That’s right, we made the trek into the next city to go here [cue holy music]:
Kid Mecca, otherwise known as Toys R Us, in which the aisles of toys extend into infinity, until they collapse into a toy singularity of impossible density, packaging, and expense.
And in which all these miraculous toys are lit with shoddy tube florescent lighting that make me look haggard and old. What’s up with that?
Here we see Luc, amazed at the sheer quantity of games available, all on one wall. Because Toys R Us is nothing if not about QUANTITY.
We’ve mostly gotten our enormous assortment of toys from yard sales, the swap shop at the dump, gifts, and on occasion, the internet. There are several small toy stores near where we live, and we have occasionally purchased things at these fun, folksy stores: arts supplies, puzzles, plastic chickens. But one thing missing at these sorts of wooden-toy places are the tv tie-ins and the gender differentiation that simply dominate Toys R Us like nothing we have ever experienced.
Here Luc says in amazement, “This is the Swan Castle from the commercial!” and “This entire aisle is pink!”
And it was.
Here Sophie perused the “boy aisle.” “Luc, you have that digger!”
Then, mega-jack-pot. The Hulk Aisle!
Incredible Hulk has been a big thing around our house at times (I suppose he’s a Big Thing wherever he goes), so imagine the kids amazement to see an entire wall of Hulk items. They about fell over on the floor in holy raptures. Mom, this one has swiveling arms! This one is a mask with glow-in-the-dark eyes! This one comes with the Grey Hulk! This one smashes things for REAL!
It was about at this point they started running from place to place, kind of like Po in Kung Fu Panda, where he is seeing, for the first time, holy relics he has only ever read about in books. Oh My God, LOOK! It’s just like it is on tv! And this one shoots real laser blasts! (What? You haven’t seen Kung Fu Panda? You should! It’s fabulous! And stay around for the lovely bit after the credits. I love that bit.)
The Spiderman wall!
The endless Nintendo DS game wall!
Oh, Luc asked me to take a picture of this game.
It had several of his favorite characters on it, Spiderman, Hulk, Wolverine, and Ironman. The executives at Marvel must be very, very proud. He didn’t actually want the game because “it will probably be too hard until I’m older. But if you take a picture, we’ll remember it, and I can try it when I’m five.” He really said this. He hates to be frustrated by a Nintendo game and worries about his little character when his own, limited, playing skills get his pixelated playmate killed. He has game reset guilt. It’s a problem.
HOW did I get out of that store without getting a picture of the Spongebob aisle??? Imagine the Spongebob aisle here.
We also saw three other kiddos have serious meltdowns in adjacent aisles. It IS rather overwhelming in there, but still, it was hard to hear kids being told to shut up, or that they couldn’t have anything because they were there to get some other kid a present, or that they were greedy. That last one seemed extra mean. We saw several heated discussions and not a lot of laughter. Instead, lots of drawn, serious faces. Especially the faces of the people who worked there, which was a bummer, but I guess it’s just another Wal-mart-like Retail-bot job to them, not the Amazingly Spiffy Place it was to us.
I know folks worry about consumerism, plastic junk in the landfills, commercials infecting small people’s brains, imagination-killers, etc. I used to be one of those people, back when ‘kids’ was an idea to be pontificated about, instead of two, real, people that like and trust. But Luc and Sophie really didn’t experience Toys R Us with any of that negativity. And I let myself experience it as they did, full of wonder and amazement. I mean, we were practically dancing around, me taking pictures, all of us squealing with each new discovery and the sheer awesomeness of all those toys, all that play, waiting to be had. We probably looked like morons, to be honest. But so what? We could have been having melt-downs in aisle 5. No, thank you.
After about an hour, we’d been everywhere, done everything. Choices were made, purchases purchased. Sophie bought a bead kit and Luc bought a set of pirate legos.
Here they go, back out into the world, carrying their packages and thrilled with their adventure.
Out in the parking lot I noticed several cars with men in them, the same cars I had noticed with the same men when we entered. Strange. Dads waiting in the car? Drug dealing at the Toys R Us? Pedophiles? We may never know.
For a healing of old toy store wounds, I highly recommend the Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, for the best, most magical, sentient toy store ever to grace the big screen. And the delightful Natalie Portman is rarely to be missed, so there you go.