I’m all about the great outdoors, buying local and going to farmers markets. My opinions on capitalism and big-box stores have produced name-calling to the tune of socialist, communist and tree-hugging, patchouli-smelling, non-showering hippie.
So it pains me a little to say this: I am thankful we have large, national chain department and hardware stores near us. Having a kid puts things in perspective, and on a day with inclement weather, my priorities change.
The toilet brush aisle at Super Target is now one of my go-to rainy-day activities.
Stay with me.
I don’t have the kind of toddler who is content to watch a video. Books hold his attention for about two minutes. I don’t even want to imagine the chaos that would ensue if we attempted some type of crafts project.
When it rains, we pour into stores.
Super Target has a lot to offer; namely, a deli and a toilet brush aisle.
Monster lifts a brush from its receptacle, pretends to scrub the floor with it, loses interest and goes for another one. He takes two at a time and runs squealing across the main drag into the carpet aisle. He picks up plungers and jams them into the tile until they stick, proceeding to swat at the handle and giggle as it wobbles to and fro. He can kill an hour playing with bathroom cleaning supplies.
Knowing we’ll spend a decent amount of time there, I have been known to pick up a meat and cheese tray from the deli and head to Aisle Toilet, where I will push some plungers aside and relax on the shelf enjoying my snack while my son annihilates the area, stopping only for a bite of sausage or sharp cheddar.
And when Super Target gets old and staff members have given me enough dirty looks, we head to Home Depot.
My brilliant sister, Emily, told me that’s where her son spends early weekend mornings, so I thought I’d give it a try.
I thought I loved hardware stores before having a child – smelling the lumber, admiring a $400 bathroom faucet that I’ll never buy, daydreaming about throwing my laundry into a front-loading, energy-saving machine (some day, Kate, some day).
Now that I have a son, Home Depot is like an amusement park. Monster could spend all day bouncing from seat to seat of the riding lawn mowers. The wide aisles are perfect for a kid who couldn’t walk a straight line if it were a trail of meat and cheese.
What’s even better is that the staff at Home Depot love Monster. Every time we show up, they greet him with a “Hey, little buddy!” and laugh as he tries to pull gallons of paint from the shelves. (The staff at Target isn’t as thrilled when Monster pulls avocadoes and tomatoes from the produce bins.)
Do places like Super Target and Home Depot put the little guy out of business? Evoke a multitude of social responsibility questions? Sell items not made in the U.S.? Neglect organic goods for chemical-laden products?
I don’t know.
I do know that on a rainy day, they provide me some sanity and put a smile on my son’s face. And sometimes, that’s all that matters.