Now that our yard is almost habitable (there’s still the ant problem, but we’re working on it) PH and I are beginning to dream big – like, maybe, we could put something out there for Owl to play on.
We’ve talked a lot about what that might be, but we are constricted by two things:
1. Our yard has the dimensions of a postage stamp
2. Our yard is built four feet up on a retaining wall, and the fence blows in the breeze:
So we need something that will fit in our yard without giving Owl the opportunity of tumbling directly into or over our fence.
Everything we have looked at has either been not awesome enough, or FAR TOO AWESOME for our yard.
For example, there seem to be lots of folding slides in the 50-80 dollar range.
But PH isn’t big on the slide idea. First of all, we have three slides within a minute walk from our house, one of which is actually visible from our back yard, so convincing Owl to slide on something a quarter of the size doesn’t seem likely.
Secondly, while Owl does like slides, he enjoys the challenge of the climb UP to the slide much more. He loves to climb, this kid. He’s like a little monkey. So PH said he’d rather get Owl something climby, and I concur.
So then I found the Step 2 Skyward Summit, which I want to buy so *I* can climb the damn thing.
LOOK AT IT. OH MY GOD. WANT.
This is what my childhood was missing. ^ THIS THING.
Slight problem – it must be huge.
I couldn’t find the exact dimensions of the pyramid base, but given that it looks to be well over 6 feet in height and claims to provide 100 square feet of surface area to climb on, some basic geometry suggests that it would take up almost all of our yard.
But you know what? I might be willing to sacrifice the patio table and chairs that we NEVER SIT ON so Owl could climb on this. Because you know that having a mountain would bring ALL the kids to our yard and Owl would never be bored ever, ever again.
Especially since our yard is four or five feet up in the air to begin with so this would just, like, TOWER over our neighbour’s kids as they go running by on their way to that boring old slide.
But I can’t buy it, because apparently Step 2 doesn’t sell the Skyward Summit directly from the website, and NO ONE IN CANADA appears to carry it, possibly because in box alone it weighs 160 lbs.
So we had to forget about the Skyward Summit.
Toys R Us had a lot of selection, but the choices seemed to either be a tiny slide, or something bigger, like this, which could still be too big for our yard.
Plus that doesn’t seem to be in stock, anyway, according to the wobsite.
We were going to go drive to the store to see if they had it there, but it didn’t even open until 10 am and I had somewhere to be at 11 am.
So we kept looking.
Then, on the Canadian Tire website of all places, we found something very similar that looks like it would take up slightly less space.
Unfortunately, Canadian Tire gives no real dimensions of the base of the thing.
So we decided to drive to Canadian Tire to check it out. According to the website, two locations equidistant from us had it in stock.
Some friends of ours call Canadian Tire “Crappy Tire”, and we always have to reluctantly agree with them.
I WANT to support Canadian Tire. It’s one of the few original Canadian companies that is still going and hasn’t been bought out by American conglomerates.
Furthermore, it really does have a good selection of stuff and it has surprised us a few times by carrying the very thing we had been combing the world looking for, like cinnamon scented car air fresheners.
But we never get the feeling that they give a damn about getting our business. Canadian Tire just doesn’t seem to TRY.
Like THIS ad that I saw on Facebook the other day.
What is with all the creepy photoshopped children? Couldn’t they find REAL children who wanted to play on the thing? I mean, how hard is that? Don’t the staff have kids? Does no one in the company own the structure themselves? What does that say?
ANYWAY, we went to Canadian Tire and wandered around until we began to feel faint from lack of sustenance and eventually found a bored-looking teenager in a Canadian Tire shirt.
“Can you tell us where you keep our play sets?” we asked him. He looked at us blankly.
“Play sets. Outdoor play sets.” We gestured at Owl, who was trying to climb on his own feet while jumping.
He continued to look blank.
“Like… slides and things,” I said slowly. He brightened.
