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Collectible craze corrupts kids?

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Whole families have become embroiled in the supermarket collectibles craze, with both Coles and Woolworths battling for kid’s hearts and parent’s wallets. Some experts say it’s no big deal, while others, such as University of Wollongong’s Honorary Professor Sharon Beder, believe supermarkets are using increasingly sophisticated marketing to re-wire kids’ brains and make them more materialistic. Then there’s the whole issue of adding to landfill while most of us are trying to reduce plastic use.

Corrie Sebire brings her hard-won practical wisdom to the craze driving many parents crazy. How does she cope with collectibles?

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With a family of nine to feed we are always at the supermarket. We are always doing a big grocery shop or a top up shop so when a supermarket launched a new range of collectibles we inevitably end up getting the complete set. Without even trying.

And at the moment with both Coles and Woolies having collectibles on offer at the same time I’ve already amassed a huge stash of both. And I know I will be finding them down the back of the couch and under beds or at the bottom of toy tubs next year.

Because that is how it works. You collect them all and have the kids excitedly see which ones you come home with and then 1 month later they are done with playing with them. I’m still finding Buzz Lightyear dominoes in toy tubs from a few years ago.

At least supermarkets have improved the range of Collectibles from trading cards which is what they first started out with.

We do have a few rules though and the first one is that you can’t take them to school. We’ve found out that schools have either banned them in the past or trades have gone on and someone at home wasn’t happy about it or someone got short changed.

We also have a rule that the kids need to share them in our house. So we collect them as a family and play with them as a family and that is why you can’t go to school and trade them

What do I think of them? Well the kids enjoy playing with them, especially the little shop items and we have the shopping basket too. I drew the line at buying the cash register and shop front as we have too many toys.

People were up in arms about the plastic used in them and I can see their point. We have banned plastic bags but we give out these little toys wrapped in plastic.

I’m just grateful I remember to take my reusable bags into the supermarket each time we go. But we use plastic in so many things and I wonder if the people complaining and signing petitions adopt a zero waste mentality at their house.

So far we haven’t had any fights over the collectibles, the littlest two enjoy getting a treat at the end of the shop that hasn’t cost me anything and it’s a bit of fun in our household.

And for our daughter’s aide at school she has found an easy reward that is helping get work completed at school in exchange for another collectible.

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