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Power Ranking The Best Stores For a Child to Be Locked Inside Of

COLUMBUS — A 12-year-old boy was found alone inside a Target store in Ohio Monday morning.

Columbus police said the child was found at 6:15 a.m. in the store located at 8100 East Broad Street near Reynoldsburg, WBNS reported.

A Target employee was working to open up the store when they found the boy, according to WBNS.

The child was previously described as being 7-years-old, however; police later said he was 12.

Police said the boy was left alone when the store closed at 10 p.m. Sunday and spent the night alone inside the building.

First things first, this child is fine. Fine as in alive. Probably not fine from a "life trajectory" standpoint, considering he was just left alone in a Target overnight. But he survived the experience. The child is in good health (physically). And I'm hoping he had the time of his life.

When I read this headline, my first thought was, "What an awesome experience for a 12-year old." Not the "having neglectful parents" part, but the "getting to spend a full night unsupervised in a Target" part. That part is sort of awesome. There's no better age to be locked in a big box retailer with zero supervision than 12. You still have the blissfully unaware brain of child. For a child, the shelves of Target are stocked full of wonder and possibility. They have all the newest toys on the market. The Super Soaker 1 Million. Snacks you've ever even heard. Bicycles AND plastic ramps. Golf balls AND clubs. You can stroke a 3-wood from the produce section towards wherever the hell you please. Not to mention the small pieces of clothing in the women's section that you don't fully understand but make your dick feel "different" in a fun kind of way. The entire store is a 12-year old's playbox. 


Even more importantly, when you're that young, can't get in trouble. Unless you manage to shove a kitchen knife through a night janitors throat. Or post a viral TikTok of you licking the tops of the ice cream and slipping razor blades into the pineapples, whatever illegal mischief you get into will be overlooked by the fact that, "Oh he's just a poor kid, he must be so scared!" It's a win-win situation. Free reign at a Target is heaven is for a child. He can literally open, eat, play with, or completely destroy anything he pleases, and all he's going to get is a limp dicked slap on the wrist and a better set of parents. 

Which naturally, has me thinking, if I were a 12-year old child, what would be the best store to locked into over night?

Gas Station

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I'll preface this with it has to be a nice gas station. A clean, fully stocked gas station. I vividly remember when I was a kid, I told my mom something along the lines of "If you gave me $20 and unleashed me in a gas station I'd be the happiest boy in the world." Every time I'd walk into one with my parents, I'd see a thousand things I wished I could eat. Just think of the possibilities. You could do a whole tournament of snacks. Make 4 regions "Salty, Chocolate, Gummy and Drinks." You pick 16 items for each category and create a March Madness style bracket on the disgusting gas station floor. Give a taste to every snack and determine a winner from each bracket. Get yourself a Final 4. Determine a Gas Station Snack Champion. Fuck I should honestly just do this myself.

Or if you're a cool 12-year old you can just get drunk and smoke Black & Mild's. Either way sounds like a blast.

Dick's Sporting Goods

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Dick's Sporting Goods could potentially be the winner of this. Basketballs + basketball hoops. Hockey nets + sticks + pucks. Baseball bats + balls. You can play any sport you want. Plus they have literal guns. At least they did when I was a kid. Dick's Sporting Goods packed heat. You might have to shatter some glass to acquire the guns and ammunition. Obviously the kid will need to practice gun safety procedures. But what is firing a few rounds into the lacrosse section going to hurt? It's not like the lacrosse section is a some huge money maker for Dick's.

Note: I did some Googling and it appears as if Dick's Sporting Goods is moving away from guns. That's a shame. But maybe there are still some in the southeast that carry them

Cold Stone Creamery

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The most difficult decision a child has to make is what flavor of ice cream to order at a Cold Stone Creamery-type ice cream parlor. Sure, you're parents will try to comprise with you by saying, "You can get 2 scoops of different flavors!". But that's not the same. Honestly mom.. shut the fuck up. "Yeah I'd love to try both the mint chocolate chip, and the raspberry rumble, but that shit doesn't go together on a cone. When I get a double scoop I have to get 2 complimentary flavors. Do you not realize how much that handicaps my decision? And it's not like you're going to buy me multiple cones you prude bitch." All a child needs is a single spoon, and free reign behind the Cold Stone counter for 12 unsupervised hours. That's the only way to experience the creamery. 

Any Major Sports Arena

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A big time college, or any professional sports stadium will do. To go out there and stand on the 50-yard line, or home plate, or center ice. When there's nobody else around. Imagine being at Madison Square Garden. You're at center court. You run through some imaginary last second buzzer beater scenarios in your head. It inspires you to take your sports career more seriously. You decide to dedicate your life to the game. By sophomore year of high school, you start getting some attention from D1 recruiters . You continue to lead your HS team in scoring for your final 2 seasons. But unfortunately, you never hit that growth spurt the recruiters were hoping for. You get a few scholarship offers from D2 schools, but you have bigger things in mind. You walk to Ohio State. Once the coaches see you play, you'll get your chance to shine. But after a decent freshman season, Thad Matta brings in some even better recruits. Their athleticism and general understanding of the game put you to shame. You ride the bench another year. For the first time in your life, you realize you don't have what it takes to make it in the league. 

But you'll always have that moment where you were locked inside Madison Square Garden as 12-year old with the world at your fingertips. They can never take that away from you.

A Puppy Mill

Bharathi Kannan. Unsplash Images.

I would like it on the record that it's "fuck puppy mills" for me. Adopt don't shop. Shoutout Miss Peaches. However… if you HAPPENED to be locked inside some sort of building full of adorable golden retriever, basset hound and dachshund puppies… to just let them all out of their cages and roll around with puppies all night. What a way to spend an evening. 

If you play your cards right, once you're discovered and everyone is like "Oh my god, poor kid we locked him in here." They'll probably let you keep at least 1 puppy. You can spend your whole night evaluating puppies to determine which one is best. Maybe even have some sort of puppy tournament like you did with the gas station snacks. The possibilities are endless.


Emiliano Bar. Unsplash Images.


This one could be controversial. I'll add the caveat that "only if all the doors to the cells are locked, you're outside of the cells, and nobody can get to you".  I've always been fascinated by prisons. To stand face-to-face with a murderer behind bars… look him in the eye… think about what he's done to get himself there… have him scream obscenities at you and threaten to escape prison and kill your entire family… That gets the blood pumping.

Also, if you're locked in a prison as a kid, that's an ENOURMOUS lawsuit on your hands. You'll get millions of dollars out of that fuck up.

Massive Indoor Skate Part Equipped with Foam Pits and Trampolines

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This one is actually the winner. It's not even close. There used to a place called Xscape Zone in the Bowling Green, Ohio mall. It was just a giant indoor skate park. Full sized vert ramps, foam pits to jump into, a "fazer ball" arena. They even had a theatre style video game room with a million different games to choose from. It was something out a 12-year old's dream. I'm pretty sure it went out of business in a year, but if you can get yourself locked in a place like that…. as long as you don't break your neck… you're going to have the best night ever.