By FEI WU
DONGGUAN (China Daily Show) – A seemingly worthless compound of plastic, rubber and outdated electronics has become the season’s essential holiday gift, for no apparent reason.
The Wangle™, a cuboid bauble that children can discard, dismantle or injure others with as they wish, has helped revitalize a toy industry in the doldrums.
The Wangle™ is the brainchild of Guangdong entrepreneur and factory owner Wang Li (pictured, right), and comes in a full range of exciting colors: green, red, pink, red and green.
Delighted CEO Wang says that he came up with the idea for the Wangle™ after reading about China’s vast manufacturing overcapacity.
“So many factories are out there, making bespoke bits and pieces for specific products for which there is no longer an overseas demand. I thought, ‘Why not put all these excess pieces of pointless plastic together – and make something both vital and completely non-consequential?’”
The toy company’s slogan – “Absolutely no refunds” – seems to symbolize this simple, no-nonsense message.
Yet stocks of the Wangle™ are already said to be in short supply, amid protests over working conditions and pay disputes in China. Nearly half a million Wangles™ were lost in a factory fire in late November, which also killed 32 employees.
The parent company, Wang’s Harmless Toys, has denied any problems, saying they are “simply waiting a little longer this year before we begin churning this thing out. What – you know any different?”
Flustered Wisconsin mother Beverly Walton, 36, said she has visited three Wal-Marts and two Toys R’ Us over the last week in her fruitless hunt for the Wangle™, which the company warns is “unsuitable for use with house pets, small children, humans or animals.”
“They told me they had plenty in stock but when I arrived, there were no Wangles™, just a long line of angry moms,” said Walton. “It’s almost as if they were deliberately screwing with us in order to manufacture demand for a decidedly superfluous item… Wait, I gotta run! Monica just texted me Macy’s has new stock.”
Consumer groups have advised parents that they can avoid unwanted peer pressure for the Wangle™ by withdrawing children from school, disconnecting all telecommunication devices and quarantining themselves within some kind of subterranean bunker.
Despite parental doubts, however, children across the continental United States were yesterday insisting that purchasing the Wangle™ was a no-brainer decision this Christmas, and would likely remain so until December 28 at the earliest.
“This is going to be a prerequisite for leaving the house and looking my fellow tweens in the eye,” said 12-year-old neighborhood bully Arnold Tuttle. “And I cannot see this not being the case until, at least, maybe the first week of next year?”
However, environmentalists are already warning that the Wangle™ – which Wang claims is “100% non-disposable” – could bring screams of terror along with wails of glee to the Christmas celebrations.
“Who knows what the Wangle™ might do? It’s pointless, completely un-recyclable and has not passed a single safety test,” said Greenpeace spokesman Anita Joan. “Anything could happen.”
“Exactly,” responded Wang. “Kids love surprises!”
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