There have been a lot of changes at Nakumatt lately. And one of these changes disturbs and aggravates me greatly. It started out subtle – shifting the shelves around, expanding the toy section. But lately, there are toys, dolls, and kid’s stuff displayed everywhere.
Brightly colored stuffed animals are displayed alongside eggs and margarine. Play dough kits are displayed next to bread. At the end of an aisle of household staples, a bunch of cartoon character-themed sippy cups lines the shelves. And throughout the store, little TV screens playing cartoons and blaring a children’s song advertising Legos. All of this pink and blue kid’s paraphernalia is at eye-level for your little one. And don’t get me started on the gigantic bins of lollipops and shelves of chocolate, gum and candy at the till.
It’s called predatory children’s marketing, and as a parent, I find it incredibly annoying. Nakumatt is deliberately placing children’s toys throughout the store, alongside household staples, right in our kid’s faces. And what happens? Our kids beg , “Mommy, can I get a Bugs Bunny doll?” “Mama, I want a Barbie lunch box!” “Dad, can I pleeeaaaase get a gigantic bubblegum-filled lollipop?”
I suppose I can’t blame Nakumatt for this. It’s a great way to sell more products. Harried parents trying to get the weekly food shopping with a cranky toddler in tow are likely to give in to the whining just to get out of the store. But is it really fair?
If I had an alternative to Nakumatt, comparable in quality and selection, I would take my business elsewhere. Unfortunately, I do not…
One of the things I’ve always loved about raising my kids in Kenya is the fact that they’ve been sheltered from the commercialism and excess of life in the US. There is still less of an onslaught here , but obviously the tide is turning.
Nakumatt, are you listening? We, the parents of Kenya, do not like your new approach to selling more junk to our kids. Put the toys back in the toy department where they belong. And for heaven’s sake, please make a candy-free till that isn’t stocked floor to ceiling with condoms. We will reward this with our continued business, and our respect. Thank you.