Little Tikes. Big Headache.

Weee!  Why is daddy passed out? If I ever meet one of the engineers responsible for designing some of the toys that Little Tikes has the gall to sell on the open market, I cannot be held responsible for my actions. As long as I'm tried by a jury of fellow parents I'm sure I will be exonerated of all charges.

My in-laws gave Laney a Little Tikes Sand and Water Table as a birthday gift. See the happy kids in the happy little picture playing with their happy little toy? What you don't see is the father. Passed out in the corner from exhaustion and stress from trying to assemble this beast.

If you're even a remotely handy person (i.e., the thought of using a cordless drill doesn't send you scrambling to call a professional handyman) then the assembly of this product LOOKS to be very easy. Screw on the legs then simply 'snap' the two sections of the folding clam-shell style table together. But of course it's not that easy because otherwise I wouldn't be ranting about it.

Quite simply, the clam-shell hinge flat out doesn't work. On PAPER it works great. The little guy in the instruction manual appears to be having no problem with his assembly. Apparently he needed to come over to help me out because I was doing my best impression of him and was not having the same results. It required a herculean effort just to get the two pieces remotely close to being 'snapped' together. Now I'm a fairly strong guy. I workout regularly and I can grunt large items around with the best of them. But when a guy like me is about to induce an aneurysm from the physical strain of trying to get these two pieces of plastic together, then maybe that should tell you that your product MIGHT need a little more refinement before selling it to the general public.

After more attempts than I can remember I finally hit the hairline perfect sweet spot required to get the two pieces to pop together. HALLELUJAH! Too bad it'll simply fall apart the next time we try to fold it up (the whole reason people buy this product to begin with.)

If you'd told me 3 years ago that I would cringe anytime I saw a product from a certain toy manufacturer or that I'd be a rabid "fanboy" of other manufacturers I'd tell you you were nuts. But after numerous bad experiences with Little Tike products (a shopping cart, a swing, a 'log cabin' house, a convertible, several smaller items, then this thing) I've become an ardent critic of almost all things Little Tikes and a rabid fanboy of all things Fisher Price. It's sad, but true. I'm one step away from debating the merits of Elmo versus Barney (who am I kidding, I'm already there . . . . Elmo rules!!)

P.S. If my in-laws read this, don't sweat it. I'm sure Laney will love this thing. I'll just have to get proficient at putting it together anytime we try to fold it up.

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