Monday, March 19, 2012

The Swap Meet

This weekend Mrs. Blackwell and I used our Saturday morning to go bargain hunting for baby. 

This particular baby product and paraphernalia extravaganza was known as "Kidsignment"    get it? Consignment but for kids. 

From the outside, the venue looked like an airplane hangar and, on the inside, it looked the same. Big. Big. Big.

Kidsignment began on Thursday, which meant 48 hours had elapsed for eager moms to pick through the aisles and aisles of baby stuff. That said, there was more than enough left to go around.

No children were lost in this maze. But one
child-sized wallet was reported missing.
Toys. I can't even begin to catalog them. There were three rows of tables, each about 75 yards long, overflowing with all manner of toys. There comes a time when you get too old to remember all of the toys you had and what they did. 

That said, as a grown man I frequently found myself staring at some sort of plastic contraption wondering "what the hell does thing do?"

There were standard toys of course. Fisher Price classics, like putting star-shaped plastic pieces in star-shaped plastic holes.  Pull string toys and even jack-in-the-boxes were there for the taking.

There was plenty of baby furniture, some was a good bargain, some was good for burning. 

There were all manner of stuffed animals. Little bears. Big bears. Big ducks. Big cows. Big pigs. Big horses. Big dogs that wagged their tails and moved their mouths in an alarming robotic fashion. Wait. What?

After Chucky, this might just be the scariest toy ever created. From about ten feet away, the brown dog resembled a smallish Golden Retriever. But, as one moved in for a closer view, the eyes became frighteningly human (they had irises) and, when turned on, it's mouth moved and its tail wagged. 

There was nothing warm and fuzzy, just cold and cyborg-like. You wouldn't leave your wife alone with this thing, nevermind your kids.

But, the scary stuff didn't end there. Nope, the most terrifying item we discovered was a glow-in-the dark book of animals. This wouldn't have had to be frightening if the authors stuck with otters, prairie dogs and other furry creatures. Instead, the cover featured an open mouthed tiger shark which, if you haven't seen one, is little more than five thousand razor-sharp teeth with a couple of fins attached.
The picture does him no justice.
Rosemary's Baby had sweeter eyes.

Inside, the book featured pictures of Great White sharks, snakes and cheetah's; each of them with wide open mouths preparing to devour helpless prey, or yawning, depending on your perspective. All there in majestic, high resolution, glow-in-the-dark photography.  

Nothing like sending your little one to bed to enjoy a book that, even when the lights are off, retains the power to petrify. 

Perhaps in an effort to tick off every other parent who brought a son with them, someone put a sparkling, new, kid-sized motorcycle helmet up for sale. If your seven-year-old son didn't want to race motorcycles he likely did after seeing this helmet    it was pretty cool.   

As I've detailed in this space before, the prices for many baby items are absurd. From the necessities to superfluous, it behooves buyers to shop around. 

And, while you might not be in the market for a used, pink plastic bed shaped like Barbie's hotrod, it might be of some comfort to know there's someone willing to sell it to you for a fair price. 

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