“OH! PLAY sets! I think they’re over here somewhere…” he led us into a back corner and gestured vaguely. “In there, I think.”
We wandered around the pool section looking at inflatable rafts for a while, and then PH finally went “Oh!” and pointed at a little rack on the wall. The rack had pictures of various swings and climbers as well as the description from the website. It was basically the website in paper form.
A sign nearby announced that you could take a brochure, which gave a number you could call to have tough Canadian Tire men come to your house and assemble your slide/swing/climber for you.
The brochure box was empty.
So PH found another red shirt, who was virtually identical to the previous one.
“Oh, yeah, I think we have the boxes in the back,” said the guy. PH pointed to the one we wanted.
“Can you check the dimensions on this for us?” he asked.
“Yeah, sure, just a sec.” He left.
Five minutes later he returned. “It doesn’t really say, just, like, the slide length,” he said.
“Well, we knew that already,” we said, pointing to the description next to the picture. “but we need to know if the base will fit in our yard.”
“Yeah,” he said, nodding. “Maybe it will say on the box. Let me go check there…” he left again. PH and I looked at each other.
“What was he checking BEFORE?” I asked. PH shrugged and rolled his eyes.
Five minutes later the red shirt wandered back.
“So, I, like, can’t find the box.”
“Your website said you had it in stock.”
“Okay, just a sec.”
This time he was gone longer. When he came back, he said his manager didn’t know where it was either. “It might be, like, in our storage location…” he said.
He did not offer an option of retrieving it from said storage location.
After a few moments of mutual staring, we lost and broke eye contact. “Okay, thanks,” we said.
We left the store.
After Owl’s nap, we decided to try the other Canadian Tire. Maybe they were less useless.
We found the same section in the second store, with the same little book of pictures. Then we found a red shirt, who couldn’t find the box and said that he was pretty sure he didn’t have it in stock. He couldn’t tell us when it might BE in stock. He couldn’t tell us the dimensions.
We left defeated.
Now, call me crazy.
But if I were a store, and I wanted to sell people products, then I would actually try and SELL the product when people came looking for it.
The fact that we spoke to three people none of whom seemed to give a damn whether or not we actually purchased what we were looking for makes me wonder how Canadian Tire manages to stay in business.
No wonder they had to photoshop children onto that play set.
They couldn’t actually find one for real kids to play on.
Tara Dong said:
I could write this post for you I have so many FUCK YOU CT YOU FAIL!!! stories it’s terrifying. I was tremendously sad that it distapeared.
I accidentally published it last night instead of today – sorry it briefly appeared and then disappeared!
Hi, I'm Natalie. said:
Do you guys have Kijiji in Van? It’s BRILLIANT for that kid of stuff. Also: You can see the damned thing set up. 🙂
Yeah that’s where I looked first, but a) same problem – everything is either a giant thing that would never fit our yard or a single boring slide and b) everything is already built and we’d therefore need to rent a van or something to transport it, which would absorb any cost savings.
Hi, I'm Natalie. said:
Boo indeed. Part of me objects to buying anything NEW for a child when so much used stuff is practically new. We got our jolly jumper, our high chair and much more from craigslist/kijiji
Karyn @ kloppenmum said:
Those photoshop kids are just wrong. How about a bunch of old tyres and planks of wood that Owl can make into his own contraptions, or you and PH until he’s big enough, and then stack them to one side when you want that to happen? Then every climbing frame/hut will be new and exciting plus less worry with space? (Call me a Kiwi…go on, I dare you.)
Interesting idea and I like it in theory, but a) I just got that yard cleaned up, I don’t want it to look like a junk heap again and more importantly b) our yard being four feet up in the air and our fence being completely un-fencelike I don’t really want him climbing on anything that could topple!
Karyn @ kloppenmum said:
*you and PH can make into something…until…
Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife said:
This is definitely not only a Canadian Tire problem. I’m in the U.S. and I’ve had to hold back from throat punching many a Target employee. They either just stare at you after they answer your question with the least possible detail or give eye rolls and huffs if you ask them to do a little research, such as when the next shipment is coming in or if the item I want is at another location. I even wanted to throat punch the person behind their Twitter account the other day.
