I spent £7 on a children's science activity set and it broke my heart 4 years ago

I spent £7 on a children's science activity set and it broke my heart

My name is Ciara and this is my story.

I'm an average 27-year-old. I've gone through school, completed college and even wasted nine months doing a Masters degree that in no way prepared me for the real world.

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To me, science is but a pipe dream. I neither understand nor respect it. If someone put a gun to my head and asked me to answer whether science or magic was real, I'd choose magic every single time.

Regardless, I was on my lunch break today and I wandered into a knick-knack shop. It was full of all the usual tat you'd expect, but one particular item caught my eye.

That item was the 'Totally Disgusting Science Activity Set' and herein lies my story.

If you are of a sensitive disposition, I am obliged to advise you to stop reading now.


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At approximately 2.04pm today, I rushed back to the office with my purchase (which came with a complimentary plastic bag - tax-free!), positively giddy at the prospects that lay ahead.

Would I succeed in nailing these "totally disgusting" experiments or would these experiments succeed in "totally disgusting" me?

I felt like a child again. The afternoon was mine. Nobody could stand between me and the adventures that lay ahead. Except the meeting that was taking place in the kitchen which I patiently waited to finish so that I could take full advantage of the large table and above average lighting conditions.

Giddily, I examined the box.

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"Learn and experiment with horrible, gross ingredients!" "Barf!" "That's gross!" "Science!" "Safe science!"

Based on the weight of the box, I expected the quantity of the ingredients to be scant and indeed they were. The size of the box was deceptive.

Leonardo DiCaprio, look away now.

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The wasteful packaging in this box alone is enough to decimate the ozone layer if not discarded properly. Luckily, I know where the recycling bin is in work and plan on using it when I've had my fill of this 'Totally Disgusting Science Activity Set'.

Starting from the top and working from left to right, we've got some cornflour, a packet of fake flies and fake maggots, some sand, an insect mould, one singular plastic cup, a pot of slimey goo, some red dye, a magnifying glass, goo powder, vein glue and a pipette. All of the aforementioned could've fit compactly inside the plastic cup, but that's not my main grievance here today.

Leonardo DiCaprio may continue reading now.

I decided to get going and start with the innocuous 'Bulging bleeding human veins' experiment.

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Oh terrific, here's the first fucking hurdle. Point number one reads, "Take a piece of greaseproof paper (not supplied)". Not supplied. Casually enough, this integral part of the experiment is indeed NOT included in the pack for which I have paid £7. Best nip back down to the shop, sonny Jim, for this is a task that will go incomplete lest you rectify the error of those who made this kit and sold it for people's hard earned money.

Luckily, a colleague overheard my complaints regarding the non-inclusion of greaseproof paper and offered up some of her own. I didn't think to ask as to why she was harbouring an entire roll of greaseproof paper at her desk, nor will I now because it's too late and I'm confident that the real reason wouldn't be half as amusing as the scenario I've concocted in my head.

I decided to press on with the important task at hand.

As you can see, I drew two lines with the "3D vein glue pen" (all real-life pens are 3D FFS) and this was the result. I even made some areas of the left vein a little chunkier to replicate the bulges as advised, because I'm here to do this job correctly. Ideally, the next stage involves leaving the blood to dry for SEVERAL HOURS. Although I am technically no longer a child, I still experienced the impatience of one when it emerged that I would need to wait anything longer than five minutes to see the finished product.

Regardless, I left it two hours and they were still soaking wet. The vein glue hadn't dried in any way. I waited two hours for no reason. I got paid for those two hours, so it's not all bad, but I'm still disappointed. In a fit of rage, I decided to add some more veins and before I knew it, the following took place.

I consider this to be a very fair evaluation of this particular experiment and not one I plan on apologising for anytime soon. Even if they were dry, what the fuck would a child do with a singular strand of vein glue? Stick it to their skin? Get real.

Next, I decided to experiment with the old reliable 'Slimey Gooey Goo'.

You may remember from the initial list of items included in the pack that there is already a small pot of 'slimey goo' included in the pack, so as to why any young science nerd would want to make something they already have, I simply cannot shed any light on at this particular moment in time.

