Toy sales – fifth dimension of hell

THE ad came on and a shiver passed through me. Like some malevolent force from the future (maybe Terminator) had stepped on my fresh grave.

Rotund red beings from the planet Target skipped across the screen and proclaimed “The Toy Sale Cometh”.

Not really…. but you get the drift. It’s mid-year toy sale time – a time for every credit card to cringe and every mortgage to feel a swift “over”draft.

Having twice survived the toy sale, I consider myself an unofficial expert. And thought perhaps I’d share my well-honed skills with you.

My first advice is: don’t go. It’s all online now (bless the ‘net – amen!). But if you must go….

Rule number one, if this is your first night at Fight Club Toy Sales, you have to fight.

Secondly, don’t take the kids. If you do have to take the kids, have a good cry the night before so you’re fresh out of tears on the day.

Strap your kids in their pram (use ALL available straps) or put them in the trolley (pram is preferable – easier to lock kids down, easier to steer). Give them a push-pop – it has the longevity of a lollipop without the mess. Aaaannnddd go!

(Should probably say: after you’ve done the crying the night before, circle the items you want in the catalogue. They can all be downloaded from relevant websites if you’re the eco-kind who deny junk mail from fettering up your environment and kitchen counter. Determine your budget. Do not deviate.)

Toy sales – for the uninitiated – do not restrict themselves to the toys section. Don’t make the mistake of heading in that direction. The toys are everywhere, spilling onto the aisles, overflowing random baskets. If you spot a sales person not being marauded by other mums, ask her for directions to the nearest toy on your list.

If there’s no sales person (most probable since, as a pack, mums are a fiercely intimidating bunch – I’d hide too), run with the pack. You may simply have no choice in the matter, anyway.

The only problem with prams is then loading it with toys – trolleys can hold a kid or two and still have room for chalkboards, baby laptops and pedal cars. But the catch is keeping the toys out of sight of older children. Especially those who have a memory of an elephant (no one wants six months of “Mum, where’s my new bike?”).

Pretend to buy some linen first (if there’s time) and stow all toys underneath, promising death threats for any little hands found snooping around.

Get only what you came for. Do not stop. Do not consider the clearance rack. Even if you’ve managed to get your toys in record time, you still have the Dreaded Layby Line to conquer. Head straight there.

This is usually where most fall down. The length of the line is dependent upon the organisation of the management. You may zip through and be spat out the other side, exuberant at a successful 30-minute layby queue. Or you may still be there this time next week.

If you’re savvy, you’ve brought out toys or books for the kids to enjoy – the ones that store staff will believe came from your messy house and not their shelves. Some stores have those delightful “wall toys” – usually a phone, wiggly mirror and some beads on a wire – to help kids pass the time. I urge you to only use this when you’re nearing the front of the line. They don’t hold a child’s attention for long, and before you know it they’ve darted down an aisle of clothing and you’ve lost your place in the queue.

Finally, read your receipts. There’s all kinds of stipulations which can vary from fortnightly deposits to a week’s notice to collect the swing set with three slides, four ballpits and a McCafe attached.

Once the pain of mid-year toy sales is done with. Shove it into the recesses of your mind (much like labour pains) and think not of whether children are spoiled, or whether they’ll still be in love with Dora or Thomas come Christmas time… instead think of the hours of fun they’ll have with the packaging.

Happy hunting!


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryse
    Jul 04, 2011 @ 11:55:55

    Can parents access gridiron helmets in Australia?


  2. Farmers Wifey
    Jul 05, 2011 @ 04:10:53

    Two things, welcome and hello from Gladstone! I live 1/2 away from there and god bless Sunday trading, that’s all I can say!

    And the toy sales send mothers here in a frenzy, they just go ape over them. Of course I’m not talking about meeeeee..but those other mothers. Love your blog btw.


    • petajo
      Jul 06, 2011 @ 02:20:22

      Ooh, if I’d only “met” you before our trip up there! Though perhaps you wouldn’t have wanted to come too close – we were all incredibly ill!
      Thanks for the kind words – off to check out yours now! So excited to find a fellow blogger not from Sydney or Melbourne!!


  3. Sarah Kaye
    Jul 09, 2011 @ 01:40:52

    I used to go nuts – you know race in as soon as the shop opens on the first day. But i’ve chilled, immensely. Now i saunter in a few days later, browse slowly, deliberate, get what i think is worth it, don’t really care if i miss out on anything, i mean there is 6 months until Christmas.

    Plus i love Kmarts go this year. Print your layby list – head straight to the counter whenever (i’m going in the last day of the sale) and register your layby, you don’t miss out and there’s no fuss.


    • petajo
      Jul 11, 2011 @ 04:08:12

      Me too – this year I’ve ordered online, will take my list (for Target though) in, pay my deposit and amble out again – Christmas: done!


  4. Glowless
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 05:11:43

    I have bought ONE item for Tricky, knowing he will get so much crap from his grandparents. And even then I had to go up against customer service people who had heard of neither customers or service. Fun fun fun.


    • petajo
      Jul 11, 2011 @ 23:41:03

      *Grits teeth. I can’t STAND bad customer service. Drives me mad, and this place (being the laid back little town that it is) you’re more likely to have bad service than good. Makes me want to smack their legs! 😉


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