The New York Times takes its never-ending campaign against inequality to the toy store with a column complaining that Toys "R" Us stores in the Bronx don't carry educational toys like the ones sold at independent stores in Tribeca:
Just as we are unlikely to unearth dilled artisanal long beans from the farms of northern Vermont, we are unlikely to find these sorts of diversions — small-batch toys aimed at the parent for whom it is never too early to begin LSAT drills — in large retail chains. Instead, they are the provenance of independent toy stores that maintain a presence almost exclusively in the city's most affluent neighborhoods....toys, like lettuces or chocolate, have long since become another manifestation of difference.
If the Times had bothered to include a comment from Toys "R" Us, the company might have referred the Times columnist to the company's 28-page advertising insert in the Sunday Times — the same newspaper in which the column bashing the company appeared. That Toys "R" Us advertising insert included, on page 5, a "Touch Magic Learning Bus" that "helps with learning the alphabet, early vocabulary, motor skills and more." It included "My Own Leaptop" on which children can "explore 6 learning activity stations." There are Lego toys and wooden alphabet blocks and the game "Memory."
There are enough real inequalities in America without creating phony worries like toy inequality that aren't even substantiated by reality. Finally, is there someplace other than Vermont where one can "unearth dilled artisanal long beans"? Beans aren't like carrots. They grow above ground. If the idea is that Vermonters are such rubes that the sophisticated urban idea of eating dill together with green beans hasn't yet occurred to them, then that, too is a notion unsupported by evidence. See, for example, this page from the Co-op Food Stores of New Hampshire and Vermont featuring a 1993 Gourmet magazine recipe for Warm Green Bean Salad With Dill.
At least there's one form of inequality about which Times readers can be blessedly unconcerned: The Times columnist manages to display equal doses of condescension toward both rural Vermonters and urban Bronx residents who do their toy shopping at Toys "R" Us. There's a relief, of sorts, I suppose.