Dear Mr. Petersen,
I wanted to thank you for taking time from your busy schedule as Mattel’s vice president to reach out to moms like me. In the 18 months I have spent raising my son, I have been confounded by so many things: Why doesn’t he look good in dresses? What color should I paint his nails? When he fusses during nap time, is it because it’s “that time of the month”? So it was with great relief that I learned that you would be reaching out to mothers to explain how, exactly, we’re supposed to play Hot Wheels with our sons.
You are a brave, brave man, Mr. Petersen. I’d go as far as to say that you’re a visionary. I mean, so many companies these days just put their products on the market and expect consumers – even FEMALE consumers, Mr. Petersen – to know how to use them. Well, I’m sorry, Heinz, but you’re going to have to bear with me as I try to figure out how to get the ketchup out of the bottle! And hey there, J.Crew, your store looks pretty and all, but what, exactly, am I supposed to be doing with your merchandise?
What’s more, Mr. Petersen, when you saw that your toy cars weren’t selling like the gangbusters you expected, you didn’t just accept failure or stagnation (I looked that word up!). No. You dug deeper. You asked the tough questions. You found your answer:
It’s mom’s fault.
Of course it’s mom’s fault! I mean, hello? Why is that boys can’t process emotions or do laundry? Because their mothers are idiots! It only stands to reason that your bottom line is suffering because moms are too stupid to (a) purchase; and (b) play with their son and a Hot Wheel at the same time.
Before your intervention, the mothers of America and wherever else Mattel products are sold were doing things like “letting their children identify their interests,” buying “books” or telling their kids to play “outside.” Thanks to your initiative, we will no longer live in darkness, much less stunt our sons’ development. Now we know that small metal rectangles on wheels aren’t just the ouch-y projectiles or potential choking hazards they appear at first glance to be; as you explained, they’re really great for things like counting, identifying colors and getting bored with unless you spring for the race track and the living room big enough to house said race track.
I have spent the past 33 years laboring under the misunderstandings and utter confusion that come, naturally, with being a girl/woman. Now that you’ve checked off “Hot Wheels – Huh?” from my “To Get To The Bottom Of” list, I’m wondering if you could share some additional insights:
- I hear so much about a fellow called “The President.” Who is that, and why should I care?
- Is my time better spent watching day-time soap operas or The Real Housewives of Whatever City? If this is like a Sophie’s Choice type scenario, I’m sorry to put you through it.
- How long is too long to sniff bleach?
- My husband always tells me I need to lose 20 pounds, regardless of how much I weigh. Whose math is off – his or mine?
- Oh! Speaking of my husband – just curious why your outreach campaign doesn’t account for the fact that I need to get his permission before I spend any of his (ie. our) money. Also, he thinks Hot Wheels are stupid. What do I do?
I have more questions, but I should run – the chocolate chip cookies are burning and I’ve got SO MUCH ironing to do!
I look forward to hearing back from you. You can even email me! I have my own address and everything. It’s ImAFool@foolish.com. (My husband set it up for me.)
Yours sincerely and eternally gratefully,
P.S. I’ve just got to brag a little bit – I typed this whole letter all by myself. Computers are so hard! But I told myself “slow and steady wins the race,” and eight days later – voila! A letter to you, dear Mr. Petersen. Toodles!
Featured image via businessweek.com.