In my short life as a stay at home/home schooling Mom who likes to think she has time for hobbies, I've experienced the grand opening of a craft store or two in my day. Yesterday I experienced the grand opening of a different sort. I carted four kids two hours away for the grand opening of a new Lego Store that opened in a huge, upscale shopping 'center' built in the new, cozy streets concept. And I just had to note a few differences.
At Craft Stores: They are generally large enough that everyone who shows up can enter as soon as they can squeeze their bodies through the door, hopefully in time to grab a cart on your way by.
At Lego Stores: Since their only purpose is legos, and just how many of those can you have after all, the size is smaller than a normal shoe store and therefore must be monitored for body count or the Fire Marshall will get fussy. This means long, several hour waits snaking around buildings for the poor souls who didn't get there before dawn to start the waiting process.
At Craft Stores: Little children are left at home with the husband who generally is more concerned with the large hole his wife's shopping trip will leave in his wallet than what his kids are doing at any given moment. And he has little understanding of just what the purpose of each carefully chosen and planned for purchase will do for him. Or the need his wife has for a creative outlet, if only in concept.
At Lego Stores: Little children make up 60% of the crowd. And they are excited. Very excited. So excited, in fact, that most feel the need to share with everyone within shouting distance just what set they are going to get to go with the ones they already have when they finally reach their own El Dorado. Well, most of them do. The others are busy playing handheld games and could care less about line etiquette if it impedes their ability to win. The rest of the crowd is made up of equal parts exhausted parents, usually mothers, who are wishing for a tall, cool drink somewhere quiet, and fathers/uncles/grandparents/other men who have a long term love of little plastic pieces and can't wait to spend their money they've been saving for two years to get that long coveted set they can't find at their local store. This group of men send 'scouts' to stand at the store door hoping to catch anyone leaving with 'pick-a-brick' cups so they can preplan what bricks they'll be purchasing when they finally reach the 'wall'. I won't even go in to how this effects what little line etiquette remains.
At Craft Stores: Women who want to browse are given the leeway to do so as long as they don't get in the way of the greater crowd who are there with a list in mind and can't wait to get their treasures and get home to start planning and crafting. Check out lines move smoothly and are well defined by the cash registers ready to receive all of the stuff piled in each cart.
At Lego Stores: Browsers are not expected, and those who want to capture the moment forever on film will encounter the biggest challenge of their day yet. Bodies are in constant motion. Even those who take a moment to be in awe of what Master Builders have created only take a moment before moving on. Check out lines are nonexistent. There's a counter with stressed store employees who just want a moment of silence to calm the buzzing in their brains. Your guess is as good as anyone else's regarding who is next to check out. Calm is only maintained by those parents who take a moment to add up the cost of their several hour wait in the sun and to question their sanity before moving forward, allowing those who don't want to know the chance to hit the cast register before them.
At Craft Stores: Those leaving the store rush to their cars, unload their purchases, abandon their carts and leave as quickly as they can.
At Lego Stores: Those leaving the store want to revel in the fact that they made it in, conquered the store and are victorious in their purchase, and they want to do it with all of those still waiting to cheer them on. Big yellow bags are constantly being opened in front of those who have yet to see a glimpse of their El Dorado, driving up the excitement and creating an even louder plan of action amongst the lego fanatics still in line. And this activity is encouraged by overly cheerful store employees in yellow aprons who are also hot and tired, and trying to remember why it is that they applied for the job in the first place.
But after all is said and done, I can honestly say that those who purchase at the Lego Store are much more likely to actually use their purchase in a timely manner and I am sure there were many boxes being opened even before the cars they were riding in left the parking lot. Oh if only those lego fanatics would give us creative folk some space in the basement and time to create... Just think what we could accomplish! Meanwhile I'll be happy interpreting lego instructions for the newbie in the house as she embarks on her first lego purchase. Heaven help us. If her brothers are the example she's following, we are in trouble!