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toy demonstrators

I was in Hamley's toy store in Glasgow recently and knew finally what I want to be when I grow up. There are young people employed there who demonstrate toys. What a great job! And not just for the fun of playing - but for the infectious delight in the faces of the wee yins. It must be like being a magician. You could get bored of the toy, but you could not fail to spend your working day in a summer breeze of a mood as the weans watch and wonder, rapt, as mini-helicopters buzz about, as discs levitate beneath the demonstrator's palm, as unburstable bubbles billow and drift.

Even the electronic stuff pulls a crowd. All us grown-ups stood grinning like cartoon cats while we watched wee boys playing Wii games: four or five kids at a time copying moves from some kind of Michael Jackson dance game, kids so unselfconscious that some didn't have controllers in their hands - they simply had to get on the floor and throw down some moves.

Adults, strangers, semi-circled behind the youngsters and smiled helplessly at each other. Behind us, five good-natured Goths joined in the Thriller dance. And at the side, the toy demonstrator, a benign Pied Piper, never pushy, always patient and paid to ringmaster this fun for hours at a time.

"Alright! Who's next?" he called. My girlfriend stopped me from stepping up. Why? Well, one day in our supermarket, we saw a kid trying a hula hoop - and she was rubbish. So, wordlessly, I took one from the display and showed how it should be done. The child, my girlfriend and all the other shoppers were aghast. Too bad. When I hoop, I hoop.

Probably, I'm not cut out to be a toy demonstrator after all.

 

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