Home for the Holidays: Singing Cardinals on Branch
Over the years, I've found the large drug store chains to be abundant sources of bizarre holiday decor, none more so than Rite Aid. Their seasonal section seems to be full of a wide array of Christmas oddities that linger well into January, when everything becomes more affordable.
That's the story behind this, of course. I grabbed it last year when it hit 70% or 75% off.
As you can probably tell from the image, these are low-end animatronic birds fixed to a stand decorated with fake tree pieces. When activated, they erupt in a chirping version of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" at deafening volumes while LED's light up behind them.
This is the part of the review I typically go into a rant about the crappy quality, or stupid concept. But there's a problem... I kind of love this thing.
I mean, sure, it's too loud and I could do without the glitter coating the base (I hate glitter). And, yeah, the plastic pine pieces aren't doing it any favors. But I've got a soft spot in my heart for robotic Christmas decorations (blame nostalgia for the electronic displays covering malls in the 80s). I find these a lot of fun.
This has a couple modes, incidentally. The switch on the bottom lets you select between "Off", "On", and "Try Me." Of the three, the only one you'll never want to use is On - that activates the birds anytime there's noise or vibration. The "Try Me" level relies on the button visible on the base, which is far less intrusive.
I also muffled the speaker on the underside using duct tape - that helped.
This is a little less than a foot long, four and a half inches wide, and just a hair over six and a half tall. The original retail price was $24.99, though that's more a marketing trick than an actual price. If you spend any time at Rite Aid, you know they have a default 50% sale on their seasonal merchandise. I visited Rite Aid almost weekly last year during the holidays, and I only recall seeing those signs vanish once, just before Christmas.
I held off for a better deal, but $12.50 actually seems reasonable to me. I imagine those of you without a fondness for singing cybernetic avian monstrosities might have a different opinion.