Toy story: 'A lot of heartbreak', says Dublin shop manager
Normally the aisles in Banba Toymaster are filled with the excited peals of children, looking forward to what might be coming down their chimney on Christmas Eve.
But with hours to go until the government lockdown comes into effect, there is an unfamiliar feeling of anxiety that has consumed these last minute shoppers.
One mum Anna tells the Sunday World she is worried about her son’s birthday present as she scours the aisles of this Dublin shopping landmark on Mary Street.
She thumbs through banners and cards as she tries to make sure she is not left wanting in the coming weeks, when all the country’s toy shops have their doors closed.
“It is my son's birthday in November and I am not worried about the presents for Christmas, I am worried about buying something for his birthday,” she says.
“I don't know if I will have time to buy it online.
“I just bought a few things and I am having a look around to see if I can find something.
“But today is the last day when we can buy certain things."
Other parents were concerned about over-spending in the middle of a pandemic.
“He told me that he wanted the Mario (Cart) one,” a bewildered Sean explained.
“But it was too expensive and I just have to think about it because we are not going to work at the moment.
“We have to ration it out."
Watching over the chaos in what is normally a shop filled with joy and laughter is shop manager Maurice Doyle.
“We have been trading for over 75 years now and this is the worst situation we have ever come across,” he told The Sunday World.
“There are plenty of people out there now who maybe can’t afford the toys.
“They are relying on their last bits of overtime to buy the toys.
“We will be manning the phones, keep the Christmas club open and people can maybe put stuff away on deposit and we will hold it for them until after lockdown.
“We are trying to man the phones during the week for people who just need stuff put by for when they might have the money to pay for it.
“There is a lot of heartbreak around all right.”