So this year started with us visiting the store as soon as the sign went up the building - as in... the shelves are still empty and no one is even inside the building - we *still* had to drive y every single day to check their progress.
The Boy knows where *everything* is. He knows when the Try Me buttons aren't working, or when one of the animatronics isn't working right. And, being his mother's son, he'll march right on over to an employee and very nicely tell them.... and thankfully - they are all very kind to him and usually let him help.
Above are the pictures of The Boy's "Spirit Store" that he now has at The Bubbie's house. 80% of what you see in the photos all came from The Spirit Store, though it's missing his stand up screaming Ghost Face (from the Scream movies) and his end-all-be-all important Freddie Krueger animatronic that I bought for him last year - those are still packed up until another week or so.
He goes into his "store" and he sets up his cash register.
He makes sale signs - though he thinks that 30% off and $30 off are the same thing... so we're working on that one. lol
He sets up all his stuff in one area, then a little while later he'll come out and tell us that they got a 'new shipment in' and he has to move things around to 'make room' for this new 'item' or that one. It's a very serious business he has going on.... and he loves every single second of it.
All the employee's know him - and even though there is a store 5 minutes from where we live now.... I *still* have to drive him 45 minutes one way - to go to his favorite store with his *favorite* manager. This guy.... he's been so incredibly kind to The Boy. Now.... let me be *super* clear - he doesn't give us "special" discounts or freebies - I pay for everything and use whatever coupons Spirit has sent me over email.
But, like with most of the more important things in life, this isn't about money, this is about time. The manager always greets him with a hug and a high-five. He always makes time to walk around the store and talk about whatever is new and he NEVER EVER makes this waaaaaaay hyper and over excited 8 year old feel like's taking up too much of his time or that he's a bother..... and this has been a lifeline for The Boy.
A fucking lifeline.
The Boy spends *all year* waiting for The Spirit Store to open - and the staff there really, truly appreciate The Boy's exuberance. IT's kind of awesome.
So, of course going there every. single. day. means money..... money we don't have. Now, let's be *super* clear and say that this is *for sure* a First World Problem.... waaaaahhh... I can't afford to buy my kid toys at The Spirit Store.... but it's not like that for The Boy - he *Really* wants to buy stuff and keep it in the box for HIS store. lolol
Last year I managed to make it work somewhat... but this year... *this year* has been brutal on the finances - so our trips to The Spirit Store have been taking a toll and the manager knew it... so - he HIRED The Boy to "work" at his store one shift a week.
The Boy just about lost his freakin' mind. Seriously.
One day a week for about 30 minutes, The Boy puts on that magical purple apron and walks around with the manager (while I linger nearby), and they straighten shelves, or fix displays. The Boy tests the various buttons and looks for broken or misplaced items and then puts them where they should be. He takes items without tags to the front and then "helps" make the new tag and "re-shelves" the items. He'll even answer questions and tell people how "cool" this thing is or that thing is.... and people always stop and stare that The Boy is so verbal and forward and unafraid to talk to them. lol
Like I said.... he *is* his Mother's son.
In fact, he's sold people a few of the "Zombie babies" and a few other items.....
It's been a crazy year and a half..... and some pretty shitty things have happened to us..... not the least of which was that I broke *another* crown today.... ugh. why can't *any* of my clients be a dentist??? lol..... but there have been a number of set backs and hard times and even harder emotional times..... and then most of it has been pretty public - which has brought both support and criticism.
However, it's also brought about the opportunity for people -even total strangers - to be kind in ways I never dreamed of..... like The Spirit Store staff. They don't get paid to be nice to my son, but they are kinder to him and have given him so much emotional support - and done it just because they appreciate him.
That's amazing.... truly. fucking. amazing.
So today was "work day" for The Boy and The Girl and they had a BLAST..... then he packed up his "Ouchy The Clown", complete with his own Try Me Button in his box (which at this point, The Boy takes with us *everywhere* we go..... and Ouchy is a clown doll with a knife in his hand that "stabs" up and down and say's creepy little things.... and The Boy LOVES him.
We headed out to go have a quick dinner with El Capitan because he's working all week and won't otherwise see the kids and *of course* we have to drag Ouchy The Clown in with us.
At the end of dinner we are walking out the door and a man at a table stops The Boy to ask him about Ouchy - and The Boy quickly launches into a sales pitch about all his features and demonstrates his Try Me Button. The man is taken aback and smiling and laughing a little... clearly surprised that our son would just stand there and shoot the shit about a stabbing clown doll with a total stranger while El Capitan and I look on proudly.
Then - to ALL our surprise - The Boy say's this gem, "Well, if you want to get one of your own, you should go right now to The Spirit store because I re-stocked the shelves with just one more- JUST. ONE. MORE. - doll today. Do you know where The Spirit Store is?"
Then The Boy proceeded to give the man directions to the nearest store and then followed it up with.... "Ask for my friend XXXXXXX and be sure to tell them I said "hi"."
Crazy..... The Spirit Store has given him such a solid boost of confidence - and that was a gift the staff have given him and nothing I could ever buy.... in fact, it's the best thing to come out of The Spirit Store and it didn't cost me a penny.
So.... if you're out and about this year - and in need of costumes or Halloween decor- *please* consider stopping by your local Spirit Store, The Boy would really appreciate it! (You can shop online too, but The Boy would tell you that it wouldn't be the same!)
Legal Disclaimer: The Boy IS NOT financially compensated in *any* way for his "shift". Nor I do expect him to be. His actual "shift" is doing what most costumers do - walking around and checking stuff - only instead of knocking displays over, breaking the dolls, pulling off tags and prices or pulling down the lines of costumes - The Boy does the opposite and nicely puts stuff back that people have knocked over.
IT's like shopping in reverse... lol. I stay close at hand. :)