November 20, 2005

The Backseat Babysitter

Prices sure are dropping. Today we bought a portable DVD player, with a built-in 7″ screen and a carrying case that lets you drape it over the headrest and watch from the backseat. In years past, if you wanted one of the portable players, it would set you back $400, $500, or even $700 dollars. For a low-end one. This one we got at Toys R Us (yeah, that’s where I go to buy all my gadgets) for $170. That’s a price so low that even we couldn’t turn it down.

Of course, the price is so low that you start to worry. Why is it so cheap? What corners did they cut to shave off a few extra pennies? Is this thing going to spontaneously catch fire one night? One thing that put our minds at ease is that we have a TV with the same brand name on it, and it’s lasted ten years now and shows no signs of stopping. So as long as quality standards haven’t been slipping over there at Craig Electronics, we’ll be in good shape.

And we got the player just in time. This week we’re stuffing our two-year-old boy and his six-year-old cousin into the backseat and driving down to Las Vegas. That’s a 7-hour drive, and we had been dreading the tantrums and crankiness that would be building up inside that car. But now, we can just load movie after movie into the player to keep them occupied, and have a nice leisurely trip. I can see why these things are coming standard in minivans now.

We popped a movie in for Sammy tonight, just to see how the player worked and how much he enjoyed it. And he wasn’t just interested in it, he was transfixed. He would not tear his eyes away from the screen for anything. We called him, we whistled, we clapped, but it was no use. Everything was blocked out. Santa Claus himself could have landed on the hood of the car, gripping the severed head of the Easter Bunny, and his attention would not have have wavered one bit. Which is a little concerning in some ways. Are we raising the next generation of couch potatoes here, we thought to ourselves? But then we snapped out of it. It’s a carseat, after all. It’s not like he could be outside getting some exercise while we’re driving. He’s stuck there anyway, so why not give him something that’s going to keep him occupied, and save our sanity in the process? Works for us.

So we’re going to make sure to load up the car with DVDs when we’re packing for the trip. With any luck, we might actually enjoy taking a car trip for once.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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