With the holidays bringing so much attention to our shopping habits and stores, many odd trends are bound to crop up. One recent Citing, for instance, looked at the long-standing gender-segregation of toy aisles. Now we spot another toy divide, perhaps as pervasive, but harder to notice: the New York Times argues toy stores divide kids by class, too.
The piece explains that the emergence of larger toy retailers like Toys “R” Us has made toys with a focus on enrichment or learning more rare—they’re more likely found at small, specialty stores. The problem is that these smaller, more upscale stores are mostly found in affluent areas. The article’s author, Ginia Bellafante, writes:
In the way that we have considered food deserts—those parts of the city in which stores seem to stock primarily the food groups Doritos and Pepsi—we might begin to think, in essence, about toy deserts and the implications of a commercial system in which the least-privileged children are choked off from the recreations most explicitly geared toward creativity and achievement.
Research on how much these ”high-class” toys actually help in child development is inconclusive, but it’s easy to infer the toy gap may add to both the education gap and the class divide.