Jean Godden / Times staff columnist
Times call for toy therapy
When times are tough, the tough buy toys. That discovery comes from the Godden Survey, a not-very-scientific study conducted by calling a half-dozen local toy shops and asking, "How are toy sales?"
The toy-shop employees contacted all answered that toy sales are better than ever.
Alan Downhour, manager at The Great Windup at Pike Place Market, said, "I've been surprised at how things have picked up in the last week and a half." The uptick occurred despite this being a slow time at the market, the lull between summer tourists and the holiday buying season.
Pam Powers at Pioneer Square's Magic Mouse said, "I've been teasing customers that they come here to avoid reality." Powers had just received a new shipment of burgundy angel bears, named after the highest order of angels, angels with three wings.
"Last time we sold this many guardian-angel teddy bears was right after the Seattle earthquake," said Powers.
At Archie McPhee, a Ballard shop known for such oddball products as rubber chickens and boxing nuns, owner Mark Pahlow is circulating a newsletter that reports sales up 10 percent over last year. He credits "the pleasure and solace that a well-designed and thoughtful toy, novelty or gift" has to lift people out of depression and despair.
Gentlemen. Start your windup toys.
Impromptu parade: Magnolia resident Tom Stanton reports he and some friends were driving South on Elliott Avenue West about 10 p.m. Saturday when they came upon 10 motorcycle police officers blocking northbound lanes.
As the friends sat in traffic considering what could have prompted such a heavy police response, someone said, "Oh my gosh, there are elephants!"
Behind the elephants came camels, horses and finally donkeys, evidence that the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus had arrived in town.
Says Stanton, "We rolled down our windows and laughed. We were expecting disaster and instead we encountered elephants."
Risk factor: Airport security — beefed up considerably since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — may still be a work in progress. Queen Anne resident Bill Polfus was returning from a trip to the East Coast shortly after the attack and was flying out of the Atlanta airport.
Polfus went through the security check and had to surrender his nail clippers.
Although he thought it a bit unfair, he accepted the need for increased security. He strolled on toward his departure gate but couldn't help noticing that, standing outside an airport newsstand, was a bin with some half-price items. Among them: nail files and nail clippers.
Market for pets: Wish list for the Humane Society for Seattle/King County sounds normal until you get to the last request from the animal shelter. Wanted are items such as dog leashes, cat toys, catnip, laundry detergent, new or gently used blankets and — here's the surprise — Wall Street Journals. Never underestimate our about-to-be-adopted pets.