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    My Child-Supply Store

    June 10, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    I hate Toys R Us. I truly hate it. Every time we are there and we’ve been inside for about five minutes, I inevitably look at Si and say, “I hate this store!” And I do. We only go to this store because our children receive giftcards for their birthdays. And we are very grateful for these giftcards because they have allowed us to purchase some really great toys.

    Since I hate the store, we always do research in advance and know pretty much what we have come there to buy. Yet we still end up wandering around for time without end. Today, we asked a clerk where we could find a toy box. He told us to go ask Customer Service. {I found myself wondering if his title was something nifty like Customer Service Representative.} So we made a full circle back to the front of the store, where a nice lady directed us to the very back of the store. But then we needed help with the item because there was no price tag and they keep the stock in the back room. Of course, there weren’t any real people available to help us except the first clerk, who we already knew wasn’t very helpful. Needless to say, Si went on a wild goose chase to get assistance.

    So all of this was to spend some giftcards on a nice, plain, white toy box that I’m hoping doesn’t fall apart in a year. I’ve been wanting to tidy up the play room for some time, and this was the perfect solution.

    But it is so difficult to find something plain like this!

    We looked for a lap desk for a trip we’re taking in our car soon. The only options were covered with Dora the Explorer for girls and characters from that new Cars movie for boys. I just couldn’t do it.

    Everywhere I looked there were bedspreads covered with Thomas the Train or Tonka Trucks or Barbie. There was furniture stamped with every brand name imaginable. And, honestly, it disgusted me. Something about the overt marketing to children makes me sick. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but it all seems insulting to my child’s intelligence and good taste nonetheless.

    So in my head I have invented a store. A venture like this would take far too much energy and time from my family for me to actually do this, but if some high-energy or single person out there wants to take this idea and run with it, just let me know. I will probably charge royalties in the form of food and coffee items.

    Back to my store. My store would specialize in furniture, bedding, books and toys that no one could identify as being anything other than a piece of furniture, bedding, book or a toy. No one would be able to look at the sheets I sold and say, “Look! Dora sheets!” No! The only thing one would be able to say is, “What pretty sheets!” The furniture would have nothing to do with Tonka or Hasbro or Barbie or Disney. The books would be alive and all Disney versions would be banned. The toys would not be miniatures of some character on television. Maybe they could even be handmade, like our wonderful Amish-made car track.

    And I would unmarket the store. It would be in a secret location. Really hard to find. And I wouldn’t tell anyone where it was. No one would know except through word of mouth. And maybe a secret password at the door, just to make things difficult. And maybe a bouncer at the door to kick out anyone wearing Disney garb. Anything to protect the purity of the idea.

    For his birthday, E. received a Slip and Slide. And not just any Slip and Slide, but rather a Disney-issued Finding Nemo Slip and Slide. But he doesn’t know or care who Nemo is. So what did he say upon opening such a gift? “Oh! I got an ocean!” That is the unmuddied response that can be born only in a media-free childhood.

    My store would be like that. It would sell a product, not a concept of an imaginary person like Dora or Nemo. Sheets would be sheets, toddler beds would be toddler beds, and a baby doll would be a baby doll. Let the children imagine they are something else, not the marketers!


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  • Reply Brandy June 11, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    Wow, I had no idea you felt so passionately about this! 🙂

    I agree that it is hard to find things. Honestly, I think they do it on purpose! I know from experience that the more time we spend wandering around lost, the more likely E. is to start asking for the things he sees.

    I suppose it is not unlike those studies that have shown that a person is more likely to make impulse buys if they spend longer than 30 minutes in the grocery store.

  • Reply Grace June 11, 2006 at 6:39 pm


    Okay, back to my normal tone of voice. =) But seriously, I don’t know who made up the floor plans for the stores, but it really sucks. The only good thing about that place is the free wrapping. But other than that, not so much. Okay, that’s my rant on it. I hope you’ll have your store up and ready when it’s my time! =)

    Love ya!

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