GETTING MORE TALE #550: The Toy
The worst thing about running a “family oriented” used CD store was kids. Not every kid mind you…just the ones that weren’t attended to by their parents. Toddlers, seven year olds…whatever. They were hell to deal with, because nine times out of ten, the parents would rather scour our shelves looking for John Mellencamp discs than make sure their kids weren’t destroying the store. T-Rev used to say “People should need a license to have kids,” after witnessing the destruction they can unleash when parents don’t give a shit.
So, some typical store activities for kiddies:
- Taking discs off the shelves and putting them elsewhere.
- Running behind the counter and grabbing discs there. This was especially troublesome. Discs were in numbered slots. If Junior takes the disc out and throws it somewhere, you have to look it up in inventory to see what slot it was supposed to be in. How do you do that with a CD that has no title or artist printed on it? Happened more frequently than you think. I called those discs “lost soldiers”.
- Just running behind the counter because why not.
- Throwing things.
- Spilling food or drinks.
- Trying to attach themselves to my legs.
Talking to the parents was useless. They’d usually yell something like, “Stop that!” before turning their backs to look for some Tim McGraw discs.
So we came up with a plan to deal with it. A little toy for the kids to quietly play with in the corner! A little hobby center for the toddlers. A few kids did play quietly with it, while others just fought over it. Battles, screaming, with parents deeply immersed in the Bargain Bin looking for MuchDance ’98.
Within two weeks, the toy had developed a gross, slimy coating that you couldn’t clean off. It was disgusting; it looked like kids had been licking it (they probably were). And wouldn’t you know it? The lovely children that used to throw things around the store found something new to throw: the toy and its parts! It could and did end up anywhere in the store. Including begind the counter. We bought that toy so kids would be occupied and leave us alone. The damned thing was way more work than it was worth.
What a disaster. I hated that fucking thing.