Goodwill Toy Section Most Depressing Thing Ever

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After Birth

Parents Of Crying Child Must Not Be Any Good

WOODBURY, MN—Noting how the pair’s failure to promptly resolve the situation was a clear indication of their inability to raise or care for another human being, sources confirmed Friday that the parents of a crying infant must not be any good.

How To Adopt A Child

Adoption is a beautiful way to provide a loving home for a child, though it is a logistically complex process that might take months or even years to complete. Here are the steps involved in adopting a child:

The Pros And Cons Of Helicopter Parenting

The rising trend of “helicopter parenting,” or hovering over a child’s educational, social, extracurricular, and home life, has been praised by some as true dedication to one’s kids and decried by others for potentially smothering a child’s independent development. Here are the pros and cons of helicopter parenting

Conductor Fatigue Blamed In Massive Model Train Crash

BLOOMINGTON, IN—After surveying the dozen railcars and cargo of Lincoln Logs strewn haphazardly across the grass mat, investigators concluded Friday that a massive model train derailment was the result of conductor fatigue.

The Pros And Cons Of Co-Sleeping

The act of co-sleeping, where babies and toddlers share a “family bed” with their parents, is a rising trend in the United States, though the practice is contested by those who doubt its purported benefits. Here are the pros and cons of co-sleeping with your child

The Onion’s Guide To Trick-Or-Treating

Halloween gives revelers a chance to receive candy all over the neighborhood. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your experience and take home a big haul.

How To Talk To Your Child About Sex

It’s not easy to decide when and how to have a discussion with children about sex, and many parents wonder how explicit they should be or where to establish boundaries. Here are The Onion’s tips for having “the talk” with your kids:

Child’s Loose Grasp On Balloon Only Thing Between Peace And Anarchy At Restaurant

JACKSONVILLE, FL—Eating their meals and conversing pleasantly without paying any heed to how loosely the string was wrapped around the young child’s finger, diners at a local Panera Bread reportedly went about their lunch Wednesday completely unaware that 2-year-old Nate Pollen’s tenuous grasp on a red helium balloon was the only thing standing between peace and total anarchy.

Childish 12-Year-Old Still Believes In Father

HARTFORD, CT—Saying she just assumed he would have figured it out by now, local mother Kathleen Rivers expressed concern to reporters Tuesday that her 12-year-old son, Dylan, still believes in his father.

How U.S. Schools Can Improve Math Education

With U.S. students regularly placing behind 20 to 25 other nations in mathematics test scores, many education experts are wondering what the sources of the problem are and how we can take steps to fix them. Here’s a look at how American schools can improve their math curricula and help struggling students:

Mom Keeping Tabs On Coyote Situation

WAYZATA, MN—Regularly updating her husband and children on the frequency and location of sightings around the neighborhood, local mother Dana Salisbury continued to keep close tabs on the coyote situation this week, sources confirmed.

Obamas Decide To Stay In White House Until Daughters Finish High School

‘We Don’t Want To Uproot Them Just For Our Jobs,’ Say Parents

WASHINGTON—Saying it wouldn’t be fair to disrupt their lives after seven years in the same school district, Barack and Michelle Obama this week announced their plans to stay in the White House until their daughters graduate high school.

How To Talk To Your Child About Death

When your family has experienced a loss, it can be a difficult concept for young children to process. The Onion breaks down the best ways to converse with your child about the realities of death

Single, Unemployed Mother Leeching Off Government

WASHINGTON—Taking advantage of the system and giving nothing back in return, local unemployed, single mother Mei Xiang reportedly gave birth to two more children out of wedlock this week and continued to pathetically leech off the government.

Area Dad Informs Busboy He’s Ready To Order

NASHUA, NH—Raising his arm into the air while leaning outward from the table in a bid to command attention from the other side of the restaurant, area father Walter Bierko called over a busboy at DiCapri’s Italian Eatery to inform him that he was ready to order, sources reported Wednesday.

