Black Friday shopping for your kids’ Christmas toy gifts at the big box? Well you’re hunting in the wrong place!
While not leaving it “hyped-out” for the masses, you should be bustin’ the doors & windows down at your neighborhood mom ‘n pop convenience shop and manapua truck!
Yup, of all us old school folks remembering before the likes of Walmart and Toys R Us, the best place to find that favorite toy to amuse for the next day or two (sometimes longer if it was THAT fun!), it was either from the neighborhood “Manapua Man” truck, or the neighborhood mom ‘n pop convenience store.
And it wasn’t them fancy Mattel or Hasbro name brand stuff, nope. Playstation & X Box, which obviously at the time didn’t exist. While Atari a bit later, OK.
For most of us “hannabaddah dayz keedz” of my super old school years (we’re talking like when I was like less than 7 years old), it was them cheap colorful plastic made in China toys we loved so much (at least momentarily), on an equally colorful blister card pack or simply tossed into a clear vinyl bag, such was the case with jacks & marbles and the green army men.
Cheesy? Yes. Absolutely! Which is the true romance of it!
Behold the selection showcased here I discovered while grabbing some lunch last week at Alicia’s Market, a popular, truly old school local style mom ‘n pop convenience store, more famous for fresh Poke, Roast Meats and plate lunches than anything else.
But yup, right behind the deli area was Alicia’s “Toy Department”; all 4 feet of gondola space of it. Imagine walking into Alicia’s and asking the cashier at the front of the small shop, “Excuse me, can you tell me where the Toy Department is?” Which they’d probably look perplexed, scratch their head, then think for a moment, “Is this guy serious?” Then they’d finally figure it out, “Oh, the Toy Department! Well, that’s in Aisle 2B, sir, next to the laundry detergent.” (out of, like, only 4 aisles in the entire store) lol
Let’s zoom in for a closer look at Alicia’s “Toy Department” selection, where first up we have the requisite cap gun; this one being a SUPER CAP GUN. Wow!
It’d be safe to say every little boy has gone through at least 10 different cap guns before the age of 7, myself included. Interestingly, I never took an affinity for guns after that, like most other boys my age. Partially because my dad was a cop (Hilo PD), and for some reason discouraged me as a kid from getting into them. I remember we used to run over the cap “cartridges” with our little trike bikes (like the Big Wheel), trying to randomly make them pop. Utter juvenile silliness. ;-)
Next up, we have SPORTS PINBALL, which reminds of my visits to Japan, where Pachinko was a big hit.
Next up, the Arcady AIR COMMAND 3 JET combo pack. Yup, probably had at least several hundred or more die-cast jets and cars in my toy chest over the course of my “hanabaddah dayz” era. I always tried to make the die-cast metal jets fly by launching them with my toy slingshot, only ending up in disappointment over its “non-flightworthiness”. Better off with marbles. lol
Next up, FASHION WORLD. Ooh, I bet all you ladies had one or more of these types of “glamour kits” as a young girl. What you should do is, next time you go to a (adult) girlfriend’s birthday party, get one of these as a gag gift, along with her regular gift. Dude, that would be a RIOT, seeing her reaction when she opens it. She’d be like “What the hell is this??” Better yet, actually USE the hair pins in the kit to style the birthday gal’s hair, and take a photo of her using the toy hair brush, hair dryer and mirror. Especially with that loud pink fake hair dryer! Then stick that photo in the included “I HEART You” picture frame. That would be classic!
Back for the Keiki Kane, we have SPEEDY RACERS. How’s the in-package demo’ instructions: “Shake Package to Reset”, which essentially shakes the launched cars back down to the press-button launcher. Now we’re talkin’ high tech! Oh, and don’t forget, they’re SUPER FAST!
Next up, the FuunTastic Flyin Foam™ POWER GLIDERS. Any of you remember the original foam DELTA DART? They were the predecessor to this, and also made Guillows balsa wood rubberband propeller planes look like the Wright Brothers in flight. The Delta Dart introduced “supersonic” to the toy glider world!
Next up we have Arcady SUPER TOP. Never mind there’s more than one, as singular and plural is always confused in the labeling of these kinds of toys, but we understand. Now check out its main catchphrase: UNBELIEVABLE STIMULATION. Wow, I’m sold! Just what I need right about now! And it better do that for $5 whole bucks! Then again, hey, if it lights up, sparks and plays music as the packaging also indicates, I suppose that’s stimulating and worth $5 bucks. lol
Next up, the Arcady BOUNCING TOP. Oh gosh, now THIS brings back memories! One time my neighbor bought a set similar to this from the Manapua Truck in our neighborhood, and he launched it in the street. However when the top landed, it landed in the neighbor’s driveway where their cat was standing. The top landed right next to the cat, startling the hell out of it, and the cat shot jumped straight up, I sweat at least 5 feet in the air. Totally HILARIOUS! We were always good to our neighbors pets, but that was a classic moment that totally caught kitty off guard.
What’s also funny about this, is look at what’s “cross-merchandised” below the toys: kitchen scouring pad sponges. Seriously? It’s like they’re suggesting, “Hey, got a kid? Well, chances are you’ll also need to clean up!” LOL!
Next up, the Arcady GOOD LOOKING DAZZLING NAILS kit. See my recommendation on the FASHION WORLD kit above, and apply that to this one, too! Ladies, do it! Your FB friends will love it!
Finally, being this is a food blog, I saved the best for last with this Arcady MASTER CHEF Series 14-Piece Set. Now this is the PERFECT Christmas gift for Ken’s Kitchen! Hey Ken, hang a few more hooks on the backsplash wall next to your $7,000 Global Knives set, as you’ll need to make room for this!
I swear, if you did a cooking show, where you’re using these top-of-the-line made in Japan Global knives, only to counter that by busting out this whimsically colored $3 spatula, strainer and soup spoon set, that would have the viewers falling off the chair laughing. Oh boy, my stomach is sore just thinking about it! lol
The “Toy Department” at Silva’s Store in Ewa Beach
Interestingly, Dwayne Pantastico, who along with his mom Ivy runs Silva’s Store, a 60 year old mom ‘n pop convenience store in Ewa Beach, told me that no matter what, if a young child walks into their store with their folks, 9 times out of 10, they’ll walk out with the parent having bought them one of those toys, they’re THAT alluring and irresistible.
Of course, don’t get into the whole landfill thing, I as we’re all very aware of that.
Before closing, just want to recall one of my favorite “Manapua Truck toys” not seen here was the parachute man (skydiver). I’d often save the heavy plastic “man” part, even if the thin plastic parachute was torn, and make a bigger parachute using a plastic bread bag or rubbish bag. We got more advanced at a point, using our “Wrist Rocket’ sling shots to get them launched to higher altitude. We were also successful dropping a “parachute man” off a high flying kite, using a “timer” via Mosquito punk to burn through the string securing the parachute man to the kite for the “drop”.
Ah, the things us “keeds” did do stay amused.
What “Manapua Truck ‘Kine Toys” do you remember playing with and was your “most funnest” ones?
P.S. Some scenes from Alicia’s Market last week…