AS a child did you think you’d die if you didn’t own certain items of tat? Here are the things you pestered your parents endlessly to get.
Free gifts on the front of comics
Often a ‘space spinner’ that immediately plummeted to earth. Sometimes strange, like Warlord comic’s tiny hand metal grenade pendant. But always something you really, really, really, really, really had to have then quickly lost interest in, like a plastic Judge Dredd badge you made your poor dad trawl every newsagent’s for.
You HAD to have them, whether they were Munch Bunch characters or boring erasers. They actually impeded your ability to write by unbalancing the pencil, and it’s unlikely Shakespeare was unable to pen his masterworks without a variety of ‘quill tops’.
Free gifts in cereal
Kellogg’s bike reflectors that went on your spokes were a pop culture sensation, but most ‘gifts’ were objectively crap. Parents were harassed, oil was turned into plastic, the Earth plundered and all so you could own small plastic figures of Snap, Crackle and Pop that did f**k all.
Possibly a cruel joke by the manufacturers, these served no purpose other than to make the wearer look like a twat. But everyone had them so you had to, too. Harmless fun or a sinister example of the conformist herd mentality that led to the rise of Hitler and Pol Pot? Definitely the latter.
Free flexi discs
Could be quite random, like ‘sounds of the jungle’ with Robinsons Barley Water. The sheer novelty of a FREE RECORD ensured that you listened to it obsessively, just to further torment your parents who’d already bought the product, collected the vouchers and posted them off in an envelope to receive something of no value whatsoever.
Cunningly marketed board games
Games such as Battleship, Headache and Mastermind were pretty obviously dull but you preferred to believe the exciting TV adverts. After a few plays they went on their journey to The Cupboard of No Return where The Game of Life was interred.
Collectable tea cards
A f**king cynical ploy. Children weren’t interested in tea, but were obsessed with Doctor Who cards or the Brooke Bond ones you messily glued into an album, forcing parents to keep buying the same brand. Some were even pretty dull for kids, eg. Vanishing Wildlife cards of ocelots and tapirs, and just preyed on children being acquisitive little shits.