Seasonal Merchandise

I didn’t need this caboose—in my growing collection of Tyco streamlined cabooses, I’ve already got one in the Bicentennial scheme. It was the box that caught my eye. Actually, it was the price tag on the box. Take a close look, it tells a story. Two Guys, a long-defunct discount department store, marked this car down to just 19 cents in 1977. (That’s still less than a dollar in today’s money. I paid $3.) As the kids say, a Bicentennial caboose was so last year by then.

I don’t remember Two Guys; by the time I got to town in the mid-Eighties, it was already gone, but Dad had been there sometime in the Seventies, and found Aurora Postage Stamp N scale trains marked down. They were probably the first N scale I ever encountered.

In the Eighties and Nineties, there was a constant parade of discount stores blooming in suburban plazas to great fanfare, hoping to be the next Kmart, before shriveling up a few years later. Some obscure outfit from Arkansas finally put a stop to that. I don’t remember any of those places carrying trains. Then again, I didn’t spend much time looking there. The stores reflected changing tastes as trains gradually slid out of the mainstream.

It doesn’t appear as though this caboose has been on the rails. The wheel treads are clean. The box doesn’t even look like it’s been handled much. 45 years is an awfully long time for a toy to not be played with. The Semiquincentennial rolls around in a few short years, though, so maybe I’ll give it some run time then.