How New Parents Can Stay Healthy

Having a baby changes everything, and the resulting lack of sleep and general stress can contribute to a decline in overall wellness. Here are some ways new parents can prevent bad habits and maintain good health

Single Woman With 3 Young Children Unaware She Subject Of 984 Judgments Today

LINCOLN, NE—Oblivious to the thoughts and looks directed toward her as she shopped for groceries, stopped by the post office, and ran several other errands with her three young children, single mother Karen Nichols, 29, was reportedly completely unaware that she was the focus of 984 separate judgments by strangers this afternoon.

Tips For Traveling With Young Children

Family vacations can be a time for bonding and building lasting memories, but when young children are involved, trips can also be stressful to plan and execute. Here are The Onion’s tips for traveling with kids

Good News Kept From Parents Out Of Fear Of Proving Them Right

DANBURY, CT—Saying she wants no part of the conversation that would inevitably result if she broke the good news, local medical billing technician Jenny Comers reported Friday that she’s keeping word of her recent pay raise from her parents out of fear of proving them right.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

North American Children Begin Summer Migration To Dad’s

NEW YORK—With the increasingly warm weather signaling the commencement of their age-old journey, millions of children across the North American continent began their annual summer migration to their fathers’ homes this week, sources confirmed.

Parents Worried Children Old Enough To Remember Family Vacation

YOUNGSTOWN, OH—Fearing that their kids’ impressions of the experience could quite possibly remain with them for the rest of their lives, parents Joel and Bethany Weyandt told reporters Tuesday they are worried their children are old enough to remember the details of their recent family vacation.

Report: Dad Wants To Show You Where Fuse Box Is

YOUR LOCATION—Noting that it’s important to be prepared in case of emergencies but it’s also a good thing to know in general, your dad announced today that he wants to show you where the fuse box is.

Kids Love When Mom Sad Enough To Just Order Pizza

FORT WORTH, TX—Saying they get their hopes up anytime they notice her looking particularly downhearted, siblings Paulo and Marisa Hernandez told reporters Wednesday they love it when their mother is sad enough to just order pizza.

Baby-Naming Tips For New Moms

Mothershould’s Grace Manning-Devlin breaks down some of the hottest baby names of the year, such as Cooper, Tanner, Milkman, and Serf.

Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing

As the American education system continues to place more emphasis on standardized testing to measure academic achievement, critics have argued that it can be more harmful than helpful to students’ development in the long run. Here are some of the pros and cons of standardized testing:

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Blog Post Read By Mother To Shape Child’s Next 18 Years

PAOLI, PA—Poised to inform future parenting decisions on medical care, dietary restrictions, and everyday well-being, the blog post “Fluoride Drops For Kids—Good Idea?” which was read by local mother Laurie Miller earlier today, will reportedly shape the next 18 years of her young child’s life.

Little League Pitcher Just Getting Fucking Shelled

RED BANK, NJ—After watching the 11-year-old give up the fourth straight double that inning, sources confirmed Sunday afternoon that local Little League pitcher Dustin Bauer is getting absolutely fucking shelled out there.

Pros And Cons Of Screen Time For Kids

As technology becomes more of a staple in everyday family life, parents are making choices about how much screen time to allow their children—and asking questions about how computers, phones, and TVs might help or hinder a child’s development.

Oh God, Teacher Arranged Desks In Giant Circle

OVERLAND PARK, KS—Appearing stunned and unsettled as they entered her classroom Wednesday, students from Ms. Frederickson’s fourth-period social studies class were reportedly overcome with panic 
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Special Coverage


Goodwill Toy Section Most Depressing Thing Ever

SPENCER, IA—The toy section of the Fleet Road Goodwill, with its heartbreaking assortment of soiled, broken, bargain-priced playthings, depressed an estimated 20 shoppers Tuesday.

One of the Goodwill store's heartbreaking rejects.

