Mia's Super Toy Run

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By: Tom Schulte

As a child, my guilty pleasure was watching and dreaming of competing on Nickelodeon’s Super Toy Run television show. The premise behind Super Toy Run involved teenagers competing in a trivia-based game show in hopes of winning the ultimate prize. Rather than a phony trip to South East Asia or new Cadillac that Alex Trebek may throw you on Jeopardy, Super Toy Run actually gave the winner a legitimate super toy run. This consisted of a one lucky individual being given an empty shopping cart in a Toys R Us, with five minutes to fill it with whatever he or she desired. In a frantic sprint around the empty store, winners could take anything from action figures, LEGO blocks, basketballs, Nintendos, even entire bikes! I vividly remember the rollercoaster of emotions I experienced while watching the drama of which toys to pick, the space taken up in the cart, and the pure exhaustion and joy of the children once complete. Unfortunately, I was never given the first-hand experience, but recently had the opportunity to recreate this for the benefit of someone quite dear to me.

Mia (my four legged puppy-friend) moved here to Boston from Los Angeles about nine months ago with her human mother. And while she is now very much assimilated to the east coast lifestyle, that was not the case upon her initial arrival. Khrista and I would arrive home to find door-moldings chewed and scratched-up, flower pots turned over, and pillows destroyed on too frequent of a basis. And after one particular scolding for having no dog toys from her mother, Mia and I set out to Petco.

For a dog, Petco is a riveting environment. It is one of the only establishments that not only welcomes, but encourage dogs to shop for themselves. As you’d expect, Mia was lunging at toys, bones, leashes, and treats in a spastic manner. It quickly hit me—this was Mia’s ‘Super Toy Run’ moment. I had never been given the opportunity myself, for which I am still disappointed by, but at least I could recreate this experience for my beloved mutt.

Just as the host of ‘Super Toy Run’ explained the rules, I sat Mia down, explained that she had five minutes to pick out any and every object in the store and at the end of the time, she’d walk away with it all. And as soon as I set the timer on my iPhone, Mia was off. For my wallet’s sake, I quickly threw in a new rule that only items successfully taken off the shelves and onto the floor counted towards her loot. That rule didn’t make much difference—just like the children in the game show, she was an old pro. Beef bones, rubber balls, dinosaur toys rained from the shelves, cleaned up by me, and placed into the basket. To my horror I estimated that she had racked up a fifty dollar bill with more than two minutes left and no end in sight. Because of this I may have (or may not have) guided her towards the grooming section of the store where the other dogs receive washes and cuts. Mia lost all focus on her task at hand and wasted her last two minutes searching for a way into the grooming area to meet potential friends.          

Upon returning home with smiles plastered across both of our faces, we were greeted by yet another barrage of scolds from Khrista. “You spent how much?!?” And though the beef bones have long since been gnawed down and stuffed animals left to shreds, I can feel proud for providing an experience I have long been robbed of.