It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Because it’s all about Labels, right?

George scrambles out of his chair so as to get his coat on. The woman at the next table in the coffee shop starts to make small talk as I assist the children into their coats, hats, mittens, scarves, etc, etc,etc.

“Those are nice overalls you have there.”

George looks down at his blue corduroy tummy. “They have a pocket for my lego guy,” he says, indicating the bib pocket.

“Do you know what kind of overalls they are?” she asks.

“Blue!” George knows all his colours, basic shapes, the numerals from 0 – 9, the days of the week, a lot of letters, and can count to twenty-nine. He is proud to display his prowess.

“Yes, they are blue. But that’s not all. Those are OshKosh overalls,” she says, pointing to the label on the bib. “See these words? They say ‘OshKosh’.”

George looks down. “Those words?”

“Yup. They say ‘OshKosh’. Can you say ‘OshKosh’?”

Oh, save me. Can you say brand-conscious? Happily by then we’re ready to leave. George is directed to say goodbye to the nice lady. (Quick, George! Say goodbye quick! Before she says anything even sillier.)

And we wonder why kids care about this stuff so early…

January 25, 2006 - Posted by | George, our adoring public, parenting, socializing, the dark side


  1. How bizarre. What was she thinking? Has she ever been around kids before? You have to wonder. My kids would have reacted just like George: “osh kosh??” Like, “who cares? what are you talking about?” Very odd.

    Comment by Kristen | January 25, 2006 | Reply

  2. “Blue” was definitely the correct answer! I can’t believe she noticed, never mind pointed the brand name out to a toddler, b’gosh!

    My poor deprived kids haven’t the faintest idea what brand names are, which is probably good, as they get whatever is going cheap:-) Although we have brought some fantastic stuff off ebay, some brand new, with price labels still attached. WHY would you pay $160 for a coat for a 9month old? They’ll grow out of it before the weather turns cold & you’ll have to sell it on ebay for 50cents (it came as part of a bundle, £16 for 24 items).

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | January 25, 2006 | Reply

  3. That was…dumb. I don’t understand the point, I really don’t. Is small talk with a toddler *that* important that she had to drag the name-brand into it?

    Comment by misfit | January 25, 2006 | Reply

  4. Brand names can be a trap. I was in a hurry to buy some jeans not long ago. I got to the store; there was a sale on: Levi’s 501 jeans. 501’s – – that is a famous label. I grabbed two pair without even trying them on.

    When I got home I discovered that 501’s don’t have a zipper, they have buttons up the front. What a pain!

    Comment by jw | January 25, 2006 | Reply

  5. Kirsten: I got the impression she wasn’t familiar with children. I suppose, if she’s the type who talks about clothes, shoes and accessories with her friends all the time, that’s how she does small talk.

    MrsA: I never cease to be astonished at what people will spend on children who will outgrow the stuff in three to six months! Have you run across the book “Slacker Mom”? I think you’d quite enjoy it – and, proving it’s written for busy mother, it’s very short!

    Misfit: It was a baffling, indeed. If you want to make small talk, surely you follow the lead of the person you’re talking to, no matter what their age: “Yes, those are nice blue overalls. Is blue your favourite colour?”

    JW: Surprise! I knew that Levi 501’s are button-fly. I never ever wear Levi’s. How did I know that? A bus shelter ad somewhere, I think… Wow. Never underestimate the power of advertising, even if you hardly ever watch TV.

    (I don’t refuse to wear Levi’s through some sort of reverse brand snobbery, but only because they don’t fit properly.)

    Comment by Mary P. | January 25, 2006 | Reply

  6. There are plenty of things we can be drawn to in a kid. This woman can only pick the brand…what’s she thinking???

    Comment by Queen Bee | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  7. I’ve just looked up that book – at last a “parenting policy” I can relate to:-)

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  8. QueenBee: She wasn’t thinking, that’s what I think. Her intentions were good, her execution, not so good.

    MrsA: I thought so!

    Comment by Mary P. | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  9. Of all the brand names, I think that I might mention that one to kids just because it’s so fun to say 🙂 However, what I do with my own kids (or more likely my friends and siblings kids) and what I would do with a strangers kids are different things.

    Comment by Monica | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  10. Ha ha, I specifically remember my osh kosh overalls when I was a kid. Back when it was Osh Kosh Bigosh??? Something like that. Perhaps you need to take a seam ripper to that tag.

    Comment by pluckymama | March 6, 2007 | Reply

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