The thing about toys is that just because a toy was hot five years ago, doesn’t mean it can’t be hot now too. While it might get old in an adult’s head, the end-user for this type of product is constantly changing. And because the end-user is changing, we’ve got new end-user parents as well. The being said, I honestly have no idea whether or not the Marshmallow Gun was ever hot. All I know is that it was true love the first time I passed it in a tradeshow aisle.
It was just so fun! What a great combo! Marshmallows which only kids love but Ohhhh do they love them!!! For parents, they conjure up images of hot chocolate after the cold, marshmallow treats on a special day – everything “G” rated and lovely. And a gun! Which we are supposed to be against but we know kids play with. I worked at a preschool during my college days. I witnessed firsthand how popsicle sticks, stick sticks, Barbie dolls and wooden blocks all transformed into guns in the hands of a four-year old boy. Banning gun play is a loosing battle for sure. (Hey, maybe I will get some comments on this blog post now that I have said something controversal. I hope you heard me! Banning gun play doesn’t work! Please comment!)
The Marshmallow Gun is a brilliant paradoxical combination of two treasured childhood passions – sugar and shooting things! I called the owner of the stores for which I was buying, crossing my fingers that she didn’t have a moral opposition to the gun toy. I explained what it was, that it was going to be great, but yes, it did shoot and was called a gun. I got the greenlight!
After the first order arrived the staff kind of raised an eyebrow. Not they didn’t love it (they all wanted one!) but because we were a children’s bookstore. Really? REALLY! I said. I could not have predicted what a great consistent item they were going to be for us. People came to our store specifically because they had heard of these marshmallow guns. Incase you didn’t know, that is a retailer’s dream – a product that introduces you to a whole new group of customers. They bought them as gifts for their kid’s friends. They bought 4 at a time because their college kids were coming home and they wanted them for some family fun. They bought it because it was a Marshmallow Gun and really, who doesn’t want to own a Marshmallow Gun? We were constantly reordering and expanding the line!
Does my family own one? Of course! Favorite past time – trying to shoot the marshmallow as high as possible. Extra points for landing it on the roof (I am pretty sure the crows like them too.)
A couple of tips – 1) yes, they have them at Target – but really, support your local independents who are smart enough to carry them (check out the 3/50 Project to see why this is so important!). Too many independents are disappearing these days! And 2) quality of marshmallow does matter – the cheap ones that are already stuck together in the bag at the store – are going to be a problem. Use the ones that have lots of powdered sugar on the outside (can even roll in powdered sugar again, before you load it up).