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the roadside rest The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees

Taylor (born Marietta) grew up in Pittman, Kentucky, a small rural town where families "had kids just about as fast as they could fall down the well and drown," and a boy with a job as a gas-meter man was considered a "high-class catch." She needs to get out to get ahead and to avoid pregnancy. She succeeds on both counts when she buys a '55 Volkswagen and heads west. She leaves almost everything behind, including her name. (Taylor is the name she adopts when she runs out of gas in Taylorville, Illinois.) When her steering fails somewhere in central Oklahoma, in country owned by the Cherokee nation, she stops for repairs at a roadside service station. A Cherokee woman looks at Taylor and sees a chance for her dead sister's child to escape a life of abuse and alcoholism. She hands the child over to Taylor and disappears. Taylor's journey of self-discovery suddenly becomes a transition into a relationship where she is not the most important person.


Taylor and her adopted child, Turtle, travel to Tucson, Arizona, where more car troubles land them at a shop known as Jesus Is Lord Used Tires. The owner of this odd establishment is a woman named Mattie, a serene, big-hearted soul who shelters political refugees from Guatemala, and who gives Taylor a job. Taylor and Turtle find a room with Lou Ann Ruiz, a self-described "ordinary Kentuckian a long way from home," and her newborn baby Dwayne Ray. The relationship between these two single mothers, one never married, one divorcing, and their relationships with the people around them are the focus of the story. After a few months, Taylor needs to rent an apartment. She ends up sharing an apartment with Lou Ann and her son, Dwayne Ray. Together Taylor, Turtle, Mattie, two refugees, Lou Ann and Dwayne Ray learn about friendship and belonging. Their lessons are learned through many experiences, including confrontations with Lou Ann's ex-husband, Angel, Dr. Pelinowsky, and others they meet along the way. Ties of family, friends, blood and love are what sustain the characters through hard times and heartbreaks. The supportive connections between people are likened to a symbiosis, interdependency in the most positive sense.


It didn't seem to matter to Turtle, she was happy where she was. The sky went from dust-color to gray and then cool black sparked with stars, and she was still wide awake. She watched the dark highway and entertained me with her vegetable-soup song, except that now there were people mixed in with the beans and potatoes: Dwayne Ray, Mattie, Esperanze, Lou Ann and all the rest. At the end of this novel Tylor ends up adopting Turtle by faking out the adoption papers with Esperanze and Esteven being the parents because they looked much like her and agreed to sign the papers for her.


Kingsolver's story has a definite point of conflict and resolution; having a child handed to you at a cafe without legal adoptions. With no way of determining who Turtle's relatives may be, Taylor is unable to formalize her relationship with her adopted daughter, and is at risk of losing her to the state. Her journey back to Oklahoma to try to find a solution to the problem brings the story full circle. But this time, she has friends with her, and ultimately it is her willingness to help them in their hour of need, and their willingness to do the same, that proves to be Taylor and Turtle's salvation. The moving, cathartic scene in which the crisis peaks paves the way for the satisfying resolution.


The Bean Trees is a story about personal journeys of self-discovery, as well as larger themes of commitment and risk-taking. Taylor Greer finds something in this abandoned Indian child, Turtle that she didn't know she was missing, and which she rapidly becomes unable to live without. The transformation of instant motherhood causes her to reevaluate her relationships with others, especially her own mother. In a way, Taylor is experiencing a moment we all go through, when our parents turn suddenly into human beings. The old women who volunteer as babysitters, the Chinese grocer down the street, and particularly the ... more

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Introduction

Throughout the major Canadian cities we find many of the large category killer stores.  These stores expanded across Canada in the 1980's and 90's.  These category killing stores specialize in one particular category, but offer a moderately deep assortment of brands, styles, and prices in all of the merchandise classes that make up the category.  One of these stores in present in Lethbridge.  This store is Toys R Us.  This store can satisfy most of the needs of the target market.

Most of the jobs that a small toy business would have to look after are performed through a head or regional office.  This gives Toys R Us a distinct competitive advantage over the competition from the small toy retails in Lethbridge.  Ordering, pricing, payroll, storage, advertising, and many other day to day activities are performed by few for very many.

Toys R Us is a large category killing store that is located at 225 1st Avenue South, right next door to the Park Place Mall in Lethbridge, Alberta.  It offers a wide range of toys, bikes, computer games, baby needs, and games to children and adults throughout Southern Alberta.  Toys R Us has been open in Lethbridge for almost six years.  



Market Selection Strategy
The market selection strategy for a category killer such as Toys R Us is fairly simple.  A strategy often determines the target market, and the different market segments that the store is looking toward for the majority of its business.  

Toys R Us is a store which is in a mature market.  The majority of the growth that has happened in this market occurred in the 1960's, when the majority of consumers enjoyed a higher disposable income and therefore large chain stores began to appear.  The market is still strong and stable and Toys R Us can expect increases to their sales every year as there are no plans for another major toy competitor in the area.  

The toy market is a very competitive business.  Stores such as Wal-Mart and Zellers boast large toy departments and these are the biggest competition for Toys R Us.  The store has some loyal customers.  However, most of the customers in the toy market are very price sensitive and will shop at the store with the lowest prices.  In order to increase their sales and market share, Toys R Us must look for ways to keep their customers loyal to the store.

The geographic location of the store helps to attract more customers off the highway and those potential shoppers from out of town.  As Toys R Us sits next to Highway 3, it makes it easier for out of town customers to get to the store.  Toys R Us is able to target consumers anywhere from the Alberta/Saskatchewan border to the east to Fernie, Cranbrook and Creston to the west.  They also have the ability and size to attract all customers to the south of Lethbridge, including those who live in northern Montana.  Customers to the north have the option of shopping at the larger Calgary store or Lethbridge.  This gives Toys R Us a very large customer base.  

The target market refers to the primary market that the store is trying to attract.  In the case of Toys R Us, their target market is individuals with children, which range from          25-45 years of age.  The target audience is also the adults but the advertising can often hit the children, ultimately who will enjoy the products the most.  Toys R Us finds the majority of their customers are the parents, but for some of their video games, the older teenager often has a disposable income high enough to spend on the featured games in stock.  

By understanding that the majority of buyers are the parents, Toys R Us has also stocked itself in the off-seasons with product parents may be interested in buying.  These products include, learning games, adult games such as Trivial Pursuit and adult bicycles.  As the population of Lethbridge expands, the sales of Toys R Us will increase.


Market Research

Most market research for Toys R Us is conducted at the regional offices or head office.  The information gathered from here is passed on to the 65 individual stores across Canada.  Some ... more

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