I know, I know, we’re only up to No. 3 and I started this when it was cold out! It’s not so much that there aren’t delightful things to be found, it’s just that I’ve been monster-sized busy lately, and I want to give this project good, focused attention (focus is at a premium right now) . BUT! Um, here I am with a review, right?

244 Park Ave – 508/755-4207
10am-8pm all week

So let’s talk about That’s Entertainment, or TE, as we call it around No. 208. Man Cub went in there the other night to trade in some games for store credit and was astounded that he walked out of the place with a handful of games, a couple of comics, and an Xbox controller, and only spent a dollar of his precious lawn-mowing money in the process. Dearest Will explained to him on the car ride home, that when you’ve remained a super good customer for eight years, that the people behind the counter tend to treat you well.*

Has it been eight years? For reals? Holy carp, it has.

File under N for Not My Best Moment in Parenting: when Man Cub was in first grade, I threw (pitched!) a copy of the Mouse and the Motorcycle across my bedroom, and ran sobbing into the bathroom, something about you’ll have to do this with your father! rolling through my throat in a (thankfully) unintelligible manner. It wasn’t that I had any sentimentality for the mouse, or that I had an issue with Beverly Cleary. It was that Man Cub was supposed to be reading to me as part of his homework, and rather than actually reading, he was fighting the reading, one freaking word at a time. This was not an issue of inability – he’s always been a quick study, and I had no doubts that he could learn to read. But it was clear that he was a resistant reader – he just didn’t want to.

Which was heartbreaking – I was the kid (and really, am still the adult) whose best escape plans always involved a book. It was also monumentally frustrating to get through an evening’s homework – there was squirming, there was complaining, there were tears (mine, mostly), and there was more complaining. There was more complaining than actually reading, in fact.

So that fateful day when I stormed out of the bedroom where we had been “reading,” I retreated to a hot shower and had myself a Think. There had to be a better way to do this – there freaking had to be. And then it hit me – as soon as I get clothes on, kid, we’re going for a drive.

I packed the boy up and we headed for TE, and in contrast to the hour previous, this was possibly the best parenting decision that I have ever made. Trundling in with red-rimmed eyes and a five-year-old by the hand apparently attracts attention, for the record. I think it was George who approached us that day, and to whom I explained the situation. And I’ll never forget how this guy got down on Man Cub’s eye-level and asked him, “So – do you like any superheroes?” And I’ll never forget the shine in Man Cub’s eyes as he started talking about Teen Titans, and how we’d been watching it on teevee together as a family, and how cool Robin was. We left with a stack of Teen Titans (the kid-friendly ones) and Batman and Robin comix, and within six months Man Cub went from reluctant reader to avid reader, and we haven’t looked back.**

Eight years later, and we still have a family subscription box at TE (ok, so Man Cub has a box that he lets his parents share with him). I have never had anyone be anything other than super nice to any of the three of us (yes, even when I was on that Nightwing kick and 100% confused about which Batman line I was actually following according to which writer,*** and chasing down crossover issues from Batman, Batgirl, and Birds of Prey), and I’ve enjoyed every time I’ve gone in to shop – even during Christmas season.

It kinda looks like this – they’ve rearranged the place a few times since this picture was taken >.>

So the place is stocked to the gills with stuff – there are new comics and back issues in the boxes, in issues and in trades, both. If you can’t find something, chances are the lovely people behind the counter can order it for you. There are board and video games as well (much to Man Cub’s delight, he picked up a used Xbox there a few weeks ago, at a really reasonable price), and few racks of videos. And of course, there are Magic cards, miniatures, and treats (Pocky!) at the register.

Not only is That’s Entertainment a delightful place in Worcester, but it’s also one of my favorite places in the state. If you haven’t already, go check it out. And if you have, check in on your subscriptions box =)


*And also,  the DS you traded in is totes going to make someone else happy, and the staff at TE know that.
**Another shining moment in his reading education was about five months later when he really really really wanted to be able to play Morrowind by himself.
***For the record, I’m still a little confused.