It was in the small print, but I’m still feeling cross

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CLIVE SMITH: The dressing-up corner is now no longer safe from the PC brigade

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I’ve recently got into shopping online for birthday presents. It’s been season one in our house (the girls’ birthdays are within a week of each other in the spring), while season two is in July when it’s the turn of me, my husband and my son.

I find it very difficult to buy unique gifts when working full-time – especially as whenever I’m out of the office I like to pack in as much time with the children as possible. That makes it very hard to buy a present without the recipient seeing it.

Plus, I know that however much child one might promise not to tell child two what they’’re getting, I know full well that knowledge is used as a nuclear weapon ready to explode any happy wishes of a pony with ‘actually you’re getting a new doorknob’. Excitement slaughtered.

So online it is. And let me say, I’ve been very impressed with the major retailer that has rung me whenever there’s been a problem. Like the time that the last lie detector in the warehouse had damaged packaging – quite a result actually, as having said item in the hands of a determined child who suspects you’ve eaten that scrawny corner of chocolate she’s been keeping in the back of the fridge for six months might have proved difficult for family harmony when the truth was revealed.

Luckily, by the time she got one the whole chocolate issue had been forgotten.

However, I’m wholly disappointed in last week’s results. I bought a toy Disney Tangled/Rapunzel tower and while the picture had the hero and his horse on the box, it turns out that the small print (which I didn’t read as I didn’t see it) mentioned that they weren’t included.

Surely this kind of thing must fall into false advertising somewhere along the line, especially as it’s highly unlikely that any small child – who the product is aimed at – would be reading the tiny text.

Yes, I probably should be more experienced as a consumer and should have checked this out, but it’s that implicit trust angle at play.

I trust the firm I’m shopping with that it won’t sell me a duff gift. Wrong.

It’s left me hollow. And the worse part? My seven-year-old doesn’t really care. She just wanted to be in control of the light-up hair of the heroine.

It’s me who’s cross.