Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Toys: A Bad Movie, A Beloved Retail Model

I used to have a young child, who had many young friends who celebrated birthdays every year. I also had a bunch of young nieces and nephews (ditto).

I put in lots of time at Toys R Us, is what I'm saying.

It's the greatest toy store there is (gee whiz!).

Christmases. Birthdays. I'm a terrible adult and need to appease my child-days. Toys R Us was always there, fully stocked with the latest in games, toys, bikes, and random shit guaranteed to guilt you out of a large portion of your paycheck.

You may not know it, but this is love.
I totally remember standing in line with PDaughter for HOURS so that Toys R Us would download some freaking rare Pokemon to her Nintendo DS.

I remember spending HOURS in the stuffed animal section to find that perfect ball of artificial fluff to give as a gift to some random child who would probably just throw it on the heap he/she already had in his/her room.

I remember spending a significant portion of my Christmas gift budget on toys, games, and clothes at my local Toys R Us.

And loving it.

But now, Toys R Us is about to shut down its stores forever.

Look, I get that Montgomery Ward went out of business. That David Letterman retired. That Life Magazine ceased publication. Time marches the fuck on.

But Toys R Us?

That is a biggie.

Where will I...someday, you guys. Definitely someday. OK?

...Shop for my grandkids?

Not at Toys R Us.

Amazon, whatever. Not if they don't have a catchy goddamn jingle, though.

What does Toys R Us mean to you, Drunkards?

Let me know.


  1. I could reminisce about the time my friends and I got thrown out of a Toys'R'Us because we were running up and down the aisles playing with toys--and let's just say we were all old enough to drive there--but instead I want to consider what it means that brick and mortar stores are closing.
    And they're not always closing because they're losing money or because customers are switching to online shopping. Some close because it's what investors want. I had the unpleasant experience of working for someone was so committed to a particular vision of the future he'd rather kill where we worked than give the customers what they wanted.
    Sure, Toys'R'Us was a private, profit-driven company but its stores represented a communal space where people--especially kids--could meet and interact.
    For me the iconic scene in Big isn't Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia playing "Chopsticks". It's the scene before that, when Tom Hanks and some random kid pretend to shoot each other with lasers. That's a bit problematic but consider this: two kids who didn't know each other happened to meet and bond, however briefly, by playing together.
    That's not gonna happen online.

  2. We didn't have one in our town until I was in college. We had K Mart, Richway (now Target), and one local place. But I love going now. I really miss the bookstores of my youth.

  3. Many hours spent on the computer games aisle as a kid, carefully deciding which tag to pull down and take to my mother so we could exchange it for the Commodore 64 game I had finally committed to. I remember saving pennies to finally get to that elusive ten dollars to buy that red box copy of Dungeons and Dragons from Toys R Us. I also remember my mother losing patience with me counting out said pennies, sweeping them all off the counter into her purse, and giving the sales clerk a ten dollar bill (and going through that change for tax). Toys R Us will always be wound around memories of my mother and I. By the time I was shopping there for kids it was a little more souless and generic. I can remember finding imported Ultraman toys there as a child and some off the wall stuff. Through the 90's and beyond the toys were about the same as what you found at Target or Wal-Mart. Still a sad passing for certain.


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