Stepping barefoot on a Lego is one of life’s greatest profanity-inducing moments, but a new toy on kids’ Christmas lists this year could top the list of most hated toys by parents.
Parents claim that the interlocking, squishy building balls called Bunchems are getting stuck in their kids’ hair with a Velcro vice-like grip, requiring hours of pulling, detangling and sometimes even cutting to get them out.
“If there’s a bunch that get stuck, it’s impossible to get them out without cutting them,” said Tonya Lindholm, a manager and stylist at Kid’s Hair in Woodbury who started seeing kids with Bunchems stuck in their hair two weeks ago.
According to parents on social media, Rainbow Looms, Polly Pockets, and toys with glitter and noise have nothing on Bunchems.
Amazon.com reviewer Ethan Benoit referred to Bunchems as “A Toy Spawned From the Darkest Depths of hell.”
“I just spent the last TWO AND A HALF hours (absolutely, 100 percent not an exaggeration) attempting to remove 14 of these bastard balls out of my daughter’s hair,” he wrote. “Buy this toy for someone if you hate them or their child.”
The toy resembles colorful little cockleburs and acts like them too, sticking to each other and anything they come in contact with.
The creative things kids can build with them are endless. Bunchems not only made Target’s top holiday toy list this year, but is up for the industry award for best activity toy of the year.
Angry parents, on the other hand, are calling them the worst toy of the year. They have taken to social media to warn others by posting photos, videos and reviews on retailer websites.
A review from MN Mom on Amazon.com said: “If anyone in your house has hair with any length at all, do not buy these! They are very similar to Velcro, and mixed with even medium length hair, they create a nightmare!”
Blaine dad Neil Sjostrom said if anyone buys his kids Bunchems, they’ll be returned to the store.
“I have enough things to pick out of my daughter’s hair,” he said.
Local toy store chain Creative Kidstuff considered carrying Bunchems but ultimately decided to pass, said Roberta Bonoff, president and CEO. “We thought it was an expensive product for the play value it delivered,” she said.
The Bunchems mega-pack that contains 400 pieces is $19.99 on Target’s website.
In August, Spin Master posted a tutorial on YouTube advising parents to remove Bunchems from hair with hair conditioner or vegetable oil and combing. The video has been viewed more than 370,000 times.
And we thought gum in the hair was bad.
As for stepping on those pesky Legos?
A French company has invented Lego slippers to protect sensitive feet from this torturous sensation.
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Aimee Blanchette • 612-673-1715