The unbearable irony of the Tripp Trapp highchair
Monday, March 16th, 2009
First the bad news: Despite its name, the Stokke Tripp Trapp—“the chair that grows with the child™”—was not invented by Captain Von Trapp of Sound of Music fame, nor did Harry Houdini ever successfully escape from its five-point safety harness. (It does have at least one celebrity connection; Julianne Moore once donated a “gently used” T.T. to a charity who used its association with the Lost World: Jurassic Park star to scare up $335 for it on eBay.)
More bad news: The revolutionary Tripp Trapp was, originally, a total bomb. First introduced in 1972 (as the “Kinderzeat”), it dispensed with the traditional eating tray so that infants dine off the same table as their parents, acquiring key social skills. Despite this and its other key innovation—it can be reconfigured to accommodate a baby, toddler, or tween—no one wanted the thing. Had a perverse Scandinavian TV producer not devoted a segment to the chair in 1974, catalyzing its global success, the Tripp Trapp would be just another failed baby product like the Slipp Slapp adjustable washcloth.
A bit more bad news: The Tripp Trapp can be a smidge demanding. Back in Action, an online retailer that sells the Tripp Trapp, swears it will provide “whatever help and advice you need over the years” to reconfigure the chair as your child grows, suggesting that Tripp Trapp owners need decades of help and advice.
And now the good news: The Tripp Trapp website is (unintentionally) amusing. After reasserting that the T.T. is “the chair that grows with the child,” the site points out, with no apparent sense of irony, that it “holds up 300 pounds.” Just how much growing do you want your child to do?