Beware the Creepy Solicitor at ToysRUs, Atwater Village

hey, i promised you bastards, polygamy, and deadly queen bees, and have them you will.

but first i just wanted to put it out to the blogosphere that something weird and unpleasant happened at my local ToysRUs. i don’t know if it’s part of a wider effort or if it’s only california…

i happened to be browsing in the babies/young toddlers section of ToysRUs hoping to find a cute yellow submarine bath toy for my son when i noticed a tall, older man with a salt and pepper beard (and slightly bald head) chatting in low tones with a couple. he could’ve been a dad, or a granddad, or the store manager. i wasn’t really paying attention. he had a clipboard in his hands. he noticed me glancing in his general direction and stopped talking with the couple long enough to ask me, “Excuse me, are you a registered voter?”

i said i was. suspiciously.

he immediately asked me if i’d like to sign a petition to put a bill on the ballot for parental consent regarding pregnant teens seeking abortions.

it dawned on me that THIS MAN WAS DOING POLITICAL ORGANIZING ON THE DOWN-LOW FOR AN ANTI-CHOICE GROUP. he was doing this with his under-the-radar m.o. and his icky, unctuous peter lorre murmur, surrounded by pastel baby washcloths and high chairs and car seats. i gave him the icy death-ray stare i’d give to a molester and said, “No, I wouldn’t.”*

i feel really strongly that i DO NOT want these questions sneakily shoved under my eyes atop a “survey” affixed to a clipboard by some scuzzy anti-choice guy IN THE BABY SECTION of ToysRUs.

i fumed and walked away. i found the manager. i described and pointed out the man, now busily cruising the people toward the front of the store innocently trying to pick up a last minute birthday present for a kid they know or maybe find a chocolate-shaped santa as a stocking stuffer for their own kid. instead they’re listening to this freak lay weird heavy shit on them while they shop as he’s trying to collect signatures for his ballot initiative.

it turns out the manager had ejected Creepy Man from the store at least once before that afternoon. they knew him and knew the problem. it sounds to me like this ToysRUs was spending time responding to customer complaints about this guy.

i hope next time store management calls the cops. who needs this when you’re in a store, trying to get errands done? is it not enough you’d like to take up residence in my womb and boss me from there, and now you’re polluting my sensory-overload experience at ToysRUs too?


*now, i’m fervently pro-choice and a parent. and i absolutely get what a wedge issue parental consent is, i do: in the best of all worlds, no teenage daughter would have to keep her pregnancy and then her abortion secret from her parents–she wouldn’t be pregnant to begin with, one hopes. but the imperfect world being what it is, i’d prefer that a young woman would be able to choose the fork in the road that she determines she should take. again, i’d hope that she had wise counsel from someone she trusted, someone who knew and had her future in mind long before she was ever pregnant. one hopes. but sometimes you don’t get the wise, supportive, helpful parent or family you wish for. sometimes the decision comes down to you and only you and the clock is ticking and you need to act.

simply put: i believe in the right to a safe, legal abortion as one choice among many for all women of childbearing age.

i feel silly having to declare that which is commensensical to me, and i think someone who essentially agreed with the guy (and not me) still would’ve taken offense. but here we are with this half-lit pipe bomb labeled ‘abortion’ in the room with us, both sides eyeing the fuse and wondering if it’s sputtering or about to blow.

my feeling is, if you want to gather signatures, do it on the up-and-up like the lyndon larouche crazies, who set up their card tables outside the grocery store or wherever. quit lurking around kids’ toy stores and waiting to lunge at fresh meat like some vampire.

3 thoughts on “Beware the Creepy Solicitor at ToysRUs, Atwater Village

  1. Thank you for your thoughtful reply over at my blog, in regards to the new american nuclear family.

    And thank you for this posting as well. This kind of thing totally pisses me off too. I wrote a few weeks ago about a run-in I had with pro-lifers outside a Planned Parenthood … lord, just the thing you need at 8am with no coffee and someone about to poke about your ladyparts. Hmmph.

    Your son is lucky to have you and your hubby for parents, because he will never worry about whether or not he can tell you about getting himself in a tangle. (Or at least he SHOULDN’T worry. Kids always worry about the weirdest things.) But I agree 250% that not every kid is so lucky. Some kids have to grow up much faster than others, and often those kids are the ones in the position to be able to make the best decision for their well-being–not their parents.

    So, uhmm, in short: WORD to everything you wrote.


  2. too right! living here in the DC area, political freakshows like you described unfortunately aboundeth. we are all pretty vocal, though, about shoving them along when they are in inappropriate venues. it’s just frustrating at times because, as this is the nation’s capital, you get people protesting each week the issue du jour. it’s their right, and it’s the right place for it. but it’s creepy. for example, when you’re riding metro in late january and the anti-abortion protesters have come to town to kvetch about roe v. wade and they have their signage all over the metro for commuters and kids to see. (yeah. i like my coffee with an aborted fetus staring me down, thanks.) but we have to learn to live with that here in DC.

    but at Toys R Us? no freaking way.

    you done good :)

  3. thanks for the supportive comments, may & wreke. may, i was thinking of your rousing Planned Parenthood post as i wrote mine.

    it gave me pleasure to put the smackdown on Creepy Anti-Choice Guy, though it in no way makes up for the organized campaign of domestic terrorism/harrassment anti-choice people like him wage on doctors, and on women using Planned Parenthood services. still. it was my tiny drop in the bucket.

  4. Pingback: Shop Til You ShopDrop « P i l l o w b o o k

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