While prepping for my radio show, I came across a story that saddens me. Toys R Us, who filed for bankruptcy recently, may be considering closing all of it’s stores as early as next week. In my opinion, this is just another way we ruin childhood for kids today. I grew up in an era where Toys R Us was one of three big toy stores that a child could walk through in awe and wonder. Now we are taking this away from them?
I was lucky enough to have a Circus World toy store about a mile from my house. A bunch of us kids would walk up there are check out all of the new Star Wars toys. There was also Kay-Bee Toys (which was not as good as Circus World or Toys R Us) which had some of the odd-ball toys and (at least in my neighborhood) pool equipment. What I remember about Circus World was that the aisles were thin and the shelves were LOADED with toys. In the summer, we would pass the time away in the Circus World store for hours!
I remember how sad I was when Circus World closed, but at least we still had Toys R Us. This was the BEST of the toy stores. They had everything from toys, board games, video games, videos for you to watch, books to read, swing sets, and everything in between! I LOVED going to this place! I still do.
What kid wasn’t filled with excitement at the thought of walking through the toy store?!?! We did it often when it was close to Christmas time or birthdays. “Tell me some ideas”, my dad would say. How cool was that – “some ideas” ultimately meant a LONG list of possible gift ideas for Christmases and birthdays for years. Dad probably regretted ever asking for a list, but he sure was never not able to find something we wanted.
I talk about kids, but what about adults? We are also going to feel the pain of losing this store! Do you know how many times I would walk through Toys R Us scanning the aisles for things that I thought my kids would like? I can think of so many instances where I saw something and said, “Wow! This would be an awesome gift for _____!” Sometimes. I would go there just to look and see what kinds of stuff was available for my kids….that I would like playing with too! Ha ha!
In an age where online shopping is the “in” thing, I personally think it sucks. I like to go and look for ideas. The online shopping experience is very rarely gonna show you something that you just “might” stumble on while walking through a store. Often, a picture of a product is not enough. I like to read the back of a board game box. I like to really examine the toys. You know as well as I do, a picture can make ANYTHING look better than it actually is. I can remember ordering things from comic books thinking they looked so cool, only to get them and think “What’s this piece of junk?”
Toys R Us – I am sorry to see you go. I am sorry for the future children who will now walk one or two aisles in a Wal-Mart or Meijer store to see new toys, never to know the true awesome amazement at the amount of toys to choose from. I thank you for always being there for a kid who was never really sure what he wanted for his birthday until he had the chance to look on the shelves of your store. I am sorry for Geoffrey, the giraffe, who was spotted in your TV ads and throughout your store – I hope he finds a good place to retire.