I have no suggestions for you on the play structure front. We have a similar problem…teeny tiny yard but ours is on ground level and disrupted by the footings for our deck.
I’d be willing to bet the reason for photoshopping kids onto playsets is to make the playsets look impressively giant. Why they do it so incredibly badly, however, I have no idea. I once bought an inflatable wading pool that I had intended to use under an outdoor camp shower to catch the water. I knew it was on the small side compared to most pools and that most pool ads are blatant lies, but the picture showed a happy toddler sitting waist-deep splashing with a few toys and a fair bit of elbow room, so I figured it’d be good enough. The reality? Sides four inches tall and a surface area so small I could barely fit both feet in while standing. An infant wouldn’t have been able to straighten their legs “in” it. I offered it to my brother as a sort of mini water table for his kids to dip toys in, but he pointed out that their buckets did a better job aready.
I just found the climbing mountain on Amazon, which gives the dimensions as 52x80x80 inches. ToysRUs also carries it and has a bunch of customer images which show that the promotional photo isn’t actually lying! That DOES look awesome!
I wish I could get it in Canada! I can’t even rent a van and drive to Washigton. I don’t think you can take rentals over the border.
For dimensions, I’d go to the manufacturer’s website. Here’s the link: http://www.step2.com/p/Naturally-Playful-Woodland-Climber
But, I get your point. You know what also sucks? When Canadian Tire advertises a product as having certain dimensions and then they end up being wrong. I was going to buy a pool from them to use as a birthing pool, based on the depth advertised on their website. It’s hard to find the right depth in a kiddie pool in Canada for some reason, so I was very excited to find something so affordable and local! Unfortunately, when we got to the store, we discovered it was wrong and not deep enough for my needs. Same product number and everything, so their website had a mistake. I wrote to them to complain, but let’s just say their internet branch of customer service doesn’t give a damn, either.
You have to wonder sometimes whether these stores even give a damn about staying in business.
I have had way too much fun researching toys I can’t afford for the kids I don’t have:
Not what you’re looking for, but thesewaffle blocks look awesome enough that I kind of want them for myself. If only they were sturdy enough to climb on!
I’ve had this mini-coaster bookmarked for my if-I-win-the-lottery giftlist for my neices and nephews for some time:
Inflatable bouncer! Seems lots are defective, but the company’s good about sending new ones, and they’re cheap to start with. I wanted an adult-friendly one aour wedding and am still sad I couldn’t make it happen.
amazon.ca has the Skywise Summit, but it’s way overprices vs the US.
Sorry about the giant ads! I didn’t know it would do that.
Oh, my kids would LOVE that Jump-o-lene! Too bad it has such mixed reviews. I bet it wouldn’t last long in my house.
They have a bunch of things like that – bouncy castles and such at both Canadian Tire AND Toys R Us. Sorry you couldn’t get a bouncy castle for your wedding, Amy. My friend The Farm Fairy had one at hers and it was awesome – I have a great shot of her and her groom bouncing away, wedding dress and all.
We actually have an inflatable outdoor bouncer! (This one: http://www.toysrus.ca/product/index.jsp?productId=3639958) It’s awesome, but only for outdoors (too tall for safe inside use), and uses power and stuff, so we don’t use it all that often. It’s very good to have for parties, which is why we got it in the first place, but I’d love to have something for indoors that doesn’t require electricity. 🙂
My mountain brings all the kids to the yard and I’m like ” it’s better than yours!”
Seriously, though I think you can take rentals across the border it just costs more
Depends on the rental company, but yes, most you can take across the border as long as you tell them when you rent it. We used to drive rental cars across the border all the time for work. Both Discount and Enterprise allow it, for sure.
Hmmm *rubs imaginary beard
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