Friday, April 3, 2009

Toys ‘R’ Us sells peace and quiet

My children are 30 and 27 years old, and I am not yet blessed with grandchildren. Thus, my visits inside a Toys “R” Us store are not as frequent as they were decades ago. So it was with a little bit of bemusement and nostalgia that I read that Toys “R” Us is adding a low-cost department in the front of its stores featuring approximately 100 items for $1, $2 or $3 with themes such as dinosaurs, games and fun toys, princess dress up, musical instruments, art supplies and party favors.

The company is calling the new departments “$1-$2-$3 Fun!” shops, but old timers might recall that Toys “R” Us used to have a power alley that customers had to traverse before getting into the belly of each store. Stocked with low-priced items similar to what will go into the $1-$2-$3 Fun! shops, the merchandise had a slightly less politically correct name. The goods were known as “shut up toys,” meaning parents would bribe their kids to behave properly inside the toy emporium by buying them a low-priced plaything.

Toys “R” Us says it believes parents “will appreciate the exceptional values found in our $1-$2-$3 Fun! Shops.” I believe they’ll equally appreciate the peace and quiet a few bucks will buy.

— Murray Forseter

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