Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Open Letter to Best Buy

Dear Best Buy Management and Employees:

I am writing this letter in an attempt to provide a rational explanation for the odd behavior that was recently exhibited in your fine establishment, and to thank you for the many ways in which you aim to make the shopping experience in your stores as pleasant as possible for mothers and their small children.

I am the mother of 2 lovely and active children, ages 2 and 4. On rare occasions (and with much regret) I sometimes must take them with me on shopping trips. This last Saturday was one such occasion. In order to make the shopping experience as pleasant as possible for all involved (which, admittedly, is only slightly more pleasant than a Brazilian waxing on even the best of days) I brief the children in the car beforehand as to the nature of the shopping trip and what is to be expected in regard to behavior and the purpose of the trip. The children are then told the transportation options available to them in the store, namely stroller or shopping cart. The expectations are clearly outlined before entering the store.

On our most recent visit, the children wanted to wear their backpack leashes in the store. I did not make them wear them. I would have been more than happy to push M in a cart and hold E’s hand while we were in the store, but they decided instead that they would both rather wear their backpacks and walk. Considering the average dollar amount of merchandise per square foot of retail space, combined with the knowledge that the average 2 and 4 year old can destroy approximately 5 square feet per second, I thought it was prudent to restrict the range of access the children would have to merchandise in your store as the best practice for controlling collateral damage.

The fact that the children, once in the store, started barking and panting and loudly proclaiming to all within earshot ‘We’re doggies!!! Arf! Arf!!’ was as great a surprise to me as it was to the many employees and shoppers in your store at 10 am on a Saturday. Likewise, I was also surprised when the children licked one of your employees. I do apologize and I assure you that I do not promote or endorse the licking of complete strangers (at least, not until college). I ask that you look at the positive aspects of this situation: 1.) the children were socially engaged and actively using their imaginations and 2.) no one got peed on.

I would now like to take this opportunity to thank you for providing excellent customer service, or at least, for stationing an acne-riddled teenager at the end of each aisle. I found it especially helpful when they would stare at me and ask with no sarcasm whatsoever if I needed any help. After all, I was walking around the store with two barking children on fucking leashes. What on earth could I possibly need help with?

In addition, I would like to thank your marketing and merchandising departments for their clever placement of children’s DVDs on each end cap and along the shelves most accessible to 2 and 4 year old children. I would consider it a personal failure if I were to leave one of your stores without purchasing $87 worth of Dora and Diego videos, so thank you for ensuring that that will never happen.

Finally, I would also like to compliment you on your exemplary security personnel. I am sure in their many hours of highly specialized training they learned to follow shifty people who don’t look employees in the eye when greeted; however, I would like to make you aware that some people are not, in fact, stealing things as they try to slink through the store unnoticed. Sometimes they just need to run in and get one little thing and in the course of being in the store purchase $87 worth of Nickelodeon DVDs which have security tags in them that are never deactivated by the cash registers and cause the security alarms to go off as they are trying to calmly exit the store all while they have TWO BARKING CHILDREN ON FUCKING LEASHES with them.

Again, thank you Best Buy for all that you have done to make my shopping experience such a pleasant one. I am sure that I will return again many times to bask in the glow of public humiliation.

Bad Mommy

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Marvelous Toy(s)- Part 2

So let's continue the discussion of the Nonna and Papa toy insanity. Today I present to you (drumroll please...)

Exhibit B: M's Present- The Calico Critters Fancy-Ass House and Play Table!

We continue with the photo-essay format because if I tried to explain this to you by just using my big-girl words, you would think I was full of shit.

Here we have the house and play table pictured fully assembled. Yes, you read that right- FULLY ASSEMBLED. Already this toy is kicking the shit out of the Playmobil Hospital .

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that while the house came assembled, I did have to put the play table together. But that's okay because I got to use my Makita Cordless Impact Driver to assemble it.

If I was a man, this thing would give me so much wood. Forget the vibrators, ladies- get yourself a REAL power tool!

Um... yeah. Instead of inserting an awkward segue, let's just move on, shall we? Thanks.

Here we have our new little friends, the Calico Critters, as seen in their natural suburban, molded plastic, PCB generating, environmentally poisoning, gonad shrinking habitat. But they're so fucking cute!

Let's meet the families, shall we? First we have the Norwood Mouse Family with Father Chester-Cheddar, Mother Brie, Brother Colby and Sister Nibbles.

And then we have the Buttercup Cat family. The Buttercup family owns the Ice Cream Shop in Cloverleaf Corners. Father Ben likes to experiment with different recipes, and he can certainly count on his kids Cliff and Caramel to try any new flavor he creates. Mother Sherry, on the other hand, makes sure her family does not subsist on ice cream alone and insists that the kids always eat their dinner first.

You totally think I am making this shit up, don't you? That I am sitting here just fucking with you because I have nothing better to do? That I have spent the last few months taking bong hits and hanging out at Toys R Us? Blame the people at International Playthings. While it sounds like a very high-end, James Bond-esque escort service, International Playthings is the distributor of Calico Critters. But maybe they distribute other toys as well- it does say that Father Ben likes to 'experiment'. Hey, I'm not here to judge.

So now that we've met the inhabitants, let's check out the Calico Critter's digs. Again, I employ the use of the quarter for scale.

The book shelf- with removable books. Who knew cats could read?

And a few little knicknacks to make the place feel more like home. Shit, now the cats are fucking interior designers?

And they come with accessories too...

I just know that I am going to end up picking these things out of poop some day soon.

Its like the baby kitties are taunting me...'You know you want to hate us, but we're so fucking cute you can't stand it. Love us. Worship us. Keep track of all our tiny pieces of plastic shit'.

And of course the critters have furniture too. Hell, I pay a mortgage for a house that's not nearly this nice (and only marginally bigger). It makes sense that the tiny play critters have nicer shit than me too.

Oh yeah, they're really sticking it to me now. Bastards.

So the construction and decorating are completed and we are well versed in the history of our new tiny friends. What to do now?

Well, I did what any mature adult 13 year old boy would do when given the opportunity to play with tiny little critters... I arranged them into various pornographic tableaux.

Giggle... giggle...snort... heheheh.

Sorry. I know that was wrong. I know you can never un-see that.

Let's just go to the final statistics:

Number of power tools needed for assembly: 0

Number of power tools used for assembly: 1 (awesome)

Number of different species living under the same roof in Calico Critters House: 4

Possibility that Calico Critters is some bizzare polygamist sect with headquarters in Waco Texas: Fairly likely

Cuteness of Calico Critters on a scale of 1-10: 11

Sex acts portrayed by critters that are illegal in 13 states: At least 2. More if you reside in the state of Georgia.

Number of times I have knocked M out of the way so I could play with the critters: Not telling