Ah, nostalgia! Be it that old cartoon, a favorite toy or a comic book from days gone by, isn’t it great, when out of the blue, the memories come flooding back, and you’ve no choice but to exclaim ”Holy Crap! Remember…?”
Imagine a world where 30 cents would net you all the toys you could cram into a shopping cart in five minutes. This is the world kids in the 1900’s lived in for a very small window of time every year thanks to the Nickelodeon Super Toy Run at Toys R Us (I think there were a couple of years at KB Toys, too). In the before time… In the long, long ago, there was no internet. To enter this amazing sweepstakes, all a kid had to do was send a self-addressed stamped envelope or a postcard (because what kid doesn’t have an assortment of postcards handy?) to an address plastered on their TV screen. The prize was Nirvana. Five minutes in a toy store with an unlimited budget.
One lucky basatrd (or worse, a dumb girl) would have five minutes to plunder Geoffrey’s house like it was the high seas. They could cram as much loot as they wanted, so long as it could fit into a shopping cart. Then they’d run up front for a new cart and repeat the process until their time was up. So why “a dumb girl?” Girls, of course, had every right to win. But as a not-so-wee lad, most of the girl winners drove me insane. I had dreams of wiping entire pegs of action figures into that cart moving faster than any fat kid should before moving on to the next one. So watching a girl squander that opportunity with a handful of big cumbersome items drove me mad. As an adult, I understand it’s the nature of many girls’ interests and the different toys offered them that made that a good plan for them, but at the time, it was infuriating. My own daughter would approach the game with a similar strategy today, no doubt, and we’d have a very stern talk once she was done (I kid… mostly).
It was the base nature of little kids that made this such a prize. The proof was in the winners’ videos. The highlights would play sometimes after the game during commercial breaks. These little heathens would clear action figure pegs (again, a strategy, I would absolutely work) and then run to the video games and load up on multiple consoles and games. These are the kinds of videos that make you say “That kid definitely had his Wheaties today.” Five minutes isn’t a lot of time, but it was always spellbinding to see what kind of damage could be done in such a short timeframe.
KB Toys is gone and Nickelodeon no longer does the Super Toy Run. If they did, they’d have to impose an age limit (I’m sure there was already one in place). Otherwise, I’m not at all ashamed to admit I would ruin a Toys R Us in five minutes. The next time you walk into one, have yourself some fun and do a dry run. The employees will love that, I’m sure. Just make sure by 5:15 you’re running out the door, leaving half a dozen filled carts in your wake.