Friday, November 9, 2007

Parents – Keep your kids out of the toy store

I had the good fortune of having to go to the Toys R Us this afternoon to shop for a gift. I say that with a touch of sarcasm…could you tell? It is a rare occasion for me to go in to a toy store for starters, and even rarer that I enjoy the experience. Why? It’s because of the kids.

Yes, I know you would think that a toy store is a great place for kids. Far from it, I say. When I was young, my parents rarely had the extra cash for toys, much less the desire to take us to a store and then watch their 6 children all ask for a different toy – in unison. Keep in mind that I was born in the 50s, so mass market toy stores was just a dream in most communities. My parents were not gluttons for punishment, and they had no desire to torture us by showing us things we could not have.

While I was in Toys R Us today, I think there were only about 5 people that came in with no kids. The other 20 adults in the store had at least one child with them, a few had two. For the one child parents, the one child was screaming, for the two children parents, one of the two kids was screaming and the other kid was off getting lost. Particularly horrifying was one child who was so distraught by the fact that his mother had uttered the forbidden word – NO. This boy, about 2 years old, was screaming at the top of his lungs. And it wasn’t one solitary scream; it was a long wail that went on for at least 10 minutes. It also had a ripple effect. Other kids saw and heard this one kid throwing a massive tantrum, and they started as well. It was like I had walked into some weird kiddie shop of horrors.

Yes, I know, some parents can't afford a sitter while they can go shopping. The argument I have for that defense is that their carts are loaded with expensive toys; can’t they afford a sitter for an hour or two? If it’s a two-parent household, can’t they wait until the other parent can stay home and watch the kids?

There is a whole separate issue with the whole experience of shopping for toys from the kid’s perspective. Why take a child into a place where all the toys he or she could dream of are there, and then have to tell the child “no you can’t have that?” It’s teasing at its very worst.

So parents, I implore you. Leave the kids home when you go toy shopping this holiday season. My ears will thank you.

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