RUSHTON: Selling the stuff that dreams are made of

There is no shortage of interest or dollars when it comes to playthings, and that point was brought home to me yesterday morning when I attended the adult male equivalent of Toys-R-Us held at Tradex.

There is no shortage of interest or dollars when it comes to playthings, and that point was brought home to me yesterday morning when I attended the adult male equivalent of Toys-R-Us held at Tradex.

Arriving early, I was astounded not only to see a packed parking lot, but a ticket line-up numbering in the hundreds – this at 10:30 of a sunny Sunday.

Church, I think, suffered from attendance yesterday (with the excuses probably equal to the number of goodies available at the show).

If nothing else, this event proves that outdoor products sales are a distinct success and an incredible consumer draw, even in this supposedly weak economy.

Why else would people line up by the hundreds, and jam display aisles, to ogle and occasionally purchase ‘toys’ such as Ski-doos and Sea-doos, ATVs, campers, jet boats and pleasure craft that in some cases cost a year or two in wages.

There must be a lot of expendable dollars out there, though tempted as I was, the few available funds I have stayed well secure in my pocket.

The visions, however, were coming fast and furious … of roaring along backroads and trails on an ATV that has an engine bigger than my first car, of looking at a truck tire that is taller than many people I know.

Fitting that under a truck, however, would entail remarkable cost, and while it might ‘look cool’ would create a vehicle so tall, with a centre of gravity so high that it would be unstable on anything but the flattest of roads.

But it sure would turn heads in today’s version of the local drive-in.

There were huge and powerful snow machines, which the wag who accompanied me pointed out would make easy the exhilarating work of ‘high-marking,’ until you kill yourself in an avalanche.

However, it’s not for me nor my buddy to quell anyone’s death wish, and should I find a surplus of coin one day I might be persuaded to indulge in a sled, though you can be certain that at this time in my life, level trails and fields would probably provide sufficient challenge and excitement.

ATVs, on the other hand, truly beckon. And if I can convince the powers that be at my house that such a device would be an incredibly handy and needed tool around the yard and out in the field, it wouldn’t take much to max out the credit card.

It also wouldn’t take much to throw the vehicle in the back of the truck and take off for the woods every sunny weekend, ostensibly to clear my head for the inevitable yard work that would be undertaken between trips to play on the quad.

Then there’s the jet boats and the back country ‘vacation’ hide-away that holds promise of your own personal nirvana.

And that is what makes outdoor shows so successful – the purveyors of the stuff are more dream-merchants than product sellers, and the thought of what fun can be had if we just had enough dollars to do it.

In fact, going to these shows must be like gambling – chasing the elusive dream of freedom to explore, to indulge in fun, and damn the dollars that it costs because, hey, we only live once.

Actually, the latter comment is probably what keeps me from blowing a wad on more toys – I’d be killed when I got home.

markrushton@abbynews.com