But sometimes you buy crap with the best of intentions.
For Christmas the husband and I bought the Beans one of those foam floor alphabet mat sets. He was starting to play independently and we had set up the Gulag (play yard) in the living room and I wanted something a bit soft on the floor of it because the child is convinced he is the human version of a pinball. The big bullseye store had these for like $12 and another company (one that I had actually heard of) for $25. We made the financial decision that the $12 ones looked good and at half the price who could really argue even if they were on clearance and from a company we'd never heard of. Ever the broke optimists we bought them.
The letters didn't really fit in the squares, so if you even thought about moving the foam square, the letter would spontaneously jumped out like a kernel in a popcorn maker. If you tried to move them you had a foam alphabet soup on your floor and a really frustrated me on your hands. So I resorted to this ...
Yes, I did that 26 times. And no, one pass of the packing tape was not enough. Most letters needed a tape X and some needed more of an asterisk to hold the letters in place.
Then the little perforated edges didn't fit together nicely, and the color "pattern" wasn't a pattern but actually changed part way through and that drives my OCDishness nuts. (Check out the pattern from A to E then note what happens E through L. WTF?)
I was pretty impressed at my self control because I wanted to spell out some special non-kidpropriate stuff by the time I was finally getting the damn things together.
And of course, the Beans wanted to take them apart and seemed to instantly know how to do it, tape or no tape. And then he somehow hog tied himself with packing tape. This was the one time he played ON it and not WITH it.
And I was re-fitting them together daily if not more so the human bouncy ball didn't trip and kill himself.
So remember the 100 Things Challenge? Guess what 52-pieces-of-pain-in-the-ass-crap is going in there? Oh yeah.
Lesson learned, if there are like 45 of them on sale and on clearance the product might just suck.