Who remembers this? (update)

Who remembers this? (update) August 6, 2014

Meijer (then Meijer Thrifty Acres) used to have playland 'Oasis' in the middle of the store where parents wold drop off the kids to play while they shopped.

Source:  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/63894888438360001/

This, as Michiganders of a certain age will recognize, is an Oasis at a Meijer (or, at the time, Meijers Thrifty Acres) store.  Yes, before SuperTargets, -Kmarts, and -Walmarts, Meijer pioneered the one-stop shopping concept in Grand Rapids and, by my childhood, all of Michigan.  All the usual discount store departments, with an emphasis on the practical — more automotive and less fashion than Target, plus a full-service grocery, and, growing up, lining the front of the store beyond the checkouts, a McDonalds, an arcade, a shoe-repair shop, and the Purple Cow ice cream counter (I’m not sure what’s there now, come to think of it).  And are open 24/7 except Christmas, which I’ve rarely taken advantage of, though I remember baking a cake super late at night once in grad school and running out.

So, growing up, until we kids were old enough that Mom could leave us at home, her routine would be to give us some quarters for ice cream, and let us find our way to the Oasis to hang out while she shopped, and then she’d have us paged when she was done.  The Oasis pictured here (via a google search) isn’t entirely how I remember it, but the idea is the same — I remember the animals being bigger, so that you could really climb on them, and there was a TV and we’d always be trying to change the channel, though we couldn’t reach it.  And I would have said that the Oasis was enclosed.

But, of course, they took it out.  And can you even imagine such a thing in a grocery store in the year 2014?  It seems like the stories of mothers getting arrested for leaving their kids in the front yard, or park or, on today’s Reason blog, at the Lego store, are appearing ever more frequently and are now not just portrayed as “overzealous neighbor/cop” but as a perfectly normal reaction to what’s now being perceived of as bad parenting.

But every one of these cops was a kid once, right?  Has too much time passed?  Are these cops who are young enough to have grown up in the post-Oasis era, and have no memory of being allowed to roam free?  Or have they simply forgotten about their own, freer youth?

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