Dare you rent toys online for your kids this Christmas?

Toygaroo is like Netflix for toys a site where parents can rent toys for their kids and send them back when they're done. Is this a little icky?

Good, clean fun? Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Children need toys. Parents need quiet children. So they buy those children toys.

Yet toys are expensive. And children are fickle. So a site called Toygaroo has decided to offer parents the choice of renting toys.

The site offers various plans, just like Netflix. For example, for $24.99 you get four toys every other month. For $34.99, you get 4 toys every month. And for $52.99 you get eight toys that will delight your children beyond all measure.

WBZ-TV Boston decided to chat with parents who seemed rather delighted with the whole thing.

What seems splendid is that if your child unaccountably falls in love with some little tank engine--or indeed some little tank--you can buy it for a reasonable price.

And yet for those who might be a little more OCD, or merely a little more cautious about health, there is the question of ickiness.

Many of these toys will have been played with by other people's kids. Who can be surprised that on Toygaroo's fine Web site there is a section called "Sanitization?"

I know, I know. You don't see that on Netflix' Web site. Nor on Qwickster's. You don't see a history of where your "Pirates of the Caribbean" DVD has been, for how long and in what circumstances.

There again, you are unlikely to put that DVD in your mouth in order to see what it tastes like.

Toygaroo promises: "No Yuck Factor!" Yet reading through its three-stage sanitization process makes for sobering reading.

All the toys are, apparently, "unpacked and steam cleaned at 212 degrees to ensure 99.9% of germs, bacteria, and dust mites are killed on the spot." Doesn't that sound like a toilet cleaner ad to you?

But, wait. "Toys are then cleaned and fully sanitized using an all organic, EPA approved, bleach free product from Melaleuca. This solution is so safe its used across the country in some of the best hospital neonatal centers."

Are you feeling more comfortable? Are you reassured? Then please let me tell you that "last but not least each toy is carefully inspected, signed off on by a toy sanitization inspector and then shrink wrapped to keep it from being affected by any outside elements from the time it leaves our warehouse and arrives at your door."

Christmas brings its emotional issues and its budgetary ones. The budgetary benefits of Toygaroo are evident and well thought-out. How many, though, will get over the emotional issues in order to get budgetary joy?

One the twelfth day of Christmas, my daddy gave to me a sanitized toy that some other little kiddy had already played with for a month and stuck in their mouth.

Life brings with it difficult choices, especially at gift-giving time.

 

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