Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Art of Buying an Easel

Chris and I have debated for several weeks over what to get Kennedy for Christmas. She just had a very productive birthday party and doesn't really need another toy with a lot of parts. She is really starting to show more interest in art so we thought a floor easel would be a good thing for her. I did a little research on the Internet before I went to Target and was surprised to find an easel for $20. Most of the easels I saw on the Internet were similar. All had a chalk surface, dry erase board, paper and a tray. They were 3-4 times more expensive than the one I saw at Target, however. I didn't want to waste a lot of time going all over Durham to find an easel and since this was inexpensive, I bought it.

After I got the easel home I realized that it didn't come with a roll of paper so that was on my list of things to get since Santa couldn't very well bring an art easel with paint and colored pencils and no paper to draw on.

Yesterday I had an unexpected moment to do a little shopping. My neighbors offered to take Kennedy to see Charlotte's Web. I packed Tristan in the car and headed to Wal-Mart where I was sure they would have a roll of paper. Well I was wrong! The craft store Michael's was next door so I went there next. Strike two. Office Max was just across the way. I knew it was a long shot but I thought I would try anyway. Again, no roll of paper.

By this time Tristan was getting pretty tired but since another craft store, AC Moore, was just around the corner I thought I would swing by there on my way home. On the way there I passed a toy store called Learning Express. Outside on display was a cute little art easel. I stopped the car, parked and went inside. I checked out the easel. It was clearly better quality than the one I picked up at Target. It was made of real wood and just looked sturdier. I bought the roll of paper and thought about that easel all the way home.

When I got home I called Chris at work and told him I was successful in finding a roll of paper for the art easel and told him my newly-found disappointment in the Target easel. He told me I could go back and get the other easel, which was more than twice as much as the Target easel, as long as I used my birthday money to make up the difference. It didn't take me long to say YES! I've been burned more than once by settling for the cheap toy. I have made a decision that buying quality toys, in most cases, is worth the extra money.

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