& independent is a good word

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:

Puppies + baby + itty-bitty feet = Cute Bomb. Next step: world domination.

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:

It has something for every day of pregnancy. I'm not a math guy, but if I understand pregnant math, that's about 487 days.

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.”

Now when Squatch comes, all I need to do is figure out where my flash drive plugs in, and I'll be set.

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?).


3 thoughts on “& independent is a good word

  1. Austin has a ton of local stores and really pushes consumers to seek out the independent businesses. And it’s a pretty awesome place to live. Love the shoes! Are they Robeez? We love those things. I was sad when my EB grew out of the soft-sole and into the world of real people shoes.

    • I’ve heard that about Austin. In fact, I’ve heard a lot of things about Austin, like the streets are paved with candy and the dogs there can talk. It sounds like such an awesome, magical place, and I’m glad that at least something I heard is true. I’m a little skeptical about the candy streets part.

      Yeah, they’re Robeez. We bought some for our friends when they had a baby about a year-and-a-half back, and even then I think they made Karli’s ovaries do a little dance. So now that she has a tiny human growing in her, we couldn’t leave the store without a pair. We even almost got a second pair that were Yoda shoes because they were so damn cute, and we don’t really even like Star Wars (which I know is a dangerous thing to admit on a blog—or really anywhere on the internet—but maybe hidden down in the comments like this, it’ll be missed and I won’t get pummeled).

      • No candy-lined streets, although it warms my heart that those rumors are out there. We had several pairs of Robeez, including brown ones with pink peacocks. I tried to get some cheapo ones from Walmart but they were NOT the same. It’s worth the money and you can just wipe them down with a wet paper towel once they inevitably get dirty from the crawling. And I won’t judge your for the star wars comment – I only like the first (really last, sequentially) three.

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