Uncle Fun: A Toy Store for Everyone

uncle fun
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As I browse the aisles of Uncle Fun, the cashier speaks into a plastic megaphone, reminding the handful of customers pulling open old library card catalogue drawers that the store carries voice-changing megaphones along the far back wall. In case you didn’t get the hint from the colorful brick exterior and creepy smiling carnival-like cartoon man sign, Uncle Fun is not your typical Toys R’ Us. It’s a gag gift utopia filled with nostalgic trinkets that kids, and the kid in all of us, can enjoy.

The store is small and the aisles are cramped, which is probably a good thing. You could end up spending the entire day here. There’s so much to see — a toaster that imprints Jesus’s face on each slice of bread ($30), Cat and the Hat plush finger puppets ($1), pencils disguised as cigarettes ($1), a Wrigley Field oversized pop-up book ($10). Its zany merchandise and huge selection aside, Uncle Fun is made even more appealing by its prices. You can easily fill up a small basket with plastic chattering teeth charms, Jessica Simpson stickers, name stamps, and Elvis postcards for five bucks.

After a half-hour of browsing the tiny store, I forced myself to the register where the cashier and a customer are talking about the Insane Clown Posse. The cashier mentioned that Uncle Fun has a drawer of magnets tagged with the lyrics, “Magnets: how do they work?” A kid reaches up on to the counter and grabs a cow keychain. He squeezes it and asks his Dad why there’s brown gunk coming out of the cow’s butt.

I spent $13 and left with a vintage cardboard ice cream box filled with gag gifts for a friends upcoming birthday—a Scary Spice action figure, fake vomit, a plastic silver dollar ring, a kitten themed birthday card, a phony scratch lottery ticket, and a blue tiara. As I headed outside, I wondered why I didn’t make it a point to stop at Uncle Fun more often.

The Essentials:
Location: 1338 W Belmont Ave
Phone: 773.477.8223

Erin Nederbo

About Erin Nederbo

Erin is a current writing major at Columbia College and a native of Chicago's Jefferson Park. Surrounded by Cubbie blue, she is often hassled by friends for being a White Sox fan. During winter, she keeps warm by eating Italian beef, dreaming of 16 inch softball, and reading Sandra Cisneros. Her creative writing can be found in Hair Trigger 33 Magazine.

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