry. I went to meet him on Saturday. If I’m honest, he didn’t really have much to say for himself, and spent most of the time asleep. This is astonishingly blasé when you consider the fact that, to a new-born baby, the normal world is stranger than a talking head in a box, as illustrated by this talking head in a box in the Science Museum:

While I was at my sister’s house, she mentioned that she and her boyfriend had bought their other son, Sidney, a train set, but had some trouble assembling it.

The train set they had bought was the All Around Chuggington Interactive Set:

The boy in the picture there is not my nephew, I don’t know who he is. I assume he is an employee of Ludorum plc, who own Chugginton and whose aim is “to create a leading organisation which can exploit existing and new technologies to maximise revenue streams through the efficient management of IP rights that relate to a broad age profile” which I think is a rather long-winded way of saying “we sell toys based on cartoon characters”.

I tried to see if I could solve the problem with the train set, and systematically dismantled it and reassembled it piece by piece. I carefully followed the instructions and it appeared that my sister and her boyfriend had in fact assembled the track correctly, however, it was still slightly unstable and wobbly. I looked at the picture on the box, which is in fact the same picture as above, but the boy is in a room, rather than floating in white space. The assembled train set matched the picture. But then I checked the instructions again. The instructions and the picture on the box disagreed with each other. The supporting pieces were differently arranged.

That quite blocky support towards the front should actually be replaced by the thinner support on the left. They’re the wrong way round. It may not seem like a major issue, but having those two supports the wrong way round completely destabilises the whole thing. The round ramp drops too low. The straight ramp is too high, pieces of plastic are put under additional stress. The whole thing collapses. Especially when a two and a half year old child starts playing with it. It was wobbly when I was playing with it, and I’m a twenty-nine year old man with sophisticated tastes.

There’s no polite way of saying this, but that child, playing with the train set on the front of the All Around Chuggington Interactive Set box, is a fucking liar.

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