Things change slowly in our part of the world, but they do change. The self-serve car wash has become another luxury car dealership, which will undoubtedly serve Starbucks coffee, proudly. Two of the banks have become drive-thru Starbucks, so we know our appetite for the stuff is boundless. Who needs more banks than car dealers? Not us, obviously.

I had all but forgotten we once had a toy store down off the main road. Since the book store closed too, taking all its toys with it, I don’t know where anyone would go for toys now. Toy R Us is Toy R Not. Are the big stores shouldering the entire toy burden now? How can parents buy toys in a hurry without accidentally buying a new pair of shoes?

When I finally ventured into the toy store, it must have been time to put an emergency gift in my trunk; it was something I did for all the years when you kids were going to birthday parties all the time. A pack of colorful tissue, some cards and a few gift bags meant that I could deliver a child to a party in record time with minimal fuss.

The sign for the toy store would have caught my eye at such an opportune moment, and while I knew that a little boutique would never beat the prices at the usual place, I would give it a try. Was I buying cupcakes next door? Who knows! Nobody cares! Sometimes moms just have to kill some time so they can be more in a hurry.

Walking over, I was surprised to find that the bright red door was child-sized. What if I were a tall man with joint problems? I wouldn’t be able to shop there, I guess. What other patrons were they giving up for this whimsical entrance? I wished you kids were younger, so that we could discover the place together.

I crouched down, and with only a little difficulty crammed myself through the tiny door. Unfortunately, there was a display placed too close to it, and I tripped and stumbled in, landing on all fours with a clatter. Two clerks whirled around in alarm.

“Oh, boy!” I tried to sound jovial, “Alice is in Wonderland. This must happen all the time.”

They stared at me. “No, this never happens. That door is supposed to be locked.” The clerk pointed at the perfectly normal shop door that I had overlooked. “Everyone uses the real door.”

I didn’t want to argue that the door I used was obviously a real door and that really, I had done them a favor. Some toddler hoodlum had obviously popped open the latch so that she could come back later and burgle them properly. There was no reward, just hot embarrassment. I bought a magic kit and bugged out through the “real” door.

By the time I had the notion to go back, the toy store was gone and became a bird store or a card store, I can’t recall now. Whatever it was, it was something we already had and it didn’t last.

There must be a surefire retail formula, other than opening a Starbucks. I’d like to see a book store that sells booze and toys and tiny hardware that you don’t have to walk a mile to fetch. Cupcakes would an over reach. No need to go crazy.

We could have a tiny door too, but just for drunks.

Have you ever gone in “the wrong way”? How bad was it?


p.s. Why, yes, yermom is super scattered with graduation preparations. Thanks for noticing!!

p.p.s. You can still buy my book–it’s also a good gift for the reader who likes Austen and Brontë and chuckles: Book info!!



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