Thursday, May 21, 2009

Toys 'R' Us Groceries: Everything for Parenting "Under One Roof"

In an effort to put "everything [parents] need for their kids under one roof" the giant chain store Toys 'R' Us is planning to open grocery departments ("R" Markets) in the front of over half of its stores, with more rolled out later in the year. Here, from Supermarket News, is the company plan:

The goal of the shop is to position Toys 'R' Us as a one-stop shopping destination for families and kids. Each “R" Market features snacks like chips, puffs and pretzels, cookies and crackers, fruit snacks, cereals and nutrition bars, as well as juice boxes, and bottled water. Paper goods include napkins, paper towels and toilet paper. Baby food and infant formula brands include Gerber Earth’s Best Organic, Similac, Enfamil and Nestlé Good Start.

A dedicated candy section contains chocolate, lollipops, novelties like Pez dispensers, cotton candy, mints, and sour and hard candies, along with a wall of theater candy boxes.

Eeeew. I am trying to imagine the day of a mother with young children, stopping in at the "R" to pick up items for dinner: an even more stressful supermarket scenario than the one described by David Foster Wallace in his Kenyon College Commencement speech. Roll into the huge parking lot, get the kids from their car seats, pile them into a huge grocery cart, and then take them into the friendly Big Box store where you can find every single thing they need, from infancy (all that Similac!) on up – to their very own plastic play kitchens, and beyond. And so very convenient to have that whole wall of blockbuster candy, right there where you need it! At least we've got a boy "cooking" (and chatting on the cell phone) in one of those monstrous plastic kitchens, pictured here.

It's remarkable how out of touch Toys 'R' Us seems to be regarding parenting trends, including concerns about plastic toys, infant formula, and conspicuous consumption. "R" Markets are a half-baked ploy derived from the specious notion that gigantic over-lit warehouse stores can rescue us from time pressures. Hmmm, this mom is not at all convinced: I prefer a much more "roofless" parenting mix.

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