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Barack Levin

Author: Barack Levin


Posted by Barack Levin on October 5th, 2009

One area that I am always looking suspiciously at is toys. Namely, buying toys for my kids. I have always felt that the market is flooded with useless unimaginative toys that just put kids into a linear way of thinking. I prefer cubes, legos or anything with imagination rather than the so called “electronic educational toys.” I think that the good old toys have a much longer time span and can be played with on so many levels, at so many different ages and can literarily grow with the kids. My other concern is that I do not want to spend a fortune on toys that kids might stop playing within several weeks; so two major goals target me.

 The first one is reusable toys. Something the kids can play with for a long time. These are usually simple toys that teach the kids basic motor and thinking skills. The other goal is inexpensive. It took me some time, but about a year agoI finally realized how to reach that goal as well by purchasing used toys. This is simply fantastic. There are several ways to go about it. I use two major sources, Craig’s List and Goodwill. The latter opened recently near our house. Since my kids do not watch TV, I do not have the pressure of brand names or this or that character. They are simply oblivious to it, which means I do not have to buy the latest and greatest with some stupid animated cartoon stamped on the toy. The major drawback is ,of course, the supply. I am bound to what’s out there, but with enough patience and some weekly searching, I usually find what I want within two to three weeks. 

Today I succeeded phenomenally. My son has wanted roller blades for several weeks now and despite my sincere efforts, I could not find any used ones for him. After about 5 weeks of searching, I gave in and bought him a new pair for $45. He enjoys them a lot but I was facing another problem. My little girl wants roller blades as well. They are sharing, but still she wants her own and I knew it would become a problem. I decided to try to trick her. She had also been talking about a trampoline for a long time, so I told her we would get one for her. I searched and found a used exercise trampoline for $5 and got it. She likes it a lot and jumps almost everyday, but still, every time my son puts on his roller blades, I see the envy. 

Today we had to run around with the kids to some stores and one of them was Goodwill. We wanted to donate some items, so we walked in, dropped off our donations and continued to the toy section. We looked around for some interesting things, but, except for a rosy teddy bear there was nothing that caught my eye. As I was turning to go back to the car, from the corner of my eye I spotted something white, yellow and blue that was calling for me. I straightened my look and lo and behold, roller blades for girls in exactly my daughter’s size. I could not believe my eyes. I called her over and she was speechless. We put them on her and just as with the Cinderella story, they fit. I checked the price and it was $4.52 for the pair. My daughter was almost in tears of joy. So we got the blades and the bear for about $5.50. Feeling triumphant from my success, I decided to try something else. Right across the street, we have a Dollar Store. I decided it was a good time to see if they had anything of interest. Actually, they always do and indeed as we walked in, I was able to buy some glow in the dark sticks, disc throwing device and some sidewalk chalk, all in all, another $3.5 for toys my kids would love.

I spent a total less than $10 for the roller blades and other toys that I felt my kids would love to play with and I felt the good Karma resting on my shoulders.

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