I think I've mentioned before how Big Kid is completely obsessed with Webkinz. He adores the stuffed animals, plays the online game, has the folders, pencils and a notebook. His birthday party this year was Webkinz themed. Sometimes I have to ban talk of anything ending in -kinz just because it gets so insane and I can't take it anymore.
They are stuffed animals with an online character equivalent in a website with games, some social features, virtual rooms to decorate for your characters that you nurture and care for. He loves his animals. He draws pictures of them, they have personalities, they are well-known members of our family.
All 18 of them.
You have to buy a new pet each year to keep your account active. I hear people bitch about this, but whatever--you can get them for as little as $8 and the stuffed animals are really cute. As you buy new pets, you add them to your same account. I think your pets can even interact and go to each other's rooms or something.
The pets come with tags with an online activation code. I came across a ton of these in my desk drawer not long ago, and knowing they've all been activated, I threw them away.
Then Big Kid mentioned that he was having password issues. No biggie, I thought, I'll change the password. I thought for sure they would email the account that had activated the pets, like every website everywhere, but no...you needed one of the secret codes in order to change your password. And if you didn't have it, you were just shit out of luck, never to see your pets again. Sorry. Stories from angry parents and heartbroken kids all over the internet confirmed their stance on this policy.
I felt sick as I remembered myself throwing away the tags. I admitted to Big Kid that I'd done it and he told me that they say not to throw them away. Had I seen that, I would've thought it meant not to toss them prior to activation and probably still would've tossed them. I didn't realize the importance of these tags.
Big Kid was sobbing and my heart was pounding and my mind was racing with plans to fly to the headquarters of Webkinz and tell them that they would give back Zumby and Wumby and Cat Matt and Cat Pat and Poodle Noodle and Poodle Doodle and Arctie and Drake and Sophie and Mr. Lime and the rest of them right then or they would die. Period. Because I wasn't going to carry this burden forever. A lost password shouldn't be the end of some kid's carefully created, costly virtual world that he spent years building and I'd just as soon be in jail as hear him cry about this for the rest of our lives.
I dropped everything and combed over the house search party-style, square foot by square foot, and finally, in the back of the bottom of a drawer, almost unrecognized in my panic, was 1 wrinkled Webkinz tag with code.
So he got his pets back.
But I really don't want to spend more money with a company that would willingly do that to kids for no good reason, and I'm re-thinking the Christmas list as a result. Expiring without a new purchase is pushing it, holding pets that you purchased hostage if your kids (or you) make a mistake seems villainous.
So I am warning you, if your kids aren't into Webkinz, I wouldn't introduce them and if they are--KEEP YOUR FREAKING WEBKINZ TAGS. Better yet, write the code down in 10 different places and then lock it up in a safety deposit box somewhere. Because Webkinz would rather make your kid cry than email you a new password.