When I was pregnant, I fully expected to keep my kids away from tv for a good, long time. I managed to live up to this goal for about a year. That’s not to say that I didn’t watch tv while breastfeeding, especially once Ella became too active for me to read or use the computer while she was latched on. But I never actually planted her in front of the tube. However, shortly after Ella turned one, I became pregnant with her sister Zoe. Suffering (and I do mean suffering) from nausea and exhaustion for most of those nine months, while her daily naps simultaneously dropped from 3 at their peak, to 2, and finally to 1, suddenly I needed help, and 16.99 for a Baby Einstein dvd was a lot cheaper than a babysitter.
Did I think the dvd’s would make her smarter? Did I expect her to learn anything, other than the fact the mommy is only human? No. I chose the dvd’s because they were colorful, much slower paced than most tv (Miffy and that guy on PBS who used to teach people how to paint excluded, of course), and not too-too annoying. At least not the first 50 times or so.
Disney, however, made some lofty claims about the Baby Einstein series, which are well-documented here. Here’s one testimonial that ran on their website: My son, JJ, was born a month premature and was hospitalized for about 2 1/2 weeks. Some of the medications he was on can cause some delays and learning disabilities. He first received the Baby Einstein video at two months old. The first thing I noticed was how quickly it captured his attention. I also noticed how it increased the length of his attention span significantly. Unlike in the diet ads, nowhere did it say “results not typical.”
After threat of a class-action lawsuit, Disney agreed to offer a full refund for up to four dvd’s. That’s $67.96 that I never expected to see again (assuming I even bought the dvd’s, when in fact, I think we received them all as gifts.) All of which leaves me with a dilemma worthy of some real shakla vetarya (talmudic back and forth.) Even though I never believed the false advertising, am I entitled to the rebate? On the one hand, I applaud Disney’s being held accountable for deceptive sales practices. On the other hand, the rebate offer specifically stipulates “If you are not satisfied with the Baby Einstein dvd you purchased….” And I was satisfied. Totally satisfied.
So, readers, what do you think? Send the dvd’s back, or not?