AKRON — I was shocked…shocked — and horrified—when I read the recent story on the Tire Business website, courtesy of our sister publication, AutoWeek, that Hasbro Inc. was planning to dump one of its iconic Monopoly game tokens, such as the race car.
The race car is my token of choice whenever I can get my family to sit down for an hour to play the never-ending game (which is about once a year!)
Since childhood, the car token just imbued the idea of "speed." Battleships can be lumbering monstrosities. Scottie dogs can run at a good pace but have little paws (and can yip too much). A wheelbarrow can only go as fast as the human pushing it. Same goes for an iron, which requires a human arm to move it along, and usually it's on an ironing board, not a road. (My iron at home doesn't move much at all.)
The other tokens don't have any obvious means of mobility, but my Monopoly iPod app version (hey, at least I can play the game more often with a computer!) provides the other inanimate tokens with movement: the shoe hops along, the top hat whirls like it got caught in a tornado and the thimble waddles like a penguin.
Now, in the name of modernizing the game that has a 1920s theme, Hasbro is holding a contest to see which token to get rid of and which new token will take its place: a toy robot, a helicopter, a cat, a guitar or a diamond ring.
Once again I have speed issues with the new choices. Sure a helicopter is fast and a cat can gain speed with a dog on its tail. But robots walk rather awkwardly. And how far can you get with a guitar or a ring? (Insert off-color retorts here.)
The campaign on the Monopoly Facebook page is titled "Save Your Token." Until Feb. 5, fans can vote for their favorite token and favorite replacement. The token that gets the fewest votes will never pass "Go" again nor collect $200.
AutoWeek is rallying autophiles to save the car token. I'd like to rally the tire industry.
Tire makers and tire dealers should get online and vote to save the car, which represents their bread and butter. (O.K….the specialty tire dealers can vote for the wheelbarrow.)
The car, after all, represents speed, innovation, upward mobility and wealth—the good ol' American values epitomized in the board game.
…And Tire Business editors were wondering why reporter Kathy McCarron was hunched over at her desk, muttering at her mobile phone about "being in jail again." We didn't take it personally.