Object of the Week

Fisher-Price Has Turned Our Remote Work Hell Into a Toy

”My Home Office” for kids lands somewhere between dark satire and a meme

Rob Walker
Published in
4 min readMar 4, 2021

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The text “Object of the Week” above  the Fisher-Price My Home Office play set with a fake laptop, headset, latte cup, pretend phone, and “4 fabric ‘apps.’”
Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Fisher-Price

Object of the Week is a column exploring the objects a culture obsesses over and what that reveals about us.

It looks like a parody, and a rather dark one at that: The Fisher-Price My Home Office play set includes a fake laptop, headset, latte cup, pretend phone, and “4 fabric ‘apps’ that attach to computer screen to ‘work’ on different projects.” It’s intended for preschoolers, ages three and up. The obvious takeaway: Once upon a time, children might pretend to be an astronaut or a superhero before the educational system disabused them of all their dreams. Now, apparently, a toy inspired by the Covid-19 remote-work boom, which has converted so many homes into offices and schools, will teach them to just skip ahead and start fantasizing about a soul-draining life of Slack banter and Zoom meetings.

This flew so close to satire that truth-on-the-internet arbiter Snopes.com weighed in on the matter, confirming that the eight-piece play set is perfectly real and carries a suggested price of $24.99. In fact, according to its Amazon listing, it’s been available since August. But it’s only in the past week that the kit seems to have made a splash on social media, where it was described as “bleak” and evidence that “we’re all living in hell now.”

As Snopes pointed out, fake play set parodies are actually a meme-world trope: “In recent years, Fisher-Price toys have formed the basis of popular online parodies and pastiches, such as ‘Tiny Toker,’ which included toy marijuana paraphernalia, ‘My First Vape,’ and a ‘Happy Hour Playset,’ complete with toy stools, tiny beer bottles, and a kid-sized bar.”

Another example: the (fake) “Fisher-Price Work From Home Playset,” which appears to have made the rounds in July. Allegedly aimed at kids ages three and up, it promised a pretend laptop, crying baby, an uncomfortable-looking kitchen table and chair, and a couple bottles of wine. “The perfect toy for 2020 doesn’t exist,” announced a meme-spreader site.

Allegedly aimed at kids ages three and up, it promised a pretend…

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