Monday, November 27, 2006

Teh T.R.U. Value of Monies

Back in the 80's, Toys R Us issued identification cards so that kids couldn't spend too much of their parents' money at their stores. Wha? I know it sounds retarded but apparently they were worried that eight year olds would spend their allowances on toys. I kind of thought that was the point of giving a kid money, but somehow TRU thought this was bad business. With thinking like this I am not surprised TRU got their asses whipped by Wal-Mart, who is now the nations #1 toy retailer. Wal-mart would let little kids trade their kidneys for shotguns if they could get away with it.

As a kid I thought these cards were a huge hassle, an obstacle to be overcome. I felt like just to be in the store I had to have paperwork on me in case I got carded by the TRU I.D. card nazi giraffes. Why would they do this? My life at 12 years old was complicated enough without this layer of bureaucracy.

After many deep thinking periods spent over multiple bowls of C3PO's cereal, the card didn't seem so bad. I noticed from observing my dad that one thing that makes a boy a man is having a lot of papers in his wallet. For most people "papers" means money. My dad mostly had pictures of his old girlfriends but since I was a toy robot nerd that kind of action wasn't going to happen until I was 25. So I needed something else.

It was then that I decided the card represented a rite of manhood, allowing me the ultimate freedom to be able to walk into the world's biggest toy store by myself without my mom. Kick ass. Forget a driver's license, when I was 12 I wanted one of these "My Kid is not an Idiot" cards from TRU. Only then, when I could buy He-Mans unassisted by my parents would I be a man myself. I just needed to trick my mom into trusting me enough to sign one of those cards.

I didn't want the card just for the doorway to adulthood it represented, though. For various reasons (mostly because I was stupid) I thought the card was some sort of credit card. Like having one meant I had a line of credit at Giraffe Bank. So when my mom filled out my card with a $300 spending limit I figured successfuly amassing the Teddy Ruxpin army of my dreams was just a matter of time. What I didn't understand was that the card didn't mean I could load up $300 worth of talking robot bears and walk out the store with them. But whatever.

Once the depressing truth set in and the laughter of the cashier girls subsided, I wondered why my mom would play such a horrible joke on me. Then thanks to Sunday school I remembered that baby Jesus hated me because of the bag of peanuts I stole from the grocery store when I was five, damning me to an eternity of hellish torment. So it all evened out and as I collapsed onto my knees sobbing furiously outside the Toys R Us while my cart of Teddy Ruxpins was returned to the shelves, I was able to smile a little through the tears of confusion and embarrasment.


Smurfwreck said...

I never received, nor was aked for a card growing up and it kind of bums me out. Makes me wonder if there was a TRU lounge (like those swanky airport lounges that have the free soda and crackers.) Like only people who won the TRU five minute shopping sprees got those lounge cards or something.

Evil King Macrocranios said...

I wouldn't be too bummed out, but I guess a card filled out with a high Toys R Us spending limit could be flaunted in fourth grade as a sort of status symbol.

You know how TRU asks for your phone number when you buy something there? I'm thinking this is how they started collecting customer information 20 years ago. Back then they were disguising their information-gathering techniques as campaigns that aimed to teach children financial responsibility. Maybe they didn't think customers would give their telephone numbers if they were asked outright, so they came up with this elaborate scheme. Or maybe it was Satan testing out that mark of the beast idea.


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