There are toys which are arguably bad for children. Candy cigarettes jump immediately to mind; while children’s safety advocates have a valid point about normalizing behavior, the fact remains that most children can recognize the difference between something burning in their mouth and chalky compressed sugar.
There are toys which are bad for children. Lawn darts, and the injuries associated with them, are a prime example.
And then there are the toys which make you wonder what the hell the toy manufacturers were thinking. This is the category in which Hippy-Sippy resides.
Hippy-Sippy was an attempt to take advantage of the growth of the “counter-culture” with a new candy product. It was aimed directly at children, with the expectation that they could play at participating in some of the things the “cool” people were doing.
Each toy came with a button. The buttons had different slogans such as “Hippy-Sippy says We Sell Happiness” and “Hippy-Sippy says I’ll Try Anything” or even the much simpler “Hippy-Sippy says Love”. The button was attached to the tip of the Hippy-Sippy container, which was filled with tiny, multicolored chocolate balls.
There are people who are bothered by the notion of letting small children eat chocolate, and others who dislike having children around buttons with sharp pin-style attachments. Neither of these would have been worthy of significant concern, though, without the remainder of the packaging. The Hippy-Sippy container was a toy hypodermic needle, inside which was a thin plastic straw.
The kids were expected to buy the plastic hypodermic needle – again, with a slogan affixed like “I’ll Try Anything” – and scatter the small multicolored balls onto a surface. Then they were to suck up the balls using the straw.
In all fairness, the toy hypodermics were missing the plunger action of a real hypodermic. But between the needle design, the thin straw reminiscent of cocaine delivery systems and the multicolored balls that were just a bit larger than the spheres found inside medicine capsules, it’s hard to argue that this one wouldn’t encourage a young child to sample their older sibling’s or parents’ “stash”. It was pulled from the market within a year.
Only because I know some people will be curious about the physical look of these things, here’s a Youtube clip of someone pulling an old, critical article from the toy. Thankfully, the fifty-year-old chocolate candies are no longer present.
Question of the night: What was your favorite now-defunct candy?