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Photo of controversial children's product found at toy store causes frustration online: 'This is just shameful'

"I'd never let my daughters have a set like this."

"I'd never let my daughters have a set like this."

Photo Credit: iStock

Companies across America have been criticized for pushing consumers to spend money — perhaps none more so than children's toy companies. 

Some toys are nothing more than ads for a product — like the stuffed dog holding a Subway sandwich. But one item recently spotted on toy store shelves goes beyond that. While it's innocent in many ways, it becomes less so the more you think about it: A toy version of a toy store.

What's happening?

The toy — a 24-piece Mini Disney Store set — recently appeared in a post on r/Anticonsumption, a subreddit dedicated to cutting back on spending and waste. 

"I'd never let my daughters have a set like this."
Photo Credit: Reddit

"I thought you would love this…" said the original poster, attaching a photo.

The box features a row of familiar Disney, Pixar, and Star Wars characters above the image of a miniature toy store, complete with branded displays and anti-theft sensors around the doors. The "toys" on the shelves are tiny miniatures. 

"Build store & display your Mini Disney Brands collection!" the package proclaims — a clear call to buy even more products to populate the tiny shelves.

Why is this product worrisome?

Other users slammed the toy in the comments. "When your brainwashing gets meta," said one Redditor.

"I can't imagine a kid having fun with this," said another user.

"This is just shameful," said a third commenter. "I'd never let my daughters have a set like this. 'Start 'em young,' right?"

The toy does seem to be pushing children to buy, buy, buy — starting as young as three years old, according to the packaging. Not only does a store toy encourage children to pretend to buy and sell items, but this particular toy promotes collecting even more Disney products to display in it.

In addition, it contributes to the massive amounts of plastic waste being produced each year worldwide.

Is Disney doing anything to be more sustainable?

At its theme parks, Disney has implemented several new programs, including solar farms and electric trams, to reduce its environmental impact and costs.

However, Disney's influence extends far beyond its parks to touch every part of America's culture — and on that front, it still seems much more concerned with selling products than with protecting consumers' finances or the environment.

How can you and your kids be more sustainable?

Instead of buying tons of Disney toys, you can support affordable and eco-friendly brands like Ecopiggy and Idea Collective. You can even sign up for a toy rental service so that once your kids are bored with their toys, you can send them on to another family and receive a whole new set for your home.

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