Hungry for Activities

We have one of those outfits opening in our town where you go to draw and booze. Or paint and booze. It’s very annoying because we already have a place where you go do pottery and booze. Who needs all of this crap? What we really need is more places you could do indoor activities with kids. And outdoor activities with kids. There are 365 days in a year. And each of those days you got to come up with something to do with kids.

Places like stupid Toys R Us could avoid bankruptcy if they hid two thirds of the inventory and opened up a play space with organized activities for kids. Made themselves a destination for parents who are desperate for activities.

And the same goes for bookstores that whine about Amazon stealing market share. We are at the local bookstore at least once a week because they have a huge play space filled with toys to hug and buttons to press. And while we are there, we get hungry, thirsty, and eager for nourishment for our toddler-overwhelmed brains. It’s brilliant.

Yes, I was silent all day because I noticed the darn paint and booze place in the morning and stewed about it all day. It’s the first week of classes, and it never looks pretty.

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11 thoughts on “Hungry for Activities”

  1. “Who needs all of this crap? ”
    Okay, I’ never heard of this type of place and now I’m wondering if:
    a) people where you live are such booze hounds that you have to promise them alcohol to get them to do anything fun,
    b) the idea of doing things like drawing or pottery fills them with such anxiety that they have to booze it up to take the edge of their anxiety.
    Very curious.
    In unrelated news I clicked on a “related” post you did on homeschooling and…. wow, that topic attracted some seriously disturbed buzznoodles… it’s like jumping into a swimming pool full of crazy worms.

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    1. Cliff, you haven’t lived in the US for a while, those wine and painting places have become very common in the past four or five years. I live in a small city and we have two of them. We also had two places doing the pottery party thing, but one of those seems to have closed.

      I imagine the startup costs for that type of business are pretty low, which is probably a factor in why they are all over the place.

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    2. The boozing activities are mostly for moms who want to do something adult and relax. It’s popular to invite a male model to pose nude for paintings or statues. Obviously, the paintings come out horrible but that’s not the point.

      Yes, that homeschooling post was an eye-opener. So much crazy.

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      1. Yes, I went to one with some other local moms. It was artificial and formulaic, but fun nonetheless. I had to concentrate quite a bit on the painting and it was nice to think about something completely different for a bit, in the company of friends. I’m pretty sure the booze is there to provide profit for the venue, like the 2-drink minimum at our local comedy club.

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    3. Also
      c) The markup on booze is high and profitable even after you pay for a liquor license so that makes up for the inferior margins on things like art supplies and whatever additional services are sold at the “art and booze” store.
      d) People tend to spend more money when they’re slightly buzzed or inebriated.
      e) There’s less liability dealing with adults than with kids.

      Toys R’ US had a massive debt load

      Toys “R” Us’ debt problems date back to well before Amazon (AMZN) was a major threat. Its debt was downgraded to junk bond status in January of 2005, at a time when Amazon’s sales were just 4% of their current level.

      A year later the company was taken private by KKR, Bain Capital and real estate firm Vornado. The $6.6 billion purchase left it with $5.3 billion in debt secured by its assets and it never really recovered….
      …But much of the chain’s resources were devoted to paying off that massive debt load rather than staying competitive.

      When Toys “R” Us filed for bankruptcy in September 2017, it disclosed it had about $5 billion in debt and was spending about $400 million a year just to service that debt.

      That burden crowded out critical strategic priorities, like making its stores a nice place to shop and paying employees….

      There’s some other articles which claim the reason Toys R’ Us failed is because of falling birth rates.

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      1. I heard all this but what happened is that I started frequenting the store just as it became doomed. I could have told you it was doomed years before it closed. Babies R Us stood completely empty. On weekends! In an area where it seems that nobody has fewer than 3 kids! It was depressing because who wants to be in a completely empty store?

        This was lazy, dumb management. A mother of a newborn needs a big reason to load the kid(s) into the car and go shopping when there’s Amazon Prime.

        And Toys R Us was even worse. Inhospitable, confusing, horrible decor, horrible floor plans. I went once with my niece, and I was prepared to spend away. But they made it impossible. We didn’t have a nice time, like we do at a bookstore or other places.

        Bad, bad management.

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        1. I do think a lot of companies’ debt loads prevented them from investing in a store experience. But also I think a lot of companies deliberately downgrade their store experience so you’ll prefer to go online. Walmart is cheaper but I loathe their store experience. I only go there if I know what I want so I can go find it and leave.

          Borders declined in a similar way. I wouldn’t be shocked if Barnes and Noble died. The Nook app/physical Nooks are inferior to the Kindle app. I cannot find out what events are going on at the local Barnes & Noble (which should be pushed through the app if you’re going to have ads.) And for the love of capitalism, if I’m on the Barnes & Noble’s website looking for something it should 1)tell me if something is in stock nearby and 2) be accurate! What is the point of all this stupid data mining anyways? Somehow ordering something online and telling the site to send it to an address doesn’t have the same feel — especially if it’s for kids.

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          1. All stores that want to remain in existence should go towards turning shopping into an experience. The times where stored were places you turned to if you needed to buy stuff are over. We have an Amazon warehouse opening in our town in two weeks. Now stores need to give people what they can’t find online. And stuff just isn’t it anymore. People need reasons to take their asses to a physician space.

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  2. It’s not Amazon’s fault that physical retail is in huge decline. They dug their own grave. It was not by any means a foregone conclusion. At the time where they should have been integrating their online presence and prioritizing in-store experiences, they did exactly the opposite. It shows the uniformity of MBA thought that not a single retail chain made the right decisions, really.

    Since most retail is terrible with poor selection and inaccurate in-store inventory online, I tend to do things like buy three or four nearly-identical products from Amazon so I can compare them at home, and then return those I don’t like or don’t work as I expect. If on the other hand, some retail store would do this for me where I didn’t have to lay out so much money, I’d gladly pay 20-30% more, and so would a lot of other people, if I could preview the product in a decent environment and not have all that risk and have to spend so much money.

    This and other similar activities should’ve become the surviving retail model. Instead, they’ve slashed staff, slashed selection and have not really improved their websites. What a huge failure that is nearly inexplicable. If I were their shareholders, I’d be revolting but I guess it really is true that the next quarter is all that matters these days.

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    1. Exactly. That’s absolutely what I mean. And it’s the same for the print media. They keep moaning that the Internet destroyed journalism but it’s all damn lies. Newspapers conveniently destroyed themselves first.

      In academia, the same excuse was floated to blame online learning bug online learning didn’t survive long enough for that excuse to work.

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  3. I don’t know how your county is, but our parks and rec department sends out semi-annual catalogs with activities for adults and kids. Unfortunately a lot of the ones I’m interested are with during the week day or start exactly at 5pm, but if you have a lot of free time in the summer, you may find something to do

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