R US by Bill Levine

May 5, 2017

Toys ‘R US is the quintessential toy  store. So much so that the “R US” name is symbiotic with the mission of the store. “R US” attached to “TOYS” indicates  that the store is, as said in  the Trumpian era, “very very big” in  toys and only toys.

As you might surmise other companies have piggy backed off this “R US” brand representing the ultimate place to go for  their niche merchandise category. Here are some of the crafty  retailers who have  used this strategy of perfectly blending name and store  mission.

YOU BET KOIS ‘R US got its start when aquarium store owners, Jack and Fred Carp  got tired of selling  goldfish at the rate of 8 for a dollar. They soon realized that they could buy bigger goldfish, rename them kois, and open up YOU BET KOIS ‘R US Stores. The brothers had this the idea of a totally comprehensive koi store, that would solve the ills of koi shopping. No longer would customers have to go to yet another garden shop to buy both koi accessories and vole repellent, and then  travel on to the aquarium store. No longer would aquarium store customers have to wade through upfront display aisles stocked with expensive piranhas, blow fish, and even jars of gefilte fish to find the koi section in the unheated basement. No longer would the truly cultivated koi devotees have to experience buying kois in a pet-superstore, where they would have to ferret out where the kois are in relationship to the ferrets. Finally, no longer would koi aficionados get help from the pet superstore clerk, whose expertise is in doggie wee-wee pads.

Today, YOU BET KOIS ‘R US is staffed by true koi masters, not to be confused with coy zen masters. Each mega-store carries enough pre-fab pond kits to cover the nautical miles of the average major corporate oil spill. Hundreds of kois are on display ranging  in color from gold to gold. The motto of the chain says it best: “Plenty of Koi, but without the  carping.”

YOU BET US ‘R US has appeared this fall as a pop-up chain store occupying the retail space vacated by the defunct infomercial spin-off chain,  As Seen On Very Very Late Night TV stores. This phenomenon started as the This is Us TV  show took off from its online trailer this past fall. Each store is manned by three very un-identical people claiming to be triplets. Once inside the store, customers can find  ‘80s /present day hybrid gift packages so that the essence of the show can go home with them. Typical gift set inventory includes iphone/princess phone gift set, the Pet Rock/Smart doll set, Sadam-bobblehead/Sadam-no-head gift set, headlines from National Inquirer/fake news sites headlines, Big Hair styling/No hair styling set, and a gift basket of alar-infused/genetically modified gala apples. In addition there is the This Is Us entire boxed set of the first quarter year (all four episodes) with all accompanying 2,000,000 internet posts.

YOU BET SOYS ‘R US has ended the fruitless trekking down health food mega-store aisles in search of favorite soy products that soy-aholics adore. No longer do soy lovers have to cart through shelves and shelves of gluten-free, lactose-free, alar-free, hormone-free and taste-free products, just to stock up on fried tofu deli platters and soy nuts. Soys ‘R Us offers 23 vaguely appetizing aisles filled with soy favorites. It’s all soy and only soy. There are no new age magazine racks to distract customers in their quest for all things soy. No fishmonger cases with the siren calls of “wild glacier receded salmon” to  waylay shoppers on their way to the soy sauce aisle.  In fact, You Bet Soys ‘R Us carries 97 different brands of soy sauce, from lightly salted to the heavily salted Dead Sea brand of soy sauce. Truly, You Bet Soys ‘R US lives up to its motto: “No  Salami Just Edamame.”

YOU  BET  NOISE ‘R US has stopped the time-consuming shopping habits of noise aficionados. The previous average shopping trip for, these Dukes of Decibels was about 12 hours. This is understandable as these noise lovers would have to first drive to a music store to pick up a set of  really loud drums, then cross the state line to pick up legal fireworks, and then finally schlep to the rental emporium to pick up a jack hammer. Now of course with the advent of YOU BET NOISE ‘R US stores all illegally loud devices can be bought under one deafening roof. Remember that every Wednesday evening is Loud  Loud Shirt Nite, with prizes for the most garish Hawaiian garb.

YOU BET BOYS ‘R US  is for that emerging testosterone on a stick known as the tween male. No longer will boys have to  qualify for orienteering badges to find first shooter games among aisles and aisles of Barbies and glitter beads. This is a store for boy toys, and we don’t mean Madonna’s husbands. The snack bar will never feature quiche, just hearty omelets and lumberjack special breakfasts. Boys can belly up to the bar for Coke and O’Douls on the rocks, but you can bet there will be no Shirley Temples with umbrellas. All checkouts are two minutes or less to keep ADHDers calm and focused, and, as a backup emergency, Adderall will be given out on the spot. YOU BET BOYS ‘R US stocks the largest volume of fake turds in the country, along with an exemplary collection of plastic  vomit. Our aisles are wide enough for groups of three to rampage through them. In fact, we have monthly events where boys can down their favorite energy drink and then gallop endlessly through the store. This is our well-known “Running of The Red Bulls.”

YOU BET ROYS ‘R US – Sure the name “ROY is only the 536th popular boys name, but it has slowly seen a rise in popularity. It was on a faster rise until Roy of Siegfried and Roy got mauled by a tiger in 2003. Two gift shop entrepreneurs recognized the potential of “Roy” and also the great similarity between “Roy and “Ray.” They were able to amass a warehouse full of irregular “Ray” objects that were incorrectly spelled as “Roy.” Now “Roy” fans can find those elusive  “Roy” mugs for half price at YOU BET ROYS ‘R US. As the founding brothers Rob Roy Roy and Roy Roy explain, “Now parents who were brave enough to name their sons Roy will be rewarded with personalized ‘Roy’ mugs, stationary, bobbleheads, pet rocks, chia pets, shot glasses and all the other schlock ‘Roy’ items that you can’t get in ordinary gift stores.’

“It’s refreshing to go to ROYS ‘R US and not get that sickening feeling that happens when you see an alphabetized display structure and encounter that great void in naked woman playing cards between ‘Rowan’ and ‘Roz,’” says a shopper. A nice touch is the Roy Orbison background music. There is also a rotating Roy exhibit, which this month is a scale model of Mt. Roymore with its busts of those four great Roys: Roy Rogers, Roy Clark, Roy Campanella and Jack Roy. Jack Roy being of course Rodney Dangerfield, who–enshrined on Mount Roymore–finally gets respect.

Bill Levine is currently a freelance humorist (as opposed to a humor writer), as it is easier to pretentious than funny.  He works on his humorist pithy remarks from his home in Belmont, MA. Email him at wlevine0607@comcast.net.

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