"Look at this one," said Spencer resident Bobbie Perrin, 43, gingerly picking up a grimy stuffed animal with her fingertips. "Judging from the 'Kennel Kritters' tag, it must be a knock-off of one of those Pound Puppies from the '80s, only I'm pretty sure those had legs."

"Oh my God, are those tomato-soup stains on its back?" asked Perrin, flinging the Kennel Kritter back into a large bin, where it landed between a plastic horse and a faded Parcheesi game board. "I thought those were spots."

The bin, whose items were priced at 50 cents each, also contained a chewed rawhide dog bone, a Rubik's Cube with the stickers peeled off and sloppily reapplied, a broken laser-pointer key chain, a nude Skipper doll, a deflated Minnesota Vikings plastic football, a Ziploc bag containing five Teddy Ruxpin cassettes and a crayon, and a "bendie" policeman with wires poking out of its joints.

Perrin, who had come to the store looking for black pants for her daughter's waitress uniform, said she took a detour into the toy section seeking a small, impromptu gift for her neighbor's 4-year-old child. Instead, Perrin was confronted with a profoundly sad menagerie of unwanted toys.

"This is the kind of stuff you wouldn't pick up if it were lying on the side of the road," Perrin said. "Yet, somehow, it's being presented for sale as merchandise. I guess if you can't afford to buy your child a new Frisbee for $3, you can get a dirty 25-cent one here."

"I'm going home to lie down," Perrin added. "I feel awful."

Perrin is not the only customer nearly brought to tears by the toys. Liza Robichaud, 22, who periodically visits the Goodwill store to shop for drinking glasses and vintage '80s T-shirts, passed through the section on her way to the bathroom.

"The toy area has its own distinct odor: sort of a musty, mildewy, plastic, sour-milk, baby-vomit, metallic, rotting-cloth smell," Robichaud said. "It isn't quite the smell of evil—just despair."

Scanning the shelves of misfit games and books, Robichaud sighed deeply.

More filthy, unwanted misfits.

"I need to go wash my hands," Robichaud said. "I really shouldn't have touched that leaky Magic 8-Ball."

Corey Litt, a 21-year-old college student, was similarly shaken.

"This stuff's in such bad shape, it's hard to even enjoy it for the kitsch factor," Litt said. "I saw a can of Lincoln Logs over there and got excited. But when I opened it, there were only, like, three or four logs and a bunch of other crap—a Tinkertoy wheel with gum stuck in the holes, about a dozen bent Uno cards, a pair of lens-less sunglasses, a couple jigsaw-puzzle pieces, a marble, and a bicycle reflector."

Making the toy section all the more depressing, experts say, is the high percentage of promotional toys from fast-food restaurants and cereal boxes.

"On the ladder of toy desirability, promotional toys are the lowest rung," said Daniel Nestor, author of Bins Of Despair. "They are the shoddiest and, by virtue of their promotional nature, most dated and disposable. A child who finds a McDonald's action figure of an Asian warrior at Goodwill is highly unlikely to recognize him as a character from Mulan, and it would take a movie-trivia whiz of the highest order to know that his name is Captain Li Shang. Removed from the context of the movie and the corresponding Happy Meal box, the toy becomes that much more pitiful and obsolete than its non-promotional counterpart."

Because the toys are in such poor shape when they arrive at Goodwill, there is little incentive for the store's staff to take good care of them. As a result, their condition worsens, leading to an endless degradation spiral: The dirtier the toys become, the less likely they are to be bought. In turn, the longer they remain in the store, the dirtier they become.

"Somehow, even the saggy-diapered 2-year-olds left to entertain themselves with the toys sense their lack of value," Nestor said. "They fling them around with abandon, banging them against each other with little fear of doing harm to the chipped alphabet blocks, sticky-film-covered Mega-Bloks, mascara-smeared Barbie heads, single miniature-doll shoes, and shards of colorful plastic that are vaguely Fisher Price in origin."

"Then there are the stuffed animals," Nestor said. "Those things are just gross."

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