Being The First Kid On The Block

We all remember those advertisements from the 1950’s* – for clothing, novelties, toys, bicycles, firearms, etc. ” Be the first kid on your block to own ——“. And it worked on our psyche something fierce – we were less sophisticated than the kids of today and we were driven like leaves before a storm wherever the retailers wanted us to go. I mean, I can’t imagine anyone these days lining up on the footpath outside a retail store to be the first to own something…can you?

Well, it appears that the makers of new cameras and their henchmen – the wholesalers and retailers – have decided to revive this good old ploy. And to make it go one better – instead of rushing down to the toy shop to be the first to possess the gadget, you are now being shouted at to rush down to the optical toy shop to be the first to press money on the firm for a pre-order of the promised goodies. You give them real money and they give you a promise that you will be the first to be happy, when happiness is available.

If this sounds like religion, and you are screwing your nose up at it, I should be happy to lend you my copy of ” The Age Of Reason” by Tom Paine. Don’t expect to be buried in consecrated ground…

The business of being first on the block to possess a plastic B-29 complete with working atomic bomb was all very well back in 1955. Aside from the radiation burns it was a lot of fun, and made a hell of a bang on Dominion Day. A big part of the thrill was swanking it over the other kids as you brought the first whatever home. If it was advertised on television you had even more social clout. As a 7 year-old this sort of crude behaviour was all that could be expected – sort of the nananana taunt that kids get up to everywhere.

But as a responsible adult paying out 5 or 6 thousand dollars for cameras and lenses that are probably not justified, it seems a little crass. And forking out bribe money to be the first to have the swanking equipment don’t make it better.

Mind you, with this sort of thing, like the B-29, there is a chance for a bit of fun. The makers of the new cameras may not deliver them to the wholesalers in time, nor they on to the retailers. The first batch of anything may not be able to fully retract the undercarriage, so to speak. Things have been known to fall off – literally. There are alpha testers, beta testers, and god-dammit now what testers, and you may become one of the latter if you get the first delivery. Remember that Anne Boleyn also had a chance to be the first one on the block…and didn’t that work out well…

*Well I remember them. I forget where I put my wallet, but I remember 1955.



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