Header Image

Brianna Goes People Watching

It’s 11:30 AM. I’m sitting in the Toys R Us parking lot, stakeout style, watching people go in and out. It’s only been two minutes, but I already know this is by far one of the creepiest things I’ve ever done.

Example: old couple parked next to me and hesitated to get out of their car…

Cars. Cars everywhere.

Cars. Cars everywhere.

First of all, this place is BUSY. Not surprising. Christmas is just around the corner. A majority of the cars in the lot are fairly new models, so I’m led to believe that these people have money to spend on toys, or I hope they do. There are a lot of young parents with their children. Interesting. Even at 11:30… I would think toy shopping wouldn’t be on the table until at least noon. But it’s obvious shoppers are getting a leg up on the Christmas shopping. Two women just came out with 4 big bags of what seemed to be Legos, which they put in the back of their GIGANTIC black van. That’s not suspicious…

About half of the shoppers are young parents (or people who happen to be accompanied by children) and half are in the grandparent age range. There’s the occasional middle aged mom, or dad, and one random 30-ish-year-old dude with long hair carrying a brown package INTO the store (but came out empty-handed??). Hm. One thing is for sure. There aren’t any other college students people watching. I’d say I’m a minority in this case.


One thing I’ve noticed: There are only 4 handicapped parking spaces in this lot. Weird. With such a high percentage of elderly customers, you’d think there would be more. I took a somewhat close spot, and now I feel like a jerk watching all the older people walk clear across the parking lot. And yes, as you’ve noticed, I did take a few pictures. Sue me. (but I’m not entirely sure if what I’m doing is legal, so that’s just a joke. Ha… ha…….)

The customer turnover is pretty efficient. For the most part, people are in and out in 15-25 minutes, depending on what they buy. Most of them aren’t exactly in a hurry, especially since they’re toy shopping at lunch time. I’m guessing they don’t have overly pressing matters to attend to in the near future. But that’s good! All of these people see a need for toys in someone’s life!

A delightful old man in a trench coat....... Okay, this is getting creepy.

A delightful old man in a trench coat……. Okay, this is getting creepy.

Okay, I need to stop taking pictures now because people are starting to notice. This has been an interesting experience to say the least. Now I am compelled to go buy something so I have some sort of excuse if someone calls the cops.

All in all, I’m excited to show up big toy companies. This place is so bland and boring. Where’s the color?? It’s just a toy Wal-Mart! Boring, boring, and boring. Let’s make life a little brighter and a little more fun. It’s harmless. Well, that’s all for this level 99 creeper. Over and out.


  1. The big business greed replaces all the pure joy and personalized service at the big Toy chains…. Especially at Christmas!! Way to stake out Veronica Mars/Nancy Drew style! 🙂

  2. As a graphic designer I have seen a little more of the behind the scenes of some big stores. I interned at a toy and model company for about a year, and not necessarily where i worked, but its crazy some of the cynics that help run these companies! Money is the bottom line, always. And getting that to the target demo (kids) gets a little sketchy. There is a constant push for telling kids they need the newest. Kids want certain toys for the sole factor that other kids have it, and toy companies are telling them YOU NEED THIS!! Ironically, these seems to be the first toys to get thrown to the back of the closet. Some of my favorite toys growing up were ones I got at garage sales with my mom. A toys value lies in kids’ expectation of the toy. So, when a toys’ expectation is a lie, or highly exaggerated, the toys fun-timer has already started its countdown. We can have fun with that flashing, talking, “flying” galactic space ranger, but as time passes, we realize that it can’t stand up to its claim. We turn back to the toy that WE put the value in, not a company. Round Up Time! 🙂

Leave a Reply