Open Letter to Toy Manufacturers

Dear Toy Manufacturers,
I have a couple of points from the perspective of a parent. Please take them into consideration.

First, not every toy needs to make noise. Not all do, but it takes careful inspection to find the 15% that don't. Parents look for quiet toys for their children and the children of their friends. We go for the loud ones for the people that we don't like as much (or at least want to give a good dig to..., besides, it takes less time to find.)

Second, your toys are too loud. Really. They're too damn loud. I'm not kidding. Every toy, right down the line could easily use the volume cut in half. If there's any doubt, make it quieter still.

Third: Volume Controls. There are two ends of this spectrum, both are annoying. There is the No-Volume-Control. These are just ear-splitting loud. Second are the toys that do have accessible volume controls, but are accessible (and worse, discoverable) by children. These are usually a three-way switch, featuring "Off" (which children interpret as "broken, please fix!"), Loud (but tolerable for maybe 10 minutes at a time), and Ear-Splitting.

It seems apparent to me that these toys were never QA'd in anything resembling a real home with enclosed spaces by real parents and children.

As I believe that you aren't allowed to complain unless you provide an answer, I propose solutions.

First, don't include sound in every toy unless there is a compelling g reason to. This is not license to add the phrase "adds an additional level of interaction and stimulation" or some such crap to everything as justification. One toy that I can think of where sound added to the experience is a stuffed dog with sensors in the paws, ears, nose belly, etc, that would describe what was pressed, sing songs, ask for hugs, etc. While listening to any such toy at length will drive any parent nuts, this toy had varied enough sounds that it took longer to hear everything a thousand times, but it was set to a reasonable level.

This brings me to my second recommendation. If a toy must have sound (and after you've reduced the volume to acceptable levels), a volume control should be provided, but not to the children. Inside the screw-reinforced battery compartment should be a volume switch. Some parents may object to needing a screwdriver to open a battery compartment, so I'll settle for thumbscrews. The idea here is to keep the switch accessible to parents, but not children. It's unlikely that the volume will need to be changed very often.

Implementing these changes and incorporating these ideas into future toys will provide greater satisfaction, goodwill, and willingness-to-buy among parents. Advertising these changes might be a bit much, but space on your websites is close to free, and word of mouth is goodwill expressed.

Respectfully Submitted,

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