My children were five (boy) and three (girl). Of course, I was buying toys for them. I got wind of a toy sale at Sears. They were selling toys dirt cheap, toys used in photographs for the Sears Roebuck Catalog and displayed at trade shows or other venues.
I had a plan. I convinced my husband to go along with the plan. He would stand guard over my pile of toys I selected while I was off to fight for more. He was not into this at all. He practically had to be dragged there. But, finally he agreed.
When we arrived, early of course, there were other husbands pressed into the same service. Some pairs looked to be a mother-daughter team. But, mostly there were husbands and wives.
At some point he became very upset because I was choosing so many things, more than our children needed to receive and more than we wanted to spend. I explained the plan. He would guard the toys until I finished at which point we would look it all over and relinquish some of the toys to eager parents who came late or came with no plan.
Plus, while I was shopping, I helped others. I was tall enough to tip toys off the very top shelves so the other parent could catch them. At one point, I even used a toy to tip others off the top shelf. We took our time choosing and discussing the toys we would keep from our pile my husband had guarded. Then, when we had chosen what we would purchase, we handed off the toys we did not want to people standing in front of us waiting.
Some people were rude, castigating us for having so many toys. Others were polite, asking if we would please give them a certain toy if we did not want it. Guess to whom we handed toys! It was not my fault these people did not get toys. They looked and shopped like the toys would be there when they made a decision. Or, they came late. I grabbed a toy when I saw it to stack up for a decision later. That is how couples were working--grab now, guard it, choose what to keep after the shopping.
All the toys for sale were new, most in the box, not shopworn at all. That was a very inexpensive year for Christmas. I asked around to see how often this happens. As it turned out, a different store was chosen each year. I now wonder if this practice still continues.
This was a very Merry Christmas. I could get everything I wanted to give them
and still not stress over how to afford it. I must admit, I did get a few more toys than usual, but nothing excessive compared to most people.
Did you ever live where the Sears had this kind of sale? Have you ever had a year when you found Christmas toys spectacularly marked down?