To Thrift or Not to Thrift: Toys that make noise


I have a bin in my basement. It's filled with brightly-colored plastic toys, each with dozens of buttons and a little plastic grate inside which is housed an electronic speaker. They've come from various sources -- a well-meaning aunt or uncle, a thrift store, a great sale at the supermarket -- and they've all ended in the same place. Banishment.

If someone else can't stand the noise, do you think you're going to be able to? Having been in this parent business for going-on-six years, I can personally vouchsafe for the typical parental behavior when faced with a Toy That Drives One Crazy. First step: Hide the toy. Second step: When the child finds the toy, again driving you crazy, you find a better hiding place, usually a garbage bag on the back porch or in your car trunk. Third step: Deliver bag stuffed with equally annoying toys to the nearest Goodwill or thrift store. Fourth step: Drive away fast, don't look back.

Chances are, that toy that's so alluring to your child in the thrift shop was victim to the four-step crazy-making toy program. You should definitely leave toys that make noise at the thrift store, where they can annoy the staff. After all, they're paid for this!

This post was written as part of a series on how to thrift shop smarter. Read more on what to buy, and not to buy, at thrift stores.