From the outside and in, Child’s is a cheerful looking toy shop. This semi-branded Toymaster
store is jam packed with toys, which are found high, low and even hanging from the ceiling – along with some Union Jack bunting. Despite the abundance of
product, the shop is clean and well looked after, with the various toy categories interspersed by dedicated sections for top brands. Although I’m busy browsing at the back of the shop, it doesn’t take long for the lady shopkeeper to find me and offer her assistance. I ask where the outdoor toys are and I am promptly led to the front of the shop. Along the way, I am queried on who exactly will be playing with the toys and how old they are.
36 PARK PARADE, HAZLEMERE
After explaining that I am looking for an outdoor toy which a pair of children can play with, I’m appropriately shown the selection of bat and ball games, with classics like Scatch, badminton and Aerobi suggested. These are all mainly low price point items, perfect for impulse purchases on hot days. When I push for something a bit
different, a Stomp Rocket is pithily pitched to me and I’m confident that my guide really knows her stuff. Just as I’m about to leave, I notice the upper deck – another floor packed full of toys. Brilliant.
Verdict: Attentive and knowledgeable customer service with a strong variety of outdoor toy products.
THE CHILTERNS, HIGH WYCOMBE
Occupying a spacious unit of the The Chilterns shopping centre, Toys UK makes use of its ample floor space by allocating its main lines along the walls. There are huge areas for Sylvanian Families, Lego, Playmobil and Moshi Monsters – and other product situated in chest-height aisles. The store feels spacious and open, which when combined with the soft lighting, makes for a laid back environment.
I ask for help and am shown to the outdoor section by a young lad, who suggests low price point bat and ball games. Despite the largest section of the window display being occupied by summer toys, inside, the outdoor offering seems lacking. Underwhelmed, I ask: “Is there
anything else you have, that the kids might not have seen before?” “Hmm,” he says. “Not really, this
is it.” “There are the Nerf guns but they might be a bit advanced for their age.” He leaves me to it. Confused yet
unperturbed, I have a browse and notice a selection of toys from the Wind Designs distributed Zing Air range. These certainly fall under the description of being new and different, so I’m a bit disappointed they weren’t suggested.
Verdict: Toys UK’s outdoor range and the assistant’s advice was lacking, but the size of the store and the range of toys were impressive.