The Stuffed Pilgrimage

I think my daughter and I solved the Beachy issue from a few days back. Although she wanted me to refer to her by her real name here, her mother vetoed that. Fortunately we’ve come up with a solution which should satisfy everyone. She has agreed to be known here on SB simply as “Σ.” If you like you can call her Sigma. Along those lines, my twin nieces – who are toddlers living in the Portland, Oregon, area – will be henceforth known as “π” and “μ” respectively.


No, none of us are even remotely Greek. Just work with me here.
Image credit: PHGCOM

This is a fortuitous turn of events, since all three young ladies figure into today’s narrative.

My sister lives near a mall in Beaverton which – if you have a daughter – contains an outlet of pure, Lovecraftian evil. The full horror of this hasn’t hit her because π and μ are still too young to come under its influence. But rest assured, they will.


Oh yes, they will.

If you’ve been in a larger American mall recently, you’ve probably seen a Build-A-Bear Workshop even if you’re not familiar with its dark side. The business plan is diabolically simple. Kids go in to create their own stuffed animal. The staff helps them fill them with stuffing and what not. They can even put a “heart” in the toy so it can reciprocate their love, or something like that. In other words, the place is utter crack for the preteen set, especially girls.

That said, the stuffed animals themselves are reasonably priced. You can spend less than $20 and get out of there with a reasonably sized and well-built toy. That’s not where they get you, though. Does your kid like to play dress up? Well, they have your number at Build-a-Bear. You can easily spend a small fortune on teddy bear clothes and accessories there if you’re not careful.


And that’s where they get ya.

To make matters worse for me, while there’s a Build-A-Bear Workshop here in Boise, there isn’t one in the 2T. For Σ, this gives the place the mystique of being a travel destination in addition to everything else. This is something that isn’t evident when she goes to her other favorite mall store, Justice, which does have a 2T location. I empathize with that part of it. If she thinks cool stuff doesn’t exist in the 2T now, she should have tried growing up in the 80s. To an eight-year-old then it seemed like Western civilization itself ended in Boise (or at times even Salt Lake City).

So when Σ came up here yesterday she did so with a heightened sense of urgency. Apparently while with her mother in Las Vegas a while back she got a stuffed rabbit at a Build-A-Bear there. Yes, Build-A-Bear sells a lot more than teddy bears.


But no Cthulhu, at least not yet.
Image credit: Bastique

But alas, Bunny has no clothes. Being the magnanimous father I am, I provided a solution. For $20, she agreed to clean out the staff car, vacuum the Command Center, get rid of a bunch of old magazines (mainly old copies of the Mensa Bulletin, one of the lamest publications known to humanity) and clean her room. The detailing job in particular was no mean feat; the last time the staff car interior was thoroughly cleaned out was a couple years ago.

Nevertheless, Σ cheerfully, dutifully and quickly (very quickly, wow) performed each task. Her reward was a $20 voucher and a trip to the Boise Towne Square Build-A-Bear for bunny pajamas, a shirt and a pair of shorts. Grand total: 23 bucks and change. She paid me the difference out of her Hello Kitty purse one of her friends bought for her in Thailand. That’s how I tipped for my white chocolate mocha today.


And the staff car hasn’t looked this good in a LONG time.

I look forward to the day Σ grows out of this, but I fear it may be replaced with something much, much worse ….

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