When talking with other parents of preschoolers, toys and screen time are always popular topics. How do we help our kids resist the allure of YouTube and other streaming media This is where the brand Melissa & Doug comes up.
Melissa & Doug got its start when the husband-and-wife team of Melissa and Doug Bernstein started making fun, educational toys in Doug's parents' garage in 1988. Today, the Connecticut-based company has about 1,000 employees worldwide and offers a broad range of plush toys, arts and crafts, wooden puzzles, and other educational toys. The company's stated mission is \"to ignite imagination and wonder so children discover themselves, their passions, and their purpose.\"
Melissa & Doug sent my 5-year-old, Bucky, and me its Animal Care Veterinarian & Groomer Wooden Activity Center (currently on sale for $169.99 on Amazon) along with four play sets. The Animal Care Center is one of its higher-end pretend play toys. At 35.5-inches high by 26.5-inches wide by 33.5-inches long, it has become a focal point in Bucky's play area. Below, I will go into our firsthand experiences with the role-play center.
My son isn't alone in his enjoyment of these sets. The Animal Care Center and its associated play sets are among the first toys kids go to when they come over. It's pretty common to find one of Bucky's friends walking around the house with one of the plush cats or dogs in some state of veterinary or grooming treatment.
In the four sets, there's a total of 83 different pieces. Though there's plenty of room to store everything in the Animal Care Center, we do end up with toys all over the place. Fortunately, we are used to Legos, and these toys don't compare to having bricks all over the floor just waiting to destroy the bottom of your feet.
Overall, I strongly recommend giving Melissa & Doug toys a try. The company has a broad enough array of products so there's sure to be a toy that engages a little one in your life and keeps them from the mind-numbing screens. And, if your child doesn't like the toy you get, you can take advantage of the 100% happiness guarantee.
Not if a toddler or preschooler uses that playroom. The brand's high-quality, often-wooden toys gravitate between Montessori-inspired and pretend play. And they provide children with hours of learning through screen-free play. So long, Cocomelon and Miss Rachel.
Right now, the super-popular Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter has tumbled 57% from $64.99 to $26.99. Melissa & Doug toys are typically accessible but rarely does the top-rated ice cream set dip this low. If you're buying two, you can get the second one for 50% off the sale price, bringing your total to $51.71.
Excuse me while I digress from nonfiction for a moment. I'm only telling this customer service story because some of you sent CRjr gifts when he was born, so I know you have been consumers of baby products and toys. It's a long post today, so please bear with me.
At this point in the narrative there's a few things you should know about me, customer service in general, and Melissa & Doug. Here's the first thing: I am one of those people who's largely very easygoing in matters of customer service. I've worked behind counters, so I'm endlessly patient when there are lines, or when staff are trying their best, especially under management-type constraints. Most of the time if I'm not out too much cash I prefer to just let things go, as time is more important to me than money (to an extent). Once a local library charged me $10 for a scratched DVD, which I hadn't even opened or watched. Rather than fuss, I just paid it, because I figure that's the usage cost of checking out literally thousands of CDs, books, and movies from the library system over the years. That's the type of consumer I am.* So: I had a problem with this product, and I didn't care about tossing it, but I didn't think my friend's money should be wasted, so I tried to be polite and state in an email what my quick (and seemingly easy) refund expectations were. When I was told to call back, then, I pretty much realized this was already going to be an unsatisfactory engagement--had I wanted to talk to someone on the phone, I would have called in the first place. And here's all I have to say about Melissa and Doug in general: they're not really losing a consumer in me, because I don't buy their stuff anyway. When looking at it in stores, I can see that it's all made in China, but because it's wood and they once had a good reputation, they can charge a premium for it. They target the crowd that has a bit more discretionary income than your typical Wal-Mart crowd, and they take advantage of that audience who wants to use their slightly more money to buy toys they think might be slightly better than plastic. Whatever. If it's all cheap crap made in China, which it is, I'd rather just buy some really cheap plastic crap from China. That way I can save five bucks here or there, which I will use for popsicles if my son ever gets some sort of plastic-induced cancer, needs chemotheraphy, and therefore can use the popsicles to soothe his mouth during the treatment. So that's the back story. Basically, I had a few minutes to spare and nothing to lose, so I went ahead and called Lisa up.
I told her that we opened the toy, I rinsed it, and then my son played with it briefly before chunks of the paint started coming off. At this point she did let me know that their toys should not be rinsed--\"the paint is water-based\"--so it wasn't really meant to be rinsed. She wasn't blaming me or anything, but I should have contacted them to find out that their toys should really just be wiped down with a damp cloth.
I suggested that I hadn't immersed the toy or used soap, and had dried it immediately after the rinsing, and perhaps there isn't that much difference between that and wiping the toy with a damp cloth. She re-iterated that she wasn't trying to say it was my fault, she was just letting me know how wood toys work.
To sum up: Don't bother paying extra for Melissa and Doug toys. And, when calling customer service, don't tell them anything other than that you opened the toy and it was immediately defective (although they won't \"blame\" you for anything you've done, even though you are probably the one who caused the whole problem, just so you know). And for the love of God, people, don't rinse anything that's painted with water-based paints. 59ce067264