For those people around me frequently, I make no secret of my disdain (and frankly, distrust) of Wal-Mart. Don’t like the place. In fact, before moving down to Wilburton, I went about a year-and-a-half without setting foot in a Wal-Mart. I just found better options. Since moving down to Oklahoma, however, Wal-Mart is pretty much the only option within an hour’s drive. I’m there like three goddamn times a week. (Target, if you’re listening, please build a store in McAlester, Oklahoma. I beg you.) A wide variety of choices is not a feature of rural boondock living.
It might just be big box stores or chains in general (though I don’t seem to mind Target—go figure) that I don’t like because the entire experience seems so monolithic and disingenuous and prefabricated and fluorescent. I don’t really like shopping or eating at a chain very much. Given the choice, I’d pick a locally owned, independent business almost every time. If this makes me a snob, well, then pass the Grey Poupon.
Really, this was inspired by one local business in particular. Today, our last day in Topeka visiting family over our Christmas break, we spent some time at The Toy Store, a simply named, locally owned, independent store in town. Okay, to be more specific, we spent a little time and a lot of money at The Toy Store today. It’s not super expansive with the widest selection of everything you could possibly imagine, but the stuff they do carry is quality. In fact, we decided we had to go before we ended up blowing our next couple months’ paychecks there. I know most people reading this aren’t likely to be anywhere near Topeka (or Lawrence, their other location), so take this as encouragement to find your own local toy store, then thank me later—preferably in large bills.
Anyway, Karli ended up buying Squatch the softest, floppiest damn stuffed rabbit you’ll ever find. It’s put away somewhere for the trip back to Okie-land, so I don’t have a picture of it. But trust me, if I had one, you’d be all, “D’awwwwww. Look at the bunny.” You totally would. Don’t even try to play it off. We also bought these little shoes, which you also find adorable:
Then we bought books. Karli got one that’s for pregnant ladies. It’s kinda funny and seems pretty comforting to her already in a “Holy shit, I’m not crazy for thinking this stuff” kinda way that other pregnant ladies might appreciate. Though I’m not a pregnant lady, so I might not even be close. Anyway, the book:
Then I got a book that seems right up my alley. I picked it up because the design and layout is pretty awesome; I bought it because it uses terms like “Understanding and Installing Diapers.”
So there’s the rundown of our shopping trip that you didn’t ask for. But I’d love to find out more about other independent toy stores in different places. That way I’ll have some backup plans when we eventually take the baby on vacation and Squatch gets kinda fussy (which will totally never happen, right parents?).