Regardless, I soldiered on and filled the provided cup with water. Again, we've hit a roadblock. If you bring your eyes to point number two listed above, I am required to take another cup (not included). A classic occurrence with this 'Totally Disgusting Science Activity Set' has popped up again. Given the size of the box, it couldn't have hurt to include a small piece of greaseproof paper or a second plastic cup stacked upon the initial one, but here we are. I felt a twinge in my heart, that all too familiar pang of disappointment. Disgruntled, I fetched a second plastic cup from the office water cooler. It was the last one. I make no apology because science needed it.

You'd be correct in thinking that the cup on the right, the dented cup, is indeed the one that I paid £7 for, which is baffling because the box is certainly large enough to house it unhampered. Alas, I followed the instructions up to the point where it's advised that you toss the ingredients from one cup to the other for precisely three minutes. I set a timer on my phone and got to work, not just for me, but for journalism.

Precisely 1 minute and 28 seconds into my tossing, I could toss no more. The unexpected happened.

Truly, have you ever seen something less like 'Slimey Gooey Goo' in your life? Somehow, I had created snow. It went absolutely everywhere. On my jeans, on the floor, in my hair, up my butt. No goo was forming. Again, I had been lied to. This science kit which showed such promise sitting in the shop with a price tag of £7 was becoming a nightmare. My heart, it ached further. Alas, I continued for science.

I gave the goo one more try, this time spreading it out on the table to try to get some heat into it and create some kind of scientific reaction that would magically turn it into slimey goo. To the surprise of absolutely no one, it didn't work. I was devastated and disheartened. Had I just pissed away £7? Was every experiment in this kit a waste of time? Had I been conned? I decided to try one more experiment. Everything was riding on it.

It was time for the chunky barf. Everything, as often it does, came down to the chunky barf.

The first point of instruction was confusing. "The mix should be 6 to 1.5". 6 to 1.5 WHAT? Spoons? Tablespoons? Buckets? Fuck this. I took matters into my own hands.

I resurrected the loyal cheese knife that I discovered that time I made a secret book compartment. It was the perfect measurer. I put six CKTs (cheese knife tips) of sand into another cup (not included in the box) and then added 1.5 CKTs of cornflour.

As per the instructions, I then added a little water and lost my reason over the fact that they'd casually slipped "and a few drops of baby oil" into the instructions. ANOTHER ITEM THAT WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THIS DECEPTIVELY LARGE BOX. Our office doesn't stock baby oil, due to there being no legitimate babies present. How do you even get oil from a baby? This is bullshit. I carried on regardless.

What a surprise, this heartbreaking excursion was again stunted by the box's failure to advise hopeful scientists as to what they would need to purchase in addition to the £7 box of shite. "Get an adult to chop some carrot and add to the mix. For real effect add some sweetcorn". FOR REAL EFFECT WHY DON'T YOU PROVIDE ALL OF THESE ITEMS IN THE BOX YOU USELESS FUCKEN SCIENCE ACTIVITY SET?!?!?!

I added the red colouring as suggested because apparently, all 'Chunky Barf' looks like a pool of blood. Then I paused for a moment, took stock of every life decision I had ever made that led me to that particular point and felt what I can only describe as my heart aching. I don't ask for much. I just wanted to have a fun time with a 'Totally Disgusting Science Activity Set'.

They fucked me. They fucked everyone that's spent £7 on such a useless piece of trash. I'm 27 years old with a full-time job, I can handle this kind of disappointment in everyday life, I'm used to it. But think of the kids that saved up their money to buy this kit. They don't deserve this kind of sadness. No one does.

As a final act of rebellion, I decided to put all the unused items from the kit together in a sadistic manner to try to produce at least one thing of value. What resulted is probably the most depressing picture of the bunch.

Look at the fucking state of that. That's what £7 and a bunch of shit upon dreams looks like.

What I've learned today is that life is just one big disappointment after another. Nothing ever goes your way. Even if you get excited about something and will it to work with all your might, it's not going to. You can't control anything. If things are meant to go tits up for you, that's exactly what will happen.

Totally Disgusting Science Activity Set, I want to thank you. Not for providing the service for which I paid £7, but for opening my eyes up to the cruelty that inhabits this godforsaken world. Truly, everything is garbage.

Also, why was there a magnifying glass included? Is it so you can see your shitty failed experiments up close? These people are scum.